Screenwriter Spotlight: Finalist Questionnaire (Natalia Le Bas)

What’s your name?

Natalia Le Bas

Where were you born?

Hamilton, NZ

Where do you live?

Auckland, NZ

Where did you come up with the concept that just placed you as a Finalist in the screenplay contest?

The initial concept for the screenplay structure came from my friend, Gemma. She was talking about a weekend date she had with her boyfriend. They spent the day painting and hanging out and it grew from there.

How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?

I had the idea in my head for a year before I started writing a script outline and first draft. Then re-writing on and off for another year or so before being happy with the final version.

From concept to finished draft, can you take us through your screenwriting process?

I start with a brain dump of information about the idea, character development, what the story is or could be. Then I write dialogue to support potential story beats and character conflict.

I tidy up the initial outline, so I can get a preview of my story, characters, and how they’re relating to each other. Therefore, the second outline is where I can see if I’m going wrong with a story beat or with decisions that characters are making. I look for the beats in the second outline and refine the beats for pacing and structure and then when I’m happy I’ll start my first draft.

When did you realize that you wanted to become a screenwriter?

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. However, I do remember realizing that I needed to write my own scripts if I wanted to produce and direct.

Who are your biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influences? What about their style do you like or borrow?

Writers who inspire me are Liz Feldman, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Ava DuVernay, Ricky Gervais, Bill Hader, Lena Waithe, Whitney Cummings, Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson, Sarah Silverman, Maria Bamford, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey.

I like Wes Anderson’s style of directing.

Have you ever been obsessed with a movie or TV show? If so, which one? Why? What’s your favorite moment in cinema history? Why?

So. Many.

When Dorothy opens her front door and sees Oz and Munchkin Land for the first time.

The final battle scene in End Game. The satisfaction and relief, after 10 years of following the characters and their stories, was extremely overwhelming. 

The iconic Miranda Priestly explaining cerulean blue to Andi in The Devil Wears Prada.

The end of Usual Suspects.

“I carried a watermelon” and the final dance sequence from Dirty Dancing.

“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.”

Every single frame of Bladerunner.

Who’s your favorite character in cinema history? Why?

John Wick, Elle Woods, Genie from Aladdin.

If you could talk to anyone from any era, who would it be and what would you ask them?  

I’d want to talk with Reese Witherspoon about her producing career and how she’s turned novels into successful films. I have a list of books where I want to do the same.