Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor Julia Camara! Julia is teaching an in-person section of Writing the First Screenplay I on the UCLA campus (Reg# 369578) this Fall, and sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and her upcoming course.
What sparks your creativity?
Most of my stories come to me in odd ways. Sometimes I wake up thinking about a weird scene, an image or even a dream. Other times I might be watching something or reading something and a different image pops into my head. The hard part for me often is knowing which ideas have legs and could become something and which ideas are just random thoughts that will lead to nothing.
What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
Usually, if I have a deadline I’ll start wanting to write a different project. It’s my rebellious nature. Like most writers I’ve had long and short periods of no inspiration. No desire to write and the feeling I have nothing to say. It’s hard to trick yourself to get out of that headspace. Sometimes you just can’t find the time, or social obligations come first, or you take on other gigs to pay bills. I have a file full of ideas, snippets, loglines, random thoughts, weird journal pages. Sometimes visiting those helps me get out of my funk. Writing those also helps me get out of my own way. The best way to get inspired to write is to write. Anything counts, even if you’re just going to complain about your life.
What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
Such a hard question to answer. So many books and movies have made a difference in my life at different times. I think I feel in love with genre and scary stories after I read Frankenstein as a teenager and then went to see the adaptation for the screen directed by Kenneth Branagh. It was my first time seeing a story take shape in two completely different mediums and it made me appreciate each version of that story with their own sets of rules dictated by the format and style.
What’s your favorite quote about writing?
I have a few that I love. I hope I gave credit to the right people.
“The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately.” – Tyrese Gibson
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” – Pablo Picasso
“Done is better than perfect.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Who do you wish you could write like (or: Whose writing discipline do you wish you had)?
I always thought I was a prolific writer until I heard Eric Heisserer, the screenwriter of Arrival among other things, talk at the WGA retreat in 2017. He writes constantly and he talked about how disciplined he is and the high number of scripts he’s written.
What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
Teaching is a new adventure for me. I’ve worked with a lot of writers on a one-on-one basis, I’ve developed stories and scripts with producers and directors, but I’ve never taken on this role of facilitator and instructor before. I’m excited to begin the journey. I can’t wait to hear the stories that are going to be born from the classes. I’m excited to hear new and up and coming voices and to have the opportunity to guide students and watch them flourish as writers. Since this is a new experience for me as well, I think I’ll also be learning a lot from each student as we move forward together.
What do you hope your students get from your course?
I hope they leave the course ready to tackle and complete their screenplays. I hope they leave feeling empowered and ready to develop their own stories with the tools necessary to do so. Writing can be so personal, sharing a story with someone can feel so vulnerable and uncomfortable at times. I hope everyone walks out of my course feeling like it was worth the challenge and the discomfort that comes with vulnerability. I also hope they leave inspired and energized, ready to tackle many other screenplays in the future.
Thank you to Julia for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!