Interview with Screenwriter: Claudia Muñiz

I was born in Havana, Cuba, in the mid 80s, so, yes, I am this rare product from the end of an age when everything became very confusing. I am an actress, screenwriter and filmmaker and I think the world will be terribly boring without Cate Blanchett or Karim Aïnouz; without Marcello Mastroianni, the best actor I’ve ever seen; without Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes, always together; or Tangerine by Sean S. Baker.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

Be loyal to yourself, to your experience. Write about what you know, but also do it about what intrigues you. Never deny your obsessions. Study the classics or whatever moves you deeply. There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from the ones that preceded you. Take the myth then make it yours. Never stop studying, read plays, scripts and please, please, please be aware of books or manuals that promise you the perfect script out of ten simple steps.

When a writer has an idea for a screenplay, what questions should they be asking themselves before writing?

I only can talk from my own experience and the truth is that I try to keep it simple. I believe that every process is different. Every script is a universe and the approach changes from one project to the other. Sometimes I do a very exhaustive research. Sometimes I don’t. It depends on the kind of story I am trying to tell. It doesn’t work like a clock most of the time. Anyway, there are always some questions that are very helpful. For me it has to be the theme. I try to pick a word or a sentence that grabs the sense of the story that is knocking inside my head. Once I have it, everything flows.

What are common myths about being a successful screenwriter?

It is there such a thing? Really, if someone is willing to succeed in this world he or she has to be prepared to fail many times. It is not the easy and romantic concept what are we talking about. It is not a glamorous party all the time. There are moments of tremendous loneliness and hours of hard work coming up.

Why did you choose screenwriting?

I really like to think that screenwriting chose me instead. I am an actor and I started writing almost like a game. It was for a film that I will be leading in. Kiki Álvarez, the director of the film asked me to write some of the parts that involved my character (it was almost the 99%) and I started writing like it was a theater play. I mean in that same format. It was the only one I knew, as I came from a theater school. Therefore, when I started writing, it was not something that I had planned. I try to keep that in perspective all the time. If I start taking it too seriously I am sure I could not do it anymore.

How do you deal with writers block?

Again, the key is not to take it too seriously. I know you have deadlines and that could be a strong source of stress, but I truly defend life over everything else. You, as a writer, need time to live your life. Either with or without writers block, you need to take a time and go places if that is what you like to do. For example I have my best ideas while commuting. I have time to disconnect. I get to see very interesting people and situations. Go outside! Watch a movie! Cook! Play a game! Whatever that makes you feel good.

What organizations are you a part of? Who’s in your writing creative tribe?

I am not in an organization now. I am new in this country. In Cuba film people make alliances, they even have good production houses, but sadly you cannot make it legal. It is very different here and I am starting to understand that. I am willing to be a part of an organization or collective that has the same point of view as me in film. Anyway, here I have found people that helped me a lot with the finalization of my short film “Days of Wholesome Joy.” It could not be possible without Ruth Goldberg and Bill Toles’ magic; or without the unconditional and constant support of 718Studio. They are my tribe here.

Take us through your script writing process?

I do not really have a process. At least not like something you always do the same way, like a routine. Even when I am a very methodical person for the simple things of life like eating or taking a bus, I do not have a system when writing. Sometimes I find a story just by coming up with the title. That is the detonator. At some other occasions there are news on the television or facebook that makes me want to write. Usually I have an idea going on for a very long time. I have it for months and then one day I am able to sit and write it in one week. The script has been written inside my head already. Whatever the process is, I really have the best moments when writing.

What’s next for you?

Now I am writing a script for Bill Toles. It is about family and immigration in this city. About becoming a citizen and the sacrifices that implies. I am also collaborating with creator Pablo Zequeira to write some of the scripts of his animation series “James in High School.” I am planning to film something here in Brooklyn, so I am starting to put things together in order to get the funds to make it real. As an actress I am in the process of finding the right agent and this is very time-consuming… and I am living, that is the most important part.

How can we stay in contact with you? 


IG Accounts @mad_unikitty @con_sana_alegria

Interview with Film Director: Stefanie Garcia 

Hello, my name is Stefanie Garcia. I am a photographer turned writer/director. I have been pursuing my dream of writing screenplays and directing movies for almost a year now. I am still very much in the learning process and that’s the exciting part.

When did you fall in love with filming (your defining moment)?

I have always wanted to work in movies ever since I was a little girl in second grade. The movie that most inspired my love of film was the Color Purple. For whatever reason, it was the movie that spoke to me. I remember very vividly, it making me feel like I could make a film like it.
How did you learn to direct?

A lot of what I have learned has been self taught, but I am always expanding, growing and learning from as many sources as I possibly can.
What do you love about directing? 

I love being able to capture the visual and emotional heart of a story.
You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong? 

I think the most important thing about working with a team is remembering that your ideas are not the only ones. Being open to hearing someone else’s idea and perspective is SO important because you never know what will come of it. I think it is also REALLY important to find a community, online or off, to support you. You can find alot of team members there too. Right now, that online community for me has been ScriptBlast.

What female directors have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why? 

To be honest, I haven’t really been inspired by or influenced by many female directors. There just hasn’t been that many that I’ve connected with. If any director has influenced me it has been Steven Spielberg. However, I will say Bryce Dallas Howard is one to watch for. I love how personable she is.
I often wonder why anyone would want to direct. Why would you want to always have 100 decisions in front of you and have over 100 people waiting on your answer?

That’s funny, I really don’t know why. I just feel like I am in my element, and when I think about it, it makes me smile. It’s something I feel called to do.
What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that? 

As a filmmaker, I feel that my job is to pay attention to the story. The heart of the film. Because I feel, as the audience, we love a good story. It’s a great means to escape and the worst thing is to get invested in one and it fall flat.
What do you look for when looking for a project?

Story, hands down. It has to have a good story.
What’s next for you? 

For me, I’m looking forward to shooting my first short film.

How can we connect with you?

My personal website where I share my journey is   Voice A Dream or follow me on Instagram 




Interview with Vanessa Crocini : Documentary Filmmaker 

I am an Italian documentary filmmaker focused on social impact stories. I don’t believe in borders. I love food.

When did you fall in love with writing (your defining moment)?

I started writing in middle school, I wanted to be a director and I an idea at the time of me directing a film with Robert De Niro being the bad guy. It was a sort of action movie with a romantic love story in it. I still have the notebook with some written pages of that script.

What defines a good story?

A think as long as you can empathize with what’s told on the screen, that’s the secret. We all go through a different range of emotions and we might not be all superheroes that are able to fly, but we are all living miracles so we all feel and experience things or events that can be reproduced through fictional characters or shared through non fictional stories. If we are moved by somebody’s else story is because we are all able to feel.

What drew you to social impact stories to tell/document?

I first discovered I loved documentaries attending film festivals. I met my mentor at a film festival and I was blown away by all his traveling stories filming around the world. I think filmmaking is an amazing way to make people discover and let them know about places, events and people that they wouldn’t know about otherwise. So if we are talking about things that matter like human rights, women empowerment, environmental issues, children’s rights and more people can be aware of these important facts, then it is already a step ahead. I love the fact that through documentaries that talk about important social impact issues, there have been movements that have created awareness and activated change. For example from my Vimeo statistics, I have seen that the trailer of my documentary Get Together Girls has been seen in over 120 countries. Maybe somebody got inspired to create the same project told in the documentary somewhere else. The thing is you never know who is watching and what escalates in them to bring the message to a wider perspective.
What is the first story you ever wrote?

My first script was officially “My First Thanksgiving”, inspired by the very first Thanksgiving I spent with my UCSB roommate Rend and her family. It was a mix of Iraqui and American festivities. I love when two cultures come together and they embrace each other’s elements like that. So I wrote a script about it. It was a comedy.

What movies or stories inspire your creativity?

I watch a lot of documentaries. And especially since I am part of the Social Impact Media Awards committee for 5 years, I get to see more than 300 documentaries in this time of the year. It is unbelievable how many stories inspire me. From anywhere. Again, as long as the human being empathize with what they see on the screen, we can all be inspired, moved, touched by a story.
Do you use writing software? If so what do you use?

I used to write on Final Draft, but I now love Pages. Honestly though, I think it’s really more about writing, it doesn’t matter where you write… Just let the creativity flow, even on a random piece of paper…


What are common myths about being a successful screenwriter?

I think sometimes we get stuck on rules and books and how other people tell you do things. I think everyone has to find their own method. Originality and a unique perspective are the key. So yes, it’s important to read screenwriting books and read scripts, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow the exact same thing. It’s the same in filming or editing. As long as you find your own style and you get your message across, then there is your path!

What’s next for you?

I’m filming my second feature length documentary called Street Poets. I’m following three young men and former gang members who met their mentor in juvenile detention camp a while back through a poetry workshop. Poetry saved their lives then and it is still helping them now figuring their lives as obstacles still arise. An amazing story of brotherhood and community. A woman telling a mans story. Two years in the making and probably another two ahead of me.

How can we keep up with you?



Twitter/Instagram: vanecool



Interview with Screenwriter : D. Patrice Weaver

I was born and raised in California. I received my Master’s degree in Screenwriting from California State University, Northridge. I am currently a Script Analyst and Manuscript Editor, and I have worked in both Development and Film/TV Production for over 10 years.

When did you fall in love with writing (your defining moment)?

About twenty years ago. I started journaling at a very young age and I did it habitually for 10 years. During that time, I came in contact with a TV script for the sitcom Family Matters, and reading it gave me the desire to write for TV. It was in the beginning of my senior year of undergrad when I decided that screenwriting was what I want to do the most.
What movies or stories inspire your creativity?

Westside Story, The Pursuit of Happyness, and The Fault In Our Stars. As a screenwriter, capturing the audience is a major accomplishment when telling a story. The films I just mentioned inspire me to keep writing (in my own unique way) compelling dialogue and heartfelt relationships where people can relate or feel like they are experiencing with the characters their particular journeys.
What is the biggest misconception about being a screenwriter?

That it’s easy to be one.

I believe when you have made the decision to be a screenwriter, you have to do your research and work on the craft. Not doing that is like wanting to build a car but not knowing what parts you need to make the vehicle. You would have to study and do your research so that it will actually work. The same for a screenwriter. You have to read other individual’s scripts and find someone who can successfully proof read or edit your screenplay so that you will have the discipline and knowledge, not just on how to be an effective screenwriter but also on how to capture your readers.
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

Write what you’re passionate about. Your story will be more authentic when the story means a great deal to you.

One of the biggest mistakes first-time writers make? 

Not reading other scripts.
What questions should a writer ask herself prior to crafting their story? 

Has this story been told already? If so, how is mine going to be different?
What’s your favorite quote?

“It doesn’t matter how many people can do what you do. No one can do it like you.”
What’s next for you?

As for screenwriting, I can’t give out details yet. But I can say that I will be collaborating with some filmmakers for a couple of awesome projects.

Outside of screenwriting, I am in the works of starting my own publishing company. The first book to be published will be from one of my clients.

How can we keep in Touch?

Write Me Pink