154 posts tagged screenwriting
154 posts tagged screenwriting
The moment in Romeo + Juliet when Leo falls over in the church wasn’t in the script. The floor was slippery which caused him to fall over, but since it fitted in with Friar Laurence’s line “Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast,” it was kept in the film.
Writer/Director/Producer Jill Soloway has always considered herself a “storyteller first and a filmmaker by necessity”. As a child, she and her sister created and performed plays for anyone that they could get to watch. This evolved into a drive to write and direct films and TV and to tell longer and better kinds of stories. Her career has been a successful one, serving as a writer and producer for series such as United States of Tara and Six Feet Under - for which she was nominated for 3 primetime Emmy Awards and a WGA award. She also took home the Best Director prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival for her feature film Afternoon Delight which she both wrote and directed.
Jill’s latest project is Transparent, an original comedy pilot greenlit by Amazon Studios about an L.A. family with serious boundary issues. Their past and future begins to unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone’s secrets to spill out.
We spoke to Jill about her inspirations, her approach to her multiple job titles and her expectations for Transparent.
What inspires you the most about filmmaking?
It’s a huge privilege for me to have an audience give me their brain space for however long I get. I get excited to provide a female voice, and I love inspiring other people to take their non-traditional ways of seeing and transform that into art.
Do you approach writing, directing and producing differently?
Those three jobs have all evolved into one big fat braid of creativity. I’ll write the script first, and then prep would be considered producing. As we prep I get new information about the script.
As a director, 95% of my work is casting. I absolutely have to cast people that I’m a little bit in love with. They have to be so funny that they make me laugh as hard as my sister does. The other 5% is showing up on the day and staying present in my body so I can get that little buzz that says, “Ooooh, this is WORKING. Go in this direction.”
In writing, how do you approach the blank page?
I never sit down and stare at a blank page. I get inspired to write or create a project because the world is revealing itself to me in my head. It happens while I’m driving or falling asleep or waking up. It’s as if the characters are ghosts out there in some vague semi-conscious land, and they’re borrowing me to have an audience with the public! It’s a lot like playing or indulging in imaginary stories as a kid. So when I sit down at the computer, it’s usually because I’ve imagined a scene or heard some dialogue and I want to get it down. Once the actors are cast, the voices evolve and I can get even more specific information.
Joss Whedon’s wisdom, when it comes to productivity, starts with something akin to “eat dessert first”:
I used to write chronologically when I started, from beginning to end. Eventually I went, That’s absurd; my heart is in this one scene, therefore I must follow it. … I always believe in just have as much fun as you can so that when you’re in the part that you hate there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that you’re close to finished. …
I have a reward system. I am the monkey with the pellet and it’s so bad that I write almost everything in restaurants or cafes [so] that when I have an idea, I go and get chocolate. …
The last piece of advice … is fill the tanks, fill the tanks, fill the tanks. Constantly watch things and things you don’t [normally watch]. Step outside your viewing zone, your reading zone. It’s all fodder but if you only take from one thing then it’ll show.