Since creating this blog I have come in contact with some incredibly talented writers. Every week I get a chance to talk to someone with an amazing mind.
Zack St. Julien is one of them.
A few weeks ago Zack came up with a great idea. He asked if I would be interested in a question and answer session where each of us would appear on the others blog.
It was a lot fun and I hope you enjoy.
Zack, take it away.
Hi Zack. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always had the knack for English. It didn’t really occur to me that it was my best subject until my ELA teacher took interest in me and moved me into her honors course. I didn’t start writing until college, but I had been making stories in my head my entire life. When I was young I made comic books for my dad.
What are your Inspirations?
I’m one of those big sci-fi fans so obviously stuff like Star Wars and Blade Runner were big for me growing up. I like stories that different from reality, I think that’s why we write, to escape reality and make it what we want. That’s why Quintin Tarantino is a big inspiration to me and many other scriptwriters. His style of exaggerating reality and adding unneeded but interesting sound effects and his need to have overly dramatic dialogue and action sequences are what makes his movies so good.
What are your goals?
Right now, I’m focusing on finishing my education. Goal one: graduate. If everything goes well, that should be this summer. I also want to get my foot into scriptwriting professionally. I’ve taken interest in reading other scripts and commenting on them. I’ve done this for school courses, but there’s a career in judging scripts, giving feedback, and deciding whether they are good enough to be produced. Maybe move out to LA and be completely broke for a while trying to get recognized once I have more work to sell.
Favorite books, movies, TV series, anime?
As I said, if anything I’m a Star Wars and Tarantino fan, weird combo, but I could live off those alone. So, A New Hope, Pulp Fiction, and Marvel’s awesome too, so let’s put Thor Ragnarok on the list, I’m hoping the next step in the Marvel Movie Universe with Avengers: Infinity War will be great. I’m going to double up saying I really enjoy Game of Thrones as both a television series that follows their amazingly written books with an understandable amount of accuracy. Shows like The Walking Dead & Breaking Bad on top. Being an anime junkie I might as well mention I’m a fan of Attack on Titan & The Blue Exorcist.
What is your writing routine?
Although knowing the importance of a routine, especially for writing, I don’t have one very well planned out. I write whenever I can make time for it, which is rough working full time, going to school full time, and with a hobby that I’d like to one day make my career. I like to write at my desk after I shower in the late morning while listening to chill music. Mostly instrumentals Lofi Chill Hip Hop Music is my favorite on Youtube or Spotify.
What do you like to write about?
My genre is Sci-fi because I like to make spectacular worlds and impossible stories that couldn’t happen in real life. My usual story involves a dystopian future, because nothing is more interesting than the end of the world. Overall, I place my characters in unpredictable and difficult situations where they must use their strengths and the strengths of their friends to fulfill their goals.
What does being a writer mean to you?
Freedom. Being able to write about anything. It’s therapeutic, being able to write stories with characters who are who you want to be and can do such amazing things and bring you to interesting places. It can be a trip for your mind and fills you with pride to see what you have created
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Besides having the best hobby that can entertain me for hours daily, I think it’s made me a different person and see the world differently. I like focusing in on people trying to understand them and figure out their story. I’m also pretty damn good at scrabble now, so there’s a lot of good sides to being a writer.
Can you name your published works and give details on what it’s about?
Actual published work, no, I don’t have anything like that quite yet. I wrote a long story back in college that was fun and made me the writer I am today, so I’ve been going back to it, editing it, and publishing sections of the story weekly on my blog. But the story Eyes of my Enemies, is neither a script nor a novel. It was my fun mess around work that I made the mistake of basing of my own life, most writers know why that isn’t the best of ideas. I still take pride in what I’ve created. Eyes of my Enemies is about a teen who gets tossed into the supernatural world that’s always been around him. Forces from Hell come to Earth after a dimensional tear was ripped in our universe destroying the balance of all things.
Do you have upcoming works?
Yes, started a movie script and worked on it for a few of my courses in college, and I intend to finish it. Currently, I’m posting pieces of Eyes of my Enemies, so I’d like to continue that until I’ve completed my education. But I need to get back into scripts and complete that movie before I can pursue a career in scriptwriting. The script is called Or Die Trying and its about a survivor of the zombie apocalypse who loses his community due to a new threat. He joins a team of eccentric zombie killers that lead him across the nation in a dangerous quest traveling East. It’s a wacky but thrilling action comedy that I’d love to finish.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Keeping up with a story and not giving up on yourself or switching off for another new idea. Also networking and getting your name out there can be pretty difficult.
How do you deal with negative feedback?
I try to put my ego away and take as much the feedback as a positive thing and use as much of it as I can to change my work. The best was having a professional at my school look and critique my stuff, I know how much of an expensive thing that can be looking elsewhere online. Some people can be difficult though. You may think that you’ve explained your story well enough, but your audience is left with a lot of questions than you might have some work left to do.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
It took a while I never understood why I didn’t take it up sooner when it seems my whole childhood lead up to that being my career, but that just never occurred to me.
What’s your current occupation, education, marital status, and hobbies?
I’m 23, single, a full time student at SNHU online, and I work full time at Riverview School. Riverview is this place on Cape Cod that specializes on kids with learning disabilities. It’s a boarding school so I work as a Dorm Staff and teach my group of High School boy’s life skills and take them throughout their day. The school homes nearly 200 kids with varying levels of cognitive ability and different learning disorders, autism, and Asperger. It’s a fun job, yes it’s rewarded but mostly I just enjoy myself conversing with the kids and doing so many activities.
If you didn’t want to be a writer, what would be your dream job?
I only like the strangest jobs, I’ve been a lifeguard and I work with autistic kids. I suppose I look for easy alternatives. Why make life difficult. I used to want to do big things like open a business or be a doctor. Nowadays I think being a state ranger for Yellowstone or any big park would be incredible. Or cameraman specifically for those nature documentaries meaning traveling to foreign lands. I also recently thought of being a voice actor, maybe I could still do that for something I wrote one day.
What type of obligations do you feel you have as a writer?
I just want to stay true to myself and continue to produce work that I like and stuff that I would want to watch. I don’t want to sell out and produce whatever some corporation wants me to.
If you were famous, what would you say to the world?
Everyone stop being so angry and hateful, the worlds a beautiful place and we can make it better. It’d be a lot easier though if you would all stop judging and putting yourselves first. Have gratitude, trust in science, don’t give teacher’s guns, and don’t hire celebrities for presidents. Use some common sense guys.
Where did you grow up?
I was born, raised, and currently reside in Wareham Massachusetts. It’s a nice place, only slightly tainted with drugs and violence, but it’s a nice place to live. We’ve got the small town feel but with a lot of people everyone seems to know each other, and there’s just enough to do around here to get by.
I don’t read nearly as much as I should so I’m going to throw in names from various things like Quintin Tarantino, George R. Martin, Donald Glover, and the Duffer Brothers.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Another one of those daunting questions. Jeez should I be cocky saying I’m rich and famous with a lead TV show and laughing at everyone who said I couldn’t make it. Should I be depressing and say I had to go with a backup job and am going through my life, happy enough, maybe still writing on the side, but with not much success, maybe I’ll give myself a decent blog. Who knows what could happen. I could be somewhere out in LA after a failed attempt to become famous. Maybe I finally discovered that ever story I try to make really works better as an anime and I moved out to Japan. Who knows?
Thank you, Zack.