Bohdan Turok, former psychotherapist now a filmmaker, reflects on the unique value of Olaf's filmmaking group.
Filmmaking Seminar with Olaf de Fleur
How did you get here? Why? You freakin' dreamer! Go! Go write! Stop reading, close the tab and get to work!
Okay, you’re tough, oppositional. You’re still reading. Fine.
I’m Bohdan, a former psychotherapist, now a filmmaker. I need people and a community to thrive. Olaf created such a community and his guidance brings value.
I say anything that helps with this form of spiritual bleeding is more than welcome. Enter Olaf, our fearless leader. Well, I don’t believe in fearless leaders anymore but I do believe in apprehensive humans who do it anyway. He bleeds like the rest of us but on his journey, he has developed this filmmaker's jujitsu to enter the cave, over and over, and he's still standing.
In a world where everyone screams for your attention, Olaf whispers. Interesting. With benign humor, he walks the talk, shares his battle scars, and generously and mindfully feels the group for the pulse. Open to ambiguity, play, and improvisation, we step up to the door, he hands a key and we turn and push into the unknown. But there is a key, even keys,…hold that thought.
When you sign up for the group, you make a tacit agreement to be “Olafed.” Being Olafed is a good thing. That’s why we return week after week. Participating gifts us accountability. Don’t underestimate accountability. We are weird creatures that way. Many of us benefit from the threat of shame or humiliation, be it in the eyes of others or your own.
Turn the other way
Even if you have a way of getting there, to “THE END,” and you tend to go right, in the group you might be asked to go left. We don’t know the potential of what we don’t know and Olaf is a fan of opposites so be ready to find your new comfort zone.
Divide and conquer
There is so much to do, ideas and questions popping up like weeds all over the place! At other times we are stuck with our feet in cement and inertia smirks in our face. Olaf is big on constantly identifying a specific, even measurable task, and getting to it. You’ve got 8.5 minutes! Go! And we are back to accountability. Having a witness, the group, drives focus.
Tools, like writing software, are designed around a preexisting belief system about how to best serve the writing process. This week Olaf introduced “Highland,” an app that lets you write in the style of prose, a less structured environment or better, a self-structured environment, and then, in a click of an icon, it reformats your prose into a script, if you follow a basic coding system. When the writing space is open, maybe your mind will be open too…
Each of the writing tools introduced over the past few weeks, Notion, Squibler, Highland, etc., may find their way and facilitate your process at different stages of the journey. Olaf offers many valuable process prompts but for that you'll have to join the group, find your cave and enter.
Olaf also explored superficial vs. personal and character vs. story approaches to writing. The answer was, of course, both. He doesn’t hesitate to point out the utility of the superficial child-like simplicity of Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat Beat Sheet but in the same breath talk about the personal connection to the story as the oxygen of inspiration. And whatever it takes to outrun procrastination is game.
1. Visualize first. The more you see, the better equipped you’ll be to write.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use existing comparables, go as far as superimposing your story over an existing story and see what you can take away.
3. Toothpaste. Brush your teeth. No. Wait! Squeeze the toothpaste, bit by bit. Something got lost in translation there…
4. Embrace constraints.
5. Above all, get to it!
The break is over. Back to my screenplay.
Until next time,