I knew I
wanted to be a screenwriter.......
In college. I was
trying to figure out to do with my life and considered how much I love
cinema and thought, Other people get to do this for a living, why not
I know I've
because the process of writing this
script has confirmed my faith in myself as a writer--I have taken
“talent” and “inspiration” to a higher level— I have learned the craft
to write JUST A GIRL.......
came from a
discussion with my mother. I told her things weren’t working as well
as I had hoped with my film noir comedy “The Lady from Hong Kong.” She
said. “Why don’t you do a film about date rape? It’s a very important
subject that no one talks about.” As part of her degree requirements
she volunteered a local shelter. I started writing this story and
integrated the ancient myth of “The Rape of Persephone”—which has
always been one of my favorite myths..
What inspired you to write?
always been a writer—when I was really little I used to make up
characters and scenarios with my friends. Then as soon as I learned
how to use a pencil I started writing. I devoured books, stories and
poems and it came naturally to write my own.
FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to
write your first script?
My first script
was a mess—I didn’t know what I was doing, I had no preparation, no
training. It was very literary, not dramatic or cinematic.
Is this your first script and how long did it take you to write
JUST A GIRL?
This is not my first script. I had written several
shorts prior to this one—two major shorts, also one feature during my
first two years of film school. This script took nine months to write.
Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?
Yes. I found it most productive to do the writing first thing in the morning—roll out of bed and get onto the computer at my desk. I would work 6 to 12 hours, depending. Some of that time was spent doing writing exercises, reading screenwriting books, doing research and watching relevant films. And it was imperative to take an hour to go to the gym! (stress/anxiety relief)
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests
are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
Yes—this contest gave me tremendous confidence in my story and in my abilities.
FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the
American Gem Short Script Competition?
I thought it wouldn’t hurt to apply! I thought that being part of the competition would help establish my credibility and possibly help my fundraising efforts.
What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?
read Chinatown—it’s excellent. I enjoyed reading the Ice Storm, also—I
couldn’t put it down.
Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?
Music—because you can FEEL what can only be expressed clumsily in
Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?
My favorite screenwriter is Quentin Tarantino because he brilliantly
weaves together influences to make films that are uniquely his own. He
constantly goes against convention while re-inventing archetypal
Name the director you would love to work with and why?
I want to work with ME! I would like to direct my own screenplays.
There are many directors I admire—Lynch, Tarantino, but they also
write their own scripts.
Name the actor you would love to work with and why?
Scourtis: I would love to work with Michael Pitt—he’s an incredibly
intense, brave, passionate actor. Also, Scarlett Johansen—she’s
intelligent, vulnerable and beautiful.
Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?
What's next for you?
Scourtis: Film festivals, meetings, features.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from
Scourtis: Working on a