Do you ever meet people and wonder how the heck they fit everything they do each day into 24 hours? That’s what happened when I learned more about screenwriter Rhonda R. Johnson, a recent contestant in SoCreate’s “So, Write Your Bills Away” Sweepstakes and an accomplished woman.
Rhonda told me she knew she wanted to be a storyteller since she was five. Of course, she didn’t know the word “screenwriter” at the time, but she’d spend hours in front of her grandmother’s mirror playing dress-up as fictional characters in her imaginary world. When she was ten, she decided she wanted to write movies. Fast forward to 2014, and Rhonda, now an adult, still could not stop thinking about pursuing her writing more seriously. A single mom, she packed up her family and moved from Chicago to California to follow her dream.
“I joined a community of writers called the Kingdom Writers Association (KWA), and from there I began writing, entering contests, and realizing my childhood dream of writing and creating films,” she told us. And she's modest because her friends say she does more than write as part of the Kingdom Writer’s Association, a resource center for Christian writers based in San Diego.
“Rhonda serves as a Vision Lead, encouraging others in their writing process, and also oversees our KWA Kids program, building, equipping, and igniting the next generation of writers. Currently, she is helping the youth (ages 8-15) write, act, and direct their own screenplay,” her director Jill Wycoff told us.
Between parenting, working full-time, leading in KWA, assisting others with their writing and theater projects, and serving as a leader in her church, Rhonda still manages to make time for writing, because it’s integral to who she is.
“Take your time,” she told us when we asked her about the best advice she’s received on screenwriting. “Write the message that you want the audience to receive, not what you believe the audience wants to hear.”
“I believe whatever you do in life, you will always be giving part of yourself that others need. Whether it’s how you’ve overcome obstacles, how you stayed alive after overcoming the obstacles, or the lessons you learned, people are entertained in the midst of that, but it’s always about the message you have to offer within your story that will inspire someone else in whatever way.”
While not in LA, Rhonda is closer to the “action” than most writers scattered across the country, but she says the key to staying connected is something that anyone, anywhere can do. “I’ve learned that entering contests is really great for those wanting to get noticed, improve their writing skills, and glean great feedback from industry professionals.”
Ultimately though, screenwriting is about more than getting noticed, she said.
“I want to write films that inspire, provoke, challenge, and heal people, bringing them to their highest self, the person they were born to be.”
Rhonda is currently polishing a draft screenplay. You can read an excerpt of her script “Even If the Sun Don’t Shine” here.
There’s time if you make time,
Courtney Meznarich, Director of Community Outreach