Ron Hervey paid $75 for an all-access pass to the Reel East Texas Film Festival in Kilgore two years ago to see what screenwriting and movie production is all about. Next month, the Paris Public Library supervisor returns free of charge with two short screenplays in the competition.
The screenplays — “Swamp Witch,” about two Louisiana men who haggle with a witch, and “Broken Dreams,” about nursing home roommates who attempt to turn back time, took first and second place in September at a Florida film festival with consistent wins throughout the year.
“It took me by surprise, but I am enjoying it,” Hervey said of his newfound success after a mere two years hammering out script for possible 15-minute films, which are gaining in popularity in the internet streaming world. “So far I’ve just won trophies, but I hope someday to kick it up to the next level and make a little money.”
Hervey believes “Broken Dreams” has the most promise, however, “Swamp Witch” beat out “Broken Dreams” at a Florida festival in September.
“I was pleased to win a first and a second place,” Hervey said. “Now these festivals are not the Sundance Festival (Robert Redford sponsor), but they are good for small film producers. One I placed in had more than 300 entries.”
A 1982 Irving High School graduate, Hervey spent time in the U.S. Marines before moving to the Paris area in 1989 to be with his parents, who returned home to Bogata after “emptying their nest.” He studied journalism at Paris Junior College, worked several jobs and landed at the Paris Library in 1997.
“I’ve been a storyteller as long as I can remember,” Hervey said, explaining he dictated his version of Frankenstein to his mother when he was 6 years old. He has penned several short stories and a novel was in the works before he turned his attention to screenwriting.
“I started a writers group at the library, and it ran for about two years,” Hervey said. “About three years ago, we had a movie night that featured screenwriting and movie production, and for some reason it clicked with me. My first intentions were strictly as a writer, but after researching the subject, I was bitten by the filmmaking bug.”
Hervey created Copper Pen Pictures LLC in 2018 and teamed with friends Juan Espinosa and Mike Pickering to produce “The Exit Bag,” a dark comedy that follows a character as he checks into a hotel to end his life. The short film is based on a story Hervey penned several years ago. It had its premiere at the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase in July and will enter competition at the Lost River Film Festival in San Marcos scheduled Oct. 17-20.
“We made this film as a learning experience, and I have learned a lot since then,” Hervey said. “We could have done better.”
Plans are in the works now to produce his award-winning screenplay, “Broken Dreams,” hopefully in March, Hervey said.