Writing & Screenplays

Give me a good book, no better feeling than to be lost in a story beautifully told. There is no more powerful medium than the written word, all else a distant second. As much as I love photography, my heart belongs to writers.

I’ve had a suspicion that a good many of us photographers turned to photography when we failed at painting or music or the other grand arts. I’m a failed writer. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times that I’ve been checking equipment cases at the airport for a long flight somewhere that I didn’t wish I was traveling with a pencil and a couple notebooks.

But here’s the rub: when you see the bar set high, you’ve got to wonder if you can clear it if you give it a shot yourself. Or you’ve got to find the place you can claim for your own, and thereby screw up the courage to string some words together.

For me that place has been in interviews, a bit of travel writing, a couple profiles, and, of late, screenplays. It took me a couple years and a painful learning curve with Final Draft but I managed to actually write a screenplay. It took me another couple years to reduce 200 pages to 123, the upper limits of the screenplay form. Because getting someone to read your screenplay is about as difficult as writing one, I’ve sent “Deep Six” to some festivals, and have had some nice results, it being recognized by the Los Angeles Cinema Festival, Los Angeles Movie Awards, and most recently, the Mountain Film Festival.

I’ve gained some encouragement in this medium and have begun a second screenplay, one that has eaten at me for a very long time. I’ve got an outline, and am nine pages into it; I’m on my way. This story, “Honor Code” (working title), is on my back like a gorilla, and the only way I’ll be free is to finish it. Perhaps not uncommon motivation. The choice to write, or not write, is no longer mine to make.