Thursday, May 14, 2015

My Relationship With Words And The Camera

Leticia Alaniz At Her Writing Desk ©2015
It probably would have never occurred to me to write had I not been exposed early in my life to literature and films.  Two of my loves!  I have always enjoyed expressing ideas and finding solutions to stories and building on the backbone of a plot whether they were in novels, film scripts or plays.

Often, I secretly find myself analyzing scenes in a film and writing my own mental outcome if a film is lacking a little in depth or perhaps stronger character development.  There are so many remarkable writers that I hope to learn from and many new writers that I hope to live long enough to read and keep adding to my reading list.

Several years ago, I was at an audition in Los Angeles for a film.  Following the audition, I had a few days with nothing to do so I ventured out to the USC School of Cinematic Arts where many of the most amazing scriptwriters gather to develop their craft.  I wandered around several of the buildings and the hallways and stumbled upon a door leading to a screening room that had a hand written sign on the door that read: Screening for the film Glengarry Glenn Ross.  It is the film adaptation directed by James Foley of one of my favorite Pulitzer Prize plays written by David Mamet.  The screening was for students of the scriptwriting program and I assumed they were going to watch the film and then discuss with their professor a few scenes and the structure of the script.  I sat in the comfortable screening room, watched the film and enjoyed an amazing discussion afterwards.  I was drawn-in as if an imaginary rope pulled me in and I felt that is what I wanted to do in life.  

My relationship with words is intimate, yet scanning thru pages and pages I sometime find a word that entices me to fixate my thoughts on it’s meaning and writing it down on paper; even if it means the only purpose is to see how it looks in a sentence or on a blank page.  Sometimes, a good word may inspire me to write a letter to a friend and drop it in the mailbox, or it may be plugged into a little story meant to be read out-loud to children.  Writing short, witty stories for children is also another one of my passions.  

Words can reveal our inner human voice, thoughts, emotions, passions, hopes, love or un-love, loneliness, joys, secrets,  and fears.  They can be raw or eloquent, disguised or violent, or sweet and poetic, they can capture time and place and even sweep us to ancient history.  Words paint a picture and transport us to places that perhaps we may never see in person.  Words also take on a life of their own in novels and jump onto the screen and become spoken giving them a voice with the moving picture.  Words come to life for an audience and that’s the magic of the collaboration of words and one of the most amazing inventions: the camera.  

I had heard a quote by playwright David Mamet that may ring true, “Art is an expression of joy and awe.  It is not an attempt to share one’s virtues and accomplishments with the audience, but an act of self spirit.”  Therefore, following my spirit is what I do.

Writing operates thru illusion and a story can be a direct expression of a writer’s beliefs and feelings.  If you ask me where I would like to be in life I will answer you like this: I’m at the place where I feel I need to be and where my desire to write is fulfilled.  I have many things I would like to accomplish: continue with my photography, cinematography, writing, traveling, accomplishing one project at a time, and that is a life’s work ahead.

Leticia Alaniz © 2015  


  1. Leticia, I admire you and your work and it was such an honor to work with you and be in such amazing company in the writer's workshop in Austin in 2014. - Cristina Richards

    1. Hi Cristina, thank you vey much for such kind words. I hope there will be many more opportunities for workshops where we can meet. Screenwriting workshops are always up my alley! Let me know about your writing projects.

  2. If you are in relationship with words, you are probably the luckiest person in the world. i liked reading your post and appreciate your thoughts and efforts. keep going