Diary 2 of the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab:
Consultations of Yulia Levitskaya

12 July 2021

We continue a series of articles about the work of the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab (CASL) organised by the UNESCO Office in Almaty as part of the "Strengthening Film Industries in Central Asia" project with the support of the government of the Republic of Korea. In this series of articles, we want to talk in more detail about the people directly involved in the project, as well as about how the training process goes.

CASL project participants work with trainers in several formats. Each of the four local trainers will give one general lecture as well as individual consultations with all project participants. Yulia Levitskaya, a film producer and scriptwriter from Kazakhstan, held individual consultations with all project participants to help them to develop a so-called 'Project Map'. We asked her to tell us a little about her work with our students.

“At the beginning of a script, authors often get carried away with emotional details and entourage, missing or blurring the very core of the story, its skeleton. The task of the first training session in the Lab's programme entitled "Project Map" is to help participants to identify the essence of their project, to understand their real personal motivation, and to identify the author's goal. This exercise allows them to map out the best possible route so as not to go astray on the difficult and rather long journey of creating a film script.

The individual meetings provide an opportunity to look at each project in detail. It is amazing to watch in real time as the author gains insight by answering a series of questions, looks at their story from a new perspective and finds a unique solution that has previously escaped them”.

We also asked several project participants to write about their impressions of working with the project trainers.

“I am incredibly excited about studying at CASL: firstly, thanks to individual consultations with the trainers, my idea has transformed globally and become more profound; secondly, it is possible that a short film project will develop into a full-length film. Also the analysis of the scripts of other CASL participants helps enormously: it gives an opportunity to look at your idea with different eyes, in a more detached way. The project provides experience with industry colleagues, knowledge of how things work in other Central Asian countries, and the discovery of names of Central Asian filmmakers. In our lab meetings, I am learning how to pitch my idea, to deconstruct the script in terms of character, structure and target audience. Generally speaking, there is a very strong team of trainers and participants with whom it is very interesting to explore the filmmaking process”.
Almira Ismailova, a project participant from Kazakhstan.

“I am very happy to participate in the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab (CASL). I have been studying and working in film industry for more than 5 years and writing a debut feature film entitled "Karager". I started it as a short film, but I felt the story has the potential to be a full length film and CASL helped me to understand it.
Firstly, it is a pleasure to be in this unique scriptwritting lab that has no analogues in Central Asia; secondly, I did not expect such strong trainers; thirdly, it is very interesting to learn about the traditions and cultures of neighbouring Central Asian countries by examining each other's scenarios – all this makes each of our lectures a fascinating story that you don't want to stop listening to).
After each lecture, when I sit down to work on my script, it feels like a white sheet becomes white marble, and my new insights and thoughts become the pick and hammer with which I carve a sculpture out of this white marble".
Adilet Omorov, a project participant from Kyrgyzstan.

In the near future, the UNESCO Almaty Office will continue to publish the diaries of the Central Asian Scriptwriting Lab.

* picture in the beginning of the article was taken from the presentation of Yu. Levitskaya.

Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/diary-1-of-the-central-asian-scriptwriting-lab-br-consultations-of-yulia-levitskaya