TRUE INDIE: Throwing Your Hat in the Self-Producing Ring

Rebecca Norris is a writer and filmmaker with her production company Freebird Entertainment. Her award-winning self-produced feature film, Cloudy With a Chance of Sunshine, is currently on the festival circuit. Rebecca also writes the Writers on the Web column for ScriptMag where she explores the production process of creating web series, and enjoys teaches screenwriting classes and webinars through Screenwriters University and The Writers Store. Follow Rebecca on Twitter at @beckaroohoo!

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I hate waiting.

I’m terrible at waiting in line, whether it’s for a latte, to use the ATM, or to enter a theme park. Rush hour traffic is my undoing. Nothing exhausts me more than driving at a snail’s pace, taking an hour to get someplace that should be five minutes away. (Remind me why I moved to L.A. again?!)

I get frustrated and fidgety, lamenting all the fun things I could have done with my time had I not had to wait behind ten other customers in the Costco checkout, or sit in the parking lot that is the 405. I’ll do just about anything to avoid waiting, including not ever going into Starbucks, buying most things online, and even staying out late so I can avoid rush hour altogether.

When I analyze it, I realize that this, along with my love of storytelling, is what drives me to be a filmmaker and not only a writer. I hate waiting just that much.

For many of us, writing is a long process. It takes a lot of time to formulate a concept, flesh out characters, complete an outline, write drafts, get feedback, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, and polish. I’m at ease with that. At least I’m active that whole time. Even if I hit a wall and experience writer’s block, I can actively figure out ways to push through it.

However, when you finish your project, whether it be a screenplay, stageplay, novel, short story, comic book, or what have you, that’s when the waiting game begins. You submit your work to producers, production companies, agents, managers, contests, festivals, fellowships, theaters, publishers, you name it. And then you wait. Then you follow up. And then you wait more. Waiting for someone else to approve you. Waiting for someone else to say your work has value. Waiting for someone else to decide when and how you get to share your creations with the world. Some people wait a lifetime waiting for their work to be purchased, published, or produced, and never feel the satisfaction that comes with being the steward of their own creativity.

TRUE INDIE: Throwing Your Hat in the Self-Producing Ring by Rebecca Norris | Script Magazine #scriptchat #screenwritingIt’s that kind of waiting that I’m personally not okay with. I’ve never been one that’s comfortable letting someone else chart the course of my ship. That’s why I produce my own work and that’s why I’m starting this column. I’ll be sharing my own experience from the indie trenches as well as highlighting other writers from a myriad of backgrounds who have jumped on the self-producing and self-publishing bandwagon.

I’m not saying that it’s not wonderful to be produced or published in a traditional manner, or to win a contest or a coveted spot in a fellowship. Of course it is! However, with the advent in recent years of self-publishing and self-producing vehicles such as Amazon Createspace, Bookbaby, streaming channels, VOD, YouTube, and the like, there’s to reason to rely solely on traditional methods to get your work out there, or to let anything stop you from pursuing your dreams as far as they’ll take you.

I’m excited to be exploring independent filmmaking and publishing with you, and hope that if you haven’t already, you too will consider throwing your hat in the self-producing ring.

There’s no better time to be a writer or filmmaker than right this very moment. There’s never been so much technology and so many resources available for such a low price. And there’s no better feeling than seeing your creative ideas come to life and knowing that you made it happen. Here’s to being truly indie!

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