What a Difference a Response Can Make: Thank You, CJ Walley | Script Revolution

What a Difference a Response Can Make: Thank You, CJ Walley

Introduction: 

In this passionate blog post, Caroline Rovello talks about the importance of connections and, more crucially, the importance of a kind hearted response and where it can send you on your journey. If you take anything from her message here, let it be a new awareness of how your attitude to others can impact them in both positive and negative ways - CJ

“Apparently, there is nothing that cannot happen today.” – Mark Twain

Throughout my life, many closest to me actively discouraged me from pursuing my creative efforts while in the next breath turned right back around and encouraged others.

As I soared over the landscape of Rich ‘RB’ Botto’s STAGE32, I messaged CJ Walley with my conundrum, shall we say in 2018 or so. Long before I joined Script Revolution.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball

 Gift/Personal Property
Lucille Ball autographed card: Photo © Caroline Rovello: Gift/Personal Property

The reason I chose to reach out to CJ was because of how he presented himself through his writing on the Stage 32 forums. In responding to others, CJ went above and beyond.

Nearly at a desperate crossroads, CJ responded to my DM with calm humanity. Through his words, a connective tissue of creative simpatico resonated. Yes, CJ Walley was a human creative; someone with whom I could trust and build rapport. How many times was I CJ in the past? Helped without asking for anything in return? Separate blog.

Perhaps my tides were turning. Karma.

“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” – Winston Churchill

In 2018, on a Sunday afternoon, as I was organizing and reorganizing my creative space - cramming 300 sq. ft law books, research material into 100 sq. ft., I opened RB’s compilation of sit-down interviews. Then, I heard a voice:

“It’s all about story...”

Darting over to the clear bins in my entryway marked Los Angeles, I discovered some goodies. In 2004, not a typo, in 2004, through the mails, I had registered with WGAw, in prose, intended for the screen, my basis for Concertmistress, a romantic drama.

“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire.” - St. Catherine of Siena

During this pandemic, the best and worst of humanity was revealed to me within a compressed timeframe. While many of us experience extended moments of difficulty and increased challenges where we don’t see light at the end of any tunnel, let alone fog: we must not allow anyone to label us to satisfy their own agenda and brush us off because of what they perceive outwardly.

Empathy and compassion are unique and necessary in the whole of human experience. One of the more snobbish acts one human being can proffer upon another is to impose feelings of shame with an accusatory tone simply because a few life experiences up until that point in time are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

When you sense another person is striking marks off a mental checklist after you know in your heart you’ve been genuine, I offer you all this:

Firstly: be receptive to passion, attention, commitment, and true desire from those who are congruent with your vision and are worthy of being included in your life’s story.

Be wary of contrived calculations, trust your gut, and get the hell outta dodge.

And when someone does that 180. Understand; they’re not ready despite what they say. If they later see the error of their ways and finally do what was promised, great. If not, then living a proud coward’s copacetic life hoping, wishing for someday is their happy.

“Nothing happens until something moves.” - Albert Einstein

“Get your butt into the chair and your hands on the keys.” - Richard Walter

In April 2019, in three days of 15-hour sittings each day ... while I cried, laughed, and everything in between, I completed my first draft of Concertmistress. When I was ready to write my screenplay, I simply sat down and made a commitment to finish.

Then, I did the unthinkable: I submitted that very same 1st draft to a well-respected international screenwriting contest, and it placed in the Quarterfinals. Oops.

Understand. For fifteen years, I added to my story while life’s vicissitudes continued. We all know, logically there’s never a perfect time for the stars to align. Once I was finished, I rolled the dice and bet on me: To win.

Always.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” - Aristotle

Since that time, for two years plus, each time I received feedback on my writing, whether feature screenplays or TV pilots, I considered it. Having had years of experience with law school Deans, law professors and Bar review coaches, while I was always obsessively seeking to improve my legal writing, there’s discernment when considering all feedback.

Over time, I learned better boundaries, placing my writing a top priority. In fact, during this year, I became quite good at it . Anyone insanely successful and truly honest will tell you, they didn’t surpass any goal or get their want or need by pleasing others. Nope.

What I have now, two years later is wildly different. Concertmistress is raw, succulent, fresh and feverish. My last rewrites: somatic experiences. Joyous, sad, and triumphant. As Concertmistress improved, I continued to submit it locally. In January 2021, I received notification of my nomination for the Harold L. Brown, Award of Excellence, First Time Writer, Award for Concertmistress - NOVA Fest in Alexandria, VA. As my nominations multiplied, I kept writing, creating, and rewriting - I kept moving.

No matter what, the essence and vision of my story did not change as I navigated the open field of how to best improve my story. Richard Walter instilled that upon me. And I’m so honored to share a valued communication with him. Forever grateful. Grazie.


Photo © Caroline Rovello

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” – Anton Chekhov


First Winter's Snow © Caroline Rovello

 


My Cherry Blossom Tree in Bloom Photo © Caroline Rovello

True.

Whether it’s dreary and bleak outside or my cheerful cherry blossom tree against sky azure: happiness comes from within. Not externals. So, if you’re down or low on creative inspiration: Read a book. Watch a movie. Not there yet? Re-read that same book. Watch the movie – again. Rewrite. Again. And again. And again.

The only way I can express my happy feeling of pure ecstatic joy when I write is:

“...it’s as if my words touch the sky as my soul sings...”

And no charge for this: Better to live life for another ten years and grow so that you’ll have something worthwhile to say in your writing than simply be a vacuous plagiarist rehashing tropes and clichés. Twenty years ago. I was writing, yes. Was I writing at the level I am now? No. Why? Life experience. Enduring pain, disappointments, lots of self- discovery and joy of serendipitous days followed by moments of bliss.

Because I have lived a good amount, I have more than enough seeds to grow stories and characters to last dozens of lifetimes. This means, I remember phone booths, TVs before remote controls and experienced the delightful pleasure of no cellphones. Believe it or not, there was a time when having dinner included real conversation – sans non- emergency text notifications. Yikes.

During the covid-pandemic crisis, I wrote a solid first draft of a short screenplay – under ten pages. Very fast. And as the pandemic worsened, and circumstances around me grew more dire, my screenplay improved. Funny, huh?

“We loved with a love that was more than love.” – Edgar Allan Poe

So, I rolled the dice again. Submitted, “The Ready Heart” to a few contests.

“The Ready Heart” won for Best Short Screenplay at the 2021 POE Film Festival in Richmond, VA , hometown of Edgar Allan Poe. 2021 Theme: “Fear and Wonder”.

https://poefilmfestival.festivee.com/winners-list

Thank you to Brian Weakland, Festival Director and Judges, Sponsors, Supporters, and all the on-camera and background Talent involved who care and believe in The Poe Method, so it remains true in storytelling.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart...To begin, begin.” – William Wordsworth

When I write, I lose track of time. As an endurance writer, 8, 10, 15 and 30+ hours and over 40 hours is intoxicating and euphoric. A new turn-of-phrase. Change of scenery. New characters. Words. Always wondering: would my character really do that?

“I’m just going to write because I cannot help it.” – Charlotte Brontë

The next day, dark circles with puffy bags under my eyes appear prominent. Admittedly,

not attractive. And as such, I do my best to avoid humans the next day, if possible. And yet, as we all know:
While cosmetic fixes can be bought; authentic creativity which endures cannot.

When my writing moves me, I know it can move others and cause them to recall unforgettable emotions ... buried deep. Faithful to my ancestral past while creating passions anew, my writing is as much a part of me as ... breathing.

“I write for the same reason I breathe because if I didn’t, I would die.” – Isaac Asimov

From speaking and scribbling at six months of age to reading at the age of two; from my award-winning poetry and abstract art at the age of nine to my most recent win as a Best Short Screenplay writer in 2021 and many other accolades in between:

Writing has always been my happy place. I am who I always was.


Caroline at 4 1⁄2 yrs. Family Archives © Caroline Rovello

Thank you, CJ Walley, for taking the time ... for being so exceedingly kind and generous. You made a difference. Hope is a real thing.

Thank you, CJ, for creating Script Revolution and later directing me to JT Clarke when I asked about writing Shootin’ The Shorts reviews. Truly, writing each review made me feel as if I was contributing to universal harmony.

Thank you, CJ for creating the Rockstar program. It simply makes sense.

Thank you, CJ for not recording the Live Zoom sessions. I felt safe enough to share.

As we closeout 2021 and welcome in 2022, let’s all do what we can to live our lives on our own terms. Yes. Me too. Grateful for each day. Protecting moments. Letting go. Holding on. Being decisive with meaning. Reconnecting, for real. Being still. Turning off your cellphone when conversing and breaking bread with human beings. Listen. Wait. Speak.

Buon Natale, Buone Feste ... Sano e Felice Anno Nuovo ...

Thank you, CJ - You’re the real deal. Many can attest to that. Grazie mille.

“There is no harm in repeating a good thing.” – Plato

About The Author

Caroline Rovello's picture
Real name: 

...Nominee, Harold L. Brown, Award of Excellence... 

Award-Winning Writer, USA & Italy

 

"...New York is always hopeful. Always believes ... something good ..." - Dorothy Parker

 

... gratitude in all things ...

 

... Bona-fide first-generation professional degree graduate turned ...

multi-award-winning

......Read more

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Comments

Andrea Zastrow's picture

"Empathy and compassion are unique and necessary in the whole of human experience." Yes! You never know what's going on in a person's life or what past events have shaped their life--and their outlook on life. Kindness costs nothing. I've found CJ's posts/comments in forums to be generous, helpful and professional all while "keeping it real." For someone to create a free platform to help other writers speaks volumes about his character.

Fifteen years, huh? My comedy ruminated inside me for 12 years before my life got to a place where I had time to devote to myself. My family was astonished, but supportive. I've learned so much since then (constantly learning) and still polish it regularly. It's my "baby." It's changed so much since the first draft, but is such a joy to work on. Thanks for sharing your path and uplifting gratitude!

Caroline Rovello's picture

Thank you, Andrea for your comments and acknowledging my blog post. Yes, from writing that 1st draft to revising, rewriting - I liken it to starting college as a freshman to graduating with a 4-year degree, quite transformative. All my very best to you - Caroline

Bamutiire Jerry Edmund's picture

Insightful quotes, inspirational blog article, thanks for sharing.

Caroline Rovello's picture

Appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read my blog article. Thank you for your most fitting comment. All my very best to you - Caroline

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