When I was a kid, growing up in central Florida and outside Chicago, I made movies. My buddies and I got together and scripted, built props, sets and costumes and then produced short films on Super-8 stock. My father used to say that it kept us out of the pool halls. But to my friends and I, we were HMH Productions and we made the coolest Sci-Fi short films ever.
That’s where I got my start writing. Dreaming up stories and characters for us to use in our films. It’s where the Star Saga was born and even parts of which were filmed. From Middle school until college, I wanted to be a film maker. Sometimes I was attracted to the special effects, other times I wanted to be a Cinematographer, but through it all, I had to write scripts.
Even after leaving Film School at the University of Central Florida, film making was still very much in my blood. I continued to write screenplays and on a few occasions I either got to pitch them to producers or submitted my spec scripts to Hollywood. But I wasn’t very good or so I thought and I never sold a single screenplay.
Time passed. Lots of time. Time in which I forgot my Hollywood dreams and joined the military. After serving a decade in the Air Force, I got out and pursued a career in technology. Writing programs instead of screenplays. Time passed again.
Eventually I came back to writing and this time it was not films. It was in the form of short stories and novels. I started by novelizing a SF epic that my friends and I first created back in Junior High – Starstrikers. Then I quickly branched off and started writing original novels, some of which were set in the same universe others were not.
I thought I’d share the cover pages of some of those early scripts I wrote. Starting with a spec script that I wrote for Star Trek the Next Generation. The story was by my brother and it was about the original series aliens known as The Gorn. The screenplay was registered with Paramount Studios and rejected. The reader said they didn’t want any stories using characters and aliens from the first TV series. Weak.
Pretty cool that we have the Script Log stamp on it though.
My brother and I paired up again and wrote a full length screenplay for a SF story that we felt was both original and extremely marketable. Unfortunately, after completing it, we could not get an agent or studio interested. This was probably for the best, as the story was unfilmable back then. I’ll be novelizing this screenplay in the coming years. Another spec script I wrote was about a female vampire named Valone. Originally I had named her Valonne and this is the screenplay below. I’ve always said that I should have novelized this script instead of Starstrikers. Everyone who read it loved it especially the target audience of teenage girls.
I might come back to that story as vampires are still marketable.
When I was in High School, I shot a film in video about a teenage hit man. It was called The Contract. I later wrote it as a full length screenplay.
There are some elements of The Contract in my Mystery novel, Null Pointer.
It’s difficult to estimate the word count of a screenplay. Usually scripts are measured by page count with the average two hour movie being 120 pages long. So I don’t know how this could be applied to my “million words written” count. But with five or six screenplays under my belt before even attempting prose, you can bet I had a pretty good head start.