American Gem 2006 Short Screenplay Competition - BY THE HAND
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Alexandra Torterotot

Fourth Place Winner

Alexandra Torterotot
of Paris, France

Alexandra was born in Paris, France and lived there until the age of 14. She then moved to Geneva, Switzerland where she finished high school. She immediately started film school in Paris and soon realized she wanted to gain experience in the US. She chose New York because she felt she would gain the best experience there as an aspiring filmmaker. She got a BFA in directing at School of Visual Arts. During her stay of 8 years in NY, she interned on several movies (25th Hour, She Hate Me, It Runs in the Family, People I Know) and eventually worked for a year on films (Inside Man, The Notorious Bettie Page), music videos and commercials. She has recently moved back to Paris to continue her career in filmmaking.


I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter.......  

and director at a very young age. I was always mesmerized by the magic of filmmaking and absolutely wanted to find out how movies were made. I soon realized that I could also tell my stories filmically and have since built my life towards that goal.

I know I've succeeded.......  

When one of my scripts will be optioned and Iím directing it.

My inspiration to write BY THE HAND.......

Came from seeing a young boy and an old homeless woman in full conversation in the streets of New York. I started imagining how they knew each other and came up with the story for the script.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Alexandra Torterotot: My inspiration for screenwriting comes from my main goal, directing. I want to direct my stories more than anything else.

FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to write your first script? 

Alexandra Torterotot: I read a lot of short stories, news articles and poems in order to find inspiration for my first short screenplay. I ended up choosing a poem by Lord Byron.

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to write BY THE HAND?

Alexandra Torterotot: This is I think my 9th short script and it took me about a month to complete the final draft.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Alexandra Torterotot: Not really. The one main thing I do is leave a couple of days in between each draft to get a better objective point of view when I re-read my script.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Alexandra Torterotot: I do believe screenplay contest are important because they are an opportunity to have your script read by professionals and depending on the competition, get a chance to get it made into a film.

FilmMakers Magazine:
What influenced you to enter the American Gem Short Script Competition?

Alexandra Torterotot: I am a frequent reader of Filmmakerís Magazine and believe that the competition is worth participating in because I believe the judges have a worthy opinion.

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Alexandra Torterotot: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind because it is a script that ignores the usual conventions of screenwriting, yet still manages to capture the audience with its great characters and dialogue.

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Alexandra Torterotot: As mentioned before, Iím most passionate about directing. I want everyone to share the stories I have in mind and Iím most at ease with expressing myself visually.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Alexandra Torterotot: There are many, but the one that comes to mind is Charlie Kaufman. His imagination is so wild and he manages to create a coherent exciting story despite his unusual writing style.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?

Alexandra Torterotot: MIf Hitchcock were alive, I would definitely choose him! Today, I would say the French director Cedric Klapisch. He is great at both screenwriting and directing and manages to create great chemistry with his actors. He often starts shooting before the script is done and is inspired to write the rest as he moves along. I find that method quite interesting and would love to see him in action.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Alexandra Torterotot: My dream would be to work with Meryl Streep. If she decides to act in a film, you know the screenplay is worth it. The way she embodies each character is exhilarating and it is interesting for a screenwriter to see his/her character come to life through someone as talented as she is.

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Alexandra Torterotot: Always have your script read by other people, especially those who are not linked to the industry. This can shed new light on the script and bring new dimensions to your script.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Alexandra Torterotot: I have just moved to Paris and am looking for a job in the film industry. In the meantime, I am continuing to write.

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Alexandra Torterotot: On set, directing my own film.

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