American Lady
20 June 2011
Happy Fourth of July!
3 July 2011

Tama Carroll at the Library


Tama Carroll’s passion with film started at a very early age, and culminated in a double major in Film and Cultural Anthropology (US) and a Masters of Film (Paris). Acting school, theater productions and various filmmaking programs soon followed. Currently writing screenplays, she is also the Editorial Director for DreamAgo, a network of professionals in the filmmaking field with branches in Paris, LA and Madrid and an annual Screenwriting Lab & Film Festival in Switzerland. Tama has also created a new film lecture series for the Library that is slated to begin in the fall.

What brought you to Paris?

I came to Paris when I graduated from college, to explore my French roots – it was supposed to be for just one year, famous last words… because that was over twenty years ago!

What keeps you in Paris?

Unlimited movie passes : ) and of course my kids.

What is your favorite movie? Why?

Impossible to choose, really. Movies are a passion and I’ve been loving movies from all different eras, all of my life, so the pool to choose from is incredibly vast. I used to adore the movies of the 30’s and 40’s when I was a kid (still do), and in my studies we went as far back as the very first movies ever made…I love a lot of different genres as well (but can’t do horror/slasher/ultra violent stuff though).

Why is Tennessee Williams’ work relevant today?

I think he touched on some very fundamentally human issues in his work. He uncovers and displays ideas, fears, and desires that we all have and treats them with an understanding and compassion that moves us. His work accesses very deep parts of the human psyche and this makes it long lasting. He understands human nature and human nature doesn’t change so what he wrote over half a century ago seems very relevant still today.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

I’ll assume you’re talking about writing here, not life… I guess the best advice I received was to show up at the page. To commit to just showing up (at the computer, writing pad, typewriter for the very old fashioned!) at the page day in and day out, every day. I’m not always able to do it but it’s what I aspire to.

What advice do you give to aspiring screenwriters?

Besides show up and write? Decide to keep writing because you don’t have a choice, you have to write, but not because you want a specific end result (i.e. fame or money). Screenwriting is especially hard because what you write might not end up being what’s in the movie and there is a lot of rewriting.. more than you think! Also, more specifically, tell a really good story. Try telling it to your friends first and see if they want to hear more or if their eyes glaze over and they sport a polite smile. Of course, make the characters rich, authentic and multi dimensional (love your characters) and avoid clichés like the plague. Easier said than done.

What is next for you?

More screenplays to write! More projects to work on. And a new film series for the American Library next year starting in October, which will cover many different aspects and eras of film. That should be a lot of fun!

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