Heywell Film Scripts Blog

Comedy. Drama. Horror. Suspense. My life AND my scripts.

On Being a Screenwriter and Father

Posted by bobheske on December 4, 2006

Carly Marie Says Hello!I got married this past year for the second time. Like intercourse, marriage is usually much better the 2nd time around. Such is the case with me. And before 9 months were complete, my wife and I welcomed our boisterous, serious little girl Carly Marie into the world on Memorial Day at 6:08 in the morning.

Rather than congratulate us, the first thing our families did was “do the math” and figure out that we were pregnant about one week before the nuptials. That’s what happens when you marry into an Italian family with inquisitive sisters (my sister was also guilty of trying to calculate when the immaculate conception occurred).

Back to Baby: Needless to say, life changes when you have a little “you” screaming, crying, spitting formula, and otherwise creating 24/7 havoc and demanding all of your waking attention. Or should I say – your life totally disappears.

But it’s worth every dirty diaper change. Especially when you have a good-natured wife who does the yeoman’s share of the work thanks to God’s miracle and father’s best friend: breast-feeding.

The first few months when baby Carly cried out, I simply shouted to my wife “She’s hungry!” and happily went back to tap-tap-tapping on my keyboard. Around month three, formula was introduced and I thought the jig was up. But baby had a battle with constipation and my wife – who couldn’t stand sticking a thermometer up Carly’s butt to “unplug her” – resorted to 100% breast feeding.

Then the growth spurts kicked in and poor, tired momma couldn’t keep up (even though, by now she was skillful at double-pumping with only one spilled bottle of milk in five months). Soon, daddy was helping more and more with bottle feeding, formula, and (gulp) spoon-fed baby food.

Now it was my turn to get cranky. “Not now … I’m trying to write here!”

To which the retort was always a baby dropped in my lap and the simple response, “what’s more important, your stupid script or her?” One look at the pics on this blog, and the answer is obvious.

Carly Marie Happy in Hat

Lately, I find my writing style changing ever so sub-consciously. Just last night, I introduced a baby scene in the rewrite of my suspsense/thriller NIGHT TERRORS (also an apt title for trying to get a newborn to sleep through the night, I might add). And I’m more tempted to work on those family-friendly stories rather than those blood-drenched horror concepts. Truth be told, I want my little girl to be able to actually watch some of my films before I end up on Medicaid. (Yes, this first-time father is in his early forties.)

So does being a screenwriter and the father of a newborn actually mix – or is it oil and water? For me, the trick was focusing on writing shorts during the tumultuous first three months. And doing an hour of writing each day at work during my lunch.

Now, six months into fatherhood, the late night hours call me to my computer. Why? No, not to drink by myself a la Hemmingway. Au contrair, it’s something much better than cheap Scotch I succumb to. The reason is that now, just in time for Christmas, my little baby girl SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT!

[parenthetical pause for applause]

But of course, having a cute baby girl begets other problems. Like … now my wife wants another. “She can’t be an only child. She’ll be lonely.” I must admit, the thought of shepherding two kids into their adolescence when I’m filing for Social Security doesn’t whet my whistle. I tell my wife not to worry – that if my baby girl is anything like her father, the demons inside her head will be company enough.

Sadly, that doesn’t comfort my wife. Soooo … will there be a sequel down the road (Screenwriter Daddy Deuce)? The argument rages on. Stay tuned.

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