JUMPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE by Tamsin Silver

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TamsipicIt all began on a cold Sunday in January…

 I’m in love with this coffee house near my apartment in Manhattan (no, not Starbucks…ack!). It’s called Darling Coffee. They make all their food from scratch (oh the soup!) and they have so much tea you’d think Jane Yellowrock owned the place.

 But where was I? Oh, yes…a cold Sunday in January…

 It was chilly in the coffee house. Just enough to make me pull on my hoodie and enjoy wrapping my hands around a warm mug of tea, inhaling the aroma, as I sat hunched over my misbehaving laptop, figuring out what to work on first.

 

I get a text. It’s my best gal-pal in NYC, Lauren. She says our friend Jet (owner & CEO of VampireFreaks.com) wants to hang out. I tell her sure, if he wants to come write at the coffee shop (I will not be deterred from my goal! I am a serious writer, dag-nabbit! I need to focus! Right? Right! J)

 Little did I know he would change that focus with one simple sentence…

 “How would you like to write a web series for VampireFreaks?”

 Did I think before I answered? Did I consider my work/writing schedule? Oh no. Of course not. Why? Because I’m insane and we writers still building a name for ourselves say yes to most everything. So I’m like, “Sure, that’s doable…as long as you want a real story, not reality TV-show malarkey.” He agreed, I said sure, and we moved on to talk about something else.

 The next morning, when I woke up, it dawns on me what I’ve agreed to. VampireFreaks.com is an online community, like MySpace of Facebook, but for the alternative scene (goth/industrial music and clothing fans) with1.7 million users. With my head in my hands, I said to the dog, “What did I get myself into this time? I’m not a TV writer. I write books. What was I thinking?”

 Six months later I have ten of the fourteen episodes that make up Season One of SKYE OF THE DAMNED written. Plus, we have held three days of casting, hired a Director of Photography, an Assistant Director, a Sound Engineer, a Gaffer/AC, an intern or two, cast the show, held a photo shoot, and filmed a video for a fund raiser. (Have I mentioned I’m tired?)

 

What I love is that not only does this create the ability to cross promote my book series, but it falls back on my previous career. I used to be a Drama Teacher down south. I’ve taught both middle school and high school. Plus, after I stopped teaching I ran a couple successful theatre companies, one of which here in NYC. But I’ve never done film. This is new for me. I’m out of my element on so many levels. Including…writing. Not only is this a different format, but the creation process was to become my adversary.

 I was an angry bear about it, too! HA! I’m a pantser. I create as I go. I start with my protagonist and the other characters join them while I’m on the journey. But I could not approach SKYE that way for multiple reasons, one of which being that the casting process had to be sooner rather than later. So either I needed to write the whole series in a week (not possible) or I’d have to try to work in a way I’d never done before. I had to plan. And I fell on my face. LOL! I did! And that’s okay! I picked myself up and said words I will not repeat here, and sat back at my misbehaving laptop and told myself to make it work. And I did. Until I hit another wall, but this time it was a wall of money issues.

 We don’t have a budget for CGI. This means my imagination has limits. No werewolves or shape shifters of any kind for SKYE. So I had to not only create a different vampire than I write in the WINDFIRE world, but I had to invent a new nemesis for them that fit within a budget. That is how my version of the FAE (Fallen Angel Errant) was born. I moved forward on world building after that, until I hit what I call my brain-fail wall. So I went back to what I know, and began to write. Instead of my characters showing up to say hi and surprise me, they were waiting for me, happy to be in motion.

 So writers of new and old, step out of your comfort zone. Try something from a different perspective. Approach it from another angle. It doesn’t mean you can’t go back to your usual way…but by altering your ritual, you’ll learn things about yourself as a writer. It will give you a new confidence in your ability and in your imagination. Push yourself…see how far you can go until you hit your wall. Then push again. When you can’t go any further, go back and merge the old way with the new. You’ll find your imagination not only grew, but you broadened your abilities. Think of how far you’ll go next time!

 And as far as SKYE OF THE DAMNED? Well…we hit a wall this week and I thought I was going to lose everything we’d spent six months on. Then a wise woman (my mother) said, “Why not film what you can with what money you do have…and then do another fund raiser?” We still need $10,000 to begin filming, but that’s easier to reach than the $40K originally planned.So I walked into the meeting with my Producer and Director of Photography, my stomach in knots with worry that the DP wouldn’t go for it and leave the project. Yet, he didn’t. He thought it was a smart idea. When he left, he said, “Great meeting!” I didn’t tell him it was the first of its kind I’d ever run. 

 I walked out of that realizing I’d grown again. It felt great. Here’s the link:

** You can see the SKYE video here: http://igg.me/at/skyeofthedamned **

 Never stop challenging yourself, even if you are scared out of your mind and it feels like everything is going to fall apart. Cause sometimes…you’re wrong. And that’s a good thing.

Below are two shots — the first is one of the cast in a stairwell, taken by CandyLust at www.candylust.org. The second one is the web series poster.

Stairwell Group Shot (small) - SKYE

Final Skye Poster 1 - LowWebRez

 

 

 

Windfire Book One SMALL Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tamsin L. Silver
WINDFIRE Series
www.tamsinsilver.com 

 

** You can see the SKYE video here: http://igg.me/at/skyeofthedamned **

 

 

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11 comments to JUMPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE by Tamsin Silver

  • If you’re inclined to want to help with the initial funding call, click on the SKYE link above. There are only 9 days left to try and achieve the goal!

  • Penniless, but I did spread the word.

  • Great to see you here, Tamsin! And I love the post. What you did took guts — I’m so impressed. But you’re right: Sometimes that crucial next career step involves walking off a cliff. Taking chances is good. Sometimes failing is good. Because it makes the successes that much sweeter. Best of luck with it all!

  • sagablessed

    Will help spread the word.
    Loved the post. And yes, we writers are insane. Think of all the voices we have running around in our heads, for one.

  • Ken

    Welcome Tamsin!!!

    I loved the post. Sometimes you’ve got to take chances and not allow the safety net to become a snare. I’ll spread the word about Skye as well, best of luck with her.

  • Hey Tamsin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Great to see you on here and this project looks really exciting.
    Best of luck with it!!!!!

  • mudepoz

    This is really awesome! I’ll certainly make sure my little circle of FB buds know about it. You go girl!
    And here I thought I was hot s…erm stuff when I started arranging signings at Star…um, the coffee shop that shall not be named.
    Keep us all up to date.

  • Tamsin, I am really impressed. What you did takes both guts and a bit of insanity. LOL Spreading the word!

  • Re the insanity part? I think that’s a good thing!

  • Nathan Elberg

    Taking risks is an important part of human growth and creativity. This is a long but fascinating elaboration of what you were saying, in more general terms: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/
    In my novel Quantum Cannibals, the character Tamsyn forces the main characters to abandon their comfort zones. So it’s appropriate that you wrote this post.

  • HUGE HUGS of thanks to MW for having me…and thank you all for such wonderful feedback on not just my post, but on the project. I was a bit nervous my first time out…I am so happy to see my insanity is a good thing! LOL!

    By the way, we hit our $10K so we can start filming July 13th. We will film every weekend until August 10th. Then we will put together the first 4 episodes to air…and then we’ll attempt to raise more money. We might even have enough money to film episodes 5 & 6 this fall before we start to raise money again. So…here’s to hoping! :)