Interview with May 2020 Diversity Winner - Eljohn Macaranas
May 01, 2020
How long have you been writing and what made you want to write in the first place? I’ve been writing scripts for nearly 10 years! I got my start playwriting in high school but began properly screenwriting 4 years ago. I’ve always been drawn to the art of storytelling, my parents actually received complaints from my teachers back in elementary school because I’d “direct” recess and its increasingly complicated “storylines.” What made me really want to write was seeing stories (even my weaker ones) pay off, either onstage or on-page. Making people react and entertaining them with just my own imagination and the borrowed talents of other people is the greatest privilege in the world.
What genre do you prefer to write in? What draws you to that genre? I always end up writing comedies, even when I don’t mean to. Even in my earliest days, anything I thought was dramatic ended up being hilarious both in hindsight and execution. My very first play at 15 was meant to be this dark, atmospheric revenge-thriller one-act. The table read we had transformed it into a comedic farce, and it was all the better for it. I’m definitely drawn to the genre because of how flexible it is and how challenging it can be. Writing something that’s even remotely universally funny isn’t easy. It’s extremely rewarding hearing someone laugh because a scene you wrote landed all the punchlines.
Tell us three things you're currently digging. Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch has been my chicken noodle soup for the soul. I’m living my best quarantine life there with friends I can’t meet up with. I’m obsessed with Las Culturistas, Bowen Yang and Matt Rogers’ unapologetically queer and funny podcast. A must-listen. Weirdly enough, I’ve rediscovered the Shrek movie series. The pop-culture jokes have aged, but the storytelling for the first two remain untouchable.
What interested you about the Roadmap Diversity Initiative? What interested me most about the Diversity Initiative was Roadmap’s commitment to their writers and the mission of nurturing and amplifying diverse, underrepresented voices. They’ve signed 112 writers, they know what they’re doing and do it quite well. As a first-generation queer Asian American writer, I’ve heard all the ways my aspirations to write for the screen could fall apart. My key goal over the last year and this year was to really put myself out there and make real strides. I wanted a chance to really develop myself and grow my career and was extremely fortunate to have been picked by Roadmap Writers for their Diversity Initiative.
Where can we find you? I’m on Instagram: @ejmacaranas, I tweet at: @YouMightNotSee, and I’m @eljohn on Apple Music.