If you'd said to me twelve years ago I'd be writing a short screenplay and winning an award, I would have laughed. Books and scripts are very different forms of expression and I never thought I'd have the confidence to attempt the latter. However, I decided to give it a try after getting inspiration from a writer who'd made the journey from books to TV when his Christmas story screenplay was produced.
I started with The Dusk Chronicles, and after researching format and using a free program, I wrote a pilot—badly. Enter Samantha Alban. A fellow author and dear friend. She'd had experience with screenplays and we decided to collaborate. And by collaborate I mean she re-wrote the entire pilot and I hovered over the dialogue adding my "yes, that works', or "no, the character wouldn't say that." Basically, it was an SC Alban pilot with a little Vicki-Ann Bush, sprinkled in. LOL
We entered several award competitions and came very close, finishing in the finals, but the actual award eluded us. However, my steam didn't fizz out, instead the opposite happened. My dream of seeing the Alex McKenna series in film percolated until I couldn't wait any longer. By this time Sam was busy with her own work and it was do or die, so I decided to try again on my own. This time I used a professional program, Final Draft. It helps to align everything the way it should be and with a little work, I was able to understand the tools. I also was able to have a film professor assist me with formatting. Jim, who's a good friend of my cousins, (a former actor and now retired tennis/ pickle ball pro-shop owner. Say that fast three times.) coached me through the darkness and gave me the extra confidence boost I needed. I'd also like to mention my cousin, Ralph, is a cheering section everyone should have in their corner.
On the suggestion of Jim, I started with a short. He advised it's easier to ease into the transition with 20 or so pages, rather than the 120 required for a feature film. Once it was complete, I began entering into contests. I can't begin to describe the shock, happiness and flood of tears that came with the notification that I'd won the first contest I entered. Taking Best American Short Script, was one of the most memorable days in my career as a writer. It was affirmation that I can do this. But I'm not done yet. My dream of seeing Alex on the big screen is now blossoming and I'm not gonna sit back.
With my cousin producing, we're now going to be turning my script into a short film. I've solidified all the actors except for my lead...Alex where are you? I've scouted locations, thank you Skimos Coffee, for joining our production and the Gonzalez family, for allowing us to film your house. Sarah Tasz, for letting us takeover your home for those interior shots, and to Lauren Walker, for having the most adorable son to play Jacob. Welcome to our production...Ralph Gorgoglione, Mr. Charismatic, Nick Guidice, Melissa Maldonado, Sarah Tasz, Lauryn Dyan, and Morgan St. James.
I've collected all the necessary contracts, nailed down how to get all the permits, and my cousin is handling liability insurance. This all sounds so easy, right? It's one of the hardest learning curves I ever had and I'm loving every moment of it. To see your work come to life is indescribable.
This is just the beginning.
Added to our list of performers...
A huge welcome to professional actor, Bekah Wray Halterman. You're the perfect Margaret!