Adventures of Cassiah: Finding Your Voice In Your Screenplay

By on August 22, 2013
Finding Your Screenwriting Voice

So, some of you out there know you want to be screenwriters, and knew that as soon as your were out of the womb, you were destined to write films and make millions.

But maybe, you just woke up one day and thought “you know what, I’m going to write a screenplay”. In fact, that is what happened to me. I always knew that I was going to go into a career in film, as my whole life, my mind would seamlessly form full-length movies in my head.  After many years of not realizing that this was actually a creative gift, I finally decided to try writing one of these films down on paper, and hence my first feature screenplay ‘Robyn’ was born.

I cannot tell you how many months I toiled over this script, but with every draft I learned a wealth of tricks and truths about screenwriting that I would like to share with you. I have learned that the most important thing of all is to follow what my mind sees and my finger types. And so this brings us to Cassiah’s first words of wisdom: do what works for you.

There will be plenty of people who tell you to plan every single plot turning point before even attempting to write the screenplay; to know the absolute crack and crevice of all of your characters personal histories; to have an ending before you have a beginning. But what about mystery? What about instinct? What about plain old experimentation? My first screenplay came about through my subconscious, dreaming up scenes at night, thoroughly in my head.

Usually, my best inspiration comes as I am just about to fall asleep (somewhat annoyingly), and I have to quickly whip out my phone and note down the scene, however long it may take me. Imagining is how my creative juices flow; maybe it’s from also being an actor, who knows? All I am sure about is that I am one of those people who have to write a (very!) rough screenplay just so I can get all of my ideas out of my system, and then I go back, make links, edits, etc. I guess I work backwards. Compared to most people But that works for me.

Once, I tirelessly planned a screenplay, detail for detail, but when it came to actually writing it, I just couldn’t conceive or imagine these characters or situations I had planned to execute. For some people, intensive planning or following a structure will work. And that is perfect. Just as I have found my way which I believe is perfect for me.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t study or listen to the teachings of others. It is about gaining the skills, and forming your own, informed personal style. So remember, golden rule number one, do what works for you in your writing, as ultimately, you’ll be the one writing it!

About Cassiah Joski-Jethi

Cassiah Joski-Jethi is currently studying for a BA degree in Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham. She aspires to work in the media and the arts, particularly as a producer, director and screenwriter in film. She has written a number of feature screenplays, has made short films and is now working on her first feature film 'The Bridge', as well as having extensive experience in theatre. Please follow her on twitter @cassiahjj to watch her exciting transition into this competitive industry and feel free to get in touch if there are any projects you feel she might be suitable to help with.