There have been a number of wonderful stories arising from The Quest, some of which I will be sharing over the next few weeks. Here is one of them. Timothy Visentin is a long-time GITS reader. Check this out:
I’m a young filmmaker (24) based out of Toronto. I’ve been in love with creative writing since I was young, but have only really drifted into screenwriting over the past three years.
I’ve wanted to work in film as long as I can remember, but always thought it was something I just couldn’t do, because I wasn’t born in LA, and I didn’t know anyone working in film.
Then through a strange line of events (street hockey of all things) I got to know a great working writer/director I idolized, who talked me out of film school, and told me to just go do it.
I went home, quit my full-time job (with the help and support of my amazing girlfriend) and went after my dream. I took every job I could get my hands on. Now three years later I’ve worked as a PA on a handful of large TV and Feature Film productions. I’ve done coverage for a producer here in town. I’ve shot many short films, commercials and the like as a camera assistant, and last year worked on an indie feature as the Director of Photography and Associate Producer. I believe firmly in learning by doing, and it’s worked out great for me so far. Then as I was starting to feel lost as a writer, something great happened —
I got rejected for The Quest. Not only that, but it was with what I thought was my strongest project. Am I ever glad you did. It was no where near strong enough at the time, and you clearly saw that. I spent a week developing my logline on it’s own and in turn it made me realize a couple major flaws in the script itself. Thus, a page one re-write.
I used your posts about The Quest to develop the concept until I felt it was strong enough to start. A few months later, I had a completely different and far better script. Also with the help of a strong network of working writers, that I’ve built, through Twitter of all things, has taught me so much about what it takes to break in, and keep working as a writer (guys like F. Scott Fazier, Geoff LaTulippe).
I’m constantly amazed by how welcoming and helpful the screenwriting community is.
I’ve done a lot in my short time working in film so far and I have no plans of stopping. This newest script, the one Go On Your Own Quest helped me develop, landed me a 9/10 review on the Back List and in turn seems to be getting some more attention. It’s also in the hands of a management company in LA and a Prod co. here in Toronto. (This was pre-Black List rating as well). I may be a new writer, and I don’t have a bunch of completed specs because of that, but I feel that with the current progression of my writing, and my ever building lists of concepts I’m developing, that I’m on the right path. Always be writing!
Just need that first “break” or leap of faith from a manager or agent to get me going.
I’m young and I’ve got a lot I want to do in film, so I’m hoping this will be a stepping stone to greater things. I’m sure as hell not stopping. Also I can’t thank you enough for all the help your blog has been through all this.
And to help develop me to a point where I can finally say in confidence;
I am a screenwriter.
I continue to grab every chance I can to push towards my goals of jumping out West and being a working writer, and some day director.
Thank you Scott. For all the work you put in for us young and striving writers.
-All the best.
Think about this chain of events for a moment:
* While living in Toronto which is 2168 miles away from Hollywood, Timothy followed Go Into The Story learning what he could here about the craft of screenwriting, among other available resources.
* Last May, he submitted a logline to The Quest. It didn’t get chosen, but Timothy opted to take up the Go On Your Own Quest challenge and committed to writing his screenplay.
* Timothy joined the GITS/Black List Forum where he received feedback from other writers about his logline and used the site to develop his story.
* Upon completing his script (“Where Death Follows”), Timothy submitted it to the new Black List service where it received strong coverage and favorable reviews by Black List members.
* And now managers and producers in Hollywood and beyond are reading “Where Death Follows,” and having conversations with Timothy about his script and him as a writer.
In effect, the combination of online resources in play here shrunk the distance — from outside Hollywood to inside — to nothing more than one’s creativity and persistence.
When Franklin Leonard and I first intersected a few years back, beginning a series of conversations that led to Go Into The Story becoming the official screenwriting blog of the Black List, both of us knew we wanted to explore ways to source new writers, especially those outside the system, and create alternate paths into Hollywood. Franklin went about his thing with the Black List. I’ve done my thing with the blog and The Quest. Then here comes a young fellow named Timothy Visentin who used these resources to put his name, his script, his creativity on the desktops of industry insiders, people who could — quite literally — make a big difference in his life.
I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. Let’s hope Timothy has some good news in his near future. And my fervent hope is that you do, too!
As Timothy says, “Always be writing.”
You can follow Timothy on Twitter: @visentin.
For all the previous weeks of Go On Your Own Quest posts, go here. That is 120 posts — insight, information, inspiration.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in GOYOQ. You can continue your progress by joining the free GITS/Black List Forum where the focus shifts to rewriting.