Every 2 weeks we showcase a new industry professional spotlight who we tasked with answering 12 questions where they talk about what they love/hate about the industry, give advice to others looking to break in, and who has inspired them.
This months second professional spotlight is – Jennifer Leigh Weir
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @1wildweir
Check out Jennifer’s website: http://www.jenlweir.com
1. What is your name?
Jennifer Leigh Weir
2. What is your profession (actor, screenwriter, producer, composer, etc)?
Author (also learning screenwriting)
3. Why did you choose that particular path within the industry?
Being an author gives me an incredible amount of creative freedom. I don’t have the resources to make a science fiction movie to rival anything Hollywood puts out. Through the written word, however, I can spin a story that hits on all of the senses and pulls the reader into an adventure as vivid as any movie. At least that’s the goal. The page has limitless possibilities. There is no budget or technological restraints.
4. Who were your inspirations and why?
Ed Wood. The man just went out and did what he loved to do. He kept pushing and working hard in the face of opposition. He didn’t let rejection slow him down. That is the bravery and the tenacity I want. (Plan 9 From Outer Space rules!)
Steven Spielberg. I grew up on his movies. Star Wars and Indiana Jones defined my childhood.
Edgar Allan Poe. He was a master craftsman when it came to forging a story through the manipulation of words. His choice of words based on how they sound was genius. It evokes the emotions of the reader and deepens the overall tone of the story. His works are best read out loud.
There are many more, but I’ll end with the most important: My husband and daughter. They have both supported and tolerated every hairbrained project I have ever gotten involved in. They actually believe in me. That is so incredible. I don’t ever want to let them down.
5. What is the best part/what do you love most about your job?
The flexible hours are great. I also enjoy the research. I know that sounds strange, but research is very inspiring to me. There is also a rush I get when I have been given a deadline. I love the challenge. I also have a great fear of failing, so missed deadlines are not an option. There is a surge of excitement and energy I get when I have to finish a project on time. I can use those feelings to push forward so I don’t stagnate. If the people like what I have done, I can ride that wave of joy for months on end. It’s the best feeling in the world to make people happy through entertainment. I guess you can say, I live to please.
6. What is the worst part/what do you like the least about your job?
It can get lonely. I have to spend hours concentrating on something without distraction, which means isolating myself. I have learned that I have to break it up. If I spend too much time away from others, self doubt and depression creep in. Those two things will kill creativity in a heartbeat. There are family members and friends who don’t understand why I do this. There are some who do not take writers seriously unless they have built a multimillion dollar empire. You cannot please everyone. You must develop a thick skin. I’m still working on mine.
7. What has been the most fun/favorite project you’ve worked on?
It would have to be my first official published work, Major Hunter. It is a short story that is part of a larger project I am currently working on. It was included in the anthology, Make Death Proud to Take Us. The best part was getting to do the illustrations for some of the stories and the cover art. I hope to make Major Hunter into a graphic novel or animation some day.
8. What upcoming projects are you working on we can look forward to?
Right now, priority number one; I am feverishly trying to finish my novel, Shadow of Faith. I want to get it published by the end of the year. It’s important for the overall project I am working on. It’s the first story that kicks off the science fiction series of The Wayfarer Chronicles. Major Hunter is number ten in the line of stories I have mapped out. The Wayfarer Chronicles follows the genealogy of a family through the next great evolution of mankind. The evolutionary event, however, is man made through genetic manipulation. Mankind finds himself on the verge of extinction as the new species begins to overrun and eliminate the inferior human population. But the overall theme is no matter how much mankind thinks he has evolved, human nature will always corrupt the most noble of intentions. Eventually, I would like to animate the series and get it online.
On the side, I am working on a WW1 and WW2 history blog, focusing on aviation. It will have video and downloadable curriculum for homeschoolers and other students. I hope to have that fully up and running by early next year.
I have other story outlines waiting for me in the wings, too. I can’t wait to get started on them.
9. Give us a look at what a typical day is like for you?
When I am not traveling, which we do very often, I’m up at six drinking as much coffee as I can. I bike ride four miles with my husband. Very important to get the blood flowing early. I home school our daughter. She starts her work at eight. I squeeze in as much research and writing as I can in between helping my girl with her work and taking care of the home, chores, errands, etc.. Around two and my second pot of coffee, my girl is finished with her school work and I can focus on writing. I have a quiet office I sequester myself in when I know I’m not needed for awhile. My husband gets off work around six, so at 5:30 I’m working on dinner. At 6:30 he takes our daughter to either dojo or the gym. I have then two more hours of quiet time to write. When they get back, we all watch a movie or TV, while I work on my illustrations. After my husband and daughter go to bed around 10:30, I either continue to work on my illustrations depending on how far along I have gotten, or I go back to writing. I’m usually in bed around twelve or one. On the weekends, I sleep in. I also set aside a five to six hour block of time to write on Saturday and Sunday.
10. What has been your most rewarding experience working as an industry professional?
Every time I finish a project, that sense of accomplishment is awesome. When someone has read my work and they are truly concerned about the characters, I love it! The most rewarding aspect of it all is the influence I am having on my daughter. She has expressed how proud she is of me and has started making her own graphic novels. She is writing her second novella while I edit her first. We inspire each other. It’s fantastic.
11. What advice would you offer to other upcoming professionals looking to make a career doing what you do?
Never give up! Never surrender! Write every day. Develop a thick skin. Don’t wait for others to give you work, create your own. Embrace those who support you.
12. What is your favorite movie and why?
I have so many favorite movies, spanning several different genres, it’s hard to pick one. The most entertaining one for me, however, is The Pirates of Penzance, with Kevin Kline, Rex Smith, Angela Lansbury, the list goes on. Musicals always fascinated me. The amount of talent and organization it takes to make one is mind boggling. Musicals either make you cringe or want to join in with the singing. Pirates of Penzance has a great story. If you strip away everything, at the core lies a very romantic story. I would love to rewrite it someday showing how gut wrenching life could be for lovers during that time in history. Pirates of Penzance also has fantastic music. The cast is blessed with wonderful voices that inspire one to want to learn how to sing. When I was young, I attempted to teach myself how to sing by playing the tape over and over again. I wore out two VHS tapes. I now sound like Angela Lansbury, if she were underwater with a frog in her throat. Best of all; it is incredibly funny. The humor is a perfect blend of slapstick and clever subtlety through lyrics and subtext. Every time I watch that movie, I discover something I’ve missed on previous views. It came into my life when I needed humor the most. So it has some sentimental value, as well.