We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Kingsleigh Licud and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Christina, how do you think about risk?
Before I decided to pursue screenwriting, I had a career in advertising with all the perks. If I had stayed in that field, I’d probably be a VP at some fancy agency right now. But when I arrived to work every day, there was always something missing. From the outside looking in, I was successful, but I wasn’t excited about the work I was doing. It was scary to imagine leaving a stable career that I’d invested so much time in and so much of myself. But eventually, the fear of staying outweighed the fear of leaving.

When you’re a screenwriter, it’s almost like being an entrepreneur. You’re the business and the owner, and your success is really dependent on you. It’s uncharted territory, and it can be uncomfortable. But pursuing the thing I love has been the most rewarding career decision, and I’ve learned to find comfort in the discomfort. Whenever you’re taking a risk, there’s a chance that things won’t go as planned, but then there’s also a chance that they’ll be better than you imagined. And for me, I’m happy to say it’s been the latter.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I owe a lot of my success to American Film Institute, where I graduated in 2019 with my MFA in Screenwriting. There, I learned from working industry professionals and met some of my lifelong friends and collaborators. My time there planted the seeds of success I’ve experienced post-grad, including getting representation and securing a development deal for a pilot I wrote while in school.

Being a screenwriter, especially starting out, comes with a lot of challenges, the first being, if you’re not independently wealthy, you’re likely freelancing full-time while pursuing your craft full-time as well. That can be pretty exhausting. The key is finding balance and making sure that you make time for self-care.

Another challenge can be trusting the process and timing of things. Unlike other careers, there’s no set timeline or path for screenwriters. Some people go to film school; others don’t. Some start as assistants and work their way up; others sell their first show. It could take years to get your first writing job, or it could take much less. While the uncertainty can be unnerving, I’ve found the best thing to do is focus on your work and create things that excite and challenge you. You can’t compare your journey or work to anyone else because there is no one else like you. Be consistent, keep creating, and you’ll get where you want to be when you’re supposed to. The rewards always outweigh the struggle.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

There are so many fun places in LA! The best way to know a city is through its food, so the first stop is definitely Monty’s for the best vegan burger, and dare I say, the best burger in general. We’ll also need to stop by Flore Vegan for their amazing desserts. And to burn off those calories, I’d recommend driving down to San Pedro and checking out the Sunken City Trail. You’ll enjoy scenic views of the ocean, and if you stop by the park, you can often hear local musicians trying out a new tune. One of my favorite activities in LA is watching the planes take off from LAX at night. There’s a lookout point with a great view of the runway not too far from the airport. My friends and I like to watch and make up where each plane is headed.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My dear friend and fellow filmmaker Joyce Sherrí is a huge part of the reason I pursued writing in the first place. I’m thankful for her encouragement. I’m also forever grateful to my amazing teachers at American Film Institute, like Gabrielle Kelly and Ed Decter, who’ve helped me hone my craft and have taught me so much about the business of screenwriting.

Website: http://chriskingsleigh.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chris.kingsleigh/

Image Credits
Rex Reyes II, Beata Harju, Emmanual Jackson

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