December is always an important month of the year for me – as I spend most of my time thinking about the new year ahead and what I want from it. I also always reflect on the year I am leaving behind. Did I accomplish all that I wanted to? Did I make the best of all my opportunities? Was I happy? I am happy to say that 2013 was a very, very good year for me. Of course there were challenging times and moments where I felt stuck, but by a large percentage it was overall pretty fantastic. I made another short film that I am super proud of, went to many great festivals, made tons of new friends, made Atlanta a new home (in addition to Birmingham), got two new babies (Azza & Cilantro), and now officially get to see my love more days than not. My family is healthy & happy. I couldn’t ask for much more really… yet, I am ready to push myself once again in pursuit of my dreams.
So the question is: What do I want out of 2014? I want to make the films I know I am capable of writing & directing. I am so close to reaching that next level of understanding. After spending a year watching the films of peers who have immaculate talent, I feel I am ready to give my new insights a go. It’s all very complex – making a story come to life with the means you have available. Making a film into true art. Making a statement of meaning. I feel I now have a story that I can work with, that I identify with on a deep level. I am so very grateful that I wrote a feature this year, even if I didn’t choose to make that particular script. It was fantastic practice and I learned so much from my mistakes. And there were many. It was worth the months I spent on it to become a better writer. Now when I see a feature I recognize arcs, character development and style more. I have made some new goals for myself:
1. I will watch at least two films a week, a mix of studio and independent.
2. I will read at least one feature script per week.
3. I will spend eight hours outside of writing to work on planning, future story dev, character dev, and marketing.
4. I will write ten pages a week on whatever project I choose.
With this timeline, I will have my short film complete by the beginning of January and a solid few drafts into my feature by July. I am going to document all of these hours in my Google Calendar to hold myself accountable. I realize though that things sometimes change, and if that happens I will adjust accordingly. Having a plan, even if it gets modified, is the key to success.
I pretty much have my short film concept complete, and partially written. Now I just need to figure out how that fits into my feature film. Is it a prequel, or is it a piece of the narrative? These will be the fun things to figure out. The more challenging aspects will be fundraising, but I am trying to look at that with a new eye. I have a few good ideas up my sleeve. More on that soon.
I have big plans, I hope you do too.