Digital Griffix Interview with Writer & songwriter of "The 12th Letter" Jackie Hovorka
-What made you go into filmmaking/music video creation/original music creation/script writing ?
I have written books and songs since I was a kid as a way to escape my circumstances. When I finished college and became a teacher, I decided to write a novel that all students could read and gain hope from. I didn't want to sugarcoat the real world too much. However, I did want to show them that, even though fairytale endings don't really happen, the fact that you are able to make it through a difficult part of your life is why you should always know that there is hope at the end of every trial. I finished that first novel, contracted with a literary agent, wrote more books and published them, and then started winning book awards.
After that, I found myself wondering if I could turn those 80,000 and up worded stories into movies so that I could reach non-readers as well. I had always loved movies. Afterall, I was the Terminator and Alien franchises' biggest fan! But I never thought that I could ever break into such a tough industry. As I continued to network and meet people, I decided to give screenwriting a try. I took some online classes and then decided to turn my newest novel, The 12th Letter, into a screenplay. It was incredibly hard. I had to cut so many subplots and character backgrounds out that I was pulling out my hair because I worried that an audience of viewers would never really get to know these characters like my readers did. After many months, I realized that sometimes the mystery is better than the reveal when it comes to characters and secondary storylines. Sometimes, it's more about the viewer putting the pieces together with their own imagination, perspectives, and backgrounds. And the beauty of it all, is that you let the viewer do it while they are able to experience your story with sound and gorgeous scenes unfolding in front of their eyes.
-What is your favorite movie/music video clip/original song, and why?
That is too hard. I have four favorite movies: Terminator (of course), Shawshank Redemption, Gladiator, and I Am Legend. Don't get me wrong, I love all the Nicholas Sparks' books turned into movies. However, I get more involved in plots that are tough and dynamic. Stories that make you really wonder about your existence, your purpose, and your will to live are what does it for me. When I was planning our music for The 12th Letter, all I thought about was Gladiator. You can't beat that beautiful music with those dramatic scenes. Wow!
-How would you make your last movie/music video/original music better, if you had that opportunity?
The 12th Letter is currently just a short because we wanted to get it out there to help us find a studio and/or investors. We didn't have much money. I'm an educator and my husband is a disabled combat Marine. We relied on Indiegogo for raising funds, took out the last of our own savings, and were thankful for the help of the film team that basically volunteered to do the work for pennies. True story. The full feature film will cost a lot more, though, to make it correctly. Since the movie will involve the era of 1900 Galveston, shooting a hurricane scene (to show our nation's worst natural disaster that claimed the lives of thousands of people in one night- more than the Titanic), and to also take the viewer into Sgt. Reynold's life back in Somalia in his flashback 1993 combat scenes, it won't be cheap. This movie is based on two completely different lives and two completely different times, but they are brought together for a very important purpose. So, to answer your question: I pray that one day a studio will come along that will help us make this into a great quality movie. We did the best with what we had, but I am extremely proud of everyone's hard work and how well our project is doing.
-Why did you choose that particular subject for your latest film? (if it applies to you)
My husband is a combat disabled veteran, who has told anecdotal stories from his time at war and about his friends. One common theme was their struggles when they came back home. This is not just an American issue, of course. PTSD and thoughts of suicide plague all combat soldiers from every country. As a civilian, I had no idea what these men and women saw and the split second choices they had to make. And then to ask them to come back home and get a day job like none of that ever happened, is unimaginable. The suicide rate in America alone among veterans is 22 a day. As I'm writing this, we have most likely already lost 3 or 4 lives. The human mind and heart is extremely fragile. We have to remember that. I wanted to raise awareness for that and to tell a story that shows the strategies that some have used to overcome that darkness.
-What do you think is the most important thing to know when you start a career in filmmaking/music video creation/ original music creation/ script writing ?
I think when you start a career in filmmaking, you should always be aware that it is a team effort. If you bring the story to the film team, as I did, you have to trust that they know how it will look the best on the big screen. If you bring a song that you wrote (which I did with Turn the Tide) to a music producer, you have to be prepared that the vocalist and the producer will make it sound the way it needs to sound for film. In my case, my team made my song sound even better than I heard it in my head. And A LOT better than it did when I played it on my piano and sang it for them. (-:
-Can you give us a hint about your upcoming projects ?
Right now, my focus is on taking my team all the way with this movie and gaining new connections and team members that will turn this into a blockbuster.
-Where can we follow you and your projects ? (website, facebook, etc)
I'm on Twitter: @jandersbooks
However, the company that we started to help aspiring writers of novels, songs, and screenplays get their work published is at: jjranchproductions.com
Jackie Hovorka (penned in novels as Jackie Anders)
Writer & songwriter of "The 12th Letter"