The Rest of the Weekend - Imaginarium 2022
INT. MOON’S BEDROOM - EVENING
MOON is sitting on his bed, legs stretched out, a computer on his lap, looking at his notes from IMAGINARIUM 2022.
MOON is staring off trying to think of a way to start his BLOG POST.
His face lights up as he thinks of a title and begins typing.
So, that’s how this would start if this was a movie script. But this isn’t a movie. This is the conclusion of my Imaginarium 2022 blog posts. Things have been quite busy around here with some of those things being revealed in my new Monthly Moonletter (that you can subscribe to from www.DwanLHearn.com if you’d like) and other things like personal real-life things. Ironically, as I pick this blog back up from where the last one dropped off, the first panel on that Saturday was Careers in Film.
This panel was formatted a little differently. What I was expecting was for a panel of people to sit down and discuss all the different roles that were present on the set of a movie and then discuss what those roles actually do and their impact on the final product. What we got instead, and honestly, it was probably more helpful this way, were professionals answering the questions that the audience had. As the moderator Thomas Moore put it, and I’m generally paraphrasing, “Since you all clearly have questions, we might as well just answer them.”
Due to this format, there weren’t exactly a lot of educational or informative points directly made, but there were some notable quotes.
“Don’t be held back by your ‘want’. Opportunities come from on set” - from Chase Dudley in a discussion about getting jobs on film sets. This was actually a great point of discussion by audience members and panelists alike. Basically saying that if there was a role you want on a film set, Step One is to just get on a film set and do the job you’re needed to do. If you focus on the job you “want” you might miss a greater opportunity.
The more I think about it, the panel kind of came down to two questions that were just greatly discussed. The former and this one: How do you get money and how do you convince producers to believe in your original IP (Intellectual Property)? Answering the question of funding:
“Crowdfunding and connections.” - Amy McCorkle
“There’s only one way to get [funding] - relationships” - James Fox
“Find a startup, ‘DailyWirePlus’” - Pete Catania
“FilmHub, as an example” - Chase Dudley
Clarifying the points of Catania and Dudley, if you want to get people to believe in your IP, get it on a platform as the platform is young. Take advantage of the streaming trend and get in somewhere on the ground floor.
Beyond this were a few inspirational quotes and of those, a couple stood out:
“Figure it out. Filmmaking is troubleshooting” - James Fox
And the best quote of the panel, from Thomas Moore, “A winner is a loser that tried one more time.
Of all the things I heard during this convention this quote hits home and is very reflective of the beauty of Imaginarium. The name of the game there is support.
Writing Mental Health was a very emotional and equally powerful panel. Moderated by Mandy Lemond, each panelist shared their connections to issues concerning the mental health of themselves or others close to them.
I’m not going to lie - this is a tough paragraph to write only because I really want to give this panel and the experience of being in it its proper respect while also respecting the personal nature of some of the stories shared. We had someone on one panel whose father murdered their mother and nearly murdered them, someone who was concerned suicide after their friend’s suicide, sexual abuse survivors, the parent of a child who suffered from severe depression and deals with ADHD themselves, someone who attempted suicide via drug overdose on multiple occasions, and someone that has D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder).
The initial takeaway is that these people are SURVIVORS and they were able to succeed either because of or despite their struggles. If they can, we all can.
After this, the panel was a combination of “What mental health issues truly look like”, and “How to overcome your struggles to get yourself to the finish line” as this is a common theme with creatives, be it writers or musicians, and I suppose “What mental health issues don't look like”. Of the things shared in this panel, one of the tips that stood out the most was from Sela Carsen. She reminded us that nothing “fixes” mental health issues. Regardless of the genre, the characters won’t just magically get over their problems. As simple as this may be, I think it’s really important that if we as writers are going to create characters that have deep mental and emotional struggles that we represent them properly and not falsely imply that traumas can just be washed away with pretty rose-scented soap.
There weren’t many more panels that I attended after this. That was really the end of Saturday as I prepared for the awards ceremony and dinner. Sunday was a low-key day as well, but there were two panels that are worth mentioning here.
The first of these was Squirrel Taming or more simply, how to minimize the distractions like social media, emails, games, kids, spouses, partners, pets, etc.
The room that we were assigned to for this panel was one-half of the room used for the dinner and the awards show the night prior. The divider that separated the rooms was still down and we shared the now open space with Acting 101 and as you can imagine, this was working for anyone. We would end up moving the class into the hotel lobby which accidentally served as a wonderful example of the things we were discussing.
Some of the intentional suggestions include:
Writing Sprints: Give yourself a word count goal (or a guess any goal counts) and work to that point. Gives you something to focus on.
The use of music was suggested and specifically video game music. Why video game music? Because video game music is designed to be background noise while you, the player, are focusing on the task of the game, or in our case, your writing.
Utilize Voice Recording Apps. I can speak from personal experience that sometimes I have all the best ideas or perfect answers to a problem when I’m unable to write them down. Using a voice recorder, either physical or by phone app, can be a huge help in getting your ideas documented in some way.
As a last tip for the eternal issue of Writer’s Block, it was suggested to find the specific issue you need to deal with and address it specifically. I know that, for me, my biggest issue is some hang up I have in the storyline. The easiest solution was to go back and erase whatever I had and try again. I’ve recently finished writing Such Is Life: Episode 8 after sitting on “writer’s block” for a few months.
The last panel I went to was for NaNoWriMo. Now, I’ve heard of this but had no idea what it actually was or what it was all about. NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organization for National Novel Writing Month. The gist, you set a word count for a chosen project and you write daily to your daily word count goal (which is your total word count goal that I think is 50,000 words by default, divided by 30, unless you plan to take some days off for, weekends or holidays or whatever, then it’s 30 minus those days).
To do this, you just have to go to the website, which is www.NaNoWriMo.org, and sign up for free. You gain “the freedom to write and write badly” as you’re only focusing on the writing and not the editing or the grammar. It can be ugly. It can be wrong. It’s okay. Just write.
Some quotes from the panelist:
Marian Allen - Use Flash Fiction to help push the words out.
Kenzie Michaels - “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself,” because we’re only really competing with ourselves. She also said, “There is no failure in NaNo.”
Carma Shoemaker - “Joining NaNo helps you meet other local writers.” which I can tell you will increase the support system you’ll have locally. That will be a huge help to anyone struggling.
Jeffery James Higgins - “NaNo helps you get over your perfectionism” which is a big deal if you’re always criticizing your work and never getting anything finished.
I haven’t decided whether or not to attempt NaNoWriMo this November. I do have a novel that I haven’t yet written but has been outlined. I’ll keep you all updated! Again, if you want more information, the website is linked above.
I learned a lot more this year than I did last year and I hope that maybe you’ll consider attending Imaginarium in 2023. There is a lot that I realized was hard to convey or translate into a blog because of the environment of the convention. There truly is an energy there that makes everyone feel connected somehow. There is a vibe that’s ever-present and that’s the part that has to be experienced in person.
If this or either of the other two blogs from this year, or the blog from last year have been at all helpful, let me know at the email address at the bottom and keep tabs on www.entertheimaginarium.com.