What is a Fresh Voice? Academy Award Nominated Screenwriter Hossein Amini

2015 Fresh Voices Headline Judge, Hossein Amini, in His Own Words...

Hossein Amini HeadshotFor me a fresh voice is something we all have. It’s our unique view of the world and our unique emotional response to it. The tricky thing with screenwriting isn’t necessarily how to find that voice but how to free it from all the other acquired voices in our head. That’s not to say being influenced by other people’s work is bad, just that our inspiration from that work should also be fresh and singular. Nobody reads a book or watches a film in the same way. Tarantino’s writing is hugely influenced by other filmmakers yet it still feels original.

Derivative writing and clichés are what stop our voices feeling fresh. Often the first idea we have when we write a scene is an inherited one. It takes concentration and self-reflection to come up with something original. For me the best writing is when a writer’s insight into a moment or event connects

with an audience in a way they’ve never felt before. The conundrum for a screenwriter is the size of that audience. Some fresh voices connect with a small art house audience, others connect to a much wider public.

As screenwriters I think we have to accept our own voice, however begrudgingly. There’s no point writing a happy ending if your world view is bleak. The best advice I’ve read recently about writing was from Richard Linklater on Boyhood. He said he took scenes from his own experience and trusted the truth in them would connect with an audience. I think that’s the case even with genre movies and blockbusters.

If you write a space chase or zombie escape and still find some emotional detail from your life that resonates with an audience it will always enhance that scene and make it fresh.   Read the complete Fresh Voices interview with Hossein Amini here...