It's funny how life can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it.
I started out as an actress... stage, commercials, movies, tv... bought a nice house in a nice neighborhood. I also owned a desk-top publishing company at the time... hired actors to type scripts for various productions companies in town.
I had worked as a co-ordinator on features in the past. I had helped out at the Directors Guild of Canada... Produced plays... I was totally involved and committed to our Industry.
One day, a Producer called my company to hire a typist to assist a playwright from NYC who was adapting his very successful Broadway play into a screenplay. I thought Wow! That would be interesting. So, I decided to personally fill that position. After that fantastic experience, I decided to try my hand at writing... went to George Brown College for a couple of years.
Finished a script. Got a Lit Manager. My script was sent to L.A. I was moving up the food chain. All was good. Then, my father died. Three months later my mother had a stroke.
Being the eldest, I had to decide what to do with her business. It was a grocery store when I was kid... then a diner was added, off the beaten track in a residential neighborhood... weird... you could walk in... order a burger and fries, pick up toilet paper,, milk, coffee, pop... my mother Julie, ran it all on her own. My father had been a construction worker his whole life.
My Lit Manager, called me during this time and said we should meet and discuss the marketing strategy for my script. I'll never forget that moment... I was standing in the middle of the restaurant surrounded by the guys that were taking down the old shelves and because it was old plaster the whole wall came down... I could see daylight through the old bricks. Panicked...I told her... I'd call her back. She left a couple of messages after that. Then when I finally could wrap my brain around making decisions about my script... I called her back. She didn't take my call. I was dead in the water.
Three months later, after I had converted Julie's Snack Bar into a nice Cafe for the neighborhood ... a "For Rent' sign went up. I had no intentions of staying there... no takers. I was stuck.
I had never ever even worked as a waitress... well I got my PhD in running a restaurant. I learned it all. Every job from scrubbing floors to creating a menu... ordering supplies... very few customers... until one customer suggested I apply for a liquor license. A big Ah-ha moment. With a liquor license in hand, maybe someone will come along and take it off my hands.
Once we had the license I had to decide what kind of restaurant we would be. Toronto's full of great eateries. I decided we'd become a Cuban restaurant. There weren't any in town. The problem was... I had never been to Cuba, then. My partner is Cuban, had no idea what Cuban food was exactly... So I found a cook book store and checked it out.
And as they say, the rest is history... you couldn't get in without a reservation. Actors, director, crew, producers, they loved it. Producers would rent the whole place for their wrap parties. Folks would drive in from out of town... we were the talk of the town. Whew.
At this point, nine years had melted away. "Okay, enough already"... can I go back to what I'm passionate about, NOW? I don't really have to be here everyday, do I? This place can run without me."
So off I went to WRITE. Yaay. Rusty? You bet. I went to NYC... I took seminars from Robert McKee, John Truby... back to George Brown College... Online classes and just kept writing every chance I got. Some days I would take my laptop to Julie's, sit and write out on the patio...
Another few years rolled by. One day, I watched a video with Richard RB Botto being interviewed at some Cafe in L.A. I was totally engaged and loved what he was trying to do. Here I am, in Toronto, and I can be connected with creatives in L.A.... I wasn't even thinking... globally... so I joined Stage 32 in December 2012.... and never looked back.
Last year RB... "our fearless leader" (Amanda's words) :-))... I don't remember what post I made... but RB responded with "Sylvia, it's time you stepped out into the light" I sobbed. RB's words inspired me to go for it. I needed to hear that. That maybe I can be a writer, with credits... my passion was put on hold for almost 18 years.
I signed up for classes/webinars/Labs through the Happy Writers. My confidence was returning. I'm not in isolation any longer. I have a Voice. I'm still passionate about my work.
THEN, I sent in pitches through our amazing JOEY to Managers and Production companies.... like I said, my confidence was returning... not 100% yet... anxiety attacks just THINKING about SKYPING with these Execs. I took the easy route. I wrote my Logline and Synopsis and sent them in through Joey.
So imagine my shock when I received FIVE script requests in one week. Recently, I decided after another rewrite I would pitch again... my first pitch in 2015 and it was REQUESTED. I did the happy dance.
What have I learned... never give up... keep honing in on the craft and success will come. Life can throw you a curve ball and hard times... which you can overcome... I did... thanks to Stage 32 and the members who inspire me every day.
If you've read this far, I love you. Let's connect. Thank you.
Robert McKee NYC
John Truby NYC
ScreenwritingU Alum L.A.
George Brown College Toronto
Nika Rylski - Advanced Screenwriting Workshops Toronto
listed on imdbpro/Sylvia Llewellyn
Stage , Film & Commercial Actress
Name: Sylvia Marie Llewellyn
Lives in: Toronto, Canada
Unique traits: Owner, Julie's Cuban Restaurant, Toronto Canada www.facebook.com/juliescuban
THE GIRL AT THE END OF THE WORLD - Executive Producer
NO ONE KNOWS - Executive Producer
Actress: Stage, TV, Film, Commercials.... before I changed my career to Screenwriting. I am still a full member of ACTRA.
Film (short) by (in production) 2015 DEBRIS - Executive Producer
STONE DRIVE: FINALIST in Creative World Awards (CWA)
STONE DRIVE: QUARTER-FINALIST in 2016 Page Awards, top 10% of 6,300 submissions
Stage 32 Writing Labs & Webinars