Raul de Miguel – Madrid, Spain
BlueCat: Why did you start writing screenplays?
RM: At university (I studied in the US) I enjoyed screenwriting and editing the most. However, my screenwriting attempts never went more than a few pages for my short movies. Destiny made me a professional video editor, but the part I like (and what I feel I’m best at) about editing is story and structure. This took me into writing and reading, so I started professional reading classes and writing classes, but was more focused on narrative and creative writing. Then, the day I watched Inception, I left the movie theater and told the person I went with: “This is why I must write.” So the day after, I started my first script, NARAKA.
BlueCat: What movies do you watch to remind yourself that you love screenwriting?
RM: I watch a lot of movies. A lot. (like 250-300 some years) And I try to watch every genre. Koreans are making great movies (Oldboy, the Chaser, Memoirs of Murder and I Saw the Devil would be my top pick), but Inception was the movie that threw me into writing. I also watch Se7en quite often. I love Red Rock West and Saw because they are cheap and amazing (almost perfect) movies in its own way. I’ve watched every Kubrick movie several times, and also Wilder. They mastered different genres. I love Forrest Gump and Brokeback Mountain as well. I just finished reading the script. Everyone talked about Hedge Ledger as the Joker, but I think Ennis del Mar was a much more difficult role. He was able to say so much with so little. It was the absolute loneliness of a human being. I think it is one of the most complex characters written in modern film. I could go longer with the shirt scene or Ennis and his relationship with his daughter… but it’s enough I guess. Sorry, I’m a writer!
BlueCat: What is your highest screenwriting goal for yourself?
RM: I’m going to be a professional screenwriter. I’m moving to LA to take more classes and improve my English. It has to be perfect. Good is not enough. It will be a matter of time. I will make it sooner or later. Even if I have to sell my house to live meanwhile.
BlueCat: What aspects of the writing process do you struggle with the most?
RM: English is my second language, and my mind is structured in Spanish. So to me, even though everything is hard, dialogue is a big problem, especially when it comes to comedy. I have two in mind (one is animation and another one is black comedy) and jokes are extremely hard. I try to make it sound as natural as possible, but I’m not quite there yet. Also style. I write too much action and too much description. It sounds too correct. I need my readers to be able to read faster and easier. I need more vocabulary to make it purely visual. And of course, prepositions are evil in English. I always need someone to proofread my stuff.
BlueCat: What do you feel you do well as a screenwriter?
RM: Since I don’t think I’m that great, yet, I tend to think of original stories. I think I’m quite visual as well, so the mood and the worlds of my scripts work, or I’d like to think so at least. Also, the structure (never purely lineal so far) and some transitions work good. I’m a professional video editor, so maybe it helps to see the transitions or certain cuts.
BlueCat: Do you feel that screenwriting is different in your country than it is in Hollywood? If so, how?
RM: I think that is a tricky question. I’m sure screenwriting is actually different to what we see. Most of the things produced in my country are comedies (although it’s changing in the last years, gracias a Dios), because it’s safer, but it doesn’t mean people don’t write other things. And, even though some people might hate me for this, I think, overall, scripts are worse outside Hollywood. Of course there are exceptions and some really good movies out of Hollywood. Spain is doing amazing horror, better than Hollywood in this particular genre, at least in my opinion. We have some great directors, such as Balagueró, Bayona or Amenabar, who was the first one who succeed (and gave others the possibility to do so) with the two great flicks: Tesis and The Others. After that, people understood that (good) horror can make money as well, and then it came REC (a masterpiece), Sleep Tight, the Orphanage… but the real problem is that producers don’t risk. Same everywhere.
BlueCat: What screenplay have you written which you feel most proud of and why?
RM: I’ve only written three, NARAKA, The Blank Book and Revelation. I’m working on my fourth one already (The Five Senses) and so far, I have ideas for three or four more. But I guess the one I feel most proud is the first one, NARAKA.
When I started to write I didn’t even have a story, I just didn’t know it, but all I had was and idea. I only had two scenes from a short movie, the first and the last. So I sat there and when I wrote those scenes, around 30 or 35 pages, I realized that I did not have a story, I had no idea what I should write about. I had nothing to tell. But I sat in front of the computer every night after work and every weekend for 14 months, and I got a first draft. Then I did a few more and I started to send it. It made it to the second round in Austin Film Festival and to the Semifinals in Bluecat, so I guess it’s not bad for my first script in my second language. It wasn’t that great either, so hopefully, I can only get better.