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‘Addicted’ screenwriter Christina Welsh defies odds in Hollywood

 There are things you miss along the way. There were a couple of flashback scenes I had written that they mentioned in the movie, spans 20 years. I kind of missed that. I missed a lot of the Zoe/Jason [Kodjoe] stuff from their childhood just because they meet when they are 10-years-old and they can’t stand each other. Then, they see each other again when they’re 13. There’s a burgeoning attraction, and then when they’re 18, they’re madly in love and planning a future together. I missed some of those moments because I think that really anchors us to this great couple and everything they have to lose. But again, you’re looking at what you can do in a relatively short period of time to tell a story. And, so, we couldn’t keep some of those flashback scenes, unfortunately. But, I think in terms of the present˗day story, I think that we followed that trajectory of that pretty well.

What is a day in the life like for Christina Welsh?
I’m not a morning person by any means, but I do tend to get up about 8:00 or 8:30 a.m. because I work late sometimes. I’ll get up and have a little coffee and just check email. I kind of ease into the day, and then probably by about 10 a.m., I’m writing. I’m just out of original material. I usually have one script that I’m working on as well as juggling other ideas or pitches, or maybe a short story I’m working on. In terms of what I’m actually writing, that varies. But, I tend to write late morning through late afternoon. I’ll go to the gym later, and then I’ll return late afternoon into the evening. And, sometimes, if I’m on a roll, all the rules go out the window because I will get up at 7 a.m. and I’ll be on the script all day long and I’ll look up and it will be 7 at night. I’ll think, “Oh, I’ve got to get up and eat something. I’ve got to get up and have a drink of water.” Sometimes if I’m caught up in the excitement of writing something and it’s just flowing, I go with that. But, as a rule I try to have a little bit of structure where I’m up and easing into the day, and then writing.

Where do you find your inspiration? Is it through travel or music?
Yeah. I like to turn on music. I like to watch other shows. I like to read books for inspiration. I was an English major as well as a screenwriting major in college. So, I love literature. I love the classics. You can just get a germane of an idea from something that carries over into your work. I don’t get to travel much, but even just walking outside and sitting in the backyard. Some of my ideas will come to me when I’m nowhere near the desk. I’ll be stuck on something and I’ll get up. I’m trying to figure out a plot point, it’s just not working. And I’ll get up from my desk for a while and I’ll do some cleaning in the house or washing the dishes, and all of a sudden I’m scrubbing a pot and the solution comes to me because I’m not pushing for it. I’m not working for it. Or, I’ll be out taking a walk and the great piece of dialogue will come to me and I’ll try to keep it in my head and write it down when I come home. Sometimes these great moments of inspiration come when you’re not pushing for them and you’re not forcing them.

What are some technological tools that you simply can’t live without as a writer?
The Internet, which is what everybody can’t live without these days because you can go into the library. I love the atmosphere. I love walking in and finding a book and doing my research there. But now, you just type in a word. You just Google something and whatever you’re looking for, the subject. I know that was very helpful when I was researching sex addiction on my own. You just type something in, a lot of information comes up. So, the computer and the Internet to me are a writer’s greatest tools. You have a library at your fingertips. You have the world right within your reach. And I think I’ve gotten a little addicted. I think I’ve become addicted to my smartphone, but if I’m away from home, I tend to write at home, so I’m not away a lot. But, if I’m out and about, a lot of times I’m waiting for business responses or what’s going on with the script that I just sent out, and especially with the lead into Addicted these last few weeks, I’ve left the house and I’ll take my phone and make sure if there’s any email notifications or an interview that’s coming up, like this one I need to know right away. So, that’s another bit of technology when I leave the home is having my smartphone handy so I get all those email notifications. I’m also enjoying Twitter a lot. Twitter and Facebook, I think, are great for reaching people. Those are my two main platforms in terms of social media.

And when you want to just take a break from it all, what do you do?
It’s hard. Have you ever heard the expression, “A writer’s always writing even when they’re not writing?” It’s hard to escape that. Ideas are always coming to you. You try not to go around distracted all the time because you want to be in the moment for other things too. But it’s hard, especially when you’re working on something like the solution being done. Like I mentioned, while washing the dishes, things just pop up. I just went on a family vacation a month ago which was great. We were out on a lake. What was frustrating, but ultimately great about that, is we had no cellphone reception or Internet. We had no choice but to just, kind of, hang and be outdoors, and enjoy just the beautiful atmosphere and each other’s company. There were a lot of family members there. So, it was great. It was a nice break from having to think about writing and having to think about work. For me, as a writer, I love the writing process. So, I don’t find I need a break from that, but it’s a break from the business. It’s a break from the worry of, “How is the movie going to do?” or “Is the next job down the line? Is that about to happen?” So, it’s more of the business stuff that I’d like to take a break from and the worry from that, and the anxiety because writers are anxious people by nature. You add the business to the mix and that becomes a whole different thing.

Which lake did you and your family go to?
It was Lake Powell in Arizona.

Are you based in Hollywood, proper?
I’m in Los Angeles.

Are you originally from California?
Yes, I’m one of those very people that was actually born in L.A. I actually grew up an hour north of Los Angeles in Ventura, California. That’s where I went to grade school and high school. But I returned for college. I went to Loyola˗Marymount. And then, I just liked the area and I stayed in L.A. and I moved to pursue writing. Same writing and, actually earlier on, I pursued a little bit of acting. Mostly live theater and sketch comedy. I studied with The Groundlings. I did radio too. I was a radio reporter on Power 106 FM, which was then, the number one station in Los Angeles. I did a lot of entertainment reports. I would cover the Oscars and the Grammy Awards. I interviewed a lot of great celebrities over the years. And then I’d do “Man on the Street” interviews. I would talk to somebody on the corner and ask their opinion on a movie that was out. So, it was a fun gig. I did that for about four years. But there’s always been some element of writing or performing to everything I’ve done professionally.

Any final thoughts?
It occurred to me earlier. It’s tough these days. I think we’re all in a place where we need to be, sort of, “do˗it˗yourself.” We have these social media platforms and we can reach people. But, how do you break through the clutter? How do you break through so many people trying to reach their fan base? The Internet offers those opportunities, but it’s a challenge to reach people and that can take up a lot of time too — the business of running your artistic career. I stop to remember, “Okay, this is a business.” I can sit in my room and cover my little stories and love that and enjoy that creative process. But, at the end of the day, if you want to make a living out of it, it is a business and you always have to think about that.

Awesome. Thank you. I’ve enjoyed this time with you. Thank you, Christina.
Thank you, Yvette. I’ve enjoyed it too.

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