I’m hiding in my apartment from a neighbour I want to avoid, so I might as well use this time to write.
Inspiration and opportunity can come from the most unlikeliest places, I’ve learned in the last 5 months.
I had no fewer than 6 people tell me I just HAD to watch ‘Get Out’ last year and, in spite of my protestations that I could not watch horror movies, they pressed on. ‘Well, it’s horror, but not really’; ‘It’s an homage, a love letter, if you will, to horror. Watch it!’ NO. I insisted that I did not have the constitution to consume horror since my own imagination was frightening enough.
It’s true. I’ve been murdered so many ways in my dreams I just didn’t need to see the real thing in colour on my DVD player (yes, I still have a JVC DVD player, and I love it, thank you).
But, I was bored with Netflix in January. And maybe my fear of horror movies was ridiculous. It all started because I overheard a babysitter watching The Omen while I was taking a bath and the sound effects scarred me for life (I can no longer take baths because I’m afraid of being murdered in the tub). I also think I lived in a haunted house in London, Ontario. Did you know it was once the serial killer capital of the world?
Awash in free time this winter, I decided to face my ‘horror’ fear head on. I really wanted to watch ‘Get Out’ and understand the winks to the audience; I hate feeling left out.
I appealed to my friends on Facebook to tell me what to watch in the horror genre and they (along with Twitter peeps) rose to the occasion. 43 responses on my wall on Facebook and a few private messages to tell me that some of the suggestions I was getting were shite. I got very excited about watching all these films.
I requested every single film from the library and as they showed up, I watched them like a film student. And by that, I mean I watched them at 2 in the afternoon, studying film narrative, lighting, text, and theme; perhaps that’s why none of them scared me (except Jaws, that film is terrifying!)
Some of the films I watched from January to May: Cat People, Night of the Living Dead, Diabolique, Nightmare on Elm Street, Rosemary’s Baby, Alien, The Innocents, Night of the Demon, Halloween, The Exorcist, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Poltergeist, Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and there are more, but I don’t want to bore you.
My favorites: Rosemary’s Baby, followed closely by Alien.
I made sure to update what I was watching on social media since so many people became invested in whether I enjoyed their suggestions. Horror movie fans are a passionate bunch, apparently.
On February 20, 2019 I received a Twitter inquiry from a writing friend: ‘Are you writing for tv? A documentary paranormal tv show is looking for writers and I want to give them your name. Interested?’ I was hesitant. I’d written 2 samples and was working on a third. Most of my work was in the shape of plays. Plays! I wrote my friend back and stressed that I was teaching myself how to write for tv, but I was repped by a good agent now; I attached my email and phone number.
One week later I had an interview with the line and series producer of a media company that makes docu-dramas. It was surreal. And guess what the first question was from these people?
Do you like horror and what’s your favourite in movie the genre?
One month later, on March 25, I was writing the pilot of a new show that will drop later this year. That was also the same day that my agent sent my 30-minute comedy sample out to the world that caught the attention of some pretty amazing tv people. Everything in my life has accelerated in a manner that is hard to quantify. I quit my part-time job of 6 years (because I don’t have time to do it anymore) and I can afford to shop at Loblaws now!
The moral of this story is if you try something new that you had convinced yourself you don’t, or won’t, enjoy, it may open a world of unforeseen opportunities. I may even try camping now!
I’m just kidding. We all know if I go camping I’ll be eaten by a bear.
But when God closes a door, he opens a window, or whatever. Canada Revenue Agency called and the ex-ballet dancer handling my file is pissed at me!
To be continued…