The Edit

Saturday, 28 October 2017

People | Shoshana Sachi

I was lucky enough to chat to writer and filmmaker Shoshana Sachi over the weekend. I follow her work closely and love seeing her doing her thing in LA so I'm pretty excited for this interview. Get to know Shoshana in the interview below and be inspired by her words. 

People. Places. Things. I'm fascinated by it all, but more so with people. What makes them tick, what inspires them, how they think of the world and what they hope to do in the future. It's the small talks and the big talks and all the talks in between. 

I was lucky enough to chat to writer and filmmaker Shoshana Sachi over the weekend. I follow her work closely and love seeing her doing her thing in LA so I'm pretty excited for this interview. Get to know Shoshana in the interview below and be inspired by her words. 

Hi Shoshana! Thanks for agreeing to be featured on here. I know my readers would love to know more about you and what you do! So first up... what’s it like to be a kiwi living in Los Angeles? It’s one of my favourite cities and ultimately where I want to be with my acting!

Jess! Come over in the new year, I’ll show you around and introduce you to people- it’s time! :)

Living in LA has been huge for me in so many ways. I can’t tell you how much I have grown as a woman, as a human being, and as a writer over just these 3 years and I can’t wait to see what the future here holds for me. It’s a melting pot of cultures where anything goes, and I think that (combined with being away from home) is so important to helping you “grow up” so to speak. The rat race of the city and the palpable hunger from everyone around you to grow, succeed, win, pushes and motivates you to become the best version of yourself. I feel encouraged to be my truthful self, and to keep going no matter the career or personal obstacles. It’s honestly been massive for me.

Career wise, obviously it’s been super important. I’m a screenwriter and being a writer in New Zealand is difficult. Because of how young and small the industry is back home, you tend to have to be an auteur who does it all, and if you’re specialized, it’s easy to go overlooked. Here, I’ve been able to really grow into my own style and voice as a screenwriter. I had no idea I would be able to be making a living just being a screenwriter so early in my career and I feel blessed with the opportunities living in Hollywood has given me.

Tell us about your time with Pocket Games. What do they do? And you wrote for their app right? Episode and Cliffhanger? What did that entail?

Pocket Gems is a huge gaming and interactive story company based in San Francisco. I’ve worked predominantly for their successful app ‘Episode’ and already has had billions of downloads!) It's an interactive story engine aimed at young adult females. It features famous IPs such as Mean Girls, Pretty Little Liars, and Demi Lovato features as well. It’s basically a choose your own adventure game where you get placed in these scenarios as a character and navigate your way around. It’s been an exciting new field for screenwriting.  Check it out here.

I also write for their enterprise Cliffhanger, a storytelling app that utilizes a text based format. Imagine you’re looking in on a text message between two strangers, getting the scoop on a thrilling midnight scene, a haunting, a kidnapping… it’s an exciting venture that’s doing really well.

Success with Pocket Gems also earned me a new job with Ludia Inc, a huge gaming company I will be screenwriting with. They’re owned by Freemantle. They headhunted me after seeing my success with Pocket Gems.

Ludia is a video game developer based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada that creates and distributes cross-platform digital games with mass consumer appeal. Ludia's product portfolio consists of original and branded properties based on game shows, television series, movies, books and board games. In addition to developing games for Facebook, iOS, Android and Amazon, Ludia has created games for Nintendo DS, PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii in the past.

The company works with the owners of original and branded properties such as FremantleMedia, DreamWorks Animation, Universal, Sony, CBS, BBC Worldwide, Mark Burnett Productions, Disney, and creates video games based on brands such as The Price Is Right, Family Feud/Family Fortunes, Press Your Luck, Pyramid, Hollywood Squares, Hole In The Wall, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?, The Weakest Link and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.
In addition to game show properties, Ludia creates games based on brands such as Jurassic World, Jurassic Park, How To Train Your Dragon (film), The Flintstones, Where's Waldo, Popeye, Betty Boop, Hell's Kitchen, The Amazing Race and The Bachelor.

Aside from all of this, you’re also a writer and filmmaker. 

Screenwriting is what I do as a career. I work from home predominantly, with some writing room exceptions. It’s been huge really, and I’ve loved every minute of it. 

I’ve been blessed to not only write for Pocket Gems and Ludia, but also write for animated series with Cartoon Network. I’ve been asked to come on to write for the internationally acclaimed show Ben10 (emmy winning), and have written for a not yet released animated series that is in the works currently. Here's the link to it. 

I’ve had a blast writing in their rooms where you work with other writers to break story and create episode outlines- fix kinks in characterization, dialogue, and structure of each episode. Working with Man of Action and Cartoon Network has been a total career highlight.

I’ve also been working on several original screenplays. A television pilot I wrote called Child of Rage is doing very well on the Blacklist at the moment, which is an exclusive archive of scripts online. Essentially, you are hosted for free if you’re lucky, or you pay a huge fee to host, and then industry professionals rate your work. Get a high enough rating and you get to stay- it’s like the hunger games or survivor for screenplays. Child of Rage also placed in the Austin Film Festival 2017 as a second rounder finalist, and was a second rounder finalist for the Women in Film Black List labs.

Other than that, my horror feature screenplay Black Dog was a finalist in the Screencraft horror awards 2017, was awarded a seed funding grant 2016 by the NZWG, and is now in very early development in New Zealand.

What inspires you?

Honey, everything. Romance, heartbreak, laughter, tears, sex and death. Living in Hollywood and seeing it all in HD color has been a gift- highs and lows. Life’s big and little experiences has all poured itself into my work.

I am also a huge proponent for the female experience, especially the woman of color experience, and I do my best to write complex, truthful female characters.

Love it. So I have to ask, where to from here?

More, more, more!

I’m hopeful to sell the feature film that’s been making the rounds in Hollywood and move into development in 2018. I’m also very much looking forward to being a woman of color in gaming with Ludia- which will be huge for others like me.

Advice for us big fans of your work who hope to do what you do someday?

Never settle. EVER. I think a lot of girls do, because they think “this is it” or “I am not worthy”. The thing is, you are. I’ve had a rough life with a lot of naysayers standing in my way. I’ve been told I’m untalented, not special, I’ve been told I’m never going to succeed. But I fought tooth and nail to get what I want. I was bullied, beaten, and I’m now living on my own in the middle of a crazy city with my own roof over my head, a cat, and a career in writing. Awards and accolades. Glowing recommendations from people like David Koepp (who wrote Jurassic Park! JURASSIC PARK!), and Stephanie Austin (who produced the Terminator 2), and Steven Seagle (who owns Ben10). These people are FANS of mine. When you fight for what you want, what you get is YOURS. It’s an incredible feeling. I can’t recommend pushing boundaries and climbing with your claws out enough. You have to be your own biggest fan. I think the trouble with growing up in NZ sometimes is that the “tall poppy syndrome” thing can really wear you down. Every time I do a story with a NZ magazine or website, or blog, I get comments with people telling me to shut up. Laugh when people tell you to shut up. And then just do what you do louder. Obstacles are just blessings in disguise. It’s more ways to gain life experience. I have trouble with remembering this a lot, of course- I’m an emotional artist… but everything you’ve been through can ultimately be turned into something beautiful.

If there’s something I can say to the girls out there who want to be actresses, writers, artists some day… is please, please do everything you can to do it. Don’t let mom or dad or friends tell you that you cannot. Don’t let a boy who tells you he loves you be the be-all-end-all. When someone says you “can’t”, say to them “I’ll show you”.

Shoshana Sachi is a writer and filmmaker based in LA. You can buy her debut novel here

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