EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes (http://www.af.mil/News/ThroughAirmensEyes.aspx)" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)
For some, a visit to the dentist feels like a nightmare. But, for Capt. Eric Koenig, the 412th Aerospace Medicine Squadron dental flight commander, he hopes that it's his after-hours hobby that really keeps people awake at night.
For the last three years, the 13-year veteran has spent his nights and weekends writing screenplays. On this past Veterans Day, he accepted an offer from Paramount Pictures to purchase one of his scripts, "Matriarch," a story that revolves around two powerful, female characters. The screenplay sold for an amount in the mid six-figure range.
"You hear 'matriarch' and you might think 17th Century England; it has nothing to do with that," Koenig said. "It's a current serial killer movie. The definition of matriarch is a powerful woman, head of the house, which goes for both of these women in this screenplay."
The plot follows a female serial killer on death row and her prison psychologist. There is one undisclosed piece of information left that would reveal the location of the killer's final victim. The psychologist finds herself working to find that information prior to her patient's impending execution.
"I like dark stuff; this is definitely a dark, violent thriller in the vein of "Silence of the Lambs." I like to see those kind of movies, so naturally that's what I'm going to write," said Koenig.
Without any formal training, Koenig learned to write screenplays by reading books on the subject.
The week before his screenplay was bought, "Matriarch" was entered in a Launch Pad contest on a Hollywood insider information website. His piece made it into the top 25, attracting the attention of a marketing team made up of a manager, an agent and an entertainment lawyer.
"Hearing the play had been purchased -- completely surreal," he said. "It was a big deal. The night prior I was getting phone calls from my team, saying we've got this offer and let's consider it."
While the purchase does not guarantee that a movie will be made, Koenig is hopeful that he will see his work on the big screen within the next few years.
"I would love for (people watching the movie premiere) to be absolutely terrified," he said. "I'd love for them to not be able to fall asleep that night. It's not about the money. I love writing, it's what I'm passionate about. I'm a dentist here during the week and that's my number one job, but evenings and weekends, I write."
When asked if he would seek a full-time career in screenplay writing, Koenig said, "I'm very passionate about dentistry, I love being in the Air Force, I love being a military dentist. I also love writing so the future is up in the air, but if I could do them both simultaneously that would be ideal.
"I would encourage anyone, and I'm living proof, that everyone should follow their dreams. It sounds cliche to say that, but it's the truth. You should never settle for anything that you're less than 100 percent invested in."
He went on to say that this is particularly true when it comes to a career.
"If you don't enjoy your career, there are other things you can do," he said. "Too often people can get in a rut and they think they have to tough this out. Perfect example, I have a law enforcement background and I didn't want to be in law enforcement anymore. I wanted to become a dentist and the chances of that happening were very slim, but I made that happen. Even though I love being a dentist, I had this crazy idea to become a screenplay writer; no one should settle for less than what they love doing."
(Content was used from "Airman, screenwriter says follow your dreams")