Elen Boesing, Screenplay Semi-Finalist, LISP 3rd Quarter 2020
- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
I was born and raised in Brazil but moved to the U.S. about 10 years ago. Aside from writing, I've also directed a feature film and currently work as a freelance video editor. I spend a lot of time on my computer. If I'm not working on one of my scripts, I'm certainly working on post-production for some other project.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write?
Growing up in Brazil and having a special interest in politics, I would write a lot in school about culture and social inequalities, mostly as a way of processing the reality I was living and learning about, but also as a way of coping with what I could not change. Once I moved to the US, I started working on film productions and eventually directing projects written by other writers, which allowed me to learn a lot. Now I spend most of my mornings working on my scripts and hope to soon be able to see them come to life.
- How does it feel to have your work recognized?
It's very encouraging. For someone whose English is not their first language, any type of recognition is important in building the confidence to continue writing and telling their story.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Screenplay?
The best thing is being able to create realities based on your own perception of the world while also being able to reimagine situations from different characters’ perspectives. The hardest thing is realizing that not everything you love about your screenplay will serve the story enough to stay in it.
- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected screenplay? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?
"Bad Genes" reflects my own journey and personal growth while living with a mental illness. After I got diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and started looking into my family history, I decided I would never have kids. I would not pass down my "bad genes" and watch my child live through the same hardship. It wasn't until a couple years ago, that I started to understand that perhaps I was looking at it from the wrong angle. Perhaps it’s not about the risk of mental illness, but whether I can be there mentally to guide a child through the challenges. To help them understand the world and themselves.
Mental illness can shatter several family generations if it goes unchecked, and just like with so many other conditions, awareness can make a huge difference in the outcome of the illness. I still haven't had children, but now I'm very open to the idea, and that big shift in mindset is what prompted me to write this screenplay. In a world where a large sum of the population suffers from some type of mental illness and science keeps pointing at a genetic source, it's important to understand our responsibility and the type of special care a child might require once brought into this world.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short screenplay?
Writing a short screenplay is like telling a story to a friend during a casual conversation. You don't need to explain every detail of what happened. It's the story itself that matters. It's the reason why you brought it up or the point you're trying to make. If you get caught up in irrelevant details, the real message gets lost, and eventually their interest.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing competitions?
Best thing: It forces you to have a goal and a deadline.
Hardest thing: Submitting a draft, and only later realizing there could have been significant improvements.
-Lastly, do you recommend writers to give it a go on LISP?