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Olayitan Williams, LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Screenplay Winner

LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Screenplay Winner Olayitan Williams by 'Homecoming'

Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

I’m 26, from Freetown Sierra Leone. My name means the honour continues which I never fail to mention as it is quite cool. At the moment my daily life involves staying at home, watching Netflix and feeling guilty about not doing more writing. Once we get to go back outside, I’m going to make as many short films as I can.

When did you start writing?

I have always loved reading and to some extent writing. It wasn’t till I was in University, studying biology, that I had the lightbulb moment. I could be a writer!

How often do you write?

I would like to say every day but… I’ll say at least 4 days a week. I try to rotate between different projects because the only thing better than starting a new project is finishing and whenever I rotate it’s like I’m doing both.

I self-published a comic-book in 2019 and I’m in the process of creating another issue, @agogecomics on Instagram.

In 2020, I co-wrote a short film, Young Adults, which premiered at the Raindance Film Festival 2020.

How does it feel to have your work recognised?

Validation is always nice.

What's the best thing and the hardest thing about writing a Screenplay?

I like writing a story with a single focus. Sometimes though you come across emotions that can’t be explored well in short form.

How did you come up with the idea for your LISP winning script?

Back when I decided to become a writer, I started reading books and doing research as I’m sure we all do. A piece of advice was to write what you know. What I knew at the time was the doubt I was feeling and all the reasons why writing would be a bad idea so the seed for this script came from that.

Is there a story behind your story?

I think the whole scenario for this story came from a personal fear of my new endeavour. The story itself was a what’s the worse that could happen scenario and actually figuring out how to tell this story helped dispel that fear.

And, how long have you been working on it?

I think I’ve had the idea for this script till 2017. I didn’t write it at the time but it was so clear in my mind that It persisted for years. When I actually started writing it only took me a couple of days to finish the first draft. 5 months and 13 drafts later, it’s a LISP 2020 winning script.

Can you please give us a few tips about writing a short screenplay?

Keep it Simple. I find that when I have multiple characters trying to achieve various unrelated goals or trying to delve into each individual, it just turns into a muddle. Who is the protagonist? How is everything related? What was the point? It helps me to focus on why I wanted to write a piece in the first place, be it an emotion, a character or a situation and focus on delivering that.

What's the best thing and the hardest thing about festivals and competitions?

I like the feedback. People who I wouldn’t normally have access to get to read my scripts and the notes from some festivals are very insightful. The hardest thing for me sometimes is the uncertainty with some of the results. I have a script that was a finalist in a festival but not even selected for any others and none of those had any feedback so I’m left wondering what was good and what was not.

Lastly, do you recommend the writers to give it a go on LISP?

Definitely. Who knows? You might even win.



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