Maurits Jacobs, LISP Screenplay Finalist
- Can you please tell us about you? Where do you live, and how is your daily
I am an MA Scriptwriting student at Bournemouth University, where I live in halls.
Most days, I focus on University projects or freelance translation work, and when I
am not, I am either reading or watching a movie. Other than that, I mostly spent time
either in the gym or going to the pub with friends from the Master courses.
- When did you start writing? How often do you write? We want to learn all about your writing life!
I got into writing after my first year of Media Bachelors in the Netherlands, in which
one of the classes was scriptwriting. I was hooked immediately. Unfortunately this
class only lasted one semester. I wrote a few more scripts during the course, took on
a job as a freelance translator and worked as an intern in social media marketing
which allowed me to keep writing, though it was for a different platform.
After writing mainly short marketing texts I decided to enroll for a Masters in England,
mainly to further my understanding of the English language and to get into
scriptwriting once more. I chose to do the MA Scriptwriting course at Bournemouth
University, where I got the opportunity to write scripts again and have been working
on projects with other students ever since.
- What is your writing process like?
The first draft I write is often done very fast. After coming up with an idea, I start
jotting down whatever springs to mind on a piece of paper and before I know it have
a few pages filled out. Then I edit it and look for inconsistencies along the way.
Depending on the project I then either take feedback from team members or go
through it myself a few times to see what works and what needs changing.
I mainly write after dinner or at night, when I have the most time; which can be a bit
annoying sometimes when I try to sleep but can’t because an idea keeps gnawing at
- How did you feel when you learned that you are a Finalist on The London
Independent Story Prize?
Honestly, it took me a while to realize. I had quite a bad cold at the time and didn’t
read the email all the way through. When I looked at it again I saw the word ‘Laurel’,
which I didn’t know. I opened the link and read the message again at which point I
finally realized that I was a finalist. First thing I did was share the news with the
people closest to me, and it might be unrelated but I felt much better the next day.
- What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Screenplay?
In my mind the most important and difficult discipline to master as a writer is
patience. Re-writing your story, working on it, bit by bit to craft a comprehensive and
compelling story is something that just takes time. However, the feeling you get after
going through this process and ending up with a script you can be proud to call you
own is reward enough to keep you going.
- 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?
Who Are You, started off as an assignment for our second semester project at
University. The Scriptwriting students worked together with students in the Producers
course in coming up with ideas to then present to the rest of the framework
(Directors, Cinematographers, Editors, Sound Designers).
The idea came from the producer I worked with at the time, Raon Lee, and was
inspired by the real life death of K-pop star Sulli who committed suicide after a live-
stream with her fans. Though not the definitive cause, cyberbullying played heavily in
her life, which is where the scripts theme originated from.
To me it seemed however that there would be two sides to this story that are worth
exploring, that of the victim and the bully. In this case, both seem fine behind the
masks they hold up, one hiding behind her celebrity, the other behind anonymity
online, but behind that is where their true feelings hide.
Overall the story took about three months to finalize, including implementing
feedback and revisions.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short screenplay?
Well, my lecturers would say read a lot of screenplays. This is the best way to
understand what they are all about and can provide insight in what works and doesn’t
work in scripts.
As far as tips for when you write, I think the best advice I can give is to try and let it
flow organically at first. See how much you can get out of your idea without
overthinking it, just write down whatever you can and after that, take your time to go
through things. This way of working might not be for everyone but it is a great way to
create at least a starting point form your story.
For the re-writing part, I would say let other people read your work and give you
feedback. Taking feedback is not always the easiest especially if it is a script you
worked very hard on but it is necessary to make the script the best it can be. You
don’t need to implement all of the feedback though, in the end it is still your work, but
this does give you some idea of how your story will be perceived which is always
useful to know.
- What's the best thing about writing competitions?
I think the best thing about writing competitions is that it gives you a chance to test
your skills as a writer. Since writing is very subjective and there is never a real right
or wrong way of doing it; measuring up against others provides at least some idea of
how well your work is received.
-Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on writing a Screenplay
Yes, it is a great opportunity and shows that you are working on your craft and are
taking it serious.