Interview with Winning Screenwriter Marissa Lessman (TRANSPARENT)

Get to know the writer:

 1. What is your TV SPEC screenplay about?

*This is an episode of the most beloved Transparent. The episode centers around Sarah and Len having people over for Purim while Ally, Josh and Maura attempt to have a garage sale to sell Maura’s old possessions.

2. How does this episode fit into the context of the rest of the series?

*I foresaw this episode being at the beginning of Season 3, as Sarah is fighting to get involved in the Temple.

3. How would you describe this script in two words?

Dysfunctional and Endearing.

4. What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

Several. Transparent, FRIENDS, New Girl, GIRLS and Top Chef: Just Desserts.

5. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I had worked on it for 9 months from conception until the draft I sent in for consideration.

6. How many stories have you written?

I have written over 30 screenplays, many more plays, and I make up stories in head about every 3 seconds.

7. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Tough one. I think “Learn to Fly” by The Foo Fighters is the song I ALWAYS come back to.

8. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I am absolutely terrible with spelling and grammar. Terrible. So I always find polishing a script difficult without the outside eye of my production partner and my editor.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Helping others, laughing, eating, and my little dog.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I have been trying to continue to get my work to any and all audience, and a live reading seemed like a great way to do so. I have enjoyed working with wild sound and I think the feedback I received was apt and helpful.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

As a wonderful teacher of mine said ,” heart over big jokes,” Meaning, if every word you write is coming from the heart of the character, it WILL work. If the joke is not, it just becomes too hard.

AND DONT EVER GIVE UP. IT WILL BREAK BEFORE YOU DO.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Maura is haunted by her old life as Josh and Ali set up a garage sale while Sarah and Shelley try to throw the perfect Purim party resulting in an unexpected outcome.

CAST LIST:

Gary:  Allan Cooke
Ali: Rachel Rain Packota
Josh: Geoff Mays
Narrator: Olivia Jon
Maura: Shawn Devlin
Shelley: Lesley Ballantyne
Sarah: Jennifer Vallance

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