Shana Wilensky, M.F.A. Screenwriting ‘12

Current Occupation: Participant in Interterm TV Pilot Class

What was your most memorable moment while at Dodge College? Why?

My most memorable moment was arriving on set the first day shooting the pilot. We began before the sun came up, practicing a fight scene with our stunt co-coordinator in a tiny house that barely fit our cast and crew. Seeing the actors in costume, becoming characters I created, and practicing lines I wrote was an awesome, surreal moment that I’ll never forget. 

Were there any faculty members who served as a mentor to you either during your collegiate years or in post-graduate life? How?

The pilot definitely wouldn’t have been as successful without the guidance of Professors Ross Brown and James Gardner. Brown’s years of experience in television writing and guidance really helped me to write a great, funny script. We spent countless hours going line by line through the script. Gardner taught me what is expected of a showrunner and helped me with everything from casting to rewrites. Both have been incredibly supportive and have taught me so much about the television industry and the hard work that goes into making a show. 

How did it feel to shoot your own pilot?

It was amazing to see the world and characters I created come to life before me. Most of the time I couldn’t believe that all these people working on our show were there to help my vision become a reality. We had a lot of fun and everyone learned a lot and really wanted to be there. It became like summer camp – we all had a lot of fun together. 

Now that your pilot is complete, to which festivals have you submitted your pilot?

We recently attended the Eugene International Film Festival in Oregon where we won Best Pilot and we’re waiting to hear from a few others.

How do get your inspiration for scripts? Is there any creative writing process you go through?

Some of my ideas come from friends and family. Anything interesting or funny they do or say, I write it all in a Word document for when I need inspiration. However, many of my ideas come organically: listening to music, watching movies and TV, reading.

I people-watch a lot and try and find what qualities that make me want to know more about a person. I also try and study different people’s speech patterns and try to figure out how each character would speak so they all sound different.

As far as a creative process, I always ask screenwriting friends to help outline a script before I write. Other people often see problems/solutions better than I can and it’s good to iron out the big kinks before writing.