BlueCat: Why did you start writing screenplays?
AV: I never did start. I’ve been writing STORIES ever since I remember. Screenplays sneaked in later as a surprise even for myself, but also as a logical step. I like screen and cinema. But if you don’t have a good story, no form, or craft can help you. Always: story first, technique later. How do you know if you have a good story? You tell it to the audience, and if all you see is nothing, but bloated eyes and jaws on the floor, then you can move on. On, to form that story into a novel, screenplay, poem… Outside of that, screenplays can be really boring. And if you don’t have an excellent story, novels and poems are no exception.
BlueCat: What movies do you watch to remind yourself that you love screenwriting?
AV: 101% of Tarantino. 100% of Larry David. 99% of Minghella.
BlueCat: What is your highest screenwriting goal for yourself?
AV: To get complex, and at the same time remain absolutely clear. Kaufman does that quite well.
BlueCat: What aspects of the writing process do you struggle with the most?
AV: Keeping the rush of ideas under control and stay on the track. English being only my third language. Not because it would keep me back from telling a story (stories are stories in any language), but because some people who should be qualified to recognize a story, stop seeing the larger picture with the first grammar mistake, or with the first dialogue that sounds awkward and doesn’t use crisp, up-to-date phrases. That’s where Blue Cat comes to the rescue, because they actually value the story for what it is.
BlueCat: What do you feel you do well as a screenwriter?
AV: Unexpected, crazy, and often sick stories. Outlandish characters. Clean form.
BlueCat: Do you feel that screenwriting is different in your country than it is in Hollywood? If so, how?
AV: There are negligible regional specifics. But outside of the fact that there is practically no formal education available, and hardly any lectures, and outside of the fact that screenwriting is still considered an exotic discipline, there is no difference. However, what’s important for the story, what works better and what doesn’t, still varies somewhat from culture to culture. We’ll always be way more morbid than Hollywood. Nonetheless, we are becoming a part of the global machine for sure, and “biodiversity” is slowly going out the window.
BlueCat:What screenplay have you written which you feel most proud of and why?
AV: Gandhi’s Maze. Because it’s so honestly sick, that it makes me want to cry.