Danielle Lima, LISP Screenplay Finalist
- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live and how is your daily life?
I'm a Brazilian screenwriter, post graduated in English Literature from University of the State of Rio de Janeiro and passionate about films, art, literature and theatre. I have worked at various independent production companies as a freelance writer and script consultant.
I spend most of my time writing, reading screenplays, watching films and TV series, speaking to people, observing life.
I also love spending time in nature where I can easily feel reinvigorated and inspired. It is an escape to leisure but also to creativity, to silence and to the stillness inside. I guess that’s how I keep carving my path into writing.
- When did you start writing?
I studied English Literature at university and stories have always been a fundamental part of who I am. But it wasn’t until I lived in London that I realized writing was truly the career path for me.
All I’ve experienced and seen there has somehow encouraged me to go after the professional life I was striving for. I felt confident enough to turn all that enthusiastic dream into an actual career.
I took a screenwriting course at Raindance Film School, wrote a few shorts, focused even more on my skills, started sending scripts to festivals, kept busy writing new ideas and rewriting old stuff long put aside.
The turning point was when my first short WINGS (a film that reveals much of my own and solitary self-discovery journey whilst living in London) was produced and brought to life by London director Tiago Di Mauro who believed in me and in my project. The recognition, the nominations and awards we got with WINGS were a powerful boost to my writing.
-How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!
I write everyday, even in the face of a writer’s block or a bad day. It was not always like that, though. I’ve lost count the number of times I avoided writing because I was not feeling inspired. Hopefully, discipline has hit me and helped me to overcome procrastination. It has also taught me that distraction is my worst enemy, that I must be truthful to myself when I write, that the very first word on paper or on screen will lead to something, and that something will lead to something else. And, last but not least, discipline has taught me that I must love what I do if I want to succeed in my writing career.
I’m honoured to say that my script THE PHOTOGRAPHER was Finalist on the London Independent Story Prize and on a few other international screenwriting contests.
WINGS was Finalist at the Zaragoza Film Festival, in Spain, and was awarded a DOP at Kalaburagi International Film Festival, in India.
Poetry also plays an important role in my life. Though I’m not a poet, once I took the risk to put into words a childhood memory that has been warmly kept in my heart for a long time. The idea for the poem came about one night when I dreamt of my grandma. It was so elaborate and vivid, so faithful to what we had been through together. Much to my surprise, this poem - A MULHER INVISÍVEL (The Invisible Woman) - has been published in a few Brazilian anthologies of emerging poets.
Currently, I am working on a new short. I'm always open to new projects.
-How did you feel when you learned that you are a Finalist on The London Independent Story Prize?
I felt more than honoured and couldn’t be prouder to have gotten this far. I’m so grateful for this amazing opportunity. It’s rewarding to be among wonderful and talented writers.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Screenplay?
The best thing about writing a screenplay is, when I write, I feel so alive. All I need is my imagination, a keyboard and a quiet place for the story to take shape.
The hardest is to get through the drafts. The rewriting process. It demands time, patience and attention. It is an intense, tough journey ahead. Hopefully, I know how to enjoy the ride. After all, keep writing is the only option left.
- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected script? Is there a story behind your story? And how long have you been working on it?
THE PHOTOGRAPHER tells the story of a mysterious woman who, after a pact with unseen forces, needs to sacrifice young women in an attempt to stop herself from aging. It’s a thriller with touches of magical realism and an analogy for women’s relationship to time. A reflection upon youth, middle age and old age. The ending is open to speculation and to a possible sequel exploring the protagonist’s past and present.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short screenplay?
Love your story, understand and connect with each of your characters.
Establish a goal and get started right now!
Write a screenplay you can relate to. Something that resonates with you.
Don’t imitate. Write from your own and unique voice.
Trust your instinct.
Allow yourself time. Writing a screenplay demands dedication.
Take a walk in nature. It can be truly inspiring.
- What's the best thing about writing competitions?
Writing contests are a wonderful way to encourage and challenge writers to write better, to have more discipline, to take our craft more seriously and, above all, to get our creative juices flowing. It’s also an important tool to get the attention from various professionals of our industry. Serious contests like LISP can open doors and even further careers. Writing is a lonely life, that said, I confess that receiving a recognition of appreciation of my writing is reassuring. Writing competitions have also improved my self-esteem and confidence in my skills.
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on writing a Screenplay and LISP?
I would thoroughly recommend the writers, especially emerging writers, to submit their screenplays to LISP. It’s a respected, serious, very well run and well organized contest. I look forward to submitting other projects soon. Thank you so much for such a lovely and enriching experience.