Film Courage: You talked about being in television and with some of the jobs [you held] the hours were so long that you really didn’t have much of a creative life? So can you talk about leaving that world and going to do your own thing with the writing, your schedule, etc.?
Andrew Horng: Yeah, it was from one extreme to the other. In one situation I’m coming home late at night tired and trying to write, falling asleep after like three sentences. And then all of the sudden, I have all these hours, I’m writing, trying to work on my process, trying to figure out exactly what I need to do as a writer to get the best product out there.
So I left the TV industry and I really wasn’t sure what type of a writer I was. I thought I was a writer who needed to focus on creating those rich characters and developing that and trying to explore.
But I started to realize that I was a writer that needed more organization or structure and I started to learn more about the structure of screenplays, scenes and everything like that.
Film Courage: How was that having, so much free time? Because sometimes having too much free time is a curse because you don’t structure it and just think “Oh, I can just do that tomorrow.” And then it’s a week later.
Andrew Horng: Right. You kind of expand your days and the days kind of seem like one.
What I would do is I’d go to place to write. I still do this, I’d go to the library. That’s still probably my favorite place to write. There are some other places to go, too. I heard the writer of THE STING actually wrote his screenplay in an airport. He had the busy people shuffling back and forth and he was able to do it.
I’ve also heard of other writers (it’s kind of a little bit extreme) but that actually checks into a hotel, removes all of his clothes and gives them to a friend and says “I’ve got to finish this screenplay or else I’m going to be losing money and I’m totally by myself without anything.” At some point the maid is going to come in. That’s a little bit more extreme.
Film Courage: Don’t try that at the library by the way.
Andrew Horng: Yeah, I’m probably not going to try that at the library but…who knows? Maybe? I’ve heard of one writer who actually wrote on a boat from the US to Asia (some sort of boat) and he didn’t have any distractions with cell phones or anything like that. He just needed some time and there was a deadline, too.
I’d say any type of deadline (at least for me) really does help. But it’s got to be the right deadline. It can’t be any arbitrary deadline. You can’t just say ‘by tomorrow I’m going to be done.’
Film Courage: Yeah and writing at the library is great because you can’t always get Wi-Fi unless you log into their system and agree to their terms. So sometimes it’s nice to just say “You know what? I’m not going to have Wi-Fi in here.” And you get stuff done.
Andrew Horng: Sometimes Wi-Fi is your biggest enemy. I mean sometimes you can use it to research, but sometimes you want to shy away from it.
I actually got rid of my Internet so I have to go to the gym in my complex to use the Internet and it keeps me a little bit more focused.
Film Courage: Interesting. And that was a conscious decision because you knew it distracted you?
Andrew Horng: I didn’t want to be researching all the time. Yeah it really puts me in the zone and I don’t also only write at my place, I go out. I do a lot of writing outside.
Film Courage: Do people ever stop you and ask what you’re doing?
Andrew Horng: Yeah…people are curious and I give them a little pitch.
Film Courage: What’s your pitch?
Andrew Horng: Right now I am working on an ensemble film. It’s a high school drama about bullying and abuse and there are lots of different characters and lots of storylines that intersect and it’s kind of like the TRAFFIC of bullying or CRASH of bullying (that issue). And it’s all set in one location (it’s a school) and that’s what I’m working on for now.
Question for the Viewers: Are you able to write after coming home from work?
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Check out the book Bullies, Bastards and Bitches:
How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction here