“I was thinking about how my favorite parts are simultaneously my least favorite parts,” says “turn red” writer Julia Cho on the creative process. “My favorite part is when I’m alone and I’m in my pajamas. And it’s 4am, nobody else is up, and it’s really quiet. And I can just immerse myself in my imagination. But loneliness is a double edged sword. We spoke to Cho with David Kajganitch (“bones and all”), Lena Dunham (“Catherine called Birdy“) and Krysty Wilson – Cairns (“The good nurse”) for our “Meet the Experts” panel of screenwriters. Watch our group chat above. Click on each individual name to watch that person’s solo chat.
Cho’s description of the late-night writing sessions is “extremely familiar” to Dunham, who also loves “the incredible big highs that come with the feeling of stepping into another world and the problem-solving feeling that seems almost miraculous”. But there are times “when you start to feel like you’re bumping up against the limits of your own imagination. And you feel those kind of dark nights of the soul. Every time you stubbornly pursue a story over a long period of time, “it comes with huge highs, and that comes with incredible lows.”
Wilson-Cairns had its own dark soul nights, but “there’s something really amazing about that” because “there’s a 45-minute window where I usually cry in a bathroom,” she then realizes that she is not alone in the process. “I have collaborators, and I can phone these people that I love and respect who are working on this film, or who are just working in film in general. And I think for me, that’s what there is something really beautiful about scriptwriting.
The emotional element of writing is what grabs Kajganich: “I feel like my job is empathy. That’s what we do in life. It is a “joy” to “imagine your path in the psychological, emotional and spiritual life of people who are not you, who are nothing like you”. Along the same lines, he also enjoys the process of research, “building my understanding of the period or the professional world or someone else’s family relationships”. Through this process, “I feel like this job makes me a better person because it puts me in the path of better people so often.”
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