Games & Tacos Night hosted by 7500 and The Healthy Living Program
The Healthy Living Coordinator and Communication/7500 instructor at Woodbury University, Risa Williams, is not a run of the mill college professor, she is a true renaissance woman. You cannot tell by looking at this Los Angeles resident that she is a former ballerina, actress, explorer, and screenwriter. Every so often while teaching class you can see Risa’s graceful ballerina past come into play when she lectures in first position. Risa has tons of knowledge to impart upon the world whether it be about writing or about exploring the local scenes. What type of stories excite you? Why? I like stories with non-traditional heroes, I think we need more stories that aren’t cookie cutter. I like eccentric heroes, funny heroes, underdogs, witty heroes, sarcastic heroes, quiet heroes. I tend to like stories with puzzles to solve that challenge me to think about life.
"Have a lot of random conversations with people. That’s great for inspiration. Try to remember why writing is fun for you and connect with that as much as possible."
Do you have a piece of advice for aspiring screenwriters? Write as many genres as possible. Write books, plays, children’s books, novels, blogs, magazine articles, whatever you can do. Writing is about being flexible, keeping your mind open to new ideas. Never stop being curious about other people – they bring life to your characters. Have a lot of random conversations with people. That’s great for inspiration. Try to remember why writing is fun for you and connect with that as much as possible. What are your influences and how do they manifest within your work? I love plays and theater, especially Shakespeare. I read a ton of novels. I read 1-2 novels a week! Lots of detective stories, period dramas, comedies. I get obsessed with TV dramas. TV right now is having a renaissance of writing, and it’s exciting to watch. Favorite places to write in Los Angeles: I have often thought it would be great to write in the Huntington Gardens, as it is my favorite place in LA other than the beach, but I have never actually done it. I tend to write in coffee houses a lot. When I’m commuting, I usually stop at Harvest Moon Cafe in Valley Village and work on my laptop. It’s a good place to take a breather from rush hour traffic and get some perspective and some tea.
Top 5 Places to visit in LA: Pt. Dume Beach in Malibu, Ocean Park Beach, The Getty, LACMA, Huntington Gardens/Chinese & Japanese Gardens. I love The Last Bookstore in DTLA, Griffith Observatory, Main Street in Santa Monica and the Venice Canals, Topanga Canyon, La Brea Tar Pits park, the architecture of the Culver Hotel, the Queen Mary, and the Langham Huntington, and the pigeon/dove roof patio of the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City.