As a screenwriter, one of the best ways to inform your writing is to taste life itself. To truly live and experience as many diverse aspects of this journey provides you with the depth of wisdom needed to create a compelling story in a world of unique characters. Katie innately understands this which allows her to bring her unique perspective and history to her screenplays. This is why I am pleased to introduce you to this talented screenwriter.
This is Katie Presto…
Writing is a form of expression that has always come naturally to me, but I resisted it as a profession because I didn’t have a clear understanding of how I could use it or where it could take me. Ultimately this resistance led to my pursuance of many different career ventures. I suppose now you could say I’m a Jill of all trades. I started my career journey with an interest in architecture, earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminology, began an online business crafting and selling steampunk jewelry, became a dog trainer, and am a licensed physical therapist assistant who is currently working as a technician. In my youth, I was a theater kid. I took dance, singing, acting, improv, learned an instrument, and performed in a couple of plays. These days I’m not so fearless but discovering screenwriting has brought me back to my theater roots in a way that honors my reserved nature. I wouldn’t change a thing about the path I’ve taken because my varied experiences have given me a unique perspective for my writing.
I often refer to myself as a quiet observer because I enjoy listening to other people’s stories and how they got to be where they are. I’m the girl at the coffee shop pretending to look at her phone while eavesdropping on your conversation. People-watching is my weekend hobby. My other favorite pastimes include: annoying the people I love with song, dance, and general nonsense, eating every 2 hours, and talking about writing.
I’ve always had an affinity for films and the movie-going experience, so I hope to one day become an integral part of that process.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
A: Through The Actors Loft in Royal Oak, MI. I attended one of their open house events with my husband. I had every intention of signing up for an improv class to bring myself out of my shell, but while there I discovered they offered screenwriting classes and a lightbulb went off. “Of course!” I love movies and I love to write, so diving into screenwriting was a no-brainer.
P.S. Geoffrey D Calhoun was my screenwriting instructor at The Actors Loft and his class is phenomenal …and no, I wasn’t paid to say that.
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Q: Who/What inspired you into taking this path?
A: Honestly, all of the amazing writers I’ve met locally and have yet to meet locally and internationally have inspired me. I’d always just assumed screenwriting was reserved for the Hollywood elite or that you’d have to live in California in order for anyone to give you the time of day. But I have seen the successes of my fellow writers and I’m so inspired by them!
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
A: My mom. She always encouraged me to be creative and to pursue my passions. Actually, I would have to say that both of my parents have been incredibly supportive throughout my life. They never pushed me to do anything that wasn’t in my heart to do. They taught me the value of being happy over being rich. But if my future endeavors happen to bring both about, I’m not going to complain.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
A: When I finished my first script. I never thought I would be able to sit down and focus long enough to finish something like that, so to have a final product in my hand was thrilling. The sense of accomplishment that you feel after completing a written work is unmatched.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
A: Doing something I’ve never done before. I just had this discussion today with someone about how I spend 95% of my life thinking about what I want to do, or what I should be doing, instead of actually doing it! So if I can keep increasing that other 5%, that’s a success in my book.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life:
A: Ah, a day in the life. Well I seem to naturally wake up at 8:30 am no matter what time I’ve gone to sleep. I used to be a night owl but I don’t know if going to bed between 10 pm and 12 am still qualifies me. When I get up, I’ll immediately turn on Seinfeld because I hate a quiet house and, as silly as it sounds, it’s like listening to friends chattering in the background, which I find comforting.
For breakfast I’ll usually have one of three things: 1. Grape nuts, bran flakes, hemp hearts granola, and freeze-dried strawberries mixed together with oat milk poured over top. You’ve gotta let it get a little bit soggy, but not too soggy. 2. Oatmeal mixed with a dab of peanut butter and chocolate hummus topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. 3. Sourdough English muffin with half an avocado and a soft-boiled egg, topped with garlic olive oil and everything but the bagel seasoning. I love to eat, so I could talk about food forever.
After breakfast I’ll take a shower and THAT is where I have my best ideas. I need a waterproof laptop. Is that even a thing? If not, it should be. Somebody Shark Tank that!
Once I’m fresh and ready for the day I’ll fill up my 40 oz Hydro Flask with plain iced water, tend to my growing number of plants, and break out the laptop to check my stocks. I’ll spend about an hour or two researching potential future stock purchases.
I’d love to lie to you and say I go for a 30 minute run every day but let’s be honest, I’ll run 5 days in a row and then not again for another 2 months. I do, however, like to take my dog for a 2 mile walk every day …most days. And if it’s not raining, I’ll go lay out on the balcony chaise with a fresh fruit smoothie and read as much as I can until my alabaster skin starts to sizzle.
In the late evening I’ll try and get some writing done because that’s the time of day I tend to think most clearly. If nothing’s coming to me I won’t force it, I’ll just take a break and watch a movie! Usually a thriller or horror.
A successful day for me means I’ve cleaned something, organized something, donated something, or created something.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you’ve developed on your path to screenwriting?
A: I’m not sure if you would call this a skill, it may be more of a mindset, but I’ve learned to not get too hung up on formatting and structural details in the beginning. It takes you away from the story you’re trying to expel from your brain.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
A: Self doubt. It ties in with the answer above, because if I stop and re-read what I’ve written before it’s finished I’ll begin to judge it.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you’ve made?
A: The contacts I’ve made who've become friends. You need to surround yourself with people who believe in you for the times when you have trouble believing in yourself. I always hope I can offer the same in return.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
A: Anything and everything. I want to know what books they've read, what movies they watch, what podcasts they listen to, what classes they’ve taken, and what contests they’ve entered. All of their triumphs and failures. Because, while many people write by themselves, no one gets to where they’re going alone.