I've been writing, but not what you'd expect...
I’ve been writing. Not this blog stuff. Dialog. Action. Scenes. Scripts. Screenplays.*
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I let it go for years, busy building a career as a visual creator, conveying through images, and a camera—my day job. In writing, I get the unique perspective of ‘seeing’ the action and building the moment in my mind as I’m banging on the keyboard. With just a few carefully written words, I can create exciting visuals without needing props, lights, or sets.
2020 sizzle reel of my video work, which includes some excerpts from my short screenplays. See more of my video work here.
I’m not good at it—yet.
The act of pushing and prodding to acquire this skill has been rewarding in and of itself. I’m finding many similarities in my photography work and my writing approach. I’m digging in on the technical stuff, the formatting, and best practices, and learning ways to craft words to create a filmic story. These foundations give me a structure to hang a story on, a place where I can build a plot.
Then there’s the whole thing about getting out of my own way. Same-same as photography — I have to stop blocking good ideas through worry or getting stuck in a closed state instead of staying open while creating.
This video illustrates the writing I do in preparation for a shoot. This was shot in under an hour as a piggyback on my stills production. Read more about it here.
I have to (need to) keep relearning these lessons, to find out how they apply to a different skillset—and that’s ok.
It's like taking something familiar with you into parts unknown.
Where is this going? I have no idea. Like all artists, I have many exciting ideas, possibilities, and creative starts—I call this the dread pile. My goal is to take a handful of these into some kind of final form. To stop treating them like precious things.
As Wil Wheaton says, you have to finish the “puke draft”** to get anywhere with this work. Any notable films have an excellent underlying script, and each one of those had a puke draft. The only way you can finish is to start. Or something like that. Back to the keyboard, I go.
*Work-in-Progress. If it was easy, I’d be done by now.
**The draft that’s so bad that you want to puke. Alternatively, the version that feels like you just puked it up all over the page. Gross, but useful.
Andy is the artist-in-residence, owner, technologist, cook, brewer, and cocktail maker in chief at Andy Batt Studio. He loves to work with a good crew on complex projects and a good coffee cup. No, a good cup of coffee— there's a difference. On the side, he teaches lighting workshops because he likes giving back to his community.