3 Tips on Creating Your Own Fairy Tale

fairy tale
photo by Steven Mattson Hayhurst, editor: Dan Leveille

Yesterday, I had an inspiring conversation with Steven Tylor O’Connor, writer of, A Fairy Tale. He spoke about the project, how it came to life and what inspired him, but it was his philosophy on making you’re own fairy tale come true that captivated me–so I had to explore it for those of you out there that are wondering, “Can I really make it happen? Can I make my dreams come true?”

We might not have a real-life fairy godmother, but after heeding Steven’s advice, we might not need one after all to live happily ever after.

Nando: Tell me about your film.

STOC: A Fairy Tale is a short film about Jack and Jill on the night of their senior prom. Jill is going to the prom with Prince Charming while Jack stays home until his fairy godmother appears and helps him get there.

Nando: Where did the inspiration for this come about?

STOC: I read a short story that a former roommate lent me–fairy tales with Jack and Jill, Mother Goose, and different nursery rhymes and the spark began there. I love taking characters that we love and know–like Jack and Jill and putting them in different situations. (That’s one of the reasons I love Shrek!)  Another piece of inspiration came from Constance McMillen, a teen lesbian, who challenged the Itawamba School District over a policy that prohibited her from bringing her girlfriend to the prom and wearing a tuxedo.

Nando: So there’s a message in your art?

STOC: Don’t get the wrong idea–[the film] it is about entertainment, but when someone creates art with a purpose and message, people seem to embrace it a little more. And my message is that you don’t need a fairy godmother to make your dreams come true. No one wants to be told, “You need to change the way you’re thinking becauase it’s wrong,” but if the topic comes up while watching my movie, and it brings a little social change, then so be it.

Nando: How did Sherry Vine get involved with the project?

STOC: I actually wrote the part of the fairy godmother with Sherry in mind. She’s a good friend of mine and when I approached her with the project–she reviewed it and accepted. And we’re all glad she did.

Nando: How did you manage to write this? Do you have a 9-5?

STOC: Since moving to New York in 2006, I’ve always been writing something. I’ve always been doing something creative besides my survival job in order to pay the rent. See, even if you hate your survival job (if it’s outside of the creative) or you’re working crazy hours–you have to have a creative outlet.

Nando: But if you do have a 9-5, how do you fit it in? What tips do you have for those who might get lost or veer off their creative paths?

STOC: I have 3 tips to making your own fairy tale happen.

1. You have to want it…BAD. You have to want to see your work through so much that it’s a driving force. It’s really hard and NYC is a tough city to live in and pursue your dreams and some people find a job that promises a lot more financlial security and they end up giving up on their dreams and hopes–but if you acknowledge that you want it more than anything–you’ll make it happen.

2. Look for the opportunity to work on your dreams. For New Yorkers, the subway is a great opportunity to use our free time while riding. I would write on the subway, work on edits on the subway. Listen, I had a 40 minute commute; I wrote! I don’t have to sit at home and write–I do it while I’m on my way to my survival job. Look for the open times. Where can I work on my art; lunch break, subways, where?

3. Have fun with it. If you see your art as a job/chore, then it’s not going to be a great motivator, but if it’s a release, not a chore, that “fun” rush will drive you through. I work all day, but then I come home and work on my movie, and after spending 10 hours at work, it’s still what I want to do with my free time. If you don’t see your art as work–it makes you want to keep going.

Nando: So what’s next for A Fairy Tale?

STOC: We have a list of 150 film festivals that we’d like to submit it to, but we have to be strategic about it. In an ideal world, someone will want to get it distributed onto DVD or even onto Logo. But we’ve submitted the film to the Berlin International Film Festival–we managed to submit it with only a few days to spare before their deadline, because we just recently completed the editing process. Wish us luck! And we’d love to have major support at our NYC screening, so make sure to come!

Speaking to Steven was a blessing in disguise, it benefited me–probably a little more than it did him. I recently accepted a 9-5 corporate job and have been struggling with the idea of balancing my art with the “real world” but I think with Steven’s sound advice, I won’t spend my time wishing for my fairy godmother to appear–whisking me to a fantasy land, but instead will use that time to create one for others.

If you’re planning on being in New York City on Monday, November 22nd, come to the film’s New York City Screening/Premier at VIG 27 (FREE) and join Steven along with the cast. For more details visit A Fairy Tale’s event page on facebook.

Please visit his website www.steventyloroconnor.com for more info on Steven and his project, A Fairy Tale.

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