Short Attention Span lives up to its name; a great collection of short screenplays that are fast and entertaining. This collection is perfect for the aspiring screenwriter, actor or cinematographer. Each screenplay is under 20 pages for quick reads that will come alive in your imagination. Robert Hensley’s story caught the attention of Project Dreamscape and we had to learn more about his unique plays.
Short Attention Span is a collection of short screenplays—tell me why you released the collection, what are your goals for this book?
I think all writers have a collection of ‘bits and bobs’ – ideas, shorts, scenes – and it’s usually fodder for something else down the line. I was sifting through my miscellaneous files and came across a few things I had forgotten about, maybe needed a little work. It just felt indecent not to polish them up and find a way to share them with an audience in some way.
My goal for releasing the book was two-fold: 1) to entertain, and 2) to inspire. Screenwriters are still storytellers, we just write for a visual medium, but each screenplay is still a story; the format may be different than a novel, but the descriptions and directions are all there. Also, I think there are closet writers and filmmakers– you know, those people who scribble down ideas when no one’s looking, and dream of creating something – and I want them to see how it can start with a few pages. It doesn’t have to be 100 pages. You can tell a story and entertain people in a few moments.
Who is your book written for, what is the audience?
This could be the completely wrong answer, but I when I’m writing, I don’t think about who will read it. I tell the story I want to tell, and I figure out the demographics when I’m done! Short Attention Span definitely appeals to cinephiles – the people who love movies. I think they aren’t as shaken by the format of a screenplay, and they’re more willing to direct the movie in their mind as they’re reading.
People tend to like cozy mysteries and thrillers this time of the year, which of the screenplays might particularly appeal to them?
“The Unseen.” It’s a paranormal thriller with detectives on the hunt for a serial killer.
This may be like asking a parent to pick their favorite child, but what the heck, which one is your favorite and why?
Oh, that is an unfair question! But if I had to pick, I’d say, “Baby in the Bathwater.” I think I’ve thought the most about how I would direct it – how it would translate it into a film.
What actors would you like to see perform any of the roles? Did you write any of them with an actor in mind?
I try not to write for one person in particular. Occasionally, you get a particular voice or rhythm in your head, and it starts to remind you of someone you know or an actor you’ve seen. I’m also a fan of the casting process, so I enjoy seeing what different actors bring to different roles!
“The Unseen” was written as a submission to a producer, who was searching for short thrillers for their slate. Although they liked the screenplay, they decided not to move forward with a slate of shorts, and focused instead on a feature film. We had talked about actors and who might work in the roles, but it wasn’t specifically written for those actors.
Are community theaters, actors, production companies, etc., able to perform your screenplays—how do they go about getting permission from you?
Of course! I’d love to see what someone creates from my screenplays, and I’d be happy to talk to them about securing the rights. They can reach me via my website!
What is next on the horizon? What else are you working on that you’re excited about?
There’s so much on the horizon! More writing, more directing, more living… I’m excited to have the opportunity to do what I love.
I’ve just finished shooting a new short film, “A Mother’s Love.” It’s with the editor now – nearly complete. There are several feature length screenplays I’ve finished, and would love to direct. Getting those in front of producers is the next big hurdle. I just want to tell the next story!
Short Attention Span is now available on Amazon, get your copy today!