UNITED STATES—I tell this to people all the time. We all are born with a gift. What that gift is, some of us discover fairly quickly, for others it takes almost a lifetime to discover it. However, when you discover that gift you do your best to ensure it flourishes. My gift is my ability to write. I can write almost anything. Hell, I was arguing with my sister last week about my love to have a written essay as a final exam in college over a multiple choice or true and false exam. Why? You can always BS a bit in an essay, but when you have the gift of gab or the ability to use your words it is powerful; it gives you an edge.
The thing about writing is it is a gift and curse, when you’re good at it people have this epic expectation for you. However, my gift of writing is only when I focus on the creative aspect of my writing ability. When I place myself into that universe to tell stories I feel at times I am unstoppable. To be honest I have not looked at a screenplay or tackled a screenplay in nearly 5 years. Busy with work, school and family have just made it feel like it’s impossible for me at the moment. However, something odd transpired nearly a week or two ago. I just happened to review some treatments and ideas I had been toying with for films.
It was amazing that it was literally 5 years to the date that I last reviewed those treatments and ideas that I placed on paper. I don’t know if the universe was just telling me to do it, or some sort of sign from a higher power, it happened and I was stunned by it. I was reading one of my film treatments I wrote and it was amazing how closely it aligned with all the ideas and thoughts that have been floating in my head for years. Looking at the treatment, they were nearly identical to what I had been thinking with a few changes here and there.
Not to pat myself on the back, I was impressed with what I had done all those years ago, and where my creative thinking is today. Look, I reflect on the first script that I wrote as an undergraduate in my screenwriting class back in 2005 and I know it is not perfect, but it was the beginning of my ability to flesh out my thoughts in this brain of mine that never sleeps and place it on paper. I call it a gift and curse, but when you’re passionate about something it stays with you no matter what. Since then, the ideas I have for that initial script have changed. Certain plot points, characters, twists and surprises that I initially wrote have vastly changed. In addition, my ability to write dialogue that is more witty and connected (in a personal way, that was something I initially struggled with as a writer), has vastly improved. I’m utilizing daily lingo and how I would talk in certain situations and how I hear others interact and talk when it comes to dialogue.
Yes, even if you think you’re the best of the best at what you do, you can always learn something new and I truly believe I learn something new each day as a filmmaker. How I want a scene to play out, how I want characters to speak, how I want the camera to capture a particular scene, do I want a close-up or extreme close-up on a characters face for a pivotal scene, slight changes in dialogue to deliver a stronger punch. I guess what I’m getting at is the point that I doubted my writing some times. When you have people doubting you, you begin to question your so called gift or rather you’ve hit a rough patch.
The biggest piece of advice I can give is never doubt your skill or gift. Perfection is not attainable in my opinion, but you can always aim to push your energy in a direction that allows you to reach that full potential. You are going to have haters: that is life. I don’t remember my grandmother that much because I was so young when she died, but the one thing I remember her always telling me is that people are always going to talk about you. There are going to be people that don’t like you for whatever reason, and you cannot change that. What I recall so vivid is her informing me that in life you get to choose what you react to. Don’t give people the power to control how you react to things, you cannot change what people say, but you can control how you react to it.
I guess me reflecting on my gift gave me more inspiration to push even harder to make my dreams come to fruition, but at the same time some epic ideas popped into my brain that I placed on paper, but at the same time they are continuing to float in my head. That is the thing about writing, especially on a creative basis, once an idea pops into that brain it stays there until you make something of it.