One of the beautiful things about creative work is that in many ways, there’s no formal training required. You can write the first pages, even the first chapters, of a book without ever getting an English degree or spending years training with great writers.
But what about when that doesn’t work anymore? When you find yourself in over your head with absolutely no idea what you’re doing or where to go next—what then?
In this episode of Character Test, I talk with someone who dreamed of making a movie about how he actually did, though he had no experience or training—and the moment he realized how incredibly unqualified he was for the task.
Phil Blattenberger is a screenwriter and director. He’s best known for his film Point Man, which he wrote, directed, and produced, even filming most of the production on location in Cambodia and Vietnam. Point Man was picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures, which is an incredible accomplishment for a debut indie film.
How do you make great art when you don’t know how to make great art? In this episode, we talk about why you should embark on a creative project just outside your reach—and what to do when you get stuck, including:
- Why travel is a powerful catalyst for creative projects
- How a cruise on a commercial ocean liner transformed Phil’s writing
- What we mean when we say a story “writes itself”
- The many steps Phil took to produce his film, from writing the screenplay to posting a casting call to filming on location in Southeast Asia
- The moment when he realized he had no idea what he was doing
- How Point Man got picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures
- How to fix a tooth in Thailand
What’s your dream? What do you want to accomplish?
Think of one thing you can do in the next fifteen minutes to take action on that dream. Then, do it. It can be small, but it will get you one step closer to your dream.
Share your experience in the comments section, and be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!