Robert recently published a collection of short screenplays called SHORT ATTENTION SPAN, which was named one the “Top 10 Books of October” by ProjectDreamscape.org. His short film, THE TASTE OF SALT, won five awards in five festivals earlier this year in an abbreviated festival run. It was picked up by Silicon Beach Distribution. His latest short, A MOTHER’S LOVE, starring Veronica Alicino (At War With Grandpa, The Irishman), was recently released on YouTube. It got over 1,000 organic views and 100 likes in the first two days, and the feedback has been wonderful.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Robert about his career. Check out the interview below.
Q1. Thank you for granting the interview, Robert! We are excited to speak with you about your career. You chose to go off the beaten path of the established system to create your own way. How has the journey been, thus far?
My pleasure! Thank you for interviewing me.
My journey has been, in one word, incredible. I wouldn’t wish to change any part of it, even the challenges. They were all opportunities to learn and become a better person, a better artist. If I’d have found my way into the established system, and had an easy road, I wouldn’t be me – or at least not the me I am today, and I like me! I really, really like me!
I always assumed my journey would unfold organically, and my work would evolve, and it has. My career started in costume design, which then transitioned into makeup, and I loved both. I worked in the theatre and on films. I learned a lot. Writing, which had always been a hobby, became a more serious interest, and with the experiences I’d gained collaborating with others on set, filmmaking became the next step in the evolution of my art.
I’m not opposed to hard work, and I’ve had a blast beating down this path, so I’m going to own it.
Q2. You have published fiction, plays, screenplays and produced live play readings. What has inspired this?
I’m inspired by the art of storytelling. Is there anything better than stories around a campfire? When you think about the oral tradition of sharing stories to entertain or inform, to save a shared history; it’s human nature. Theatre and film grew from this tradition, becoming collaborative mediums for a group of people to tell the same story. Publishing my work is just another avenue of sharing those stories with others; Amazon is my campfire.
Q3. You recently published a collection of short screenplays called “Short Attention Span.” It was named one of the “Top 10 Books of October” by ProjectDreamscape.org. Tell us what readers can expect.
Readers can expect to be entertained! I wanted to publish shorts, screenplays under twenty pages because you can read an entire film in a few minutes, and I thought it was important to prove you can tell a story in just a few pages – beginning, middle, and end. The selections included in the book were chosen to show a range of genres: thrillers, comedy, romance. It’s a cross-section of what I find entertaining.
Q4. Your short film “The Taste of Salt” has won five awards. You must be excited about the response.
The response has been fantastic. When I started working on the film, I was so dead set against submitting to festivals. Then, during post, I thought it couldn’t hurt to submit to a few festivals. I made a short list of festivals, paid the submission fees, and before long, we’d been selected for the five festivals to which we submitted, and we won awards at each.
Q5. What’s next in your career?
I can’t seem to stop writing, so I think there’s much more of that in the future. Ideally, I’d like to be writing for a production company, rather than writing for myself, and hoping someone will want to read it. However, I have completed two feature-length screenplays I’d love to direct; that’s the ultimate goal – to continue being a writer/director.
Q6. What can fans expect from your film?
My latest short, A MOTHER’S LOVE, which is available on YouTube, is a slice-of-life family drama. It’s about a woman who leaves her husband – and essentially her 18-year old son – and starts a new life. The film focuses on this one morning, the first time she and her son have met face-to-face since she left.
I think the audience can expect to be moved by the story. They may find a bit of themselves in the characters. That would be the big take away.
You assume there’s a time when I’m not writing.
I like to get together with friends, go out to dinner, to the movies or see a play. Whenever possible, I try to get outside. Nothing recharges me faster than spending time in nature. Once a year, I head back to the woods where I grew up to really renew myself.
I waste a lot of time on social media, too; not always posting, but following along. It’s incredibly voyeuristic. There are some really great stories on social media. I can say Facebook and Instagram have been a huge source of inspiration for me.
Q8. Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?
Nothing comes to mind. I feel I’ve waffled on for long enough. Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me.
For more information about Robert Hensley, please visit his website: bit.ly/roberthensley
The artwork/posters were designed by Robert Hensley.