Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Letters to Daniel

Dear Daniel,

On a night like to night I weep. My anxiety amps up and I fear for the feature of the mentally ill in my state. I count myself as one of those people. I weep for the people who voted in an idiot who could care less for them and their troubles. A man who believes in destroying and taking the government apart instead of trying to fix what’s wrong with it.

I know there are a great many who will disagree with me. Who will compare his opponent to Obama (who I proudly voted for, twice). When in reality our president can’t run for a third term.

I weep for myself.

I have come a long way since October of 1999. This year marks sixteen years since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Thanks to government funded programs like Seven Counties I was able to receive desperately needed medical and psychiatric treatment. Without it I would have lost my battle with a vicious disease that really takes no prisoners and leaves victims in its wake.

I thank god, the therapists, the nurses, the psychiatrists, and my friends and family who acted as my support network.

Not everyone always understood what was going on with me. There’s that damn stigma attached to mental illness. When I see people floating around, lost in their disease, it physically pains me to see it. I literally want to take them by the hand and get them to an intake nurse and have them evaluated.

With people like the man whom my fellow Kentuckians elected as governor I fear that all the progress that has been made will be turned back like a clock like a hand on a daylights savings clock.
I talk about daylight savings on mental health issues but as a woman I fear other issues will be turned back further.

Right now it’s the right to choose.

Gay marriage.

Medical insurance for everyone.

Want to know why medical insurance is as high as it is even in this system? Insurance lobbyists saw to that.

Money makes the world go round folks. And Matt Bevin just dumped enough money into 30 and 60 second spots with sound bites that make him look like the kind of man or woman you want to run your state.

Congratulation fellow residents of Kentucky, you just elected a man who is going to gut the programs that people need most. And education is going to be at the top of that list.

I’m not really a religious person, but in the coming days, months and years I will be praying that if there is a God he or she will be looking over us because we are doing such a shit job of it ourselves.


Amy McCorkle

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,


I’ve been on a roll as of late. Winning prizes at every festival I have screenplays or film projects at. I find myself thinking in terms of what next.

Right now I am neck deep in preparations for the Letters to Daniel feature film. There’s an actress I want to see read for the Amy role. She is simply put, amazing. I want her for this part so bad I can freaking taste it. So far Missy has been holding tight on the reigns. She wants to see everyone else first. She at least wants to see her read for both Amy and Missy before casting her in anything.

The truth is we’ve made up our mind she is going to be in the film. It’s just a matter of where.

That being said I’ve pretty much nailed down all the locations but three. I really want to finalize these if only because if something were to happen early on I want a back-up location for them.

Shooting dates have been laid down too. Dec 27th-Jan. 2.

I’ve never been more excited for a shoot than this one. Don’t get me wrong. I love all of the productions I’ve been a part of. Even the ones that failed. Epically in some cases I might add.

But Letters to Daniel is a full 40 cast member production that spans nearly twenty years of mine and Missy’s friendship and how it was put to the test by my bipolar disorder.

If there was some way to invite you and Rachel to the local premiere here in Louisville, KY at Imaginarium next October 7th (AS IF) I would. There would be media here for the cast and above the line crew but I would be sure to keep them away from you. Because as I’ve said before this blog, the book, the documentaries have not really been about you. It’s been more about how your work and the way you carry yourself professionally have inspired me a great deal. And how what you’ve become through these letters is a sounding board for me to process what I’ve been going through these last few years. The growth, the change.

The good days. The bad days and the blah days.

This film I’m working on is the culmination of what has become a close to three year journey of me healing and finding my voice. Of being brave enough to share when I’m at my best and when I’m at my worst.

I will always have this blog as it is an anchor when things are whirling around me like tornado.

Letters to Daniel the feature is only one of the projects I’m currently working on. I’m also working on a documentary, #yesallwomen. The interviews I’ve done have been incredibly powerful affecting me in a way that I remember what rendered me voiceless to begin with, the abuse.

There is also a scifi screenplay adapted my e-book No Ordinary Love.

As you can see I am busy. If I had the power to convince everyone that mental illness was not a death sentence but simply a disease to be treated like Cancer or Diabetes I would. In fact that is the hope of my memoir and the feature film. To have people see it and know there is hope. There is treatment. There is recovery.

I know I don’t know you. And you don’t know me. But your work inspired me to my best work. And for that I’ll always be thankful.




Amy McCorkle

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

I leave for the International Indie Gathering Film Festival & Convention this Thursday. On the trip with me will be two of the members of 3 Bitches Press will be with along with me for the ride, Missy Goodman, and maybe a fourth member will be added to that list Alicia Justice, our agent.

We are all there in order to kick ass and take names where our projects are concerned. This is the festival where if you want to build a filmmaking team from scratch you can do it.

Last year was my first year there and I went with my Aunt Sue. It was awesome. But it was different from the other types of events that I’ve been to in the past.

There is an elaborate screenwriting and filmmaking competition. The winners 1st-4th and Honorable Mentions are announced in advance of the actual festival. Then at the convention there are panels and a vendor room. Certain films are selected to screen. My short documentary Carla’s Halloween placed 3rd and was picked to do so. My Christian Music Video Lord You’re Beautiful, song by Danny Jones won 1st Place and will also screen.

There are also Acting, Stunt, and SFX (Make-up) competitions going on during the actual festival, where I will be a judge. We hope to find our cast there. Missy and I will be meeting with Jodi Beth and Richard McKee of RJ Productions. Missy feels a need to put her seal of approval on them as production partners and really we need to lay out each other’s functions in the filming of the movie.

I want to find financial backers for my film Letters to Daniel there. And that could mean many different things. It could mean screenwriting gigs. It could mean someone buying any one of our scripts. It could mean genuine excitement about Letters to Daniel. The script itself is receiving an Honorable Mention award there.

I’m sure Imaginarium will be awesome too. But right now I’m a mess over all of the Indie Gathering excitement. My mood took a shift last night. My money management hasn’t been the best. But the reality is this 10 awards and on top of all of this Missy and I received an offer to do an interview for television at the festival.

Missy has been fighting against this festival. In part because she’s not real big on meeting new people.
Wrong industry to be in if you don’t want to meet people. She loves having me as her ‘mouth piece’ at events. But that’s really a double edged sword. I will talk to anyone with a pulse.

I like what you said about us indie filmmakers. At our level it is still about art and passion, and don’t get me wrong there are movies in Hollywood that have these qualities. But for Letters to Daniel it’s about swinging for the fences on an issue that is so close to my heart that it’s hard to stay balanced it.

They say a film is made three times. The first time is when it’s written. The second when it’s filmed. And the third when it’s edited.

I have not really done serious editing. Not the kind that results in movies that people call to mind when they think movies. They think actors, they think actresses. They think writers, they think directors.

I think of movie theaters.

I dream of Oscars.

And here at Indie Gathering is where dream starts for Letters to Daniel. The feature film.


Amy McCorkle

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

Two weekends ago I attended Fandom Fest and the Fantasmagorical Film Festival attached to it.
The time leading up to it was incredibly hard. For two months I hadn’t written consistently on anything. I actually spent more time planning Letters to Daniel the feature film than anything else. And mismanaging my money in order to enter film festivals and screenwriting competitions.

Which as any person with bipolar disorder knows is a sure sign of mania. It’s one of the symptoms I’ve yet to beat completely. I don’t want it to haunt me, to follow me into this big adventure I seem to be on. It would definitely wreck any hopes of having a stable life.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Letters to Daniel, the feature film is my swing for the fences. I mean as you know there is a lot of work that goes into a film, especially an independent. And being the most collaborative art form there is I am nervous that all the pieces come together correctly.

Well, at Fandom Fest I was also screening the documentary that is on this site. The documentary Letters to Daniel: From Breakdown to Bestseller. I was also manning a booth where I was selling books. Nineteen to be exact.

I sat on one panel and after that attended the Film Festival Awards Ceremony. Here I am with the only other attending winner.

I don’t understand, if you’re in competition why not go? Sure it sucks a donkey’s penis to lose but your work was selected to screen when another’s wasn’t.

I won Honorable Mention in the documentary competition. And where I don’t have a trophy for 2013’s Bounty Hunter I walked away a medal declaring my win this time. I’m taking and running with it.

So I’m working on three books at this time. Love’s Legacy which is the concluding novel of the Healing Hands Trilogy. ANGEL which is a mafia romance thriller. And a Non-Fiction how-to-market book from a bipolar person’s perspective.

I feel like the two month crash and burn has finally shaken itself off and now I’m back off to the races.
The next festival is Indie Gathering where Missy and I took home ten awards. Are acting competition judges. We have a meeting with another production company about Letters to Daniel. We have television show interview. And I plan to try and sell our award winning screenplays.

Very busy indeed. But it seems I got my mojo back.

This always happens. Sometime around May or June the energy I have to take on the world vanishes. It’s probably a touch of the hypomania. It allows me to juggle so many things at once.

Here’s the reality I’m juggling three books. One feature film. And this blog. One of the books will eventually pull me from the other two. The feature film will be continued to worked on. And this blog won’t have as many posts as it could have if I were being more diligent.

But the parts of the blog which are now archived are now collected into a book you read. And I wait still for an answer. Thank god for my relationship with Lea and MuseItUp if I want a smaller advance and to see my work in print or rather eprint as it were faster than NY is taking I have the series I’m working on for Lea.

You see as a hybrid author I have the best of all worlds. An agent to shop my works to NY and Hollywood. And myself to use my connections in the independent publishing and moviemaking arenas.

Lucky in some respects but those opportunities only came to me because I was willing to bust my ass for them. And if any insinuates this has been a pleasure well then they just need read this blog or watch the documentary and see that nothing could be further from the truth.


Amy McCorkle

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

 Another year. Another Fandom Fest has come and gone. Each year Fandom Fest proves why I come back. My books sell well there. I get cool pictures of cosplayers. Catch a glimpse of cool stars of yesteryear and maybe some doing well still.

This year Stan Lee didn’t eat my food.

This year there was actual hardware handed out at the film festival awards ceremony.

And I sold a lot of books and told a lot of people about Letters to Daniel.

I also had the Letters to Daniel screenplay in competition as a finalist. And the zero budget proof of concept documentary that was born from this blog.

Film festivals are notoriously political and you have to run a campaign to win. For me having both projects in competition was incredibly meaningful to me. Fandom Fest was my first Con event. My first screenplay win. I was plugged into a great local writers community.

Which if I have to say anything Stephen Zimmer has championed us writers in the face of some withering opposition. That being said it was Ken and Myra at helm accepting my film and my screenplay.

So not only did I campaign on line. I started up my Kickstarter campaign for the dramatic film around the same time. So Letters to Daniel and Fantasmagorical became work for me. There are times when you need a guardian angel to protect you and to see you through. In this case my work.
Letters to Daniel, as you know is an intensely personal project. It’s really not about you. It’s about me and my journey and where it takes me.

And this weekend it took me to a lightly attended awards ceremony.

It’s funny, as I said in the first letter we don’t know each other. But I can say know each other’s work.

The documentary and project on Kickstarter got a lot of exposure at the Fandom Fest. I had people again tell of how others they knew had bipolar disorder or that they had bipolar disorder. There was a young girl suffering from anxiety and it was a big deal for her to be at such a large and overwhelming event. I had one copy of Letters to Daniel the short memoir. I just gave it to her. I hope she finds a kinship in those pages that allows her to grow and help someone else the way that your work helped me.
But back to the festival and guardian angels and such.

I found myself sitting with my best friend Missy in hopes that there be some recognition. You see, I’m competitive I like to win. But especially with this project because of the message it has to give to everyone. This blog is the root of everything that has come after. The book, the first documentary, the second documentary, the screenplay, and now hopefully the feature film from that screenplay.

Of course as always I tend to ramble in these things. So back to 1PM Saturday. I found myself surrounded by a very light crowd. There were a lot of awards handed out. None of the Best of Fest winners were present. Dude, you entered your film. You must believe in it. Come support it.

Obviously, I don’t have the production value to win a film festival straight out. They only awarded one screenplay award. Missy and I didn’t win that. Our friend Pam a finalist as well, didn’t manage to snag that one either.

One of the last awards given Honorable Mention was for the documentary category. LETTERS TO DANIEL WON! It’s quarter to one in the morning and I’m STILL wearing the medal. Then it was home, dinner, and desert. And late tonight, wouldn’t you know it Casino Royale was on, the movie that inspired the title to this blog and everything that’s come after.

I gave a crap acceptance speech but really I was not expecting, just really wanting it. Your best work has indeed inspired me to mine.


Amy McCorkle

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

This last week has been one of the more difficult ones of recent memory. I’m not on the other side of it yet but I’m getting there.

The term rapid cycling was used by Missy. Where I was weepy and depressed all week, today when I got some good news the relief from the anxiety left me irritable, argumentative and downright bitchy.

While I can hear the crude jokes now, is it time for your monthly visitor, are you going through the change? It’s important to note while these things can a do have an effect on my mood and act as certain triggers I think it’s appalling that my emotions can be dismissed so easily.

I’ll admit after the news came through physically I just felt better. As if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders I knew where I stood which, ironically involves more waiting. But apparently I’ve moved up the food chain considerably.

So still I cycle.

I wanted to write but there was a part of me that after writing non-stop since the winter of last year had me screaming uncle. Someone told me to take a vacation. And honestly my idea of a good vacation is getting a nice hotel room and ordering room service all weekend and vegging out.

With little money I have to funnel all of it into career events. I climb, I crawl, I grasp for the gold ring. To me I have hit a certain level of success and am ready to reach a little higher, climb a longer, grasp a little tighter.
This while good, creates a good amount of stress. The waiting these last six months has been somewhat okay to deal with because I didn’t really have an end goal to obsess on. But things are bearing down on someone without mental illness it’s hard enough. For someone with it? Safety nets need to be put into place.

This week has been a rollercoaster. Tuesday I called my therapist. I was already on the ride that has seemingly come to a finish. Climaxing the moment I got the call with the good news, but you gotta wait a little longer message.

Everyone from Missy to Pam to Andrew to my agent kept telling me to breathe. Which is good advice but hard to take in when you’re so wound up and waiting for something that could make your dreams come true.
Good things can be just as much of a trigger as a negative thing. And I’ve had a lot of good things happen this year. The fact I feel fragile and as if this is all being held together by loosest of threads doesn’t really come as a shock. A surprise, maybe. But getting my ass back into therapy pronto is the first step to keeping on track and getting better.

Just because I hear my illness’ siren call of giving up and burnout doesn’t mean I ignore the symptoms and bully my way through it. It means I seek help and do things that will make me feel better.

I think I might watch Cowboys & Aliens and some James Bond films tomorrow. Going back into a movie theater seems too scary a prospect to me right now. First Aurora now Lafeyette. People focus on the mental health of the shooter. AGAIN. What about those of us struggling to get better. To do better. To get better. It angers me that the media in ALL corners paint with such vivid words and criminalize everyone with a mental illness. Not realizing those with a mental illness are now fearful of doing something everyone else takes for granted. Going to the fucking movies.

So the news I got? I can’t really talk about it. But know I thismuchcloser to something I’ve wanted for a long time now for Letters to Daniel. Waiting again shouldn’t be as hard with Con season kicking into high gear. There’s a lot going on at all three of them. Enough to keep my brain from obsessing. Although my gut tells me everything is going to work okay.

In this case I trust it. It’s very rare that I’ll say I know something for sure. I feel like Letters to Daniel will do as I always intended it to do. Help me process things. And by doing that let people know they are not alone. I hope to inspire people to be their best selves with my work the way your work did for me.


Amy McCorkle

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

I don’t know how to put it any other way than relapse sucks. The only way I know how to deal with any of it is well to come to you and write about it. I haven’t touched on relapse much in the way of previous letters because well, my natural cycle of moods tended to ebb in the fall struggle through holidays then hit my stride again in January. I never looked at as relapse per se. Just as maybe this was my cycle and I had found a way to work with it and around it.

Then last year a funny thing happened. Mom got sick. Really sick and I hyper focused on her her getting well and writing whenever I made time to make it happen. Which was a lot. Then Mom got better and I started winning all of the contests I entered. Then the first volume of Letters hit the Amazon Bestsellers list. And then I was nominated for an EPIC in Non-Fiction. And then I got an agent. And well, you know the rest. There wasn’t time to be depressed.

But it seems the cycle has caught up and with little more than two weeks to go until Con season hits whether I have time to be depressed or not I am. Bipolar disorder doesn’t just go away because you take a pill. It’s there waiting, watching, ready to strike at your most vulnerable moment.

Here I stand on the verge of all my dreams coming true and I have the deepest, strongest, most overwhelming urge to curl up in a ball and cry. I know intellectually that I’m not alone. That I have friends and family who support me.

I’m emotional, tired, and find myself avoiding the keyboard, which is unusual for me. To whit I have been writing since the beginning of January with no breaks writing book after book, teleplay, treatments, and a screenplay along with a novella, a short novel and two full length novels.

But if I don’t write eventually I feel wonky, wrong, unlike myself. And it’s just as brutal as this.  Missy asked me if was going through menopause. Only Missy can ask me questions like that. She’s that person in my life who can suggest gently that I call my therapist. The crap thing is there’s not actually anything that will get me in faster with my therapist. As for my psychiatrist, my most recent one moved to another state and where I go to get seen for my illness has yet to find a replacement so they automatically refill my meds.

So what if it’s something with my medication. I’m going to have to wait. Which really, really sucks.
Although the average episode lasts two weeks. So if today is day one. Then by the time I see my therapist I’ll come out on the other side of this.

The thing is I am no overnight success. And I have been given the tools to cope with this. I’m glad I relaunched this blog. As coming here and  knowing there are others like me who go through this sort of thing is comforting.

And knowing I don’t have to stay there is a blessing. It’s not stay in bed for days bad. It’s more like I can’t write and I can’t handle lots of people. Trying to do something fun tomorrow. Lunch with friends and tarot card readings.

I’m hoping it helps. I’ve stepped away from the creative writing but it’s hard. I mean I have like zero desire to write creatively.

Relapse is relative. Some suffer from it more acutely than others. Right now I just want everyone to know, and myself to some degree that you can come out on the other side of it. Look for that pinpoint of light and feel your way towards it. Tomorrow I’m going to watch a few of your films. And hopefully feel better.


Amy McCorkle