Interview with Script Writer Guillermo Noriega

Di Vito “Nik H.” Nicoletti

Hi Guillermo!! It’s a great pleasure to have you as our guest on Vocespettacolo.com. Lets’ start from the first question…When did you first start writing? 

I started writing when I was ten years old. I have been a film, TV and theatre fan all my life, but it took a unique opportunity for me to first lay my eyes on writing. There was a Larousse (the publishing house) “fantastic tales” contest specifically designed for young authors, which I decided to enter. That was the first piece I ever wrote, and it revolved around a conceited news reporter forced to interact with a superior alien race after a massive crash on the set of his show. Fortunately, my piece got selected, and “6:05 am” (the name of my tale) became my first short story ever published. 

What is your biggest goal? What is your plan for reaching it? 

My biggest goal in life is to tell stories and change the life of a future writer or artist the same way some valuable pieces did to me. It feels like a hereditary task… I believe giving back is more rewarding, and that all originated the moment I saw the sitcom FRIENDS. After watching the first episode, I was so happy, moved, and inspired, that I knew I had to make someone feel the way I was feeling. But that is no easy task… I am not only talking about creating a show that airs somewhere (which is quite tricky already), I’m talking about sharpening my writing voice and prose, so I can conceive and execute a concept and a story that connects with a universal audience the same way that famous sitcom about six friends spending time together at a coffee shop did with a little Mexican boy… And millions of other people around the world and across time. So, here’s how I plan to achieve it. First, I will keep sharpening my writing skills, so I am capable of portraying more complex feelings and topics, each draft with a more elegant levity. That has to be my first step… Discover my voice as an artist and train it until I write any story from my convincing and endearing point of view.  Secondly, I will have to build up a series of contacts and relationships that would help me achieve my goal of broadcasting this story nationwide and, hopefully, worldwide… It is of utmost importance that I am able to pitch and express my emotions to outstanding producers and creators that can help my eternal goal of sharing my story… A story that can hopefully one day become someone else’s story… Everyone’s story. And last but not least… Live. I have to live a million and one experiences to finally find that one story that everyone will die to hear and, at the same time, have listened to a million times already. Live that exciting yet familiar lullaby that connects us all as humans, making us cry that makes us laugh… Just like that memorable series, about six friends spending time together at a coffee shop. That… That is my life goal.

What do you like best about being a scriptwriter? What do you like least? 

The best is definitely creating and sharing the voice of the characters. It is just a gratifying and exciting part of it. The whole initial process is excellent, actually. From the moment you come up with the main idea and start building up the layers, to the time you come up with a suitable ending that hopefully with a bit of help will make a reader feel the emotions you felt the first time you came up with this concept. The least favorite might be the execution of a second or third draft. Although it is tough to write the first draft, I do believe there are more limitations when you are re-writing. Which is a shame because, according to every writer you’ll ever meet (including me), writing is re-writing.  I think I’m not a fan of the re-writing part because there are usually some aspects of your story that work well and some that don’t. But, to improve the sections that need some work, sometimes you have to re-structure those that do work, messing some functional beats and ending up not knowing what works and what doesn’t… I’m telling you, it’s tough.

What is your favorite memory from your childhood? 

When I was a kid, I remember my parents threw me this wonderful Scooby-Doo themed party. Even when I was a kid, I was a very outgoing character, so I think it is fair to say without sounding arrogant that I’ve always had a lot of friends. In this particular birthday party, I think I was turning six or seven, I recall there being these huge inflatable castles. I remember arriving at this beautiful party garden and how, little by little, more and more guests started to come. Before I could notice, all of my friends were already here. And there was this moment, this beautiful realization I had when I was climbing the castle… I turned to my left, and I saw my school’s best friend, then I turned to my right and saw my neighborhood’s best friend. We were all playing together, creating an imaginary game of our own… It was great, like the first crossover I’ve ever experienced. 

Thanks a lot Guillermo you’ve been very kind. Voce Spettacolo wishes you all the best in your career and life.

Mexican Screenwriter accomplishes the impossible with his film “Back To Lyla”

Every year it seems to become more difficult for ethnically diverse screenwriters to find an opportunity to develop their voices and see their stories portrayed on the silver screen. Independent filmmaking it’s not what it used to be, and nowadays, you kind of need a perfect, highly-awarded screenplay to see your story undergo production. 


No wonder why, though. The film industry has become an always-changing business led by streaming giants that only seem to put their money on IP franchises and sequels, prequels, and reboots… Luckily, from time to time, a few outstanding artists still manage to surprise us. This is the case of Guillermo Noriega.


In 2019, Guillermo Noriega managed to pitch, sell, and get his feature screenplay BACK TO LYLA into production. An NDA forbids him to talk about the budget he got for his ambitious, romantic comedy, but between you and me, it was a more than remarkable budget. Today, Back To Lyla sets to become one of the biggest hits for the next year, and it was all thanks to the perseverance and majestic writing ability of one Mexican dreamer. The question everyone is asking right now is, how did Guillermo Noriega do it?


Born and raised in Mexico City, Guillermo moved to Los Angeles in 2015 when he received a talent-based scholarship at the New York Film Academy Campus Los Angeles for a Bachelor of fine Arts in Screenwriting, currently included in the 25 best film schools in America ranking by Variety.


Guillermo graduated as best of his class, and before finally finishing writing the first draft of his modern masterpiece, he began writing, directing, and producing content of his own. 


THE BAILEY SOCIETY, a web series revolving around the disappearance of a college student and the tireless efforts of her roommate to find her, represented Guillermo’s first incursion into the industry as a content creator, one that was received with wide acclaim. Some of Bailey’s awards include the prestigious JURY PRIZE FOR BEST WEB SERIES in the 2019 edition of the TOP SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL, which judge panel included Emmy-winning producer Ronn Kilby. Reasonably enough, the Top Shorts Film Festival is ranked as one of the ten best film festivals of the industry, according to the specialized critic (Motion Array, IMDB, Independent Shorts Magazine, Variety). Noriega achieved another decisive victory with Bailey at the FESTIGIOUS FILM FESTIVAL, where he won the BEST WEB SERIES AWARD. The Festigious Film Festival represents another distinguished industry competition with a panel of judges that includes two-time Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Melissa Jo Peltier, and Jeff Melman, a six-time-Emmy nominated director.


However, The Bailey Society was just the beginning of Guillermo’s career. His next stab in the world of web series came with AMERICAN PAROUSIA, which managed to win over eleven national and international awards including the highly esteemed AWARD OF EXCELLENCE FOR A WEB SERIES in the latest edition of theACCOLADE GLOBAL FILM COMPETITION. For more than a decade, this international film competition has become a cornerstone of any film festival circuit. It is considered the mandatory first step on the path to other renowned awards like the Academy Awards or the Emmy Awards.  


Some of last year’s Accolade Global Film Competition winners included the Peabody Award and Oscar-nominated producer Abby Ginzerberg, the BAFTA-nominee producer Jane Clair Robinson, and Malcolm Clarke. Malcolm’s piece, THE LADY IN NUMBER 6: MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE, not only won at the Accolade, but it went up to win anAcademy Award, proving once again how essential and prestigious this festival is in the industry.


As big of a splash as American Parousia was on the festival circuits, the best result Guillermo got out of that project was the opportunity to work with its leading actor, the winner of the BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards), Gonzalo Martin. This actor and producer of Argentinian descent has quickly become one of his generation’s most recognized and distinguished artists. Thanks to his work in LIFE IS STRANGE 2, Martin has become one of the youngest actors to ever win the BEST PERFORMER IN A LEAD ROLE category in the renowned BAFTA awards.

After Gonzalo Martin starred on American Parousia, he became so impressed by Guillermo’s writing ability that he got the Mexican screenwriter a pitch meeting at his production company, FOSTER MEDIA PRODUCTIONS. Co-founded by Martin and María José Michelucci, Foster Media is a production company that has already garnered a high level of prestige after their first original film, THE ORIGINAL SIN was nominated to 7 of some of the industry’s top festivals, including the Austin Film Festival, The Chicago Latino Film Festival, and the Film Festival Ashland Independent. As of today, Foster Media continues its path to become the most relevant Hispanic production company of our time.


After a life-changing pitch meeting, Guillermo Noriega managed to wow Martin and his executive producer, who hired him as the main and sole writer of his original film: BACK TO LYLA.


Having a BAFTA winner performing the lead role of a script you created, with a production company like FOSTER MEDIA PRODUCTIONS financing it and producing it, is a dream most content creators never see fulfilled. The fact Guillermo Noriega was able to achieve this almost unattainable goal speaks of his maturity and position in the industry.

Guillermo Noriega is easily one of the best screenwriters of our generation. He has such a strong unparalleled voice and a masterful sophistication at creating well-rounded, diverse, and realistic characters. He’s a true artist, as simple as that. Guillermo tackles the story in an honest, impactful way, and his perseverance and dedication to his craft are exemplary. Honestly, he has already achieved more success than most writers twice his age. It’s just unbelievable how, with twenty-three years, he has built such a solid, reputable career. The moment I read his words, I knew I was witnessing one of the most authentic voices in our generation,” stated Gonzalo Martin (BAFTA winner) when he was asked about how it was to work with Guillermo Noriega.

When the film got green-lit, Guillermo’s duties began. He wrote and re-wrote over nineteen drafts of the script. The story is the most essential part of any film, and the blueprint Guillermo created just managed to become better with each reiteration he delivered to the producers. As Guillermo kept cranking new drafts, Back To Lyla delved into the next phase of its journey: Pre-production.


After reading Guillermo’s endearing and cleverly-crafted story, Back To Lyla attracted the attention of the incredible director America Young, who had already directed the comedy THE CONCESSIONAIRES MUST DIE! (currently available on Amazon’s streaming service), and several episodes of the hit NBC series BLINDSPOT and CW’s LEGACIES.


Aside from its blatantly talented director, this romantic comedy features an utterly remarkable ensemble packed with renowned and distinguished actors. We cannot express how matchless is the work Guillermo has accomplished. No independent production attracts such famous and award-winning actors based only on a script. This fact is more than impressive. 

The cast of Back To Lyla includes Mara Escalante, one of the most recognized actresses in Latin America (star of the highly awarded Mexican films “La Reina de la Noche,” “Sexo, pudor y lágrimas,” and “Operación Concha” presented at the San Sebastian film festival), Emma Kenney (star of Showtime’s ten-season series SHAMELESS, and ABC’s most rated show THE CONNERS), Hassie Harrison (star of True Tv’s number one comedy, TACOMA FD), and Chris Lee (an essential member of the cast of CW’s most popular show, LEGACIES).


This production has become an unusual project recognized by the industry before it even gets to theatres. Back To Lyla has attracted the coverage of important media outlets such as EXCELSIOR (one of the most important newspapers in Mexico) and CINE PREMIERE (the most prestigious film publication in Mexico). International audiences are already waiting for the release of

Guillermo’s ambitious creation, which, as of right now, seems to be in good hands as it goes through its post-production stage.

Meanwhile, Guillermo has kept himself active by recently securing his participation in the 35th edition of Mexico’s biggest film festival: THE GUADALAJARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (considered as one of the most important showcases for the appreciation, promotion, and distribution of Mexican and Ibero-American films) thanks to the victory of his project QUE BONITA REALIDAD in the renowned writers’ competition THE SERIES LAB. With his newest script, Guillermo Noriega has received a highly relevant selection certificate and the honor of calling his script a winner in his country’s most recognized and prestigious film festival.


So… How did Guillermo Noriega do it? Well, clearly, his talent and tireless perseverance has already answered our question. Guillermo has gained the respect of acclaimed writers and filmmakers in the industry, thanks to his already outstanding career. Highly renowned professionals have noted his unique skills, and one-of-a-kind writing abilities, which we are sure will continue to give him countless triumphs.  


Good luck, Guillermo! We can’t wait to see Back To Lyla in theaters!

Vito
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