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This OD’s Horror Story Has a Happy Ending

The pandemic allowed a lifelong dream to be pursued.

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night moon covered with dark clouds

I ALWAYS WANTED TO be a movie maker. But instead of chasing my dreams, I went the more practical route and became an optometrist. After graduation, I built my practice, got married and started a family … and the idea of making movies stayed on the back burner.

Call it fate or call it destiny — most are calling it a pandemic — but COVID-19 shut down my practice in March. That changed my life. At first, it was kind of nice. Not working meant more time with family, a way to make up for all of those small milestones I had missed. Then came the endless lists of chores around the house, many of which had waited years to be done. Eventually, when the coronavirus pandemic refused to go away and all of those tasks were exhausted, the lifelong dream of making a movie reared its head again. Instead of just pursuing it as a hobby, I wanted it to be official, so I started a production company: Scary Night Productions.

The basic plot of my first movie — Don’t Be Afraid — is simple:

Don’t Be Afraid starts with a group of young adults sitting around the living room telling spooky stories during a power outage on the night of a blood moon. Each story has its own unique, dark plot twist based on the urban legend of Crane. Crane had an unconventional birth, but his deeply religious mother strived diligently to instill the word of God in him. As the movie progresses the viewer sees the constant internal struggle between good and evil, and by the time the stories are done, the friends have realized the common link between them … one that is deadly. The movie posits the eternal question: What is more important, genetics or environment? But at its core, Don’t Be Afraid is also a tragic story of forbidden love. Crane falls in love with a rich man’s daughter, but rather than allow Crane to marry his daughter, he murders her instead. As an act of defiance, Crane returns from the grave to haunt him … and others.

My goal is to bring the terror and suspense of classic horror movies to the modern era. I hope to create a movie so scary that you can’t stand to watch another minute, but, at the same time, you can’t. Stop. Watching.

Of course, I dream of this becoming a blockbuster, but the reward of making it is enough. I wrote the script and plan on filming it myself. In between, I’ve spent countless hours learning every aspect of movie making and investing in equipment. Now, I am ready to film. Once the restrictions on social distancing are lifted, it will be lights, camera, action!

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So what can you learn from this? Simple. My message to you is this: Find a sliver of something to do for yourself. There will always be time to chase dollars. Eyecare is important. Family is vital. But doing something for yourself is priceless. This “me” time is something that I will continue even as the economy recovers and my practice rebounds. What are you doing for you?

Dr. Deepak Gupta graduated from NEWENCO in 1999. Since then he has been practicing full scope optometry in a private practice setting with an emphasis on glaucoma and keratoconus. He has also authored two novels, Lorna: The Queen Of Blood and Justified Murder. He recently started Scary Night Productions (www.scarynight.org) to film his first horror film. Email him at [email protected]

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