I am excited to interview Emily Scialabba today. Emily is a writer, specializing in script writing and a recent graduate from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Emily has worked for NBC and Galatea and has experience not only writing scripts but with set work as well. I thought interviewing Emily would be a good change of pace since this blog tends to focus on book writing. I wanted to ask Emily about her writing journey and the difference between prose and scriptwriting. Here’s what she had to say.
What Is The Main Difference Between Writing Prose and Writing Scripts?
Scriptwriting is a concise art. You only put down what you see and hear; nothing about what is going on inside the character’s head. Plus, each page should ideally take up one minute of screen time. That forces you to find the spark within the work in as few words as possible. Prose houses the ability to dig deep and really paint a picture. Screenwriting stands as an art of brevity.
Do You Think a Formal Education in Writing is Necessary?
Formal education? No. However, I do think that research and the absorption of whatever material regarding the craft one can get their hands on is extremely extremely helpful — and speaking with other writers! The more perspective you have, the better writer you will become.
You Were Contracted to Write with a Partner When You Worked for Galatea. What was it Like Working with Another Writer?
Working with them definitely put me through the wringer. The deadlines were strict, and because it was a remote job, communication was limited. But it really taught me how to buckle down and get stuff done. There are definitively things I wish had gone differently, but I truly appreciate the experience in hindsight.
What Are You Working on Now?
Right now, I am prepping a novel for NanoWriMo and working with Killer shorts, a horror short screenplay competition. Any Screenwriter can check it out here. We also have a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr! Just look up ‘Killershorts’.
What Advice Do You Have For Anyone Who Wants to Break Into Writing?
Network your butt off, seriously. Unfortunately, writing of any kind is a game of who you know. Connections are vital. Try not to burn any bridges. Keep in touch with people as often as you can. Also, build up your portfolio whenever possible.
You Also Do Set work. What is it Like Having Your Hands in the Production?
I do! Sets are great when you’re a screenwriter because you really get to see how the script is treated by those who need to use it. It gets the words on their legs. Something might have worked on page but not in person, and that’s okay! Even better, sometimes you get to see the dialogue and action sequences really shine. That means the world.
And if you’re working outside of the writing position on set, you learn incredibly quickly just how valuable time is, how taxing the work is, and how gosh-darn wonderful filmmaking is at the end of the day. It’s magic, without question.
Thank You So Much for You Time, Emily. Before I Go, Where Can We Find You?
Thanks for having me! My portfolio, as well as contact information, can be found through my website https://www.emilyscialabba.com.