In the Spotlight: Iustina Ciobanu
Iustina has found her passion as a writer and has dived in headfirst. Her drive and focus have led her to write several novels and also become an award-winning screenwriter. It is of no surprise that she is incredibly humble as she is talented which is why I am excited to introduce you to her.
This is Iustina Ciobanu...
I was born and raised in Romania, then in 2014, I moved to the UK.
Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated by writing, but I've always been too shy to let people see my work. At 29, I still can say that self-confidence is not one of my strengths, but I'm always giving my best to get things done as close as possible to perfection.
I'm a mother and a wife, and finding some free time can be challenging at times, but everything is possible as long as you genuinely want it to be.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
A few months ago, more precisely in May 2021, I started writing my first novel; then, I could not stop. It became addictive. I had too many ideas and not enough time. When I got to my fourth novel, I could not help but start another one. I have been working on both for a couple of weeks, unable to put any of them down. That was when I decided to make my last project a screenplay. I have always dreamed of having my works shown on the big screen.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
I can not say it was something or someone. I just felt like doing it, so I did it without overthinking about the outcome. I believe that writing is the best therapy for the mind and soul. You have the power to create so many amazing things; whole worlds, never before seen or heard species or rules, everything you can think of; there are no limits.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
I think that I can say it was my six-grade teacher. She was always urging me to take more writing-related courses or get involved in different activities and to make a living from this. I still remember meeting her years later, and she asked me why I still didn't do it.
Later, after I started writing and met so many beautiful people, I can say that my good friend and author, Sergio Calado, was the one that was always there in my worst moments, pushing me forward when I was about to give up on writing.
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Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
I can not point out an exact moment. It just happened. Writing novels made me think how good of a movie they can make, so I decided to give this a try. Like most writers, I had my doubts; I still have them. But I think that this is a quality. Doubting yourself will always push you to get things done better.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
As long as you do what you love, you are successful. Knowing that people appreciate my work in this industry means a lot for me as I want to make my voice heard. Success can come in different forms. But the less important form, I believe it is the material one. It can indeed be hard to make a living from doing what you love to do, but the satisfaction that you have from this is unique.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life:
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl? I would say that I'm more like an Early Owl. I always go to bed late and wake up early.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Check my emails for any possible good news, then get my son ready for nursery.
Do you have a morning routine or ritual? I do. I am not able to function without a glass of water and a large cup of coffee.
Do you have a pre-bed ritual? I will often edit, set goals for the following day or week and plan new 'chapters.'
How do you define a successful day? A productive day is a successful one. If I can reach all or most of my goals, I'm content with myself.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
I think I became much better at planning my work. I will always split my story into several main ideas that I will develop one by one, including each character, to the smallest detail.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Learning as I go brings along all sorts of challenges. But the most significant one was, and still is, the language - grammar and vocabulary. Being self-taught gave me a hard time. But nothing is impossible. The best proof is being here and writing this.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
The fact that I've been able to have my work read by so many people and be an award winner in a few film festivals in such a short time, plus the lovely feedback that they all offered, is my greatest reward. It is a huge confidence boost for me as a writer and person.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
I want to learn everything that is possible to know; how they do it, why, and what motivates them. How are they able to pass all the obstacles to reach their goals, to make their dreams come true?