Right now I’m running my film production company, Blue Forest Boulevard, but I do spend most of my time writing, reading, and watching movies. I have something to do with pretty much every major art form but my primary interest is film. Details below.
I have directed two short films, Kamikaze (2023), a 44-minute adventure war drama, and 6:45. February, a 14-minute thriller, and they both won awards at Wallachia Int’l Film Festival 2023. I’m already getting ready for the next film, although I can’t say exactly what that will be.
I am the author of four feature screenplays and about a dozen shorts. I am now working on a few feature-length screenplays.
The first screenplay I’ve ever written. Kind of. I finished the first draft around May of 2020 and I had it stored in a drawer for a few months while I worked on another screenplay. I didn’t know what to do with it since it was in English and it was mid-pandemic and I happen to live 6,500 miles away from Hollywood. In November, I started thinking about how I could have it read by somebody across the world and I came across the strange notion of the screenwriting contest. I tried to find out which was the best and I eventually chose Save the Cat! Now, if that sounds like an expensive mistake ($140 for a screenplay that wasn’t even meant to fit the Save the Cat structure) it’s because it technically is. I honestly chose this one because it was the only one open that promised to read my whole thing and send me some written words about it. It sounds great when you’re halfway across the world, staring at an internet page. I got a so-and-so feedback result around March. I was pretty disappointed that they weren’t very impressed by the good things and were very detailed about what I did wrong. Overall, though, it helped me a lot because I decided to rewrite it (I had already written two more at that point) and that was what really got me going with the style and structure appropriate for film. The version I have now is great. It’s a lot more refined, more visual, and the pace is better. And it did get an Honorable Mention at the quite prestigious Finish Line Scrip Contest. The page count is 126 pages, which is a little on the long side, but I am fully confident that every scene in this form is relevant to the story and worth reading.
Logline: In his mid-twenties, a young actor’s Machiavellian upbringing is dominating his life over his more recently acquired love for the simple life, but the dynamics change when he is sent to prison for an altercation with the police.
I had already written two features and two short screenplays when I started this one. I was a lot more experienced and it shows. This is a journey story I had been planning for more than a year when I started it. I would have probably not written it already had I not heard of The Script Pipeline Competition. I read about it in April 2021 and I thought it sounded great, so I decided to actually write this one. It took me a little over five weeks from start to finish, and I managed to submit it on the deadline, May 15 (after spending the last night before the deadline proofreading and polishing the script, they announced they would extend it by two weeks, but I guess that’s show business). The page count is 129 pages, which is also probably quite discouraging, but this is a long story and a complicated journey that deserves a good quantity of detail.
Logline: A 30-year-old drunken slacker lost in the emptiness of his life discovers new horizons after meeting a racist billionaire, and decides that he had been chosen by God to become the greatest writer in the world.
This latest screenplay I finished at the end of July. It’s a new style and a new direction. With this one project, I moved away from the usual dialogue-heavy, philosophical dramas and I wrote something commercial. It also received a very positive review from the BlueCat Screenwriting Competition. The page count is 118 pages.
Logline: An 18-year-old girl form Romania tries to pull off the most insane heist imaginable in the United States.
The Night of the Daffodils
I will cut this short. This screenplay is in Romanian and I’ve created it specifically to be made in Romania. It’s also kind of my masterpiece. It’s my favorite screenplay, closely ahead of Hillside Fantasy, and is really, really long, about 180 pages. It draws inspiration from auteurs like Bergman and Tarkovsky, so it wouldn’t be very marketable in the US anyway. The point is that I want to get enough knowledge and experience to get to direct this and actually make it into a great movie. It’s a special story and, although it has nothing to do with my life, it is quite personal to me on an emotional level.
Three of the short-subject screenplays are all in Romanian and are meant to be made on a very small budget while pushing the limits of what’s possible on this level, to stand out from the crowd. They’re on hold right now for technical reasons. One is in post-production and is expected to up online before the summer. Another one is pre-production and will probably be a movie in June 2022.
As a career prospect, producing feels very “optional”. I did produce both my short films and it has been a very illuminating experience, whatever that will be worth in the long run.
I’m quite fond of editing and it will certainly be a big part of my filmmaking career. I have edited my two short films and a few events such as weddings. It’s probably my favorite thing beside directing and writing.
This is also something I find very interesting. I haven’t yet had the chance to shoot video on a celluloid film camera, but other than that, I know DSLR photography thorough and through and I have worked as a volunteer operating some TV cameras for a while, including during live broadcasts. I’m very comfortable with manual settings, I know how to use different focal lengths, and how to frame properly.
Photography has grown quite big in my life lately. I shoot events and personal photoshoots whenever I get the chance. I own three film photo cameras, a Zenit 11, a Nikon F-501, and a Canon A1, as well as a bunch of lenses, including a Canon FL 58mm f/1.2. I also borrow digital cameras whenever I feel like having more freedom.
Music is one of my great passions. I am quite good at playing guitar, I can sing, and I can play a little piano. I know some decent music theory, too. I’ve written a few folk-rock songs and I’m now toying with writing music for film (useful in these early stages of filmmaking).
I have published five translations, all with Niculescu Publishing, a Romanian publishing house. This is relevant more as literary experience since I have nothing to do with the distribution of the books and I’m not really planning on ever doing it again. My most important title was Orders to Kill, a non-fiction book by American historian Amy Knight. It contains journalistic investigations of a few political murders committed under the Putin regime in Russia. I didn’t pick the book, it was offered to me by the editor, but I’m really glad I had the chance to put my name on it. Amy Knight is an incredibly meticulous and eloquent author and despite not really being interested in the subject, I was very impressed by the book.
The other four titles were British children’s books from Usborne Publishing. They were quite challenging because of all the rhymes and wordplay.
In one form or another, I’ve been writing since I was five. I didn’t know the alphabet, but my mom made me dictate to her whatever stories went through my head. My parents kept encouraging me to write to a point where I could hardly imagine doing anything else with my life. And I loved it. My reward system was conditioned to respond to putting thoughts on paper the way one would respond to playing a game or watching TV. By age nine or ten I was writing poetry pretty well. In fifth grade, I was a veteran. I knew how to craft a sequence of sentences to convey different emotions, I had anticipation, a sense of size when it came to structural elements… And, yes, at about age twelve, everything started to sound melodramatic and a bit chaotic, as I started to waste myself in writing diaries about girls, but I guess that’s puberty. It was in high school when I started publishing a few essays and short stories in local magazines (very, very local magazines). But I couldn’t finish anything lengthy to save my life. I was never satisfied, always chasing a new idea, always reluctant to conventional structure and simplicity. So by the time I finished college I had only written short stories, poems, poems, short stories, poems, and short stories. And songs, which were pretty much poems. I had also written about half of a pretty good play and I had the rest in my head, but I never got to finish that either. The first two years after college were great at making me realize I no longer had time to let anything distract me from being what I wanted to be. I realized it took more time than I had thought and I needed to act immediately. This is because after I graduated, I took a position teaching Latin in a Bucharest high school and, as extra time, I signed five translation contracts with a publishing house in Romania (which was great on paper cause I could put “Johnn Mark” on some books people would certainly buy – but completely drained me of every free second I had). So after I finished the fifth translation and the 2019-2020 school year ended, despite offers to continue with both jobs, I said my gracious goodbye and I sat my rear end down and wrote Orchid Sea… as you can read about in the Screenplay section.
The only reason I’m rambling about this at the bottom of this page is to let you know that writing is not some sort of safety net or some lottery passion I’m pursuing in the background “maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, wouldn’t it be great if…”. It has been the most important thing in my life for as long as I can remember and at the moment I’m absolutely all-in doing it. And considering I have hard material now, I will continue to do it one way or another until I’m too old to move.