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The Last Day of Paradise, from novel to screenplay!

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

I’ve been writing for sometime now but mostly fiction. In other words, novels. The art of scriptwriting is pretty new to me. “The Last Day of Paradise” is my first script and it’s based on my first novel, which was published back in 2006 after winning the Gival Press Novel Award, a literary annual fiction competition held by a small independent publishing house located in VA.

Writing a script is pretty different than writing a novel in many ways. For once, one has to stop thinking in words and start visualizing/seeing the scenes. In order to achieve this mental switch (from word-sentences into visual-fragments), I had to allow myself to let the words go. I did that by reading scripts I love and admire and of course by watching the movies of those scripts.

For instance I read “Call Me By Your Name” by James Ivory and “Slumdog Millionaire” by Simon Beaufoy, “Little Women” by Greta Gerwig and “Ex Machina” by Alex Garland. I studied those scripts and the books of those stories. Ex Machina is not based on a book but I love Garland’s work so I read his script a couple of times. At the same time, I enrolled in an online scriptwriting workshop. By the time I was done with the 5th version “The Last Day of Paradise,” I started feeling good about it and a friend suggested to submit it to a competition. So I did. A couple of months later I received an email informing me that “The Last Day of Paradise” was a finalist in that competition. I thought I am not that bad after all and went on to revised my script once again. Then I submitted it to several other competitions and within less than a year my script had won 5 awards, was a finalist in 7 others and semi-finalists in few more. I viewed each boost as an opportunity to go back to the script and improve it a bit more each time. Also because of each boost I gathered the guts to start writing my 2nd script (Life Is Big), which is based on my 2nd novel.

Currently I am working on adopting my second novel into a script and I am reading “Jojo Rabbit” by Taika Waititi, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” by Wes Anderson and “Big Fish” by John August. “Life is Big” is very different from “The Last Day of Paradise” which is based in Greece and deals with two love stories of two different generations. “Life is Big” is the story of Alma-Jane the most genetically happy girl alive who is doomed to die due a rare gene mutation and how everyone comes together in search for her remedy. It’s a funny tale, where you meet Death and his friend, Pablo Neruda, and Albert Einstein and his lover Sabina, a Kunderian character and so forth. “Life is Big” deals with human vulnerability and how something so fragile and common has the ability to bring together alive and dead people at once.

My inspiration comes from my need to answer existential questions about myself and about life in general. Often I come to realize I cannot really find the answers to my questions so I give in and start making up stories. Most of the times I start with a serious question that troubles me and then I go on pursuing its answer from a humorous playful kind of angle. That keeps me sane and keeps me going. Whenever I get stuck I go back from where I started: literature, childhood, friendships, family. That’s all I’ve got. That’s all I want to have.

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