We had the good fortune of connecting with Giulia Corda and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Giulia, we’d love to start by asking you about lessons learned. Is there a lesson you can share with us?
I came to the United States after an early career working for RAI, the Italian national broadcaster (our BBC). Things are changing in Italy now as well, but at the time I was convinced that a writer had to wait for inspiration to produce their best work. Around the first days of school at USC one of my professors mentioned a quote that stuck with me. It is a pretty famous one, but I hadn’t heard it before. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” I tried to follow this lesson and fight my perfectionism. We are not all the same, but personally I think that quality comes from quantity. I believe in repetition, routines and discipline, maybe because I’m a tennis player and I have read Open. I mix them up with regular distraction – I guess I need to organize that as well.
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.
My life revolves around my passion for writing and screenwriting in particular. I had an early career as a tv writer in Italy and moved to Los Angeles ten years ago. Writing in my second language has been a fascinating challenge. As a non-native speaker, as much as I’m fluent, there is always a fraction of the language that I don’t know. Somehow I’m never completely in control. This is a disadvantage and at the same time an opportunity. I always need to be more alert and “in the moment” and my brain is naturally set to come up with quick solutions because the first problem it has to deal with is finding the right words. This must be one of the reasons why I felt a strong connection with Jhumpa Lahiri’s work. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who now writes in her second language – Italian. I’m currently adapting a short story she wrote in Italian first and then translated into English. It’s been published in the New Yorker and it’s called The Boundary. It is now a feature script that I’m developing with the co-writer and director Federica Cellini and with the support of the Ministry of Italian Culture. It is produced by a young Italian production company, Qoomoon. Doing justice to the work of an author that I so deeply admire has been a challenging and inspiring experience, and I look forward to seeing the movie shot and produced. It is an evocative coming of age story centered around the theme of identity, with a second-generation immigrant girl as the protagonist.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Dorothy Parker famously said Los Angeles is “72 suburbs in search of a city” which means that there are plenty of spots that are worth a visit. I’m an early riser and I love playing tennis at dawn at Vermont Canyon courts, inside Griffith Park. Downtown has always been enigmatic and fascinating to me. There are great museums, from The Broad to the MOCA, a wonderful venue for concerts, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a legendary place for book lovers, The Last Bookstore. Downtown is also great for food, with many restaurants and the vibrant Grand Central Market. I’m in awe of the amazing rooftop bars, the first that comes to mind is Perch. If you are an Angeleno, either native, adopted, or just a visitor, you need to love being in a car. I enjoy cars and motorbikes – I’m Italian, in the end – and one of my greatest pleasures is driving along Mulholland Drive. When I’m in the Hollywood Hills I like to take the scenic route and enjoy the beautiful vistas of Downtown LA and the Hollywood Sign. As an Italian, I also love good food. There is an amazing variety in Los Angeles, but I will recommend what I know best. For a luxurious Italian meal, I really like Rossoblu in the Arts District. As someone who needs to follow a strictly gluten-free diet, I’m in love with 401K in Venice. It’s a nice little restaurant where everything is gluten-free, and amazing. I’m a gelato connoisseur and my recommendation is Fatamorgana. It’s natural, delicious and also 100% gluten-free. My last place to go is also my favorite. As a foreign person who always fantasized about living in California, to me the quintessential experience is going to Malibu. I live in the east side, and enjoy both drives, the PCH and the 101 and then canyons. There are many enchanting secluded beaches, and my favorite are El Pescador and La Piedra.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family has always been supportive, and encouraged me throughout this adventure.
I was able to pursue my MFA in the US thanks to a Fulbright scholarship. I’m grateful to the Fulbright program for the opportunity I was given. It is an incredible organization, and it allowed me to know people from all over the world during my pre-academic program in Monterey and later on in Los Angeles.
USC changed the way I looked at screenwriting and gave me a solid hands-on training. I’m still close to my professors and classmates, and we always try to support one another.
The Tribeca Film Institute and the Sloan Foundation were the first ones believing in my feature screenplay Venus Transit, and I’ll always be thankful to them. It’s the story of an intergenerational female friendship between an elderly astrophysicist and a novelist, and it is very dear to me.
In the ocean of screenwriting contests and labs, I truly enjoyed Cinestory and Cine Qua Non. Cinestory organizes a writers’ retreat in Idyllwild for people who place in the competition, and Cine Qua Non selects fellows to work on their features at their headquarters in a magical location in Michoacán, Mexico. I could only attend the online versions of both, because I was selected in mid-2020, when the lockdown was in place. It was a bonding experience, and I’m part of a writers’ group that formed after Cinestory. It is really helpful and after more than a year it is still going strong.