In the Spotlight: Joaquin Hernandez
With screenwriting, you will always find opinion articles on how difficult and elusive the path to success can be. One thing which is rarely discussed about the screenwriter is the excitement and eagerness which comes with discovering this craft as your passion. With Joaquin, it can be clearly seen and it is infectious. His love for screenwriting and his dedication to learning and growing at it is something we all need to fuel us through the difficult and winding path ahead. This is why I am excited to introduce you to him.
This is Joaquin Hernandez...
Growing up in Phoenix, I had a whole environment to explore. When I first moved to Illinois I wanted to continue digging deeper as to what I could discover about popular culture. As of today, despite the challenges during this time, I am a creative individual who has grown up in an amazing generation of popular culture and inspiration, all with a loving family to share it with.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
A: It had begun a lot earlier on in my childhood, back when I lived in my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. But the revelation did not occur until I was in my junior year of high school, I had enjoyed many compelling films and TV shows prior to first familiarizing myself with the
essentials of screenwriting.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
A: The many screenwriters and film directors of our current generation. Another source is the
film production management service known as Studiobinder (their YouTube channel is like a
teacher, learning so much about the filmmaking process and all the various layers of focus).
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
A: The first person to inspire me to take this path was my screenwriting professor Justin Hayden, whose classes I attended at College of DuPage. His classroom environment felt comfortable and you can keep your eagerness intact. The other person who believed in me was one of my old screenwriting classmates in the same class, her name was Catherine Zimmerman, and in December of 2020 (near the end of the fall semester), she gave me feedback that would help me sharpen my skills.
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Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
A: The moment I realized that the first draft of a concept was not going to be praised by
everyone right away. From that moment onward, I simply could not stop conceiving ideas and writing them down on paper hoping that they could reach fruition to a film.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
A: It is the moment when I learned of an Official Selection status on my Filmfreeway dashboard for one of my submitted screenplays, and it progresses towards category in the finals of any festival let alone win in that category.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life.
When online learning isn’t a priority, I always wake up in the morning at 7:00 A.M, and the first thing I do is make whatever breakfast I can to continue with my basic morning routine. When it comes to lunch, I always make something with what I already have, and then that isn’t an option I always get carryout like Chipotle or Subway. I mix it up to keep my flow of concentration steady and balanced. During the day, I almost always keep a can of Red Bull on my desktop to give me a little boost of energy transitioning into the late evening/night hours. During the actual night hours, I ensure that I always make the revisions I need before heading off to bed. I define a successful day when all the boxes on my scriptwriting to-do list have been checked off and the new one is ready for the next day.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you’ve developed on your path to screenwriting?
A: Utilizing story structures and how they can be able to convey the vision you wish to share to the audience (Example: Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat beat sheet).
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
A: Writing a narrative that is a compelling fiction that is built atop a foundation of truth. An
approach that is known as “Docu-Fiction” (when a historical event is embedded inside of a
scripted drama; the Safdie brother’s Uncut Gems for example).
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you’ve made?
A: A sliver of recognition to begin with, by which I mean my 2020 Official Selection laurel from Script Summit.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
How other’s perspectives allow them to be focused and hardworking on their scripts, as well as their strategies in rewriting for additional drafts.