Writer on Writer | Q&A with Swila Clubber Leonardo Larios


Follow Leonardo on Instagram: @chinoplr

Check out Leo's Swila Screenplays! 

Fun facts about Leonardo:

  • I used to play the violin, but they kicked me out of the school, and the violin got broken.
  • I skipped 4th grade in elementary, I went from 3rd to 5th (like the name of that Genesis song).
  • My favorite avenger is Thor.

    Q: What is your favorite screenplay you’ve written? Or what are a few of your favorites? And why? 

    A: One which I come back to a lot is “Un-successful” and I’m not entirely sure why. It turned out to be way better than I anticipated. Also, that night everything flowed sooo well, one of the best times I've had writing something. There are a few others that have a special place in my heart; Alexis told me not to do this, Once Again, While Liquor Looking, and Beggars Can’t Be 


    Honorific mention: My present, the rest of the world’s future - the draft submission that nobody read haha. 

    Q: Are there any characters that you developed in exercises that you have continued to write in other projects? 

    A: Yes! Sam Davis, from the homonymous screenplay. I wasn’t satisfied with that submission at all, so I’m expanding the story, adding more characters and some dark twists. I think it’s going pretty good. 

    Q: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? 

    A: I honestly never thought I would be one. First I knew I wanted to make movies. And I knew I wanted to direct stories written by me, so I had to start there, learning and practicing writing. Then, unexpectedly, it started growing in me. And I mean growing like growing, growing. And here we are now, more passionate than I could have imagined. 

    Q: What is your earliest memory of writing being a means of expression for you? 

    A: When I was in elementary school, and we had to write for homework or whatever, I remember shifting the subject and starting writing as if I was talking to myself. Doing that helped me clarify my ideas. It still does. 

    Q: What novel’s/novelists have inspired your writing throughout your life?

    A: I must admit, I wasn’t that much of a reader until a few months ago when I started reading more regularly. With that out of the way, George Orwell has something that catches my attention every time. 

    Q: What films/filmmakers have inspired your writing throughout your life? 

    A: I remember very clearly, when I was very young, being interested in Todd Phillip’s work - it didn’t last long though. Then Inglourious Basterds totally blew my mind, and so my decadence begins. Then I fell in love with PTA, Fincher, Wes Anderson, Terry Gilliam, Gaspar Noé, Kaufman, Andrei, Wright, Bergman, McDonagh, Leone, Chan-wook, Bogdanovich, Von Trier, Lanthimos, Waititi, Stanley, Jee-woon, Cuarón, Guy Ritche, Leos Carax - why did you ask this, now I feel like I’ve said too much haha :/ 

    Q: What are your personal writing goals? 

    A: The day Saoirse Ronan performs something written by me, that’ll be the day. Right now, my goal is to make enough money with my screenplays (that’s important, it must be with money from scripts) to buy a typewriter and then write a screenplay in it! Currently, that’s as far as ambition goes. Once I get there, we’ll see what’s what. 

    Q: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? 

    A: Make a western. 

    Q: What would you do if you knew you would fail? And what is worth it to you anyways? 

    A: An autobiography. I’m not Yoda (I haven’t watched Star Wars, so I don’t know if that reference was accurate) but there’s always something to learn. Especially with failures. 

    Q: What is your idea generating process? Do you like to have designated time to generate ideas or do you go about your life and have moments of transcendent inspiration, ideas for stories you HAVE to write? 

    A: I know this is such a boring answer, but both of them! Most of the time I’m there, going about with my day, and it hits me. A flash of an idea. Sometimes I stop short in the middle of the street and make a note on the phone. Then I continue doing my things, but with the idea all the time in the back of my head. No characters, no plot, just the idea. Next, when I sit to write, I just vomit all the different thoughts I’ve been accumulating about the idea. Finally, I shape that mess and write the actual script!

    Q: Do you outline before you write? If so, do you use treatment style, screenplay format, long hand, something else entirely? 

    A: When I’m feeling I’m all over the place and diverting a lot, I do. But it’s only a rough idea of the order in which I'd like the events to happen. I don’t strictly consider it an outline, because I often end up changing it, but it does help me be more clear. 

    Q: What is your dream environment for writing (disregarding cost or any other prohibitors)? 

    A: I think as long as no one enters the room where I am, that’s as dreamy as it gets. A dark-not-so-dark room, a good pair of headphones, and enough space to walk in circles. 

    Q: How do you feel you have grown as a writer since your first exercise submission? 

    A: It really is unmeasurable how much I’ve learned these past few months. This community has taught me a lot and changed my perspective for good. I’ve somewhat found how I like to write about different topics, and I’m much more confident now. Along with getting to know some amazing people! 

    Q: In what ways do you want to continue to improve as a writer? 

    A: I want to explore territories that are unknown for me, and, of course, write a lot of feature length screenplays! 

    Q: What are you proudest of in your writing achievements? 

    A: I got to answer these questions! Also, every time I hear Kole say my name I feel like I can fly.

    Q: What do you want people to take away from your writing? 

    A: Whatever they may, as long as it’s something they can’t get from anyone else. Not that they can’t, but something they just can’t.

    Follow Hannah on Instagram: @hannahwagner3932

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