ROFFEKE Alumnus Mike Messier shares what he's been up to and the lessons he learned from 2020.
1. What is your novel about and what makes it stand out?
"A Distance from Avalon: when the dying and the dead reunite" is about a school teacher named Joe and his co-worker named Shadow who find themselves at a mysterious, gothic castle on Halloween night hosted by the enigmatic Jean La Croix Distance and his lover Heartbreak. As the night unfolds, the hosts are able to pry emotional secrets from their guests in what seems like genuine bonding and friendship but is ultimately revealed as a more nefarious tactic to gain their trust. I'd like to think that the dialogue of the piece and unique paragraph structure stand out as well as the cover art by my collaborator Nazar Germanov.
2. What did you like about the process of writing the novel and what did you find challenging?
Writing in the novel format definitely has more freedom in terms of length of paragraphs, structure, page count etc. Also, there were no deadlines on me for this project, since I wrote and self-published it on Amazon on my own terms. The book can be purchased on kindle or paperback here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SQ6SQ48?ref_=k4w_oembed_S4vCSZx87c64LC&tag=kpembed-20&linkCode=kpd
3. What's the difference between writing a novel and writing a screenplay?
A big difference is that feature film screenplays have certain understood "expectations" that become part of the mix for a writer. "By page twelve, there should be an inciting incident", "no scene should be longer than two pages" etc are some of the lessons learned in screenwriting classes and through books that become part of the "mental fabric" of a screenwriter's mind. When writing a screenplay, there is also a running dialogue of "can this idea be actually filmed?" and "Am I writing a script that can be filmed on a budget?" type questions. When writing a screenplay, there is usually not a guarantee that the script itself will ever be filmed, so there is a sense of uncertainty if the writing efforts are in vain or not. Freeing myself from those constraints and concerns in writing this novel was a welcomed change of pace.
4. Any other new projects?
I have been working a lot on my YouTube Channel during the pandemic, doing road trip videos, Mike's Instant Movie Reviews, Pro Wrestling rants, interviews including "This Podcast Cures Racism", and more. People can subscribe from this link:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSx8RE_a4Nh_Fq-BpUq7ghw
As far as writing, I'm working on the second of A Distance from Avalon trilogy right now! The cover art is already ready, now it's up to me to do the writing!
I also worked with my friend Aaron Woodson on an "urban romance" feature film script titled Aaliyah and Troy, more info can be found here: https://mikemessier.com/2021/01/27/aaliyah-and-troy/
I recently did some acting in a couple of films, both of which directed by my friend Tom DeNucci. One of them titled "The Mick and the Trick" is a fun action film shot in Pennsylvania in October, 2020. Info here: https://mikemessier.com/2020/11/26/mikes-road-trip/
I chronicled my road trip up there for "Subscribe to Mike Messier YouTube Channel" . I have also been tweaking and improving a lot of my feature film scripts including American Luchador: The Dream of Lobo Fuego and Also Ran, my prison drama.
5. What lessons did 2020 teach you?
The lesson from 2020 is that time is short for all of us and if any of us want to "make a dent in the universe", then it's best to get going soon because we are not guaranteed another fifty, thirty, ten or even five years on this earth. We must do what we can to make our goals into realities before we are dead, because if we end up in that shallow grave with things still on our "things to do list" , well, then it will be too late!