screenwriting & Act One

This is my favorite combination. My mug filled with coffee and my Mac to write on. Writing is like breathing for me. It is something I do both because I am compelled to, and because it brings joy. Oh, that’s not to say there aren’t tears (oh, there are tears) and frustrations and sorrows. My writing journey has been long, occasionally painful and worth every step.

I learned about Act One Program’s Writing for Hollywood summer writing intensive from a friend when I was just beginning to write professionally. Over the next couple years, I had two teen novels published (with Moody Publishers) and three more contracted. But I couldn’t shake the desire to write for the screen. Act One’s writing program was usually held in LA but every so often they hold one “away” and I discovered they would be in Washington D.C. the summer of 2004. It seemed so out of reach but I applied anyway.

And I was rejected.

I was shocked by the rejection because I felt so strongly that I was supposed to be there. When I told my friend about the rejection, she promptly made some phone calls and convinced them to give me a spot in the class.

It wasn’t easy. We had to hire a full-time babysitter for my children. I had an awful commute. (Those of you who have ever commuted to D.C. know what I mean). It cost a lot of money.

And yet…

That month changed my life. Every day that I arrived in class I sat down feeling profoundly grateful that God allowed me to be there. I soaked in everything. And I learned. So. Much. Yes, I learned about screenwriting. But I also learned about myself. About what it was to be an artist who loves the Lord. And about how beautiful and varied the faith community truly is.

And that’s what is on my mind today as I sip out of this mug (that I received at our closing banquet) and continue to write my fifth screenplay. It’s an adaptation to my newest YA (my 6th novel) that I just signed a publishing contract for. I love the story. I think it could be an amazing movie. And I love re-imagining the story for the screen.

I can’t worry about how impossible it is to make a movie. All I can do is be obedient each day. And for me, that is to just do my part. So with my heart full of gratitude, I’m off to write…


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