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  • Writer's pictureLuke Ramer

Why I switched from Filmmaking to Writing

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

by Luke Ramer

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I celebrated my 38th birthday this year and it’s been one of the best years of my life, partly thanks to writing, which has helped keep me sane in the era of lockdowns and Covid.


I’ve always been pulled towards creative interests. I remember writing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan fiction in second grade and giving it to my teacher to read, although I don't remember her response. I wish I still had that old notebook lying around somewhere. As a teenager I used to download songs from Napster or Limewire, put them into fancy CD packaging, and sell them to older friends for cash or trade for cases of beer. When I was twenty I recorded a rap album (also with beats downloaded from Napster and Limewire). Admittedly it was pretty cringe-worthy but there was one song with the Super Mario Bros music as the beat and it actually slapped pretty hard in everybody’s subwoofers. I bought a bottle of Hypnotiq with the money I made from sales, drank it all, and threw up the following morning. I never released another rap album…that was probably for the best.

In my early twenties I got really into horror movies which inspired me to graduate from a respectable local community college with a degree in Video Production, that came with some philosophy and creative writing courses that really changed my life. On the side, I made films with whoever I could find in the Lehigh Valley that was interested. Our first movie, Good Morning, Murder, was actually shot and edited on VHS. Yeah, I’m that old. I still have the original and only copy. Sure, our movies were more than rough around the edges, but I thought there were a few moments in each film that stood out…that showed promise. But even then I realized that the stories I wanted to tell, the ones I initially fleshed out in mechanical pencil on some scrap notebook at 2:30am while I had a good buzz, were never quite the same once they were filtered through the lens of a camera. This only became more apparent as time went on and I got more serious about filmmaking.


One of the greatest thrills in life was watching my own films up on the big screen in a movie theater. Yet, something was never quite right. The audio was always a little problematic. Or a light was a little too dark. Not to mention the story always had to be severely trimmed and changed to fit a budget, available locations, actors, etc. I would write an idea that I loved, but once all the restraints of reality were taken into account, the final storyline usually resembled a shell of its initial self. And over time, our crew dwindled. People moved away, started families, lost their passion.

Despite all of that, we still had a few dedicated people who helped make our last movie, The Taxidermist, our best film (available to watch for free at youtube.com/west2ndproductions, just sayin). I loved the way it turned out. Yet, in the end, it didn’t really elevate my creative career in any way and I realized I needed a change, that filmmaking was something that simply wasn’t going to grow much more on my current trajectory.


When it came to filmmaking, I had to write the script, plan the shots, schedule the days, cast the actors (and hope they showed up, which they did about 75% of the time), bring the equipment, and run to the store to buy all the food and coffee. When you are dealing with all these things, the story tends to suffer. Not to mention, I got physically ill to the point of vomiting before more than one film shoot. It was almost a regular routine. Just nerves, I guess.


Around this time I dove deep into some motivational books and podcasts that really inspired me to get my shit together, make a plan, and see it through, and that’s, honestly, been my focus of every single day since. I became obsessed with reading, and the process of writing became much more attractive. I can do it every single day without fail, always focusing on the story. And no vomiting. I began thinking about writing books instead of movie scripts.


So for the past two years I've been writing and studying the craft daily. Sure, I might go out one night here or there and have some drinks, blow off the world and all of its responsibilities, but in the back of my mind, in the voice inside my head, there’s always a feeling of guilt whenever I don’t work on something writing-related at least a bit each day. Not only is it therapeutic, thought-provoking, and fun, but I can tell my stories purely the way I envision them. It costs FAR less money than filmmaking. It's FAR less stressful. And in the end it is my own vision, unfiltered, straight from my brain. It's an incredibly liberating feeling, and after years of scribbling down scripts for movies, I have no shortage of ideas for stories. That's why I decided to leave filmmaking behind in pursuit of writing.


Some may look at this like I gave up filmmaking, gave up on a dream, but that’s not the case at all. As we climb this mountain we call life, we have to be aiming at something, and sometimes you have to know when to adjust those aims. Perhaps one day I’ll become a successful author and it will lead me to Hollywood and I’ll start directing movies and become rich and famous and blow cocaine with celebrities in Los Angeles hot tubs or…not. Either way, I love storytelling, and writing is a pure, more practical, and more rewarding form of art for me. Now I have two books ready to publish, and lots of short stories I'm eager to release. I started this website to share my writing with all of you. Hope you enjoy it.

So thank you to everyone who stops in and checks out

this site, picks up one of my books, or has supported me in some way along life’s creative journey. I’d rather die climbing the mountain than sit at the bottom looking up, wondering how far I could have made it.



-Luke

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sickcell
Jul 24, 2021

Inspiring stuff, Luke. Looking forward to reading what you’ve done.

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