Interview with screenwriter Corey James

  • What is the first story you ever wrote?

One of the earliest stories I remember writing was in Welsh and from what I remember it was about 5 year old me playing rugby for Wales and scoring the winning try against England in the 6 nations. Sadly I’m further away from achieving that now than I was at 5.

  • Growing up, what movies or stories inspired your creative passion?

Growing up I often watched films and TV that many would consider too mature for me at the time such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Godfather”. This opened my eyes into other worlds with more mature themes that helped my development rather than harm it as even as a child I knew the distinction between entertainment and reality. This had a huge impact on my storytelling as I was able to write more complex stories and themes while growing up. Stand up comedy also really helped me understand how to tell and structure a story and watching comedians get an instant positive reaction with the crowds laughing was inspiring.

  • For an unknown writer, what is the best way to get their screenplay seen?

I’d say finishing it first is a great start. I have so many projects I’ve never finished either because of school, work or things happening in life. It’s easy to just forget about it, then start a new project and have that honeymoon phase until you do the same again, but you have to try to finish it. I’d recommended showing it to family and friends before anything else as you write something to be read and liked by others and having that instant feedback will give you the confidence to sending your screenplay competitions, magazines or even studios.

  • What experiences from your life influence your characters?

Everything I experience goes into my characters. Whether it’s funny, sad or even mundane. I even find the mundane experiences just as useful as the more interesting ones as I always try to make them exciting.

  • Can you explain your character development process?

I really don’t have one. Characters I come up with just come into my head, often when listening to music as on long journeys I listen to music and make up movie trailers in my head that fits with what I’m listening to then the characters come alive to me.

  • Do you write bios before you start writing?

I do not. By the time I start to write a story I’ve gone over it in my head so many times that I know every detail about a character and the story I’m trying to tell so when I write it just comes naturally.

  • How emotionally involved are you with the characters you create?

I care about every character I write as if you don’t why should the audience or reader. I do however latch on to some more than the others. I think this is because like in life you like some people more than others and I treat my characters the same way I’d treat anyone else. Whilst writing “Action Karl” for example Cellan and I loved the character Karl so much before we even started writing, and we that we always talked about Karl as if he existed. This is because we know there are millions of Karl’s out there with similar experiences and feelings as our character and we wanted to portray them in our story.

  • What are your thoughts on structure?

I think it’s important to an extent. For me I don’t let structure dictate my characters or their stories but rather than a helpful guide.

  • Do you outline before you start writing?

I like to know the main parts of the story and characters then start to write. I find out more about them as I go along with my first idea usually different to the final product. Recently over lock down I have decided to outline some stories as I find it helps me be more focused on these stories.
So I guess my answer is it depends on how I feel and what story I’m trying to tell. Anything that involves characters or settings that are different from my own like a different race or culture I do outline and I do my research as its my responsibility as a Storyteller to portray every person and their cultures accurately.

  • What is the most important aspect of building a great character?

For me the most important aspect of building a great character comes from how you feel about them. When I feel that I’ve created a great character I just can’t wait to tell someone, usually my friends, family or girlfriend. I’d even tell a random person on the street if I could catch up to them after they run away.