Welcome new Writers’ Program instructors Tomás Romero and Yared Zeleke! Tomás and Yared are both teaching sections of Feature Film I this Winter. Tomás is teaching in our Remote Instruction format, with live Zoom class meetings, Tuesdays from 5pm-8pm PT (Reg# 389258) starting January 17. Yared is teaching in our asynchronous, deadline-driven online format starting January 18 (Reg# 389262).
They sat down with us to offer some insight into creative life and their upcoming course.

WP: What sparks your creativity?

Tomás: Music, movies and really great books. If any of the three happen to be about writers or the creative process, all the better!

Tomás Romero

Yared: The ugly truth and the beauty of our multiverse…

What do you rely on for those times it’s difficult to find the time, energy, motivation and/or inspiration to write?

Tomás: I know it’s hard sometimes, but writing something every day is the only way I stay sane. Even if it’s an Instagram post heralding the return of the Mexican Pizza at Taco Bell, writing something, anything, every day soothes my soul. And when all else fails, naps definitely help.

What’s your favorite book and/or movie?

Tomás: It’s hard to pick just one, but my favorite book is probably East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I first read it in high school and the scale and sheer pageantry of it all totally wrecked me. Powerful stuff! As far as movies go, I really can’t pick just one, but if I was going to be stranded on a desert island with only one or two movies to watch for the rest of my life I would definitely pick a couple of comedies. So, I’m going with Paper Moon, The Apartment and Badlands — which I know is not technically a comedy, but is still hilarious in spots. Honestly, I’d probably also have to bring Airplane, Thelma & Louise and The Empire Strikes Back as well, just to cover all my bases.

What’s your favorite quote about writing?

Tomás: “Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.” – Lawrence Kasdan

Who do you wish you could write like (or: Whose writing discipline do you wish you had)?

Tomás: If I could write like Billy Wilder, Cameron Crowe, pre-Spanglish era James L. Brooks and Jim Jarmusch I would die a happy man.

What excites you most about teaching for the Writers’ Program?

Tomás: My favorite thing about film school was the energy and camaraderie that developed when a group of cool, wildly-diverse writers got together to talk about their work in a fun, lively workshop setting. I can’t wait to replicate that magic in my classes at the writers program!

Yared Zeleke

Yared: I genuinely enjoy engaging with fellow writers no matter where they are in their process; discovering the distinct stories embedded in their minds, giving a glimpse of their character, conscious or unconscious.

What do you hope your students get from your course(s)?

Tomás: Being a writer in Hollywood is tough. Finding your true, authentic voice as a screenwriter is key in crafting fresh, original work that stands out from the crowd. I hope my students leave my course with a solid understanding of their unique voice as a writer and how to use it to craft strong, character-based scripts that people want to read. I also hope they come away with the ability to give (and receive!) honest, respectful, constructive feedback that they can then channel back into their work.

Yared: Hoping the students not only walk away with a fundamental understanding of screenwriting as well as the foundations for their feature script, but that they find creative collaborators in the class whom they can work with into the future.

Anything else?

Tomás: My film school (AFI) didn’t have a team to root for, so: Go, Bruins! ??

Thank you to Tomás and Yared for taking time to share with us. Look for more instructor interviews coming soon!

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