Added on March 10, 2019
ISA Prime 25 , Julia Skikavich
Julia Skikavich holds levels in screenwriting, journalism and political science. She is at present on the Worldwide Screenwriters’ Affiliation’s listing of TOP 25 Writers to Watch in 2019. Her TV pilots Lacking Items, Survivors: B.S., and Sourdoughs, have acquired awards and positioned in a number of main contests. Her screenwriting has been hailed for its women-centric strategy in tackling intractable social points.
Describe your distinctive private and professional background and the precise venture that attracted ISA curiosity?
I truly studied journalism and political science and landed a politics reporter gig proper out of faculty. It was at a small every day newspaper within the Yukon Territory, which is Alaska’s Canadian neighbor. It’d sound a bit small-time, nevertheless it was an incredible alternative.
There’s a whole lot of curiosity within the North – local weather change, polar bears, diamond mines, oil drilling. So my tales have been getting picked up in Canada and the USA. I used to be attending to have these completely unimaginable experiences and meet insanely distinctive characters whereas dwelling in a spot lots of people don’t ever even get to go to. Past being a member of the Press Gallery and interviewing Canadian and American public figures, my protection included sled canine races, large-scale dialog and rehabilitation tasks, and Sasquatch sightings.
It was an awesome coaching floor for once I moved on to work with a few of Canada’s largest broadcasters and information publishers and was dropped into having to report on the whole lot from aircraft crashes to Wall Road to homicide investigations to the Olympics. Journalism left me figuring out somewhat about an entire lot, and finally offered me with a deep properly of inspiration and a robust sense of story.
It undoubtedly helped me write Lacking Items, which is the screenplay that first attracted the ISA’s consideration. It’s a serialized crime drama that follows the story of a Lacking Individuals detective battling PTSD who will get pulled right into a intercourse trafficking investigation on the one-year anniversary of her son’s demise. I entered the pilot into the Rising Screenwriters Contest and it positioned within the Prime 6.
Why did you determine to turn into a screenwriter above all different careers?
I used to be undoubtedly born a author. I’ve a definite reminiscence of engaged on a narrative within the second grade and realizing writing was what I used to be alleged to be doing with my life. For an entire host of causes, I initially pursued journalism and I completely don’t remorse that. It knowledgeable me as a author and an individual. However should you work in journalism lengthy sufficient you begin to understand you’re overlaying some variation of the identical tales again and again. I simply reached some extent the place I needed to have the ability to inform the tales I needed to inform in the best way I needed to inform them. I didn’t really feel journalism was the best way to try this for the tales I needed – and wanted – to inform.
Screenwriting ended up being a really pure transition for me and it’s felt like a way more natural match.
What private qualities do profitable screenwriters have to make it?
Persistence. To make a profession out of screenwriting, it’s a must to take the lengthy view. It’s a marathon, not a race. Even getting a little bit of momentum requires a collection of sluggish, incremental steps. You’ve actually received to only persist and push by way of. So tenacity and a thick pores and skin go a great distance too.
What’s your profitable script and why did you select to put in writing it?
For me, the ISA Prime 25 record wasn’t a lot about having one profitable script because it was about demonstrating that persistence.
Lacking Items received me on ISA’s radar about two years in the past, however I’ve since been engaged on different tasks. Final yr I used to be actually pushing Survivors: B.S.. It’s a Toronto-set, darkly humorous TV pilot about an up-and-coming radio host who’s recognized with a mind tumor and finds an unsuspecting roommate to assist her survive remedy. Solely she finally ends up with a rape sufferer who’s within the midst of a high-profile trial and prepared to surrender on life.
It’s actually a narrative of contrasts that appears at public versus personal – visibility and invisibility – in a digital age. It’s a query of legitimacy in immediately’s society.
There’s all this stigma round speaking about sickness, incapacity, trauma, and mortality — particularly should you’re deemed ‘younger’. As an alternative, there’s this narrative of survivorship. It creates these tiers of legitimacy. What’s a official sickness? What’s a reliable incapacity? What’s a professional reason for PTSD? Is one most cancers extra official than one other? What standards do you might want to tick off to be a official ‘fighter’ or a ‘survivor’? What – and who – are you when you don’t ‘struggle’ appropriately otherwise you don’t ‘survive’?
I actually needed to name bullshit on a few of it and to attempt to assist individuals dwelling these realities to be seen and heard.
I used to be beginning to ship out the script simply as extra reverent discussions about inclusion, equality and variety have been actually effervescent up in our social consciousness. So, the tales of the 2 ladies in Survivors: B.S. appeared to resonate. The script positioned properly in a number of contests and was getting respectable protection. I used to be nonetheless sharing my successes on ISA Join and that momentum obtained observed by ISA’s Director of Improvement, Felicity Wren. Then that persistence in rising my profession obtained acknowledged by ISA together with me within the Prime 25.
What number of drafts did you write earlier than being accepted into the ISA Prime 25 listing?
I feel Survivors: B.S. was on its third draft when it began putting in contests. Lacking Items was on its second draft when it positioned in Rising Screenwriters. There have been a number of drafts since then.
What did you study with every draft?
Coming from a journalistic background has impacted the best way I write. Working within the information means you simply have to take a seat down and write – shortly and precisely. It additionally means you study to place a narrative to mattress. So I’ve developed right into a author who doesn’t toil over a script for months and months and months (or years).
I do have a course of and undergo a collection of drafts, however I usually begin taking my script out fairly early for notes so I can use that suggestions for the rewrites. I like spending time with my characters and attending to know them. However I additionally wish to see and listen to what’s touchdown with readers and audiences. So I take as many notes as I can. I take my scripts to workshops. I take part in desk reads.
Finally, a script doubtless goes via about three drafts after which tweaking and sprucing. That doesn’t imply I don’t ever open my scripts once more after that. However I do take a get ‘er achieved strategy. I actually consider an important factor in writing is to complete it. A completed script could be fastened. It may be taken out – purchased, bought, made.
What evokes your creativeness?
Surroundings. I’m an observer so I spend a whole lot of time individuals watching, nature watching, strolling, sitting, and simply wanting on the world round me. I typically see issues different individuals miss. As a lot as I really like watching tv and movie, I am keen on landscapes, nature, and geography. That’s doubtless the Canadian in me. However I’m purposeful in my settings. I obsess over how my characters would assume and react in several settings. So I do put plenty of thought – and discover numerous inspiration – in place. I would like my setting to be its personal character. The place – panorama and geography – ought to increase its personal questions and inform its personal tales. Each place does – for those who cease, look and pay attention.
Do you’ve got a most popular style you write in?
I often write serialized TV drama. I like character tales so I recognize long-form storytelling. A variety of my writing is somewhat darkish, typically with a socio-political commentary or some kind of courts-and-crime slant. However at its coronary heart, it’s actually coming-of-age tales based mostly round unlikely friendships and sophisticated familial dynamics. Typically meaning writing a thriller; different occasions a difficult speculative fiction.
How do you practice to enhance your writing craft?
Write. Screenwriting is a muscle you could continuously flex and practice. I learn – books on the craft and scripts. I watch all types of tv – not simply exhibits I like. I speak to different screenwriters — and to producers and actors. And I speak to individuals who aren’t within the business to know what they like and don’t like and why. I take notes every time I can. I attend courses and workshops. I’m going to conferences and seminars. I’m continuously studying and dealing at turning into a greater author and storyteller.
Do you’ve got any mentors, heroes/ heroines?
You actually need to have mentors to seek out in-roads on this business. I’ve been fortunate that each in journalism and dealing in factual/actuality tv, I’ve had editors and producers who’ve been supportive of me as a author and in my transition to screenwriting. I additionally went to nighttime faculty to get a university diploma in screenwriting, and two of the instructors there actually challenged me and helped me develop as a author. And, then becoming a member of the ISA and getting on the Improvement Slate has helped. Felicity has been an awesome useful resource for recommendation, help, and advocacy.
What recommendation do you’ve got for screenwriters eager to make subsequent yr’s ISA Prime 25 record?
Write and maintain writing. Have multiple venture you’re able to take out – after which take full benefit of the assets and alternatives ISA Join offers. Community with different writers and producers, get out to some seminars and occasions, submit your loglines, apply to gigs, enter contests, share your successes. They’re good individuals at ISA they usually need to allow you to succeed. Displaying dedication to the craft and persistence in shifting your profession ahead will get observed.
What’s one thing that few individuals find out about you?
As a child, I went via a interval the place I needed to be a magician. I shortly realized writing concerned simply as a lot conjuring – and arguably offered extra profession alternatives and monetary stability. However I nonetheless have a couple of tips up my sleeves.
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