How a Film Professor Writes

Quick Facts

Favorite music to write to?

Radiohead or Nick Cave.   

What are you reading now?

Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin.

Are you writing anything right now?

A feature script I set aside over the summer.

                         What’s a word that you always misspell?

                                                                   Usually one with two letters that could be doubled, like Cincinnati.

Deron Albright
Associate Professor of Film 


SJU Writes: What’s your favorite aspect of the writing process?

DA: Occasionally those moments when you have gotten lost in what you’re writing and it’s flowing well. You know when you’re writing, and you’re so in the groove with the characters that you laugh out loud, or you start to cry?  It doesn’t always happen that way, but that’s certainly the most enjoyable thing, being in that flow and having everything work, and then sometimes discovering something.

SJU Writes: Do you seek advice as you write?

DA: When I have a completed draft, I will definitely seek advice. I generally don’t show a draft halfway through unless I’m completely stuck, but when I have a finished draft beginning to end, then I will absolutely go and seek advice in any number of directions. I try to mix between professionals and nonprofessionals.

SJU Writes: What is more helpful to you: advice from people in the industry, or advice from people not in the industry?

DA: They’re different. With industry things, it’s all about marketability, you know?  It [screenwriting] has to be competent, it has to not do certain things and it has to do other things, and I feel very comfortable with those technical baselines.  From those bigger picture questions about story and characters, like “Do they make sense?” and “Do you like spending time with them?”, things like that, almost anyone can respond to those if they take the time.

SJU Writes: Do you have a particular genre you like to write in, or a subject you like to write about?

DA: I think one of the things I learned with the last scripts that I did was that I’m a drama writer who likes to include different elements from different things. This last script, the “blind composer” script, it’s ostensibly a thriller mystery movie, but I did try a version where I was writing it as a genre thriller, and I was far less comfortable with that. So drama is the broadest of the groups but beyond that then, I’ve been all over the place.

SJU Writes: What advice do you have for students who are learning to write in your discipline?

DA: If you have an idea, just sit down and write it. Reading lots of other scripts helps, and it just helps immensely to get the feeling of how to translate images, because you’re really writing in images. The trick of it is putting words on the page that gives this image to a reader to create a visual experience. So for new writers: read as many scripts as you can, find a film you love and find the script to it, see how that writer did it.  Don’t worry about the rules so much. There’s plenty of time for that. 

—Rae Davies ’21