Sujata Day, Actor, Writer/Director: How many french fries does McDonald’s make every year?
Film Courage: How did you learn to write screenplays?
Sujata: I took a semester of playwriting in college and also a semester of screenwriting. In our screenwriting class we had a book called The Screenwriters Bible [Author David Trottier] which taught us the structure and the technical aspects of screenwriting. We were supposed to have a finished script coming out of that class, which I did not. I believe my script was about 50 pages long. I actually went back recently to go look at that script to see if there was something I could salvage out of that story and it was just terrible, it was so bad. I thought that it was really funny because I’m like Oh, that just means I’ve grown so much since that first script that I never finished and and now each script that I write is better than the last one. What’s exciting is to see the progression of writing from a class (my first class) to my writing now.
Film Courage: Why was it terrible?
Sujata: The story just didn’t make any sense I guess and the characters didn’t have specific point of views and they were just in these scenarios and scenes with no rhyme or reason. It was just really bad all across everything.
Film Courage: They were just sort of like situations and conflict?
Sujata: Yeah and like I said I never finished it. It was about 45-to-50 pages and I don’t even think when I looked back on it, I think I read the first two or three pages and I was like Oh, I don’t need to finish reading this…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
In Definition Please, Monica [played by Sujata] does have a science background which is somewhat of a stereotype but I wanted to take that genius stereotype and that science background and merge it into something new that I hadn’t seen before and I said Okay, well she smokes weed and she hooks up with guys and and she’s pretty chill except in this one family department. It was exciting for me to play and create a role that had so many facets to it instead of this one thing and that’s what I set out to do. In terms of casting the roles in my film, a really fun story for me was…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
With her infectious personality and unique sense of humor, Pittsburgh native Sujata Day has established herself as a performer, creator, writer, and director. She regularly performs in Upright Citizen Brigade’s hit Asian AF show. Sujata is known for her starring role as CeCe in Issa Rae’s The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. She’s recurred for three seasons on HBO’s Insecure. Sujata is a Sundance Lab fellow, Sundance Film Festival influencer, and Sundance Collab advisor. Her short film, Cowboy and Indian, sold to a major studio for series development. She served as HBO Visionaries Ambassador in 2019. She directs This Is My Story, a series in which beloved storyteller LeVar Burton narrates real life personal experiences of everyday racism. Sujata’s debut award-winning feature film, Definition Please, is currently touring the film festival circuit.
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