Screenwriter/Producer Chris Hoke
Chris Hoke Q&A
1) Tell us a bit about yourself. Any personal tidbits you’d like to share?
I am a father of 3 with 1 grandchild. I started working in creative arts professionally maybe a little late in life compared to others, at the age of 32. I quit my day job cold turkey to pursue the arts full time.
2) Tell us about your past and current works. Any future projects you’d like us to know about?
I have written many screenplays for my own enjoyment, including the beginnings of what will one day become a Sci-Fi trilogy of novels (and maybe even a movie franchise, I hope, I hope). I have several screenplays that have been produced on the micro-budget indie film level of which most are on Amazon Prime.
3) What inspired you to write your current project?
As a lifelong fan of Star Wars and Robocop, I want to see a full Sci-Fi trilogy that brings the epicness of the Star Wars universe and melds it with the violence of the first Robocop film. In short, a more realistic Star Wars universe. Wanting to see that set of films has inspired me considerably to develop my ideas.
4) Why did you decide to start writing?
I think the decision was made for me in the womb, but I began writing in earnest around 10 years old. I drew mostly as a child but the visions in my head stretched beyond a 2D piece of paper so writing was the next evolutionary choice.
5) Who are some of your favorite writers & why?
I like writers maybe not thought of in traditional ways. The lyrics of Bono, the dialogue of Quentin Tarantino but also the authenticity of Larry McMurtry.
6) What do you think makes a writer successful, and what makes their work resonate with people?
Authenticity. Even within Sci-Fi, are these ideas universal and relatable to a real human reader. Is the subject and story something that can be connected with on an emotional level? If yes, then are the protagonist and antagonist clear and can I connect with them? The more of these things the writer gets right, the more I will enjoy their work.
7) What were the biggest hurdles you had to overcome as an author?
Discipline. Writing or outlining or working on my work routinely. Treating it like a trade and not a pastime.
8) This is a personal question so feel free to answer how you want or to not answer. A lot of people in the creative arts suffer from depression, self-doubt, and hopelessness. Can you share a moment in your writing career where you felt these emotions? How did you overcome it? Do you have any advice for those currently struggling?
I felt all of those things BEFORE I decided to become a creative professional. My persistence in not letting go of my “real job” led to my depression and self-loathing. When I finally let go and pursued my career and art with reckless abandon, those emotions quickly faded away. When I first started, I self-praised my abilities and patted myself on the back and didn’t wait for others to validate me. I “faked it until I made it” and that worked for me. Eventually, I applied all due humility to myself, but at first I had to be my own biggest cheerleader. Right or wrong, that plan of action worked for me.
9) What do you feel is the biggest reward with writing?
Having someone else read the thoughts that were in your head. Whether they like it or not, having them see them is a victory.
10) Is there any advice that you can offer new writers?
Learn discipline to work on the craft. Be your own best advocate. Do NOT compromise your art UNLESS you clearly know that the compromise will help further your art, career, broaden your audience, and help you reach more people. Compromise is not a bad word, but compromise is also not mandatory. Wield compromise carefully like it is a dangerous tool that can do good or bad.