‘Hello world’. Thank you WordPress for choosing such an invigorating title for my first ever blog. Does that mean I’ll be offered a readymade title for my second blog? What could it be? How exciting! As you can probably tell, I’m new to ‘blogging’…so please bear with me. And if any experienced bloggers read this and see I’ve committed any blogging faux pas, I’d be grateful if you could let me know.
Well I suppose the first thing to do is to introduce myself and give you some indication as to what this blog might feature now and in the future. My name is Dominic Brancaleone, but some of you very astute and perceptive individuals will have noticed that my blog name is ‘Dom Beno’. I wish I could say this was some sort of exciting alter ego, but it’s just a nickname I was given at Uni (one that finally wasn’t offensive or ridiculous) and it’s stuck. I work full-time as a copywriter, but am currently trying to kick-off my career as a screenwriter. This will be one of the main focuses for this blog. I hope that my experiences will help other aspiring writers, filmmakers and even artists who may be struggling with the pursuit of a creative career.
So, as an introductory blog, I will ask myself two questions. What made you decide to become a screenwriter? And… What made you decide to write a blog? I realise I’m talking to myself here, and in the real world that’s frowned upon, but we’re online and I’m sure you can find much more fu***d up sh** on the Internet than a guy asking himself questions in a blog.
Anyway, both questions seem quite easy to answer. I’ll try not to bullshit you by saying stuff like ‘I first knew I wanted to become a screenwriter when I was 8 – my older brother sat me down and we watched Star Wars ‘Empire Strikes Back’ together – that’s when I knew I wanted to make films…blah blah blah’. I won’t say that, because it’s not true. The truth is, my older brother was the one called Luke, he was the one that grew up with Star Wars, and when I was 8, I was watching Robin Hood Prince of Thieves making Lego swords out of my brother’s Lego racing car. The fact is, it took me a while to realise I wanted to be a screenwriter. I definitely loved film as a child, but never enough to stand in front of the class at primary school and say ‘I want to be a filmmaker’. I was brought up in a family that loved music and art. My Dad is a grade 8 accordionist and pianist, my older brother completed a fine art degree and became an art teacher, my older sister completed a fine art degree, my younger brother just finished his music degree and is an amazing saxophonist, and my youngest sister is at college doing a performing arts course. My second to youngest sister is also very talented and artistic, but she’s just had a baby and may follow in my mother’s footsteps, which by this point you will have realised has 6 children. Now although she is also very artistic, it takes a seriously creative person to come up with different ways to entertain and occupy 6 children whilst also trying to run a household and deal with all our crazy, off-the-wall, irrational and quite fragile creative personalities. So yes, it would be fare to say I was destined to pursue some sort of creative career (even though my older sister is now a fire-fighter). Although I spent a lot of time at Art College and Uni practicing fine art and photography, they never gave me the buzz I got when I first sat in a lecture theatre and watched MY short film playing out on the big screen. Ever since that moment, I was hooked. After Uni, I spent sometime working as a runner and an assistant director on various TV and film productions in London. I loved it. I met some great people and had some great experiences (as well as some very bizarre ones), but there was still something missing. I felt like I was completely wasting my talents. OK, maybe that sounds a little arrogant. I just felt that I was only fulfilling part of my dream. I was excited to see my name on TV and meet some cool people, but it was never my idea, it wasn’t my voice, and it wasn’t my work. I just felt I had so many ideas and so much to say, but all the time I was working on these productions, I wasn’t getting the chance to say it. That’s when I decided to give it all up and retrain as a screenwriter. I moved back in with the parents at Bournemouth, applied for a Masters Degree at Bournemouth Uni, and enrolled on a part-time screenwriting course at OFVM (http://www.ofvm.org/) taught by Jon Spira. Jon really did lay the foundations for my writing career (he also writes an excellent blog – http://videojon.wordpress.com/). The course was awesome, and I don’t think I would have made it through the MA without it. Last year I completed my MA in Screenwriting, and that’s where the story ends…and begins. I had an unbelievable time on the course, made some great friends and was taught by some amazing people. However, I don’t feel like a ‘master’ in screenwriting. In fact, I feel like I have a long way to go before I’d consider myself a ‘screenwriter’ at all. I think it takes a lot of time and effort to really find your voice as a writer, but I’m up for the challenge. I’ve also made another decision, one that I’m sure will dominate discussions in forthcoming blogs. I’m going to make films again. OK, I’m a writer, that’s what I should concentrate on….but what’s the point in sending script after script to production company after production company in the hope that someone will eventually read it. Sometimes, if you want a job done, you’ve got to do it yourself! So I am.
So that’s why I want to be a screenwriter. The next question is much easier to answer. Why have a decided to write a blog? Before Christmas, I gave myself a list of things to do during the short festive break…one of those things was to extend my online presence beyond facebook. The options were ‘twitter’, ‘website’, or ‘blog’. Because I’m always busy (and have no idea about creating, hosting and updating a website), I decided a blog would be the perfect compromise. Plus, ‘writing a blog’ sounds much cooler than ‘tweeting’.
So there it is, my first ever blog. I know this one has been very focussed on ‘me’…but I am a self-professed geek, and I love to talk about things I learn and pick-up when writing and making films, so I hope my future blogs will be educational and interesting as well as fun to read.