Thursday, October 25, 2018

5 Things I Learned Writing This Movie, #4

So tomorrow night 5 Weddings opens worldwide in 52 countries. You'd think that would be exciting right? Well, as a writer, I have to say, there's nothing scarier for me. See, what I love about writing is writing. But whenever people see my work, I know I'm putting myself and my hard work out for the world to see and to judge. And that is not really fun for me. So what's a writer to do?

Well, one producer friend suggested, just enjoy that I got a film made. That's no easy thing. With all the movies we see get made, you'd think maybe that's not a big deal. But really, with all the screenwriters, there really are a lot of very successful writers that don't even get a film made. So that's a really big deal and something to be happy about.

Then, that producer also suggested, my friends and family are all coming to see the movie and all excited for me. Enjoy that! What we writers forget with each step is to enjoy those moments. What's the point if we don't let ourselves enjoy these moments? So no matter what I'm thinking about people seeing it and wondering what they'll think, I have to let myself enjoy the whole experience. Enjoy that friends are there, they are happy for me. That's something!

Also, I'm listening to a book on tape, by Brene Brown, Rising Strong. And she has done a lot of Ted Talks and had talks on youtube and her suggestion is about the fact that a lot of people have opinions. But they personally don't put work out there to be judged, they just judge others. So her opinion is if your opinion on my work matters, then you have to put your work out there too. If you're just judging and not putting work out there, then your opinion DOES NOT matter. I love that! So this goes for movie critics and reviewers. It's sure easy to sit in the comfort of your home and judge someone else's screenwriting and film directing. But are those same people actually writing and directing? Nope. So even though I worry about being judged. I'm at least in the game. And that isn't something every person can say. And for that, I deserve a pat on the back!

So sure, other people might be super excited for me that my film is out tomorrow. And I promise I will try to enjoy it, every nerve-wracking moment.

Monday, October 15, 2018

5 Things I Learned Writing This Movie, #3

I'm back! I'm doing a series of blogs in honor of my movie 5 Weddings, that comes out this month worldwide, on October 26. I'm writing about 5 Things I Learned Writing This Movie. So onto:

#3 - Getting a movie produced can take a long, long time. I wrote the first draft of this movie about 13 years ago. Yes, 13 years! So what's a writer to do to not drive the producer crazy while you wait? You get started on another script, and then another, and then another, and then another. Well, you get the idea. Any script you write, you put in the past. And if it gets produced, great! And if not, you've got so many other scripts you won't care. And when it does get produced, like 5 Weddings did, then yay that's just icing on the cake. Even when the producer Namrata Singh Gujral finally told me about it two years ago that we were going to bring on Andy Glickman, a good friend of mine and talented writer to get the script ready for production, I almost didn't believe her! It had been sitting around for so long I really thought it would never get produced! But true to her word, one day, it was in production! I even have a blog post about being on the set for one of the days. And then next thing I knew, it premiered at Cannes! And now here we are, about to see the movie released worldwide. So, the moral of the story, is don't sit around waiting for a script to get produced, always move on to the next project. 

Okay, check in next for #4! 

Monday, October 8, 2018

5 Things I Learned Writing This Movie, #2

So I started a series of blog posts, 5 Things I Learned Writing This Movie, to honor my first produced movie that comes out this month, 5 Weddings. So, today let's hear it from:

#2 - When you write a script, you may think that what you have, is what it will always be. But for us, that was definitely not the case. And maybe not the case on many scripts. So what I learned is that when you write a script, it will change, and change, and change, and then change some more. At first when we started this script, it was a straight-up comedy. But after I finished the script in two weeks, the producer decided to add some dramatic elements. I don't want to say what they are as to not give anything away about the movie. I do think they add a lot of depth to the story, so I'm glad she suggested it. It ends up being the B story, in fact. But that meant there would be a lot of rewrites. So it went from a comedy to a dramedy. I also wrote the first script about 13 years ago, so that means a lot of rewrites over those 13 years. So as a writer you just have to be fine with changes. Because changes are what makes a better story. I think the basic elements are there from the start, but we added a lot over that time frame. So what I'm saying is, don't be afraid to let your script evolve! That's what scripts are made for.

Okay, be sure to be on the lookout for #3 tip next time!


Monday, October 1, 2018

In honor of 5 Weddings: 5 Things I Learned Writing This Movie

So my first produced movie comes out this month, October 26, to be exact, called 5 Weddings. So in honor of that, I have decided to write posts called, 5 Things I Learned Writing This Movie. Get it? 5 Weddings? 5 things I learned? So drum roll, here is:

#1 - That I can write a script in 2 weeks! Before I wrote this script, I had never written a script that quickly. But when the producer told me about the project, she said can you write this in two weeks? And of course, I said yes, even though I'd never done it before. Because if someone has a deadline, then I meet it. I looked at it as a challenge that I would happily take on.

So I set myself a schedule in order to meet that deadline. I remember I had the weekend to write the whole outline and character studies. Then I had to pound out 5 pages every day, no matter what, during the week, for both weeks. And then on weekends, I wrote about 10 pages. For anyone who's written 5-10 pages in a day, it can be pretty exhausting. And doing that for two weeks? I was spent. Plus I had a one-year-old child at the time, so wasn't getting much sleep on top of it and didn't have a nanny so was really spending all day with my child and then writing at night. But anything can be done for two weeks. I remember being spent mentally at the end, but you know what? I had a complete script done in two weeks. And now, I know, if it needs to be done, I can do it.

So check back next time for What I Learned Writing This Movie #2.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Nothing Shines Like Dirt - My guest spot on a podcast

So a couple weeks back I recorded a podcast for Nothing Shines Like Dirt. The two gals that interviewed me were Elise Sievert and Lesley Shannon, both do everything in the biz it seems: Actresses, producers, directors, you name it! They're as adorable in person as they are in their photos and made me feel comfortable right away. I was a tad nervous before we started speaking even though this is the 2nd podcast I've done so far. Luckily, each one seems to get easier to do. What I will say about speaking with Elise and Lesley is they were easy to chat with and so sweet that I felt like I'd known them for ages. And what I loved about how they did the podcast is they set me up in front of the microphone and we started talking about normal things and before I knew it we were actually in the middle of the interview/podcast. Eventually, I thought, hey, I think we've started! It's an awesome way to do a podcast, if I do say so myself. They interviewed me about my upcoming movie, 5 Weddings, that opens worldwide October 26, plus a whole other bunch of things about my writing path and writing advice. So without further ado, here is a selfie we took after the podcast and the podcast itself. Hope you enjoy!







Website: https://www.nothingshineslikedirt.com/podcast-guests-1/denisecruz-castino

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Energizer...writer?

Friends always tell me I have more energy than anyone they know because I do so much and that includes always writing. It doesn't feel like I have a lot of energy. I'm always tired. Writer friends tell me I'm the most prolific. I wish I had even more time to write! But I think what they're noticing is that I have this underneath energy that propels me to write no matter what is going on in my life. See, when you focus on what you haven't accomplished in your writing career, that's draining and that will pull you down, causing you to not have enough energy to write after a long day of work. But if you focus on how much you love writing, you'll be energized by the fact you get to do what you love. Plus, if you focus on just always sitting down to write, it doesn't matter if you have the energy or not.

I also don't worry how much time I have to write. Like I've said before, sometimes it's just squeezing in an hour, 30 minutes, whatever time I have. If I'm in the car driving long distances and my husband is driving, I bring my computer and write in the car. There are so many ways to squeeze in writing. Sure there were days when I used to have 4 hours, 5, or 6 hours. Those don't seem to be the norm right now.

Are there days when I'm just too tired to write? Sure, but that's not my usual. I write almost every single day. So even an hour here and there, by the end of the year can add up to several scripts!

Do some friends have more time to write than I do? Sure. A writer friend just told me she has to get 30 pages written in a couple days. Would I have the time to do that this week? Hell no. Am I jealous? Hell yes! But so what. We all have our own writing path. So don't compare yourself to any other writers. Just write! Find the time. Even if you're tired. I promise you'll never regret it.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Writing while mom

So recently I met a new writer. She's also a mom. We chatted about how we fit in writing and life and being a mom, being a wife. It's hard to juggle it all. There were times where she was a full-time producer and then had little time for writing let alone enough time to do things with her kids she wanted. So she's decided to put off on the producer jobs. But I can relate, because I have a lot of freelance advertising work right now, but then squeezing in my screenwriting isn't easy. Which is why I rarely find time to write my blog. There's only so many hours in the day. So what's a writing mom to do?

I'm hardly saying dads who work don't feel the same way. So if you're a writing working dad, please don't feel dissed. And I'd love to hear your challenges too. But for some reason, it seems like even the extra mom stuff falls on us. Or maybe it's just that we moms let it fall our way and we don't release it to the dad. Stuff like filling out the school papers, doing the back-to-school nights, parent-teacher conferences. As the years go on, I have tried to release some of that to my husband. The more I send his way, the more he seems fine with doing it. Maybe sometimes all it takes is asking them to do it.

Since I rarely have time to read, I'm listening to an awesome audible book right now, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I'm enjoying it so much that I will surely mention her in other posts. But she was a busy working mom and an author. And she says how women guilt other women by judging what kind of mom they are. Of course when I hear her say that, in my mind I think, how awful, who does that? But then she goes on to say, "And if you miss your child's school play, it doesn't make you less of a good mom." But inside I'm thinking, yes it does! How awful is that? I went straight to, "No way would I ever do that." Okay, I'm not judging another mom, but I am judging myself harshly. And maybe driving myself crazy trying to meet impossible mom goals!

So what's a working writing mom to do? Of course, we have to make our writing a priority or we'd never get any done. But with so many priorities how do we choose which one comes first? Grocery shopping? Feeding the kids? Taking them to school? Writing? Like I said, I've given some important chores over to my husband. But even then, there still is very little time to find for writing.

I definitely have learned not to get upset if the house isn't perfectly clean, mostly clean has become more the norm. Clean laundry? Okay, so it's on the couch and not put away a few days before it gets put away. Home-cooked meals that don't have much variety from week-to-week? Okay, but at least we're eating together and it's home-cooked. I'm not sure what your level of doing the best you can is, but I really think as a working writing mom or dad, we're all doing the best we can. And before we know it, our kids will be out of the house. But our writing will always be our passion and if we're lucky, a full-time career.

So maybe all we can do is find the time when we have it. Squeeze in an hour a day, 15 minutes on other days, three hours on a weekend if the kids are at a friend's if we're lucky. And before we know it, it all adds up. But making ourselves feel guilty over what we're not doing as parents? Who really has time for that? I'm definitely trying to learn to forgive myself when I can't do it all. I mean, is anyone really doing it all? I bet not.