Welcome new Writers’ Program instructor Guillermo Escalona. Guillermo is teaching a NEW course, Television Content for a Global Age (Reg# 380980) in our Remote Instruction format, with live Zoom class meetings on Saturdays at 10am PT this Summer. He sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and his upcoming course.
What sparks your creativity?
Usually, it comes from a place of emptiness. I feel that something must be done to right a wrong, in the present or the past, and I fantasize about it. It is a little quixotic, even a little bit selfish, but it gives me an instant interest in a story or in a world and the power to start influencing it. And pretty soon everything comes to life and takes its turn. Sometimes for the best, most of the time not.
What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?
That’s a hard one. Every person is different at approaching those times. Not one is right on how to overcome disappointment or find inspiration. In my case, I mostly watch movies or shows that I like, discover something new, and I read Wikipedia pages of unlikely heroes. Also, I’m not an easy company in those times so maybe try something different like a walk or a pet.
What’s your favorite book and/or movie?
Big fan of Billy Wilder. Excellent dramas and comedies. Sunset Boulevard, Double indemnity, or Some Like it Hot are among my favorites. He was an outstanding writer, director, and producer with a thick accent. What else could I ask for? (At least I have the accent!)
The Wire and Six Feet Under made me interested in television as the new storytelling frontline. What a breakthrough from standard television shows were those two!
With books, as I become more involved in writing, I have left aside fiction. Of course, Nausea, The Stranger, Naked Lunch, or The Metamorphosis are implanted in my brain and will never go away. If I have to name one more recent book that still has impact on me would be Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño. Nowadays, I primarily read, the New Yorker, memoirs, historical accounts, and Supreme Court decisions.
What’s your favorite quote about writing?
“Every word has consequences. Every silence, too.” ? Jean-Paul Sartre
Who do you wish you could write like (or: Whose writing discipline do you wish you had)?
Like Ernest Hemingway: write in the early hours of the morning at a stand-up desk in his house in Havana.
What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?
Breaking stories and building worlds are among my favorite things to do. I’m looking forward to helping students in the creative journeys to new and exciting television projects.
What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?
I am hoping to share an understanding of the tools of the trade and a few tricks to make their life a little easier for the students. By working on a pitch document that can get people excited about their idea, they will be able to create a good path and timeline for their project.
Guillermo is originally from Spain. He graduated in screenwriting from the EICTV International Film and Television School in Cuba. He is a co-creator and co-writer of the HBO Latin America original series Mil Colmillos. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is an executive producer at LA PANDA Productions.
Thank you to Guillermo for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!