Sunday, December 8, 2013

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone, a guest blog on the Saturday Evening blog Post.

                                                                 Hold Your Breath

Good evening Post fans. We have--yet another--treat for you; a guest blog written by my brother-in-law, Tim Sayles. But, before you read the post, be aware of three things about Tim.
1) If charisma were worth money, he would be in a higher tax bracket that Bill Gates.
2) He is the best natural born actor I know, which is the reason I always find myself in trouble whenever he's around. (Go ahead and click on the link I have provided to see his award-winning short film)
3) He brings the thunder. (Don't ask--you are better off not knowing... plausible deniability and all that.) Ok, here's Tim.

First, I want to thank Peter for asking me to share on his forum.  Those that have been following his posts should know by now what I have known for years.  He is a modern day Renaissance Man.  His constant testing of his boundaries amaze and inspire me.
I recently acted in a movie for a film festival.  Our film was fortunate enough to win the Best Film Award.  Also, I was lucky enough to win Best Lead Male Actor.  A local Film Community had us out shortly after to honor our film.  They played it for other filmmakers, actors, directors, and producers to see.  Then they had us come up for a Q & A session.  I was so proud to be a part of this group.  We were all so excited going into this night that we had this opportunity.  Our chests were pumped up and maybe our heads a little big for the night.   I am a smell the roses kind of guy, so I was going to soak in every second of a night like this. 

Life has a way of throwing curveballs at you though.  I went there with one purpose, but I left with a far greater one.  This group tries to keep most meetings themed to what time of year we are in.  So, seeing as we were in October they played a few locally made short horror films.  One in particular held my attention the whole time.  The story line was very gripping, and the acting was superb.   The writer/actor/director came up for a Q& A session afterwards.  The first question was, “How did you come up with the storyline?”  His answer was that he had been in the worst place mentally of his life.  He had considered killing himself.  Instead of doing that he wrote.  The next quote set off a huge chain of events for me.  He said,” Often times our deepest and darkest hurts will turn into the most beautiful art if we let them.”  Let that sink in for a minute.  I had always thought that most people that write do so to escape their hurts and transgressions.  This guy is saying, stay there in the hurt and create.
A few days later I sat there lamenting a situation in my life.  Anger, fear, depression, sadness, and loss all a part of what was running through my head.  It was a bad place to be mentally.  Then that guy and his statement ran through my head.  I decided that rather than wallow in it, I would try to create.  I pulled out a pad of paper and just started writing.  I came up with a concept for a story pretty quickly.  I am not a writer so I was surprised how quickly it came.   I pitched the idea to the production company I had worked with on the film.  They jumped on board immediately and said write it.
I have never been to a writing workshop.  I have never studied how to write a movie.  I just have paid attention to what has moved my needle about a story and I ran with it.  I stepped out of my box and created.  I did not write a story to mirror the real life story of what bothered me.  Rather, I wrote a story to make the potential viewer come away feeling the frustration that I carry around with me.  A story that encapsulates the messiness that life oftentimes is.  There are not a lot of Hallmark endings. I created these characters that seem so real to me and yet I have never met them.
The production company allowed me to cast it out.  I pitched the ideas to a bunch of actors, and they all jumped on board quickly.  Not one of them said no.  They bought on.  There was a lot of fear for me to step out and share my idea with them.  What if they said no, or they just didn’t like my idea?  Rejection is an awful part of this business and I deplore it.  They didn’t however.  They all jumped at it.  It gave me more and more energy towards this project. 
The script is done.  The cast is set.  Production starts in a month.  There is a lesson for you to learn here.  Maybe a couple.  I hope you heard the words of that writer above.  It might turn out to be the best therapy for you….to turn pain into art.   It is tough to stay there mentally, but you probably are anyway, so use it.  Also, stop worrying about what seems impossible to do.  If you have a desire to write or create, then do so.  Pour your heart into it.  Listen to those with experience when they give you suggestions.  But, never let it derail you from what you want to do.  My film will be in nothing more than festivals.  It will never make me rich and famous.  But let me tell you this….never have I learned more about myself than when I was willing to step outside of my comfort zone and create. God Bless and good luck to all you wanna be writers out there!

Thanks again for your attention and support and thanks again Tim for a) contributing and b) being a great brother-in-law. If you have a few minutes, here's that link again to Tim's short film.