Interview: Sophie A Katz

Today we’re joined by Sophie A. Katz. Sophie is a phenomenal and versatile writer. She writes in a number of different forms and styles. She’s a fellow writer who enjoys writing hopeful stories (we need more of them! 🙂 ). It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Sophie Katz headshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

It’s all about stories for me – I LOVE stories, and storytelling. So far, my best skill to bring stories to life has been writing. I’ll write in pretty much any form; different stories need different mediums, after all. Some stories are short, some are novels. Some are screenplays or stage plays. I dabble in poetry. I have a few stories that sit in my head and insist upon being graphic novels – I’ll have to find someone who’s better with visual art to collaborate with for those.

What inspires you?

Life inspires me. That’s a vague answer. I have a “story ideas” tag on my Tumblr with hundreds of pictures and prompts in it, and I didn’t think that that was out of the ordinary until someone said to me, “Wow, you get story ideas from EVERYTHING!” But everything DOES have a story to it. You know that word “sonder”? About realizing that every other person in the world is living a life just as complex and interesting as your own? I can’t help but see that in everyone and everything around me. I don’t see things as just the way they are – I want to know why, and what might happen next. And that’s what a story is, at its base: why are things the way they are, and what could happen next?

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

There was this dollhouse in my parents’ house – I think it’s still in the basement – and incidentally we didn’t call it a “dollhouse” because Mom did NOT want her daughters playing with dolls; we called it a “people house,” like that Dr. Seuss book. I’d sit at the People House with all of our toys, all the animals and action figures and Disney characters, and narrate their adventures, for hours and hours. It was just what I did. Before I could write or read, I told the stories of my toys. And then one day, Dad took notes on the story I was telling, and typed it up for me. That’s where it really started. After that, I learned to read and write, and started writing little books, and Mom became my editor. But it took me until junior high to really start identifying as a writer. Before that, I honestly thought I was going to be an actress, even though I wasn’t very good at it, and didn’t really enjoy it. I think because the storytelling thing was just something I’d always done, I didn’t recognize it as special, or even as “art” at all – but it was always there, and eventually I recognized it as such, and now it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.

Things REALLY took off once I realized that Disney World had a writing internship…but if I start talking about THAT, then we’ll be here all day.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

That’s a really interesting question. When my big sister was looking at colleges, I started picking up literary journals from the schools we visited, and I started noticing a troubling pattern in the works published there: they were overwhelmingly sad. I concluded then that sadness must be the easiest emotion to evoke in a story, and the true challenge was to create something that made people happy.

Bad things do happen in the stories I write, but they very rarely end that way. Books and movies that end in hopelessness bother me. By all means, kill your darlings and send me to bed crying, but give me a reason to get up in the morning! This is a very roundabout way of answering that a feature I include in my work is hope. My stories are most often about people looking at the world and seeing not only the bad that is, but the good that could be, and working to make that good come to be. I think a lot of people perceive hope and optimism as naïve, and sadness and despair as true art. It’s fine to have that opinion, but I don’t subscribe to it. I see art in joy, and in the challenge of creating joy, and in taking on that challenge. I see art in hope.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You are not completely unique, and that is a good thing. It’s a good thing because it means that you have something to offer that will resonate with other people. You are not so different from the rest of the world that nobody will ever understand; rather, you have something to create that other people need. Create what is true to you, what is so true to you that it feels like no one else in the world may have ever felt the way that you feel about it. Create it and share it with the world. And someday, someone will walk up to you, and nervously shake your hand, and say, “That’s exactly how I feel. Thank you for turning it into art.”

Also, I highly recommend learning the skill of biting your tongue and saying “thank you, I’ll consider it” to critique. It’s not an easy skill to develop. Feedback is key to growth, and while you don’t have to TAKE all the feedback anyone ever gives you (you won’t take most of it, and that’s the way it should be!), it’s good to hear feedback. Feedback is how you learn what people are getting out of your art, whether your art is doing what you want it to do to the people you want it to do stuff to. I hope that sentence makes sense. I’d appreciate feedback on that sentence.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Demisexual, usually. Recently I’ve been feeling a bit more solidly ace; my body on occasion will send me a surprise bout of “nonononono” even when I’m with someone I am very much emotionally connected to.

I don’t even know what’s up with my romantic orientation. It’s like it plays “duck duck goose,” where it’ll go “duck duck duck…” over everyone around me for ages and then suddenly “GOOSE! YOU HAVE A CRUSH!!!”

I like things to make sense, so it’s all a bit frustrating for me, but I’m training myself to make peace with the uncertainty. Having words like “demisexual” and “asexual” and “sex-positive” and “sex-repulsed” to throw around helps some. I like having words for things.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Nothing’s been explicitly directed towards me, but romance is such a prevalent part of the stories we tell that I can’t help but be nervous. I’m nervous that I won’t be able to write a love story that someone will want to read, because I can’t know what it’s like to be the allosexual people that mainstream romances are about. I’m nervous that putting ace people in my stories, or being frank about demisexuality, will bring more trouble down on me than good. But this is my life, this is my truth, and these are the stories that I wish, oh god do I wish, that I had had when I thought that I was broken. How could I not write that? But I’m nervous, so how CAN I write that?

Fortunately, I found an incredibly supportive feminist arts community at my university, and I felt safe enough there to read a piece about figuring out my sexuality at an open mic. After the show, an audience member came up to me and thanked me, because what I had read was exactly how it was for them figuring out their sexuality. That’s when it hit me that however nervous I was, I couldn’t let that get in the way of creating my art. People need to know that they’re not alone. And coming up against ninety-nine readers who think I’m some faker special snowflake is worth it if I can get to the hundredth reader who needs to hear that they’re not alone.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it doesn’t exist.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

…Honestly, I wish someone had advice to give ME, because I struggle with it plenty. What I do know to remind myself of as much as I can is this: your sexuality does NOT make you a burden, and anyone who makes you feel like it is can walk the plank.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have an electronic portfolio at https://sophieakatz.wordpress.com/, and I’ve just begun a writing Tumblr in an attempt to self-promote – you can find that at https://sophieakatz.tumblr.com/. Go ahead and send me a message there if you want to chat about anything! Or you could contact me at http://ohthewhomanity.tumblr.com/; that’s the blog where I use the “story ideas” tag. You can also find my Odyssey articles every week at https://www.theodysseyonline.com/user/@sophiekatz.

Thank you, Sophie, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Elaina Lee

Today we’re joined by Elaina Lee. Elaina is a wonderful up and coming filmmaker. They’re currently writing a webseries entitled Nyte’s Edge, which is a fascinating spin on the superhero genre. It sounds intriguing and I’m definitely going to check it out when it’s released. Elaina is a passionate and talented artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I mainly describe myself as a writer. I went from attempting novels, to writing and completing screenplays for film. My favorite genres are sci-fi, action, suspense, adventure, and I mostly write in those categories as well.

I’m currently working Nyte’s Edge, a webseries about a superhero who must save his alcoholic ex-boyfriend from the grips of an elite crime organization that has taken over their city. It explores good verses bad, and the grey area between. It also explores forgiveness and redemption.

What inspires you?

In the least cheesy sense possible, people inspire me. My favorite part of the writing process is probably creating realistic characters that people can empathize with. I love listening to people’s stories, big or small.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I originally wanted to write novels, but I didn’t have time patience to sit down and write over 50,000 words. Instead, I turned to film. It’s funny because it turns out that I don’t have enough words to fill a novel, but I have too many words to fill a script so these last few months working on Nyte’s Edge has also been about finding some kind of happy medium between the two.

But I’ve always known that I was going to create and be creative. Nothing else stuck, especially in school. I thought I was doing something wrong in not picking a “practical” career, until I chose a creative field. Since then, I’ve never felt more on-track in my life, and that brings so much peace of mind to me.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not currently, no.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Stay true to yourself, and don’t follow a path that’s going to make you dread waking up each day.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Asexual, somewhere between sex-neutral and sex-repulsed.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Thankfully I haven’t yet. It’s not necessarily something that you just bring up on set at any time, but the people who work closely with me know about me being ace. I’m not necessarily “out”, but I’m also not hiding it and am fairly open about it.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That I can’t be asexual because it’s not scientifically correct. Or that I just haven’t found the right person yet, so I can’t be asexual.

I did have some guy tell how I had a kind of superiority over allosexual people because my mind isn’t focused on sex, and therefore able to focus on other things more acutely. Still, I couldn’t help but laugh, and be kind of weirded out.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I think what’s helped me the most is knowing that I identify as I do for myself, not for anyone else. Keep allowing yourself to grow, and if you grow out of one identity and into a new one that you feel is a fuller explanation of yourself, then embrace it.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I’ve got an official Facebook page, which is where you can find updates about Nyte’s Edge. I share all my film endeavors on there, so if you’re interested in seeing the short films I’ve been involved in, that would be the place to look. I’ve also got my film Instagram that anyone and everyone can follow. As for Tumblrs, I’ve got my film one at raggedybun, and a specific one for at nytesedge, but neither of them are particularly active currently.

Thank you, Elaina, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Noreen Quadir

Today we’re joined by Noreen Quadir. Noreen is a phenomenal filmmaker, actress, and writer. She has acted in stage productions and short films. Noreen also writes screenplays and has written a feature length script about an asexual character. When she’s not working on film or stage, Noreen also writes in other forms too. She has written a children’s book, which she plans to self-publish soon. Noreen is an exciting artist and definitely someone to watch in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

NoreenHeadshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an actress, writer and filmmaker with a background in theater and media studies. Aside from having acted in stage productions, I have also acted in short films and did background work on TV. I have also written and produced my own projects. I wrote a feature length script which is still in works, but I’ve produced a short scene from the script. The film is about a high school girl who is discovering that she’s asexual. And as she is realizing this, she is struggling with feeling like an outsider, especially when no one around her believes that she is asexual or that asexuality is even real. In addition to screenplays, I write in other forms and have written a children’s book which I intend to self-publish soon.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by so many things. I certainly get inspired by bits and pieces of my own life, but I have never really written or produced anything that exactly mirrors my life and experiences. It’s a little too intimate for me and I value my privacy. The feature length screenplay I wrote has certainly been inspired by my experience as an asexual, but it is still a very different story. The character is a bit different and how she discovers, processes, and handles her self-discovery is extremely different than my own story. That of course made it more fun to write because I got to invent stuff and had to look for inspiration from other places. I do get inspired by other artistic works including music, books and other movies. Inspiration is something that just happens organically for me. I can’t force it, which can sometimes be frustrating because when I want to write something, I am out of ideas. But when I do get inspired, I am able to put the words down which is always a great feeling!

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I suppose it all started when I took dance classes around the age of 5. I loved performing and being up on stage. And then as I got a little older, I developed an interest in singing and music. I sang in my school’s choir and I also played the flute. Sadly, I cannot play the flute anymore. But, I remember it was a lot of fun. I also learned a little bit of piano. So, I had a huge appreciation for the arts at a very young age. And eventually, I got interested in acting and performed in plays in high school and then decided to study theatre in college. And then from there, I wanted to create my own projects. I was also a writer from a young age. I remember I used to write a lot of short stories and poems in elementary school and my teachers would compliment me on my works. I was not getting high marks in math, but I found my skill in writing. And in fifth grade, my teacher encouraged me to become a children’s author and that always stayed with me.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t think I have any special symbol, but I love the color pink. It’s my favorite color and it is what I wear in my headshot. My room back at my family’s home is also pink. And it is often that you will see me in that color. 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say to really invest in yourself and in your dreams. Whatever it is that you want to do – be it writing, filmmaking, performing, drawing, singing, etc., make sure you’re really committed to it and spend time each day on your craft. If you want it to be more than a hobby, then you have to do more than just dabbling in it here and there. It’s good to invest in adequate training, be open to feedback and learning, and exercise your artistic muscles daily.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic ace.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

A little bit, but not any more than I’ve encountered in other areas of life or in general. Since most of the people I meet in my field are professional contacts, my personal life isn’t much of a topic anyway. Occasionally, people have said ignorant things because sex is a big part of the film industry and it has been kind of implied that if you don’t fit in with that, you don’t fit within the industry. I suppose the only way I handle stuff like that is by calling people out on their ignorance and letting them know that despite the sexual liberation, there is still hypocritical close-mindedness when it comes to sex.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

It’s really hard to pinpoint one, because there have been many. I think probably one of the most common ones is that asexuality is impossible or that if you claim to be asexual, you either have experienced abuse or trauma, you have a medical disorder that is causing you to feel that way or you’re repressed. Some people think it’s just a phase and that you haven’t met the right person yet. I used to get a lot of comments like that when I was a teenager and when I was in college. There’s also this view that if you dress and act very feminine, wear makeup and perfume, etc., that you can’t be an asexual. I think some people equate asexuality with unattractiveness and a neutral gender expression.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I would say to know that asexuality is not abnormal and that they are not the only ones in the world with this orientation. And even though it is still not widely acknowledged, it really will take people being confident with their orientation to make the difference and to change how people view asexuality. So I would say to embrace yourself and that your orientation is just one aspect of you. It doesn’t define your entire self and there are so many other interesting aspects of a person. I tend to define myself and other people by choices and how you treat and interact with others. That’s what really matters at the end of the day.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Here’s my YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/user/ZizzyNQ

And this is my actor’s website: https://www.noreen-quadir.com/

Thank you, Noreen, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Aiyana Ruiz

Today we’re joined by Aiyana Ruiz. Aiyana is a phenomenal writer who is currently studying dramatic writing with a focus on playwriting in New York. She’s studying a wide variety of different sorts of writing and is incredibly dedicated to her craft, as you’ll soon read. It’s very apparent that we’ll be seeing much more of this writer in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I am a writer, and I use that as a very broad term. I am currently studying Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, with a concentration (as of now) in playwriting, but that is subject to change within the next year. I’m being cross-trained in writing for stage, television, and film. I love writing for all of the above. My whole life growing up, however, I wrote mostly short stories and poetry. I have been working on a fantasy young adult novel with a queer protagonist for a few years now; school doesn’t leave me much time for personal writing, but that’s okay. I also have a blog where I write weekly (for the most part).

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me! What a crazy question! I am inspired by life. There is so much the world has to offer us if we open our minds. People inspire me. I’m a character-driven writer. I love the things that make people unique and complex and interesting. Everyone has a story and they deserve to be heard.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Let’s get one thing straight. I have never wanted to be an artist. It is simply who I am. I’ve been writing songs, poems, books, stories, plays, etc., ever since I could hold a pen! Ask my mom; she’s seen my less than polished work. I can’t explain it. Something in me has to communicate how I feel and what goes on in my head constantly. And people get tired of hearing me talk, so I turn to the page.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

The only thing I can really tell about my work that links all of it together (because the type of work I do differs so much from piece to piece, and is always evolving) is that there is always a large part of me inside of it. It always deals with a question or conflict going on in my life. That’s the place my stories come from. It sounds selfish, but it’s true.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Do the thing. Whatever your thing is, do it. Make time for it. Don’t let life make you feel like you’re not good enough to make art, or that it’s useless if it doesn’t make you money. If it brings you joy, do it. Make art. Art changes everything. We need more of it in this world. We need more of you in this world.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

For a few years, I have been identifying as asexual and biromantic. I think that is probably still what best describes me, but I tend to use queer or gay as an umbrella term to describe myself since sexuality is so incredibly confusing. It’s possible that I’m closer to being demi, but who knows?

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I think working in specifically dramatic writing has kind of opened my eyes to just how hypersexualized modern media is. I have felt that if my work hasn’t had some sexual component that perhaps it was immature or inferior to my colleagues’ work. I’ve noticed that people tend to assume that sex is really important to everyone, and I know that is not the case, so I try to put as much explicit representation of different sexualities into my work, as a way of educating and perhaps paving the road for future ace spectrum writers as well as characters.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I’ve heard, “You’ll want to have sex one day,” quite a lot. I know I just got finished saying that sex may not as important to asexual people as to the rest of the world, but the misconception that asexual people are equivalent to celibate people is one of the most annoying. Personally, though I do not experience sexual attraction to any gender, I am not opposed to the idea of having sex. I’m just more indifferent than most. But the thing about this misconception is that it is also offensive to people who don’t want to have sex ever, for any reason. It doesn’t mean they are not mature or grown up enough. It’s a personal preference.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

It’s a struggle. I can’t deny that. In the current world we live in, sex is all around us. In my industry, I know more than anyone. It is glorified and simultaneously shamed. The fact of the matter is that in reality, you aren’t missing out. Sexual attraction is just one part of life. There is so much more to your story that is exciting and important.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

You can follow me on twitter (at) bananaberry626 and read my blog at madhattersbookshelf.weebly.com where I post as much as I can and often discuss both sexuality and writing related things, as well as life in general.

Thanks so much! Keep an eye out for my work in the next few years!

Thank you, Aiyana, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Morgan Gage

Today we’re joined by Morgan Gage. Morgan is an incredible writer and actress who has identified as asexual for a few years. She’s a theater actress though she is interested in eventually acting in front of the camera at some point. For writing, she is quite versatile: mostly a poet, she also enjoys writing short stories and is working on a novel. This is an artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of her. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an author, actress, and asexual. I’ve got a thing for the letter ‘A,’ maybe.

I write a poetry primarily, short stories, screenplays, and am currently working on a novel. Writing has always been away for me to express my emotions and viewpoints and to tell the stories that I want to read. I’m involved with man creative writing groups who have given me a lot of support in my writing.

I’m an on stage actress, and I absolutely love everything to do with it. I’ve never worked in front of a camera, and though I’m interested in doing it in the future, I love the energy that comes with performing live and the bond that forms between you and the rest of the cast. It’s such a unique experience since the audience is there with you the entire way for every wrong line or trip in a dance. Hours are spent together just learning a few songs or running through the play one last time in order to avoid a mistake on opening night. I’m currently in a production of Beauty and the Beast with so many lovely people who inspire me to push myself further.

What inspires you?

Most of my inspiration for writing comes from an image, line, or phrase that will come to mind and shape itself into a story or poem. However, I find a lot of inspiration in fairytales and mythology, particularly Greek. I like to read works by other authors, professional, and not to see what I do and don’t like in what they write and apply that to my own work. Recently, I’ve read a lot of Allen Ginsberg who I would definitely recommend reading. More often than not, I can find inspiration all around me in other pieces of art, in current issues that I feel strongly about, and my own emotions.

When it comes to acting, I try to consider all of the little things that shape my character and find the similarities between myself and who I’m playing in order to go beyond just reading lines. For me, to portray a character you have to understand that character and be able to look beyond what you’re told to make your performance of them your own.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

When it comes to writing, I’ve always loved books and to tell stories. I learned to read at an early age, and books were what my family members used to bribe me as a child. This love for books became a desire to write books, and I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t interested in writing.

As for acting, I always loved to play pretend and still do. Even today, I play dress up with makeup and old costumes. The idea of being a movie star also got me interested in being an actress, but now I just act for enjoyment.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

My own habits tend to be reflected in the characters I play, so it’s common for their nervous tick to be biting their lip or for many of their mannerisms to be similar to my own.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Give yourself permission to suck. I understand perfectionism, the wish to make your work exactly how you see it in your head, but that isn’t how it will always work out. No matter your field, you need to let yourself suck. Sometimes you will suck, and the goal should be to suck less and to try to improve.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as panromantic-asexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I have had people question how I can portray people who aren’t ace in my writing and as an actress which I mostly just brush off. Through creative writing particularly, I’ve met people who are wonderful about my orientation and some who identify on the ace spectrum as well.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The idea that it isn’t real. Personally, I’ve had many people tell me that I’m not really asexual and that I must be lying about it. I met someone who made sexual comments towards me, and they claimed I just wanted to appear innocent when I told them I was ace.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Don’t worry about whether this is a phase. Figuring out your sexual and romantic orientation can be confusing, and what you identify as now may not be how you see yourself in a year or even in a week. However, that doesn’t make how you feel any less valid. How and if you choose to label yourself is all about personal preference and what makes you comfortable. Through the years, I’ve identified as straight (for more than the first half of my life), heteroromantic-asexual, and now as panromantic-asexual. It is possible that one day that will change.

Also, don’t feel pressured to come out no matter your romantic orientation or where you fall on the ace-spectrum. Come out when you’re comfortable and safe doing so. Having someone to talk to is always helpful, and I am always up for listening to a rant or even just holding a regular conversation. You can message me on Tumblr if you’d like.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have some of my old poetry posted on my Tumblr (asexualsunflower) and will hopefully share on there soon about moving to another site to post my writing due to copyright issues concerning posting my writing on Tumblr that I recently learned about.

Unfortunately, I don’t have anywhere that you can see my acting since all of it has been on stage and videotaping plays can be super distracting to the actors and others watching.

Thank you, Morgan, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Devyn

Today we’re joined by Devyn. Devyn is a phenomenal up and coming screenwriter, who also occasionally directs. She writes the scripts for films and mostly focuses on short films. Devyn is interested in independent filmmaking and is currently growing a production company with a friend. Judging from the passion and enthusiasm in her interview, we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I’m a screenwriter. So, I write screenplays. I focus mainly on short films, so far the longest thing I’ve written is ten pages. I’m not sure if I want to do the Hollywood thing and write features for studios. I’m pretty sure I’m going to stay in the independent market with a friend of mine. We’re growing our own production company as of right now. We have a pretty sweet deal set up actually haha. I write the movies, I get a say in casting, then she directs. I’ll never have to be on set, which is what I greatly prefer. Although we might end up co-directing a lot of things, which I could learn to be okay with.

What inspires you?

This seems like it would be an easy question, but it’s actually somewhat complicated. I draw different kinds of inspiration from different things. My story ideas can come from anywhere. My latest film, Just the Usual started as a fanfic. Another script I’m currently working on is based on a dream I had a while ago. Ideas for characters more often than not come from my friends, and other people in my life. Sometimes they’re based on random people I’ve passed on the streets.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Alright kids, buckle up! It’s story time!

Art is basically in my blood. That can happen when you have strong Italian roots like I do haha. My great-grandmother was a dancer, singer, and huge supporter of theatre and opera, my grandmother and great-aunt were both in choir and theatre in high school, and my mom danced for a good portion of her life. So it was pretty much assumed that I would be some sort of artist.

Originally, I thought I was going to be an actor. I fell in love with musical theatre in high school and that’s what I wanted to pursue. I started in the theatre program at my old community college. However, after two years, I ran out of acting classes to take (including a summer workshop where we got to build a small demo reel). Still needing financial aid (once you enroll at SBCC, you can never leave SBCC) I decided to try my hand at film. The demo reel workshop taught me the basics of video editing, which I liked and seemed decent at, so I figured, why not? During that class, I came to like editing more and got into screenwriting.

Fast forward a year and I’m applying to my current school. Obviously, I was interested in their musical theatre program, but I also decided to apply for the film school because I liked film as well. I had everything for my film application and portfolio, so I submitted that first. A few days later, I got an email saying I was accepted into the program, I just had to get into the school. So which program I went to depended on whether or not I got into the musical theatre program. Well…by the time I got everything together for my video audition, it was like three days after the submission deadline. Film school it was! I became a film student and never looked back. So far, it’s totally worked out haha. I do still act every once in a while, though.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not yet. I’m still just starting out and trying to figure out what my “signature” is.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Allow yourself to make shitty first drafts. No matter your art, it doesn’t matter if your first attempt doesn’t turn out how you want it to. That’s why it’s only your FIRST attempt. It’ll get better. But you have to let the first one be bad. If you get lucky and your first try is amazing, that’s awesome! But more often than not, the first try isn’t going to be great. And that’s just fine!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

Biromantic Asexual

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field? If so, how do you handle it?

To be honest, not very many people in my department know, with the exception of a few friends haha. I guess the one sort of thing that upset me was something that happened last year.

I was talking with a friend (we are no longer friends and this is a small part of why) and we somehow got on the topic of relationships and stuff. She told me she was bisexual, but she usually just told people she was gay because that was easier for them to understand. I told her that I was asexual. The first words out of her mouth were “Oh I could never date an asexual person.”

Like, okay, I understand liking sex and yeah, someone with a high sex drive should probably think twice before dating an ace. But I don’t think that should be the first thing you say to someone who comes out as asexual to you. I can guarantee that’s already a thought in the back of their head. Anyway, it really upset me but I didn’t really do anything about it either. It just left a bad taste in my mouth and after that it was hard to be around her. Especially since I had a crush on her at the time. Let me tell you that ended real quick haha. Anyway, I’m rambling, I’m sorry.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

“It’s just a phase. You’ll change your mind when you meet the right person.” Ugh!

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Don’t worry too much about putting a label on yourself. If labels make you feel better, great! If not, then don’t label yourself. But if you do decide you want a label, try it out first. Say it to yourself in the mirror. Keep trying things until something feels right. That’s what I did.

Also, YOU DO NOT NEED TO COME OUT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO! It is nobody’s business who you are (or probably in this case, aren’t) sleeping with! If there’s only a handful of people you want to come out to, only come out to those people. If you want to be out and proud, be out and proud! Whether or not you come out and how you come out is entirely up to you.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I don’t have a lot of work out right now, since I’m still starting out. I do have some stuff on my YouTube channel though. If you look up the user TheWickedMizfit, you should be able to find me. I made that channel when I was in high school OK? Cut me some slack haha. It’s only 4 videos and they were made a few years ago when I was still at my old community college. I am in a MUCH better school now and, thus, will turn out better work haha. Though I am actually kind of proud of the Axe commercial. I came up with the concept, someone else actually put it on paper, then I edited it. I WISH I could take credit for the music choice, but I cannot. Also, with Memories (the other one I wrote), we had a checklist of all these different shots, lighting techniques, and sound effects we had to incorporate into the film. So, if something doesn’t make sense, assume it was on the checklist haha. The other two I just edited.

Now the biggest thing I have going is my short film, Just the Usual, which I wrote and directed. We hope to submit it to several film festivals so that over the summer and in the fall, we can get a decent festival run. So be on the lookout for that!

If you want to know anything about my videos on YouTube or any other projects I’m working on, or you just want to say hi, feel free to contact me on Tumblr: http://ace-spiringscreenwriter.tumblr.com/

Thank you, Devyn, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.