Phillip Ward ’05: Welcome to Hollywood Part 2

So after six months of endless days and nights in front of my computer, I finally finished a first draft of a screenplay. Now it was time to try it out on a few friends. It’s a scary thought at first: a fabricated story of some of my most personal experiences and I’m going to let friends read it? And better yet, I’m going to make this into a movie so anyone in the world can see it? Sweet Jesus! But as the old saying goes “If you’re going to get a hit, you have to swing the bat.” So, there was only one thing to do — put on my trusty actor’s elephant skin to protect my heart, and start sending the script out.

Fortunately, I had a number of friends who were filmmakers from the North Carolina School of the Arts, UNC-Greensboro and Ithaca College. We made a few short films together while I was at Elon, so they would be the first to read the script. Some loved it and, well, some didn’t. But, whether they liked it or not, they all thought it was a marketable story and a film worth pursuing. So, I took their feedback and settled in for a couple or, how about TWELVE, more rewrites. Thankfully, through what had turned into a yearlong process, I was starting to really enjoy this writing thing. Who would have thunk it, Professor Fred Rubek?

phillip-ward-_05-photo-for-entry-2Now, with a polished script in hand, my next challenge was to get it to someone who could actually help me move the project forward. We’ve all heard the cliché “To make it in show business you have to know somebody,” and my experiences in Hollywood so far has not proven that statement to be false. But who would that somebody be? And maybe even a better question, how can I convince this “somebody” to read my script? Everybody has a script in LA.

Now let me back up a bit. Before I went to Elon University for acting, I went to massage therapy school and had been working as a massage therapist for several years in Greensboro, N.C. Thankfully, as fate would have it, it truly was a blessing that I could work as a massage therapist in LA, too, to help feed myself while pursuing an acting career. Not only does it pay more than waiting tables, it also has a way of putting me in the right place at the right time. Two weeks after finishing the last draft of my screenplay, guess who walks into my LA massage therapy office? Stay tuned…

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