A Dream Deferred is Not a Dream Denied



Yearning for something that's not here quite yet

A Dream Deferred is Not a Dream Denied

By Christopher Michael Carter

Art was always in me; in a sense that everything I ever wanted to do or dreamed of had to do with art.  When I was a little boy I wanted nothing more than to do comics.  These days those dreams are becoming a reality but they're slow moving.  Growing up, other artistic things came about that I also wanted to throw my hat in.  I love playing music and wanted to get a band going, however it was very hard to find people who were as serious as me about it as most people I found just wanted to hang out with their friends and play but not really take it anywhere.  I, myself, was too chicken to go try to go out and just do it solo.  These days my health wouldn't really permit me "touring" or anything if I had the chance.  I might throw my hat back in that ring someday but it'll just be for small coffee shop stuff.  Along with my love for music I had badly wanted to be a filmmaker.  I never had the chance to go to film school and over time I was okay with this as some of my favorite filmmakers didn't even go themselves.

I had hit a point where I was doing a little internal math with how many stories I had and how long it would take to make each one.  When it comes to art projects I have a fantastic memory; every other part of my memory is horrible (i.e. I can remember an idea I had 10 years ago exactly just don't expect me to remember everything when I go to the store).  I'm not saying it's necessarily a good thing; I'm just saying how it seems to be.  The ideas I have usually build up in my head and don't really leave until I get them out and finished.  I'm bombarded with so many ideas constantly that I get headaches when they stack up and every time I get one done it relieves pressure; odd, I know.  With that said, I realized I could get more of my ideas out of my head if I were to focus on being a screenwriter rather than a writer/director. In the time it would take me to see a film from beginning to end I could have at least several written.  I still have the itch to someday make one but what's on my mind (and has been for some time) is mainly silent film.  I just have to come up with the right story and all.   My problem has always been I have either a story and no format or a format and no story; there are worse problems to have. 

A little over a year ago I wrote my first full screenplay, Hospice Horses; a thriller.  I was so stoked once I got done, I thought "Holy shit!  I can DO this!"  In seven months I wrote ten screenplays, all of them ranging from psychological drama to thriller to horror.  Later I would find out, of course, that in my inner-arrogance I had done them wrong; too descriptive in some parts and too rushed in others, all around not formatted correctly.  

Some of these screenplays [Sisters, Big Prizes (formerly Missing Persons), The Slitting (formerly Slit), Beyond the Wall, All in a Day's Work, and The Funeral Party] I just transferred to stories for anthologies that you all will see sometime soon.  Two of these screenplays, Hospice Horses and A Quiet Moment in the Symphony (based on a story by my wife and myself), are WGA registered.  I still want to be a screenwriter badly.  My wife always tells me when I get upset about things not happening "A dream deferred is not a dream denied" and I keep that in mind often.  I'm happy to get the chance to do the books I've been doing but it's odd because I just kind of fell into it.  

I watch a lot of screenwriter interviews and I've been getting help from a newer friend of mine; who happens to be the boyfriend of a friend who's always greatly inspired me (though she still doesn't understand why), it's funny how things work.  He's been helping me with notes on formatting and all.  Through talking to him, getting to know him, and us becoming friends we found out something interesting, which is how we're in the same boat but reversed.  I badly want to write scripts while currently writing books; he could easily write a script as that's the world he knows but he wants to write books.  Life's strange like that sometimes. 

Using his notes and the notes of others I've seen in interviews, I've gone back through the two scripts I have registered and rewrote them.  It's odd how time can change things; I hadn't looked at these in some time and when I opened them back up to change them I instantly saw what needed to be fixed.  I'll be sending them out soon once I give them one more look through.  I know in my heart that I can do it, it's just a learning process.  After I do a final pass through these two scripts I'm going to start work on the rewrites for my first sci-fi book Last Rites of the Capacitance.  Pretty soon, like the two aforementioned scripts, I'll be cleaning up and re-editing Infomercialhead and The House That Fed (the last two in the grouping of ten I wrote), get them registered and get them sent out by year's end.  I had been thinking about transferring them to a book format but after re-doing 'Hospice' and 'Symphony' it had dawned on me that I could very well turn them around.  

I'm incredibly grateful to be writing what I'm writing but wanting to learn the screenwriting style correctly is still in the back of my mind.  I've grown up hearing horror stories about screenwriters getting their work rewritten and completely changed.  Knowing this going in, I understand that it's standard practice and I know not to freak out when it happens.  It makes me all the more thankful that I have these other venues that I'm currently working in.
I wrote my 11th script, a purposely just dumb comedy anthology and I have most of a 12th which is a horror/monster comedy of sorts.  My friend gave me notes on the comedy and when I get time I'll give it re-writes and will eventually finish the 12th.  I have files on my computer that's just lists of film ideas so hopefully once I get it down those will be done the best they can be. 
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