Interview with screenwriter SERGIO SARRIÓN

  • What is the first story you ever wrote?

The first story I wrote was “16 ropes” (2013), a drama short film about boxing and love. Right now we are pre-producing the film.

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

Wow! The list is too long…
I love David Mamet’s plays like “Glengary Glen Ross” or “American Buffalo”.
Fool for Love (Sam Sheppard)
“Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs” (Tarantino)
“The Good Fellas” (Martin Scorsesse)
“Carnage” (Yasmina Reza)
And many many more…

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

In my experience I think that writing and producing a good short film or short plays is a good way to let people see your work in an “easy” way.

  • What experiences from your life influence your characters?

Personal life experiences are a great inspiration for me. Relationship experiences are very powerful because they change you. Travelling and observing the world is essential too. Listening to people, listening to their life stories is a great inspiration too. Observing people’s behaviour is another amazing way to create. I always try to create from reality to fiction.

  • Can you explain your character development process?

It depends, sometimes you have some story in your head, then the characters appear little by little. Other times you think about an interesting character, like a boxer, a super smart worker or a saylor and then the story starts to grow, and as the story grows the character gets more and more specific and detailed. For me it’s a very intuitive process. I don’t have a specific method.

  • Do you write bios before you start writing?

Yes, it’s a good starting point. If you know who they are you’ll be more confident creating their story.

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

Totally involved. As an actor I need to “be” characters. So when I’m writing I need to be the voice of the characters, I try to let them speak through me, therefore I need to be emotionally involved with them in some way.

  • What are your thoughts on structure?

In a short film, the structure needs to be very accurate. I mean you need to show everything in a few minutes. So you need to twist the story maybe in the 2nd page. I love the economy in the scripts, the less the better. If you can show something in 2 minutes don’t do it in 3.

  • Do you outline before you start writing?

Normally yes, in the short film “Tomasito” I didn’t need to outline it because the whole story was in my head and I just needed to write it. But if you write a long play or a movie you’ll need to outline for sure, otherwise you’ll get lost at some point.

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

We need the characters to be true. They need to have some “weight” and good reasons to do what they do or say. They need to be “honest” with what they are. Otherwise the audience will not feel empathy with them and we will get bored writing.

TOMASITO (Tommy) | Spain | 2017 | 12’
Cinematographer: LAURA CACCIA
Synopsis: Firing someone is an easy task. Unless that person has been in the company for 12 years, has a flawless CV and his name is Tommy.

The Wise Toucan
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.