Today we’re joined by Devyn. Devyn is a phenomenal up and coming screenwriter, who also occasionally directs. She writes the scripts for films and mostly focuses on short films. Devyn is interested in independent filmmaking and is currently growing a production company with a friend. Judging from the passion and enthusiasm in her interview, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.
Please, tell us about your art.
Well, I’m a screenwriter. So, I write screenplays. I focus mainly on short films, so far the longest thing I’ve written is ten pages. I’m not sure if I want to do the Hollywood thing and write features for studios. I’m pretty sure I’m going to stay in the independent market with a friend of mine. We’re growing our own production company as of right now. We have a pretty sweet deal set up actually haha. I write the movies, I get a say in casting, then she directs. I’ll never have to be on set, which is what I greatly prefer. Although we might end up co-directing a lot of things, which I could learn to be okay with.
What inspires you?
This seems like it would be an easy question, but it’s actually somewhat complicated. I draw different kinds of inspiration from different things. My story ideas can come from anywhere. My latest film, Just the Usual started as a fanfic. Another script I’m currently working on is based on a dream I had a while ago. Ideas for characters more often than not come from my friends, and other people in my life. Sometimes they’re based on random people I’ve passed on the streets.
What got you interested in your field? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
Alright kids, buckle up! It’s story time!
Art is basically in my blood. That can happen when you have strong Italian roots like I do haha. My great-grandmother was a dancer, singer, and huge supporter of theatre and opera, my grandmother and great-aunt were both in choir and theatre in high school, and my mom danced for a good portion of her life. So it was pretty much assumed that I would be some sort of artist.
Originally, I thought I was going to be an actor. I fell in love with musical theatre in high school and that’s what I wanted to pursue. I started in the theatre program at my old community college. However, after two years, I ran out of acting classes to take (including a summer workshop where we got to build a small demo reel). Still needing financial aid (once you enroll at SBCC, you can never leave SBCC) I decided to try my hand at film. The demo reel workshop taught me the basics of video editing, which I liked and seemed decent at, so I figured, why not? During that class, I came to like editing more and got into screenwriting.
Fast forward a year and I’m applying to my current school. Obviously, I was interested in their musical theatre program, but I also decided to apply for the film school because I liked film as well. I had everything for my film application and portfolio, so I submitted that first. A few days later, I got an email saying I was accepted into the program, I just had to get into the school. So which program I went to depended on whether or not I got into the musical theatre program. Well…by the time I got everything together for my video audition, it was like three days after the submission deadline. Film school it was! I became a film student and never looked back. So far, it’s totally worked out haha. I do still act every once in a while, though.
Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?
Not yet. I’m still just starting out and trying to figure out what my “signature” is.
What advice would you give young aspiring artists?
Allow yourself to make shitty first drafts. No matter your art, it doesn’t matter if your first attempt doesn’t turn out how you want it to. That’s why it’s only your FIRST attempt. It’ll get better. But you have to let the first one be bad. If you get lucky and your first try is amazing, that’s awesome! But more often than not, the first try isn’t going to be great. And that’s just fine!
Where on the spectrum do you identify?
Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?
To be honest, not very many people in my department know, with the exception of a few friends haha. I guess the one sort of thing that upset me was something that happened last year.
I was talking with a friend (we are no longer friends and this is a small part of why) and we somehow got on the topic of relationships and stuff. She told me she was bisexual, but she usually just told people she was gay because that was easier for them to understand. I told her that I was asexual. The first words out of her mouth were “Oh I could never date an asexual person.”
Like, okay, I understand liking sex and yeah, someone with a high sex drive should probably think twice before dating an ace. But I don’t think that should be the first thing you say to someone who comes out as asexual to you. I can guarantee that’s already a thought in the back of their head. Anyway, it really upset me but I didn’t really do anything about it either. It just left a bad taste in my mouth and after that it was hard to be around her. Especially since I had a crush on her at the time. Let me tell you that ended real quick haha. Anyway, I’m rambling, I’m sorry.
What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?
“It’s just a phase. You’ll change your mind when you meet the right person.” Ugh!
What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?
Don’t worry too much about putting a label on yourself. If labels make you feel better, great! If not, then don’t label yourself. But if you do decide you want a label, try it out first. Say it to yourself in the mirror. Keep trying things until something feels right. That’s what I did.
Also, YOU DO NOT NEED TO COME OUT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO! It is nobody’s business who you are (or probably in this case, aren’t) sleeping with! If there’s only a handful of people you want to come out to, only come out to those people. If you want to be out and proud, be out and proud! Whether or not you come out and how you come out is entirely up to you.
Finally, where can people find out more about your work?
I don’t have a lot of work out right now, since I’m still starting out. I do have some stuff on my YouTube channel though. If you look up the user TheWickedMizfit, you should be able to find me. I made that channel when I was in high school OK? Cut me some slack haha. It’s only 4 videos and they were made a few years ago when I was still at my old community college. I am in a MUCH better school now and, thus, will turn out better work haha. Though I am actually kind of proud of the Axe commercial. I came up with the concept, someone else actually put it on paper, then I edited it. I WISH I could take credit for the music choice, but I cannot. Also, with Memories (the other one I wrote), we had a checklist of all these different shots, lighting techniques, and sound effects we had to incorporate into the film. So, if something doesn’t make sense, assume it was on the checklist haha. The other two I just edited.
Now the biggest thing I have going is my short film, Just the Usual, which I wrote and directed. We hope to submit it to several film festivals so that over the summer and in the fall, we can get a decent festival run. So be on the lookout for that!
If you want to know anything about my videos on YouTube or any other projects I’m working on, or you just want to say hi, feel free to contact me on Tumblr: http://ace-spiringscreenwriter.tumblr.com/
Thank you, Devyn, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.