Izabela knows the secret. Screenwriting is more than an art or a craft. It's not just an expression of creativity. It's a part of us. As she says it's her Oxygen. Her breath itself. Like the Samurai of old who believed their sword was an extension of their soul, so too does a screenwriter to their work. This is why screenwriters like Izabela have to write. It's not that we want to. It's that we are compelled to and is the reason we dedicate ourselves to it with an unbreakable volition to achieve our goals. Her talent, skill, and determination have led Izabela toward success and I am convinced there will be even more to come. This is why
I am excited to introduce you to her.
This is Izabela Borowska...
I’m a writer, screenwriter, and filmmaker – totally in love with the art of storytelling. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by two things: outer space and cinematography.
I was born and raised in Poland. Music was very important in my family, so I attended various music schools. But at university, I chose a very different area of study: International Relations and European Studies. I learned screenwriting on my own, through watching films and analyzing their scripts in detail.
Many of my screenplays were recognized and awarded in various prestigious screenwriting competitions and programs including Script Summit, Story Summit, ScreenCraft, Vail Film Festival, The Script Lab, Inroads Fellowship, and CineStory Feature Fellowship. My storytelling focuses on music, dance, astrophysics, innovative medical technologies, and life after death. I’ve also written and directed several short films, which were recognized at film festivals.
In 2020 my fantasy screenplay “The Event” won the Fantasy Category at the Script Summit Screenplay Contest. Right now I’m working on a TV script and finishing my debut novel, a sci-fi thriller “Soul Transplant”, which won the 2020 Founder Award at the Story Summit by David Paul Kirkpatrick (Former President of Paramount Pictures and Production Chief at Walt Disney Pictures).
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
In high school, I loved watching movies and reading screenplays, especially from such films as „What Dreams May Come”, „Gladiator” or „Twelve Monkeys”. But when I started making my own short films, I didn’t realize that the first step should be creating a script. At first I just went and shot them based on the ideas I carried in my own head. It wasn’t until they began to evolve into more complex projects, with more actors and different settings, that I began to write down all those elements. This was when I first found out from the Internet about screenplays, treatments, loglines, and storyboards.
Later on, I attended many screenplay workshops run by outstanding writers and script-doctors such as Syd Field, Christopher Vogler, Linda Aronson, Oliver Shutte, Alessandra Pilar, and many others.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
I remember when I first saw „The Sound of Music”. I was six years old and I fell in love with it. I knew that one day I would want to make movies with elements of musicals, where the story is told through music and dance. And that’s exactly what one of my awarded screenplays, „The Event”, is like.
Submit to the Script Summit
Funnily enough, in 2015, when I went to Los Angeles to talk about my screenplays, I found a five-dollar bill at the entrance to the Warner Brothers Studio. At the exact same moment, a large black SUV drove out of the studio. The tinted window rolled down and a man sitting at the back asked me if I’d just found some money right in front of the gate. Surprised, I said yes, and he said that it’s a sign and that one day I’ll surely make a lot of money in this studio. And then he drove away. I was so stunned that I forgot to ask him for his business card, but his words stuck with me.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
I’ve always had my family’s support. My sister is an actress and right from the beginning she introduced me to the world of theatre and movies, showing me what it looks like on the other side of the camera. But I think that the first person who encouraged me in my writing was and still is my husband Michael. We met back when we were kids, it was love at first sight. A real love story, like in a romantic movie.
I remember exactly a certain film festival in 2005, when the guest of honor, the cinematographer Sławomir Idziak, famous for such hits as „Black Hawk Down” and „Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, came over to me and said: „The camera work wasn’t great, but the script, the story you created in your film, is just beautiful. I have a feeling you’re going to write amazing, huge things, and the industry will come knocking at your door.” It really meant a lot to me. That’s how it all started.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
I might say that I’ve been a storyteller ever since I remember. Even before I could read and write I’d open „The Chronicles of Narnia”, look at the pictures and come up with my own stories about them. Eventually, I began to paint and write down stories of my own, but for a long time, I kept them hidden in a drawer.
It wasn’t until high school that I went back to the idea of writing and directing. This was when I made my first shorts and got my first awards. After that, I had another long break when I moved into the corporate world for some time. But it taught me a lot too.
Years later, with more experience and new ideas, I went back to writing. I participated in many international scriptwriting courses and film workshops such as: “Compelling Live Video” (Broadcast Pix), “Effective Film Directing, VFX” (Platige Image Studio, "The Witcher"). A screenwriter I know in LA talked me into submitting two of my scripts to the ScreenCraft competition and they both got to the semi-final. After that very quickly came more competitions, first awards, and contacts.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
For me, there’s a difference between professional and personal success. I will consider myself professionally successful when people can read a book I wrote or watch a film or a TV series based on my script; when it has an emotional impact on them, when they identify with the characters I created and talk about them with their friends.
“If you can dream it, you can do it”: this is my favorite quote, from Walt Disney. I live by this motto. When you really want something and work hard every single day, opportunities will come your way and push you to a place where you can make your dreams true. This is what success means to me: making your dreams come true.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life.
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl?
I am a total Night Owl. It changed a bit after I had my baby, so now I’m a Night Owl who gets up early.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
The very first thing I do after I wake up is going to my son’s room and giving him lots and lots of kisses for a good start of the day. And then we go and play with trains 😊
Do you have a morning routine or ritual?
I do. Routine is very important when you have a child, so yes, we have our morning routine. A family breakfast, a favorite playlist. Both music and food are very important in our home. It’s good to kick the day off on a positive note. As for myself, of course, I have to have a cup of green jasmine tea in my favorite cup.
What do you do at night?
The night is my time to write. When my son goes to sleep and the house falls silent – this is my time for creative work. I get some almond tea, light a candle and play some music. It’s my way of creating an atmosphere that transports me to the world of my fantasy. It’s also a time for screenplay workshops and industry meetings, especially these days, in the locked-down world of the pandemic.
Do you have a pre-bed ritual?
I do. A relaxing bath, jotting down the last notes, a goodnight kiss from my husband. The ideas often come to me when I’m already in bed, so I always keep a notebook and a pen on the shelf right next to me, it comes in handy. If I’m really pressed I’ll just grab my phone and note down bits of dialogues or scenes that won’t get out of my head. And the next day it turns out that those random fragments, jotted down in a hurry and without any context, are really great. It’s quite amazing, I recommend it to everyone who writes. That and reading books back to front, which I learned from my son. Children’s way of looking at the world is incredibly fascinating and it can teach you a lot.
How do you define a successful day?
A successful day for me is a day when I’ve managed to achieve something, whether it’s making my child smile, a finished chapter of a book, or a scene for a film. I like to enjoy small things.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
First and foremost: listening and learning. Listening to your mentors’ advice, accepting feedback and a detailed analysis of the guidance you’ve been given is a key aspect of a writer’s career because writing is rewriting.
Second: being systematic and doing your research.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
There have been a few. One of them was switching from thinking and writing in Polish to English. Another one was how to jump smoothly between two worlds in the script; the real world and the one in the main character’s head, plus the technical ability to render those jumps in writing. I love non-linear storytelling, so I had to master the three-act structure and weaving the non-chronological scenes into it in a way that makes sense and can be understood. I’ve always loved non-linear films, such as „Memento” or „Pulp Fiction”, and jumping between different worlds like in „Inception”. The third challenge was learning how to depict a dance scene in the screenplay in a precise way. That was a difficult task, even though I graduated from a music school.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
A day without writing is not a real day for me. Writing is my oxygen, I can’t live without it. I love what I do and I’m very passionate about it. I love delving into the secrets of the human psyche, exploring the unique aspects of the human body, and sci-fi adventures. I think this is the greatest reward of all: when you get to do something that you really like and enjoy.
Apart from that, writing led me to meet many wonderful people. I know I’ll meet even more in the future.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
It’s amazing to have a whole group of writers, script-doctors, and mentors. To be able to share advice, information, experience, delve into details. I’m happy to be a part of some fantastic groups where you can really spread your wings, polish your skills and meet some industry people. It’s very important when you work as a writer.
The Successful Screenwriter Podcast - (Episodes)
We Fix Your Script - (Free Consultation)
InkTip - (List your script)
International Screenwriting Association - (ISA Connect)
WriterDuet - (Screenwriting Software)
Bulletproof Screenwriting - (Script Coverage)
Indie Film Hustle Academy - (Screenwriting Courses)
Krista Keller Talent - (Management)
The Robb Company - (Management)