I knew I wanted to be screenwriter when........
I've probably wanted to be a screenwriter for nearly as long
as I've been watching movies. I was a big cinephile as a
kid, thanks in part to my father; we'd watch movies together
and discuss them often. This definitely influenced me and
eventually led me to start working on stories I wanted to
see realized on the big screen.
I know I've succeeded when........
I know I've succeeded when I can I get a genuine
emotional response from an audience.
inspiration to write THE TAILOR FROM TAEGU AND MRS. ABERNETHY.....
Came from an odd combination of things that struck me around
the same time, unexpectedly. One afternoon I was walking on
the Lower East Side when it started to rain heavily so I
ducked into an empty coffee shop. Vera Lynn's "You'll Never
Know" was playing, the music, the smell of coffee,
cigarettes and rain, made the place feel haunted, almost
like I'd stepped into another time period. It really
affected me in a strange way. I also happened to be
following the story of a man who had been politically
targeted and accused of a crime he didn't commit, I guess
those two incidents influenced me into deciding on a time
period, and the kind of story I was interested in writing
inspired you to write?
Every film I've ever seen and every book I've ever read,
that has moved me.
FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script
and how long did it take you to complete?
Ruby Akin: Yes. A few months.
FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set
routine, place and time management for writing?
I write at
home mostly. I try to put in at least an hour of work per
day or more there, but it's important to change my routine
and location when I feel like it's getting stale. I write my
first draft out longhand because there's something about
using a pen instead of a keyboard that makes it more
intimate for me. Music is also a great source of inspiration
during the creative process. I like to have a play list
handy while working.
Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are
important for aspiring screenwriters and why?
Ruby Akin: Absolutely. I think contests are a great
source of support and recognition for up-and-coming writers.
It's an excellent way to get your work in front of
producers, agents, managers and talent.
Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers
International Screenwriting Awards
/ Screenplay Contest?
Ruby Akin: Word of mouth. I also like that Filmmakers
International seems really dedicated to helping new talent
succeed and they have great sponsors working with them.
FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you
urge aspiring writers to read and why?
Ruby Akin: I've found it's definitely worthwhile to
read scripts in the genre you're working in. I thought
"Blade Runner" was a fantastic screenplay. It has so many
elements to it: Futuristic, neo-noir, romance, suspense,
action, thriller and even a dash of dark humor. I learned a
lot from it.
Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate
about and why?
Ruby Akin: Traveling. It's a great source of
continuing education for me.
FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite
Screenwriter and Why?
Ruby Akin: I guess I'd have to say Woody Allen. He's
actually pretty versatile. Not many screenwriters have been
able to write, direct and act in so many of their own films.
I really admire how he's able to cross genres too. He can
write a great suspense thriller just as brilliantly as any
of his comedies and he'll sometimes have elements of both in
the same film. It's bewildering how he's able to extract
comedy from tragedy with such mastery, but he does it often.
He's also great at engaging his audience in a very personal
Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with
Ruby Akin: Very tough question - it's a toss up
between Adrian Lyne and David Lynch. I think Lyne really
understands emotional conditions under the influence of love
and infatuation. Many of his stories depict the darker side
of passion and its hold over the human soul, he skillfully
does this by revealing the secret dream-like world his
characters live through while madly in love. David Lynch
knows how to captivate his audience and take them on a
journey through raw emotion, with characters that both
frighten and fascinate. He's one of the all time great
surrealists but he's also an expressionist. He's my kind of
Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and
Ruby Akin: Jeremy Irons, in my humble opinion he's
probably the most talented actor working today. He presents
tremendous depth and realism in every part he plays.
FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things
learned along the way to pass on to others?
Ruby Akin: I think it's important to learn how to
hear criticism impersonally. It takes a lot of courage to
show people your work, but knowing what to edit out is
crucial. You may write a fantastic scene but it doesn't mean
it's a necessary scene. When it comes down to it, if you've
written something that doesn't move the story forward, or
reveal something relevant about the character, it should go.
That was the most difficult part for me. In my experience it
really helps to hire a script analyst or get the opinion of
three people who you really trust: if they all agree about a
scene that bugs them then it's pretty safe to say you should
probably go back and rewrite it or cut it out completely.
For a writer that can feel like cutting off a finger
(dramatically speaking) but in the end you don't need the
dead weight of an unnecessary scene. That was hard for me.
FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?
Ruby Akin: I'm looking forward to pitching this
script along with others I'm working on now. I just finished
a romantic drama and I'm currently working on a dark comedy.
FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years
Ruby Akin: I'm not exactly sure but hopefully in good
health and definitely working on a script!