We had the good fortune of connecting with Carol Faw and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carol, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
For myself, writing-wise, the key is routine. You have to create a writing schedule that you can stick to in order to not just have ideas, but finish them! A “bad” finished script is better than an unfinished one or a great idea. People want to read finished pieces so that they can see you have the ability to follow through on your ideas.
For me that routine is three scenes a day. That could be three scenes that are two sentences of action, but either way I’ve reached my goal. Anything beyond that is a bonus. Plus, it leaves me with the energy to be excited about writing the next day.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a screenwriter and my emphasis in storytelling, at the moment, is in the genre of Southern Gothic. In particular of female driven dramas set in the South with either violent or magical elements. I’m exploring everything from the politics to the music I heard growing up to the food I’ve eaten since I was a child, all of the idiosyncrasies of my home that have had an impact on me. These elements come together to form a world and setting that draws readers into the story so I can connect with them.
Despite my venture into the Southern Gothic now, I dabble in most genres, from thriller to horror to hard family drama. What matters most to me is the heart of the story, you have to have something to say. Storytelling is about connecting with others through our own specific experiences via the universal feelings of loss, love, power, or family. As storytellers, we have the power to spread hope during these uncertain times. As long as the heart of the story is there, the rest of the script from the dialogue to the plot can be found.
There’s no smooth road for a creative career. It is a life of rejection. You have to love to write or act or direct or whatever creative pursuit you choose because it’s always an uphill battle in LA.
I am still trying to get my foot in the door. I’ve done multiple internships, paid and unpaid. I’ve been a temporary assistant and been convinced that I would be hired full time, only to train the next person to take the assistant job I was hoping for. I’ve worked multiple part time jobs since graduating from AFI, always at least two, but sometimes three jobs at once.
It’s tough, but there’s magic in these times because I’m part of the LA hustle. I’m in the place I need to be to have the career I couldn’t have anywhere else. I do what I have to do to pay the bills and write whenever I can, whether it’s in the dawning hours before an opening shift, ten minutes at lunch, or late into the night. Those stolen moments to write are precious and worth every other moment I’m on my feet because I am following my dream. I am making my own way, one word at a time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In stereotypical writer fashion, I love coffee as do most of my friends. Here’s where I’d bring them for a weekend of coffee and music in the valley.
The Coffee Roaster: Great small and local shop that roasts coffee daily.
House Roots Coffee: Their lavender latte is amazing and the service is quick.
Black Heart Coffee: My new find! I love their Black Heart Lattes and they have a great selection of breakfast sandwiches and burritos.
After we’re fully caffeinated, we’d go record shopping at the Midnight Hour, my favorite record shop in the valley. I could spend hours there as long as I had a coffee in hand.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have a monthly writing group from graduate school that I keep up with. They are my main motivators and accountability partners. Their names are Leif Johnson, Katie French, Myles Hawthorne, Vidhya Iyer, Giovanni Maldonado, Krystal Javier, and Michael Leung. Not only is their work inspiring and captivating, but their feedback is kind and thoughtful.
I also would like to dedicate this shoutout to my older sister, Katherine Faw, who is a novelist and who has published two books: Young God and Ultraluminious. Her work ethnic is unmatched and her work inspiring and insightful no matter the subject.
All images by the very talented and lovely Lauren Guiteras