Teodora Pancheva

Writer of Pocket Money

Can you provide some background about yourself and how you first got interested in screenwriting?

I started out with the dream to get into film back when I was in school - I would watch behind the scenes footage from movies I had watched and I wanted to be a part of that crew. So I went to college and studies Creative Media Production, but it wasn't until I went to University where my passion for screenwriting happened. In my filmmaking and screenwriting course, I finally had a chance to explore writing out the stories I wanted to make and it made me realise that I enjoy the writing part more than the filming part. Since then I took every opportunity I could to write my stories and the rest is history.

What do you find most rewarding about the process of screenwriting, and how do you stay motivated and creative?
Once I get into the flow of writing, I can spend 8 hours straight on my projects - it's amazing, but starting is always the difficult part for me. I find it easiest when I'm writing with someone else, whether that be they're helping me with ideas or we're both just in the room together working on our own stuff. Knowing there's someone else who's also working on a project, helps me to keep going, and so by the end of that session I feel rewarded by how much progress I've made.

Are there specific themes or genres you enjoy writing about, and if so, what draws you to them?
I like to write about morally grey female protagonists, someone who isn't really doing the right thing, but hasn't realised it yet. It makes for an interesting story as your follow their decent into the rabbit hole of lies or how they try to rectify their mistakes.

Tell us about your current or most recent screenplay project. What's the story's essence, and what inspired it?
I'm currently working on a new feature film focused on two parallel timelines - one where a family immigrants to a new country and one where they stay put. Its inspired from my own experiences as my parents moved us to the UK and the wonders of what would have happened if we didn't.

Characters often play a pivotal role in screenplays. Can you introduce us to a character from your work that you find particularly intriguing or well-developed?
Rose Miller, my main character from my feature film Pocket Money is one that I love. She finds herself in a difficult situation and can't seem to find the best way out of it until its too late. I went through many drafts of Pocket Money and Rose developed a lot so she holds a special place in my heart.

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Writing can be a challenging journey. Could you share some of the most memorable moments or lessons you've encountered in your screenwriting career?
Being dedicated and attached to your story is so important, especially if you're working on a feature film. 90 pages is a lot and with working on outlines, drafting, rewrites and more it can be a huge struggle to open up that document again if you're not in love with your idea. I've had to take a couple months break from writing ideas to fall back in love with them and start the writing process again, it can be tricky to navigate but being sick of your story kills it.

Collaboration is vital in the film industry. How do you navigate working with directors, producers, or other professionals to realize your vision?
Having a director or producer that is willing to listen to you and understand what you want from your film is vital. You have to find that perfect match for your film otherwise collaboration will never work.

What is your vision for your screenplays? Are you looking to see them produced into films, or do you have other ambitions for your work?
I'm hoping to get my scripts produced in the future. I don't have the same goal for all of my scripts but for my feature projects I'd like to see them up on the big screen.

Are there specific screenwriters, filmmakers, or authors who have influenced your approach to storytelling? What aspects of their work resonate with you?
I really like Wes Andersons approach to filmmaking. While I don't write in a similar way to him, the stories he tells are complex and I hope one day I can tackle a complex story like his too.

Finally, what advice would you offer to aspiring screenwriters as they embark on their own creative journeys?
It's difficult to give advice when your still on your own journey, but I'd say that having a small community around you who are willing to push you or help you in your writing is vital. Whether they be having writing sessions together or they'll proof read your work and give your feedback. Having that support can take you a long way.