It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, last August, to be precise, Nick and I were over in Indianapolis (hit the jump to scope the first blog on my Indy Adventure!), supporting my short film, First Date.
Flights, hotels, overbearing custom control (oh, the memories…), sitting on panels, fighting, food (so much food!) and a cavalcade of films and board games all blended together to make a hopeful trip a memorable one. Not only that, it made it an important one.
It was a trip that forced me to reflect on who I am, and what I want. It had me reassessing a number of elements in my life.
It was the first time that I had been a part of a festival to any degree; it was also the first time I was able to support a piece of art that I had helmed, with the help of many artistic friends throwing in to make sure it came to life. The panels were a lot of fun to do, and I got to meet and interact with a bunch of interesting filmmakers. I’ll also be the first to put my hands up and admit two sad truths:
- I didn’t belong on those panels, given the wealth of experience that I was flanked by.
- First Date didn’t make any sort of indelible impact, and has failed to segue into anything else since it was filmed, oh so long ago.
And that is a particularly sad, and harsh truth for me. I put a lot of myself into First Date; time, effort, money, and faith (blind, blind faith), but unfortunately all it kind of amounted to was experience.
I relished being on a set, and having actors come in and bring to life characters I had written, speak words I had crafted, was a special feeling, one I will hopefully experience again some day – but ultimately it was all an experiment that can be chalked up to experience.
This trip opened my eyes, however, to a different path that interested me. A total refocus on what I wanted to creatively explore; a new world that I wanted to be a part of.
Quick background: I have a degree in Film and TV Production, where I specialised in screenwriting. This degree, I’m sad to say, hasn’t exactly paned out for me into a career the way I had always hoped it would.
It’s hard to admit, even harder to stomach, and has caused a lot of emotional distress to my mental wellbeing, true, but this deviation has also given me a lot of things that I wouldn’t have had without it – most importantly my loving girlfriend.
But with this loss of focus, with this deviation from the path I was so set on traversing, has come life experience and unique decisions that led me to a number of writer’s panels at this particular convention. Here, I was witness to a number of well respected authors (sci fi and fantasy, primarily) getting an open avenue to discuss their influences, writing styles/practices, immersing themselves into a wonderful den of geekery.
I was hooked.
I’ve always loved reading, but still don’t feel I do enough of it – though others might disagree. Honestly though, don’t we all wish we had ‘more’ time to read, or watch movies, or, importantly, write?
And there’s the hook of this: I’ve always loved writing.
I’ve always been enamoured with stories, hence why I chose to study screenwriting specifically within my course. Why had I never thought of simply dedicating myself to the craft of writing? Stubbornness? Perhaps a sense that I would be abandoning what I’ve been desperate to do since Sixth Form? Yes, that definitely played a part. But the more I thought on it, the more I explored and extrapolated a few pre existing ideas, the more apparent it became to me: I should take a different path. For now.
This was one of the most conflicting decisions I have ever come to, mainly because of the amount of self loathing I allow myself on any given day.
You gave up.
You’ll never do it.
You couldn’t do it, unlike everyone else you know, and look at you. Doing what? Loser.
The drive to still be a filmmaker exists within me; this is merely taking a vastly different route. Hopefully I’ll be able to connect these two paths down the road. If not, I suppose I’ll have to come to terms with that one day. Until then, I’ve got a book to continue finalising in the hope of getting it literary agent ready.
One year and change ago I came to one of the most important decisions I have had to make, one that affected me to my core on a very emotional level – as a delicate, creative type, all decisions are, of course, blown way out of proportion within my mind. Or maybe not. Maybe I fretted, scorned, and hated myself, and deserved it. But, ultimately, a decision was made, and since I came back last year I’ve been able to finish a manuscript, edit it a number of times times, and receive some not so great, as well as great, feedback on what I’m trying to achieve in my story detailing the power that comes from human choice.
I may not be there yet; it may yet still be a long and winding road (I think there’s a song in there somewhere…), but what I’ve managed to do since coming to that decision a year ago is an achievement in my eyes, no matter how small or, at this point, inconsequential (given the lack of a literary agent or publishing deal).
It’s been a year, and it feels like I’ve only taken a number of baby steps, but I’m not crawling anymore, so there’s that…
I’m going to chalk that up in the ‘W’ column.