As if at 17 years old, going to high school wasn't enough, Kyle Adams, of Arnold, Maryland, is also taking college classes, helping a friend direct a 20-minute movie, and has recently finished his seventh screenplay in two years using ScriptBuddy!
Kyle started writing at the ripe, old age of 12. "I would write stories by hand and I usually would be seen carrying around a stack of dog-eared, loose-leaf paper, scribbling down ideas, which would jump into my head," said Kyle. The collection of those stories and ideas led him to much more writing in the following few years.
"At sixteen, I became truly serious and wrote my first screenplay on ScriptBuddy. It was called The Stillness, and when it was finished, it was roughly 60 pages long." Kyle says he taught himself how to write in screenplay format, and that began around the time he found ScriptBuddy on-line.
"My first introduction to true screenplay format was on the ScriptBuddy Web site," Kyle said. "I used other people's scripts along with the American Film Institute's desk reference book to help me with my structure."
Kyle says he is "tryin' to" graduate from high school, and one wonders, when he talks about his style of writing, how Kyle manages to tackle everything on his plate. "I can only write at night," he said. "I can't listen to music or have a TV on...zero distractions. When I sit down, I sit down to write."
Kyle's writing process is important to him, as he says it is his gauge for how good his writing is. "I write short stories when I'm bored from time to time, but overall script writing 'takes the cake.' If I can get sucked into what I'm writing without any outside stimulus, I know what I'm writing is quality. When you write well, it's because you're writing about a subject that means something to you," he acknowledges.
"So when you're finished and go back to look over your work, you realize the overall story is telling you something about your own values, beliefs and fears as a person," Kyle said. "I wrote a screenplay because I've wanted to be a director since the 6th grade, and making movies is my passion."
Kyle's latest screenplay is called Crackerjack, and he writes under the pen name, k.j.diagostino. The logline of his 88-page script is: "Love hurts...and sometimes it kills. And for Logan Stone, the killing has just begun." Kyle's short summary of the film is: "Street fighter Logan Stone has just lost the love of his life. Entering a downward spiral of depression and rage, Logan turns to his best friend Deaton for help. When Deaton's sister turns up brutally beaten and raped by a fly-by-night vagrant, Logan takes up the task of enacting vengeance. But when Logan finds out just who Deaton's sister is, his loss of love will become the loss of life for those responsible."
Filming Crackerjack took approximately three months and it runs just over 60 minutes. Kyle said the shooting workdays were as long as ten hours and was grateful for his friends' motivation to see the project through. "My close friends gave up the majority of the summer to film this movie. Their faith in it was very strong, but when they saw edited scenes, they all said it exceeded their expectations," Kyle said.
Kyle gratefully credits Brandon Sadegian, Eric Terry, Adam Christy, Malia Murray and Rachel Wright for their part in making the film what it became. "Some of the best acting is attributed to Eric's performance, not to mention his willingness to actually be brutally beaten during a scene so that his performance could be just that much more realistic," said Kyle. "Adam was the producer, assistant director and actor. He has made a number of short movies that have premiered in numerous film festivals." Kyle added, "Malia is a member of GATE, and her consideration and incite was invaluable throughout shooting and especially afterward. And Rachel played Erin. She's in California now, pursuing a career in stage acting."
Even with all of the kudos from his friends, Kyle felt especially gratified when rewarded with one special moment. "The most satisfying point of the project was when I showed my mom the trailer to the movie. When she finished watching she turned to me and said one word: "Wow!"
Kyle said he wanted to write the story because its themes are strong elements of his life. "The part of me which feels insecure, weak and guilty for things in my past, takes shape in the character of Deaton," Kyle admits. "My aggression and strong will became Logan's character. Through Erin, who symbolizes the good things in my life (love, happiness and kinship), Logan and Deaton find peace. So basically the whole work is symbolic of my growth as an individual coming to grips with who I am."
Though he describes his kinship with his characters' good characteristics and flaws as "a little deep and kinda scary," he also takes advantage of the powerful themes arising in his work: just the thing producers are always screaming for in writer's work.
Kyle even got to work out some of those themes playing one of the leading roles. "It was great fun. I love playing a sinister role, there's so much more vitality in them," he said. "You expect people to dislike your part from the get-go, so the pressure is off and you let your hair down, so to speak," said Kyle, then added, "plus I love playing a tough guy...it's a lot of fun!"
When Kyle assembled his cast and had his locations and shooting schedule set, the only thing he was lacking was equipment to shoot. "I had a friction-head tripod, no editing software and $200 saved to buy the $2000 Sony GL2 we wanted to get," he said. "With a week before we needed to start shooting, I seriously considered scrapping the entire project."
That's when ScriptBuddy came to the rescue. "One night I got onto the ScriptBuddy Web site and I saw the article on Wes Brooks. Apparently he had rented equipment from a place called Greenbelt Access Television (GATE)," said Joe. "A membership to GATE only costs $100 and you have access to all of their quality equipment for a year.
"And the really funny thing," Kyle said, "was that GATE is located only 40 minutes from my house! I rode up there that weekend and got myself a membership. So by a one-in-a-billion chance, production on Crackerjack was greenlighted!"
The trailer for Crackerjack is going to be shown soon at Kyle's school during their annual Arts Festival...Kyle's main concern is that the girls will like it. It has also been shown at a nearby theater to a crowd of about 50 people.
At present, Kyle is using ScriptBuddy to write his next movie, Twelfth of a Dime, and gives this advice to young and/or beginning writers and directors. "Your actors will want to kill you...problems mankind has never even heard of will pop up, and if you're driving somewhere, expect to get lost or delayed," he said. "So basically expect the worst. It is stressful, it is nerve racking, and it will be the most rewarding thing you will ever do," he advises.
Though it seems Kyle was born to write and direct, he found directing was "horribly challenging." He adds to that with a few more words of wisdom. "Don't do it, if you don't love it. The amount of work it takes is astonishing, especially for the, practically, one-man crew I had: composed of me, myself and I," he said. "Love means, that when you wake up and know you have a 10-hour shoot day ahead of you, your actors don't know their lines, and you can't get your car to start...you're still smiling because you know today you're going to be making a movie. When I see my story come to life and when I see characters I 'made up,' talking to each other on a big screen, I know I've done one of the greatest things in my life to date!"
ScriptBuddy has been important for Kyle's success as a scriptwriter. It allows him to focus, by going into his quiet room, and more importantly going inside himself to pull up the best writing possible.
"I love to write, because through writing I learn more of myself as a human being. Beside the fact ScriptBuddy is basically the catalyst for my movie getting made, along with helping me to realize my full potential as a writer, they haven't done too much," he jokes, then becomes quiet and serious. "ScriptBuddy will help you churn out the script, along with giving you the recognition you deserve once you're done."
Kyle hopes to be start production for Twelfth of a Dime this winter and plans to enter it in as many festivals as possible.