In the Spotlight: Suzanne Prescott
Suzanne is a radiant light in what can feel like an endless abyss. As writers we tend to keep to ourselves in our little caves. Occasionally peaking out on social media only to quickly withdraw. Suzanne is different. She can be found always championing others successes. Cheering them on with an earnest zeal. Always grateful for her blessings, she puts others first and is too humble to mention her own exceptional achievements. Suzanne is truly a beautiful person who happens to be an incredibly talented screenwriter. This is why I wanted to introduce you to her.
This is Suzanne Prescott...
I’m a California girl lucky enough to explore many other lands thanks to Hollywood’s desire to shoot on location and my husband’s endless creative force. I’ve been blessed as a mom for the past 21+ years, taking care of what we call “Team Prescott,” fortunate to bring my family to live in fantastic places rich with culture, like Australia, Germany, and Russia. Those one-of-a-kind experiences and my passion for storytelling inspired me to pen my first feature screenplay in 2016. I recently adapted that award-winning action/thriller script, Lariat Girl, into my first novel, which I’m excited to publish. When I’m not creating characters on the page, I enjoy photographing them in the wild, hiking and mountain biking beautiful trails, cross-country skiing, spending time at the beach, and cooking homemade, nourishing meals––all with my family. And throwing the football tomy son!! (And going to all his football games and practices, of course.)
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
In July, 2015, I called my daughter’s manager, Jeff Ciabattari, at Thruline Entertainment and told him I had a terrific idea for a movie––and could I hire one of his (writer) clients to write it? He loved the concept and encouraged me to do it. I laughed and said, “I’m not a writer, Jeff.” He replied, “Suzanne, just try!” And so I did.
I perused the internet for blogs and articles on how to write a screenplay, purchased Movie Outline 3––and wrote the screenplay.
Thank you, Jeff.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
My kids. The passion I have always had as a mother wells up inside my heart to the point where if I didn’t write, I think my heart would explode. Yup, true story. Bursting heart decompression catapulted me down this path.
But more specifically:
I was driving my son home from school one day and we were talking about “stranger danger” and abduction. I made a comment that if he was ever taken, I would give “everything and anything I had” to get him back. Then an instinctual thought wooshed through my head, and I blurted out, “Well, except for your sister. I wouldn’t trade your sister.” And butterflies twisted in my stomach. What would you do if your child was abducted… and the ransom was your other child? And I knew that story had to be told. Even if just to come up with a solution for my own curious distraught. What would I do?!
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
My husband. I grew up in a fearful, anxiety-driven household which did not foster courage or strength. My love, Darrin, has taught me how to leap. Even off a 100-foot-tall building––literally––encouraging me to trust the harness and wires around my body and face my fears with courage. He has shown me how to be brave, and how to embrace adventure and risk. And, still, 23 years later, he believes in me and inspires me to step into the arena.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
I’m not sure I’ve had that moment. It found me. I loved writing my first script so much, I adapted it into a novel––so I may find I love that more. Or maybe I don’t have to choose. I just know I want to tell stories, and to teach my kids to be brave and try everything their hearts desire.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
In the writing world? Honestly, having my story made (and made well) on film, or having it published successfully. Both would be a dream. But I already feel successful in my accomplishments, and at the end of the day, I’ve created––and that is what matters.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life.
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl?
I used to be a night owl, now my eyes shut the moment David Attenborough starts narrating Planet Earth.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Open my drapes to let the morning light in, see the blue skies and green hills, then crawl back in bed to stretch. Unless it’s so early it’s still dark, then I just growl.
Do you have a morning routine or ritual?
Breathe in and feel gratitude for all my blessings. Then whip up my magical morning coffee. Organic dark french roast, grass-fed butter, Manuka honey, and Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil––whipped on high in my Vita-Mix. Liquid function.
What’s for lunch
I’m terrible. I snack and I graze and I get hungry and snack some more. I drive around with a cooler bag of snacks. My son doesn’t even call me Mom anymore :( I have been officially renamed, “Snacks.” Or is it, “Snax?”
Do you have a pre-bed ritual?
Absolutely. After I shut the house down, I crawl in bed and play Words-with-Friends on my phone––and usually fall asleep with my phone in my hand. The rare times I can’t shut my mind off, I put on “sleep stories” in my “Calm” app. There’s a gift for all you nighttime busy minds ;).
How do you define a successful day?
My kids are alright and my husband is good. If everyone is safe, healthy, and happy––wherever they are––it’s a fabulous day.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
Oh, that’s easy. How to edit, edit, edit. And I mean, shorten the s**t out of what I want to say. I’m Italian, a talker, an over-explainer. What a great new skill to learn––cut those words!
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Making it a priority. Since my work is motherhood and running the household and business side of my husband’s career, I have always felt like my “hobbies” should come last. I am learning how to say, “I have to write now.”
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
Seeing and hearing my children be proud of their mom. Hands down, the biggest reward.
And, showing them and myself that you can accomplish anything you set your sights on. I left high school at fourteen years old, and became a self-taught screenwriter and author in my 40s.
Life can be your teacher. You just have to be curious and alive, be passionate and present. If you open your heart and believe in yourself, you can grasp those dreams––the dreams that are yours.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
How to pitch. Or better yet, how to pitch without pitching. That would be the dream. But, really, listening to other writers talk about their process, reading their blogs and personal stories, it is very inspiring and a great reminder that we all have distinctive voices, and such wonderful stories to tell.