About 18 months ago, I was deep into procrastinating while writing my third book, and getting a bit antsy about not making any progress. I frowned in discontent, idly roaming the internet, needing to write, but struggling with writer's paralysis (that's when you have something to write, but for inexplicable reasons, just can't sit down and do it). I came across an entertainment news article, and as I occasionally do, commented at the end of it. I submitted my comment, and a little blurb popped up: Do You Want To Write For Movie Pilot?
I pondered the question: Do I want to write for Movie Pilot? I considered my options: I live in Atlanta, one of the fastest-growing film communities in the world, I have a friend whose backyard backs up to the set of the top-rated television show in the country, I have a kick-ass new (at the time) phone that takes amazing pictures, and I can, in fact, write. It didn't take me long to conclude that, HELL YEAH, I wanted to write for Movie Pilot.
So off I went, fifty miles south of Atlanta, to the land of The Walking Dead, where I visited my friend, took some photos, and put together my first location article. I came up with the moniker "Atlanta Proxifan," because if you can't come to Atlanta to tour the filming locations of your favorite shows, I can do it for you as your proxy.
Within hours of posting that first article, "The Walking Dead are Friendly Neighbors," I had nearly 10 — TEN! — reads!!! I was thrilled. By that evening, it was close to 100! The next morning, when I woke up to over TWO THOUSAND reads, I almost fainted. That might not be a lot of reads to some people, but to me, it was like the very breath of life itself. I was smitten.
I had written some more location articles, with great responses from people, when I came across an ad on Facebook for a precision driving course tailored for film work. I didn't have the money to take the course, but it looked really fun, so I contacted the owner to ask if I could interview him for an article. He turned right back around and asked me to take the class so I could do an even more in-depth article, and I was thrilled all over again.
After that, I just started asking people if I could write about them: actors, artists, stunt people — pretty much anyone with any connection to the film industry. Some of them said no, but most of them said yes. I was stunned. There I was, 39 frigging years old, and just figuring out that if I asked for what I wanted, I had a chance of actually getting it.
So I kept asking, and I started meeting amazing people, going to beautiful and bizarre locations, and having experiences I'd never before imagined for myself. But I still had that book in me and I needed to get it out. Writing is like any other art form that way — if you don't have a way to get your art out of your head, it can really start to eat away at your soul.
I didn't really have much experience in filmmaking. I mean, there was that one time I did a short film, and it got into the Cannes Film Festival, and I spent my 34th birthday yacht-hopping on the French Riviera — but aside from that, not much experience. I needed to get that story I'd been working on for years out there though, and I figured why not try my hand at screenwriting?
So that's what I did. After writing an initial draft screenplay in the form of a short film, I decided to re-write it as a web series. I contacted some of the film people I'd met since starting to write for Movie Pilot and they loved my script! I was so excited, and so scared! I kept telling them I really didn't know what I was doing, but I really wanted to do it, and they just kept going along with me.
After months of plotting, planning, scraping together money, and panicking, my team and I filmed the pilot episode of my web series, Behind 13. I found a great editor, an incredible score writer, and a penchant for YouTube, and now I'm in business. I'm a writer, a producer, a director: I'M A FILMMAKER. Almost every single person who worked on the pilot episode of Behind 13 is someone I met as a direct result of writing for Movie Pilot.
My life is so incredibly different than it was 18 months ago. I have a lot of hope now — hope that is actually and concretely being realized. It is an incredible thing to experience. I am indescribably grateful for the opportunity Movie Pilot put in my path, and for the courage and confidence it took me 40 years to cultivate so I could jump all over it.
What is your favorite part about writing for Movie Pilot?
Title photo: (L-R) Biz Lyon, Lara Silva
My team photo: (L-R) Jacob Dean, Zach Veatch, Rebecca Raymer, Kelechi Jude, Levi Krevinghaus