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Sebastian Davis, LISP Film Festival 2023 Short Screenplay Winner, Bell Tolls

LISP Film Festival 2023 Short Screenplay Winner, Bell Tolls by Sebastian Davis

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

I am a Bristol-based freelance screenwriter. I studied television at Falmouth University where I learnt all the knowledge I needed about the production process – from the writers' room to action! I was fortunate enough to be able to write and direct my final year project, ‘Bell Tolls’, which is the one that won ‘Best Short Screenplay’ at LISP. I have been very fortunate to

circulate ‘Bell Tolls’ to numerous festivals and am humbled by the many creatives

who have so much enthusiasm for storytelling as I do.

When I’m not trying to write for my next project, I am working alongside a local theatre

group, Carnifolk, creating and putting on stage plays for children. I have helped them

facilitate their first show which was a Halloween Trail and now working on a Christmas show

centring around Yuletide themes.

-When and how did you get into writing/filmmaking?

‘Bell Tolls’ was the first proper script I sat down and completed. So, I have been beyond

chuffed and sometimes questioning myself how has it done so well?! It has certainly given

me a confidence booster when I embark on future projects and festival submissions.

-How often do you write/create? Do you have a working routine? And what inspires

you to create?

I try to give a set time to write, but I’m not usually the best with a rigidly structured routine! I

often have good ideas whilst doing another task, simply doing the washing up or on the cycle

ride to work. It’s good for writers to get out and see the outside world as it can be quite

isolating at times. I’m always inspired by peers who have found success and that pushes me

to keep going on this creative path.

-How does it feel to have your work recognised?

Imposter syndrome comes to mind! Not only to be recognised by LISP but other festivals

truly validate my creative skills and that this script wasn’t just a fluke.

5. What's the best and most challenging thing about writing a Screenplay writing?

The most challenging part of writing for me is just starting. It’s the recovering perfectionist in

me that prevents me from starting the first draft. Once I’m over the first page or two it

becomes a lot easier!

6. How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected script? Is there a story

behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?

‘Bell Tolls’ is about grief, and it was drawn from my personal experience. I wanted to show

how grief itself can change over time as it is usually depicted as this big scary taboo monster

when that’s not usually the case. I always see it as a friend you haven’t seen for a while

across the street, and you are reminded of the time when you last saw them or how long ago

that was. Grief is a constant companion that people deal with, it’s about how we allow

ourselves to move on with it in our hearts.

7. Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Screenplay?

If you can afford it, get some good screenwriting software. I was quite lucky and got Final

Draft when I was a student, so it was discounted but it helps. Plus, it’s better to try to figure it

out in Microsoft Word! Regardless of what you’re using, just start writing whatever comes to

mind and run with it. You’ll be surprised where you end up with it, and I feel that can be quite


8. What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions and


The waiting is the worst, but the best is getting recognition and being able to be invited to

festivals in person. I’ve been very fortunate to meet people who I wouldn’t have been able to

meet if I hadn’t started writing.


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