top of page
  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Wilt

My Writing Process - New Beginning

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

I grew up going to church and Sunday school every week which means I’ve been taught and studied the Bible my entire life. I know all the narratives extremely well and they are a big part of who I am, interwoven into my childhood to such an extent that they are nearly a part of my DNA.

This said, as a filmmaker, there are many stories that I want to tell but I’ve always dreamed of taking the ever so familiar narratives from the Bible and bringing them to life on the screen in a way that represents how I see them in my imagination. I had been approached long ago about creating a unique marketing piece for Answers in Genesis for their Sunday school curriculum but was busy at the time and shelved the request for quite some time. I had nearly forgotten the request when one afternoon I was feeling depressed about not having something creative to work on and it struck me that perhaps I could take this project to a new level and make into something far more than a marketing piece. I wondered if I could basically make a short film well beyond the initial request. This was admittedly selfish because a short film was not necessarily exactly what was needed but I thought I could kill two birds with one stone. I could create a commercial with portions of what I shot but then create a stand-alone and completely unique short film as well.

My writing process - moleskin notebook, zebra pen and final draft

It actually took me quite some time craft the script into something I would be passionate about producing. I wanted to approach from a unique perspective, and it took a lot of thought for me to arrive upon something I really liked and wanted to produce. I love when a filmmaker can bring a narrative to life that’s only ever been experienced thru the written word and that’s something I wanted to do with the flood account in the Bible. I struggled for quite some time because the Biblical flood is obviously extremely well known so I was grappling with how to make it fresh and interesting. I didn't want to create something that just felt like a documentary but rather, I wanted to explore the emotions involved in such a narrative. I spent a lot of time pondering what it would have been like to live thru a worldwide flood, what would it be like for everyone on the planet to die in one fell swoop and you remain as part of a handful that survives. I also wanted to avoid approaching from the perspective of Noah because again, it's been done before and I wanted something that felt fresh. It was during this process that I landed on the idea of writing from the perspective of one of Noah’s son's wives. I thought it interesting that we don't know much about the wives and yet, according to the account, they experienced this incredibly traumatic event and were forced to build a new life after all had been destroyed. I found this approach compelling and fascinating, so I decided to run with it.

Sacrifice Scene - added fire in post

Once I had the concept, I began writing. I knew that I would have a rather tight budget for the project, so I took that into consideration during the writing. What I mean by this is that I decided to write the script in a way that only used voice over rather than giving any of the actor’s actual lines to be delivered on set. I did this because I knew that I would need to work with talent that wasn't very experienced and trying to achieve solid, believable performances that included dialogue would be very difficult. With this in mind, I just decided to use voice over for all the dialogue within the film. In the past, I've mentioned tailoring your writing to best accommodate your known budget and have been accused of stifling creative ideas, but I would propose quite the opposite. I believe that part of the creative process is finding ways to make your production the very best that it can be while still working within what you have available to you. I know this isn't everyone's method, but it works well for me.

Anyone who writes has their own approach, something that works for them and I suppose I'm no different. I tend to have the need to write a TON of notes and ideas before ever embarking on actually writing the script. I will often go to a public place like a coffee shop because I've found that I'm way too easily distracted in my home or office. I will find every excuse possible to not actually write and for whatever reason, I focus better when in a public space. That may sound odd but it's what works for me. I always throw on some headphones and play movie soundtracks that are within the same genre and mood that I want and that helps me get down to work.

I do admit that sometimes while working at McDonalds early in the morning, I'll get distracted by the group of old men that seem to have a morning routine that includes sipping coffee near where I'm writing but it's honestly a welcome distraction. I learn a lot listening to them.

Anyway, this was my process for writing New Beginning.

I wrote my initial draft and then revised it several times before showing to anyone. I then presented the idea and eventually the script to a handful of trusted friends/creatives and they helped me refine even further. It’s at this point that I proceeded to pitch the idea to those responsible for providing the funding and once green lit, we were off the races.

It would be nice to be able to say that the script was complete at this point but that’s just not the case. I made several revisions along the way even after this point. Many of which were pragmatic changes just to make the production achievable, but I find this to be part of the sheer joy of filmmaking…finding creative ways to solve inevitable problems along the production path.

As a filmmaker, we always do have to make certain sacrifices along the way and I will admit that I wanted to produce something even more gritty, violent and visceral than my current final cut because I felt it was in keeping with the authenticity of the narrative but certain ideas just wouldn’t work on this production for several reasons so I had to make a few compromises along the way. I’m still very proud of the final work and think it’s in keeping with my ultimate vision which was to bring the narrative to life but I do hope that one day I’ll be granted the privilege of writing and directing a feature film of the Noah’s flood account and perhaps then it will be more appropriate to explore some of the original ideas.

I love the writing process, but I would be lying if I said it was easy. It’s extremely difficult and something I dread as much as I love and yet, I can’t and wouldn’t want to live without it. It’s this agonizing process of finding a story that one wants to tell that makes me want to get out bed in the morning and I don’t plan to ever stop. If you have that same nagging feeling inside that’s screaming to present something to the world, I would encourage you to power thru, put in the work and flesh it out because it will haunt you until you do and it’s the most fulfilling feeling in the world once you’ve gotten it down on paper! Some may not understand why you have this obsession but others like myself completely understand that it’s not a hobby, it’s what you must do above all else! Find your process, find what works for you, what will actually force you to put in the time and bang out that first draft thru blood, sweat and tears! Don’t let life get in the way and force you to set your dream aside because more than likely, you’ll not pick it back up and you will always regret it!

That’s my inspirational speech for the day. Not all that profound but it’s the best I’ve got, and I can honestly say, I believe it with all my heart. If you’re a creative or an artist and you have that burning in your gut to create, go for it! You will never regret spending time working on whatever it is that you need to say or create! I am currently working on ideas for my next project. As soon as I finish one, I have to start on the next.

71 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page