April was an interesting month. No, wait, somehow “interesting” doesn’t do it justice. Unprecedented, inspiring, perhaps even mind-blowing. On April 25, 2017, I boarded a plane bound for Hollywood. Yours truly had been invited to the Beverly Hills Film Festival as a nominated screenwriter. I’d co-written a screenplay adaptation of my first novel, A Lifetime Last Night, and entered it in the festival. An email back in January (or maybe it was February, it’s still a blur) notified me that my screenplay was a finalist in the competition. What? I’m invited to attend? A VIP pass to the screenings and after-parties?
It was a great opportunity, the kind a writer dreams of, but this was well past the edge of my comfort zone. I’ve always been the guy behind the camera, not in front of it. I called my ex-wife to share the news. She was very enthusiastic. When I told her that I wasn’t sure if I could go, she said, “You’ve GOT to go!” She was right. What was I thinking? When you’ve asked the Universe to provide the opportunities to fulfill your dream, you don’t turn the other cheek when it obliges.
I spent five days in LA LA Land. I visited the Santa Monica Pier, Paradise Cove in Malibu, and the Griffith Observatory. I cruised Hollywood Boulevard and watched some very good indie films. The highlight of the trip was the black-tie Awards Gala. Sureal. Although I went home without an award, inspiration was my prize. Since I’ve been home, I’ve balanced my novel writing with a screenwriting skills upgrade in anticipation of a summer re-write. The festival provided some serious validation as I placed in the top 10% of over 2000 screenplay submissions.
In the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator, 1984), “I’ll be back.”