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Murat Vargelci on Reflects on Writing “The Poem”

By Murat Vargelci

I always wanted to write a book. I had an idea and even a story around this idea but for a very long time I did nothing about it. I convinced myself that I would eventually start writing one day, but that one day was always some other day. I never picked up a pen and paper or never sat in front of my computer. The story was trapped in my head safe and secure but at the same time annoying me, wanting to come out. 

Over time I changed my mind about writing a book and slowly moved towards the idea of  writing a movie script instead. I thought it would be an easier project to take on, but little did I know what I was in for. I began to learn about the craft. I started by reading many books and watching a lot of videos about screenwriting. I was hooked instantly and got to writing. It wasn’t long before I realized that this undertaking was actually much more difficult than I had thought, but the more I wrote the more excited I was, which kept me going.  It took quite a long time for me to come up with my first draft of my first script, a feature SciFi thriller.  

During my writing there were times where I felt totally alone and lost. One very late night, overwhelmed with all those feelings, I picked up my pen and wrote down a sentence. Actually a  question. Then I answered that question in the next line and wrote another line and then another line. All of a sudden, I had a poem.  A poem straight from my heart pouring onto the paper solidifying my feelings.

A few days later I came across a post from Open Screenplay on Instagram, totally by chance, inviting writers to enter the Open Screenplay Contest. With full confidence that only the amateurs are blessed with, I knew I had to do this. I started looking at the different contests on the Open Screenplay website, and when I saw the Layla Mental Health Short Film Contest, which aimed to bring awareness about Mental Health, I knew it had to be this one.  

After nights of researching different mental health problems, I decided to write about a very common problem that most of us suffer from, sometimes even without even noticing, depression. In the midst of all the brainstorming about what kind of a story I should tell and strategizing about how to construct the story, so that it would be easier to produce, I remembered my poem. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could incorporate my poem in this script? And from that thought, my script “The Poem” was born.

Another idea that came to me while I was writing my script was the loneliness that most of us experience in big cities.  All the hustle and bustle, people are always in a hurry for something, anyone rarely has time to notice anything around them. I specifically chose the setting of a subway station because subways can be the peak of the loneliness mountain, crowded but distant, an undesired togetherness like in an elevator.  

During the creation of my script, I went back and forth between the two extreme feelings of, “I am doing great!” and “What am I doing? This is insane, I should just quit”. But I am glad I finished and had the courage to send in my work. 

I can not thank the Open Screenplay organisers and Layla Mental Health Hospital enough for this amazing opportunity and for honoring my script as the first prize winner. I still can not believe that my script is produced and the movie “The Poem” has already won awards. I am extremely thankful to the director Matt Handy for his wonderful work. His vision took my story to a higher level. 

Open Screenplay encouraged me to go and search for a story that I didn’t know I had and also gave me the confidence to start new projects. I am so happy to be a part of the Open Screenplay family.


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