1. Please introduce yourself and tell us about your education and your interest in cinema.
My name is Seda Anbarci and I’m originally from Istanbul, Turkey. Since I was a kid, I have loved the art of storytelling. After studying Chemical and Biological Engineering, I finally realized that I’ve been writing stories, especially TV and film concepts, as a “hobby” my whole life. I wanted to get a master’s degree in Screenwriting and Filmmaking. I did some certificate programs, and later, I was accepted into New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, where I got my MFA in Screenwriting degree. I initially worked in the development aspect of filmmaking. After producing and directing a lot of short films and web series, I got interested in the production aspect of filmmaking as well. I currently work as a writer, director, and script supervisor in the industry.
2. Seeing and reading what works aroused your interest in this medium, and as a result, what works do you owe your education in cinema to?
I’ve been living in Los Angeles for 4 years and working in the industry for 2 years. I have a lot that I owe to my education, from numerous TV shows and feature films I’ve written to my produced short films and web series. I also owe two of my professional internships, one at Voltage Pictures and one at Arclight Productions, to my education. I definitely recommend filmmakers to think about getting their MFA degrees but it’s not required. Knowledge is available online everywhere in today’s world, but I do think that a proper education opens some doors for you.
3. Tell us about your first project. What difficulties did you have in the beginning?
At the beginning of my career, I had difficulty producing my own projects. If you don’t have a company funding and/or producing your project, you have to design the story & script in a way that it’s easy to make it low-budget. As someone who mostly writes science fiction and fantasy stories, I had to change my genre focus in order to get my first projects made.
4. Is it more important to have a budget, or to have the mind to find salvation solutions in critical situations?
I think it depends on where you’re at in your career. It’s so important to produce your short films on your own at the beginning of your career so that you learn what goes into production. So I believe that it’s important to produce some low-budget projects and find solutions with critical thinking at the beginning of your career. That way you can take that experience and apply it to your future career.
5. Do you think film festivals help filmmakers?
Film festivals definitely help filmmakers to have exposure and enable them to market their films on multiple platforms.
6. Tell us about film production companies. Can one, as an inquisitive filmmaker, count on production companies?
I think it depends. Sometimes you click with producers, sometimes you don’t. If you click, that’s always good and you can always count on them.
7. How much of the future of cinema do you think is in the hands of powerful companies like Netflix?
I think that premium networks like Netflix, Hulu, AMC, etc, enabled a lot of new writers & filmmakers to put their voices out there. The cinema and TV started to shift from remaking and making known content to making more diverse & fresh content that’s never been made before. I hope we continue to capture those fresh stories and diverse voices more in the future.
8. Is cinema, as some say, dead, and should we expect television and Internet broadcasts to be gaining more and more power?
With Marvel starting to make more TV than cinema content, I think the answer is obvious. I strongly believe that cinema is still powerful, but it might be dead if more remakes & sequels are made rather than fresh content. Independent cinema is definitely taking over due to this situation in the current industry, but I’m hopeful.
9. What skills do you think a filmmaker needs to have? Is it necessary for the filmmaker to personally understand many specialized subfields?
I definitely think that a filmmaker needs to think about the budget. We have to know how adding one thing to the script might drastically increase the budget. I think that producers are constantly looking for writers, directors & filmmakers who can think critically and analyze the production, business, and marketing aspects of filmmaking.
10. Tell us about your next project, please.
My next two projects are coming in June and I’m super excited for them!!
One of them is an audio fiction podcast called “Bonnie Screws Up,” produced by Aural Stories. It’s a production company by female producers & they aim to create content that can become the voice of female filmmakers. “Bonnie Screws Up” is about an actress from Spain who is torn between the Hollywood dream and following her heart. She makes her way up to become an A-lister, but at what cost? The podcast show will be available on your favorite podcast app on June 22nd!!!
The second project premieres on June 12th, and it’s an LGBTQ+ family drama & romance web series that I’ve directed & co-wrote. It’s called “Here We Are” and we made it with my talented writing partner, Lissette Camacho. It will be out on our Youtube channel, Lisseda Productions.
Learn more about the Here We Are web series: https://www.instagram.com/herewearewebseries/
More about me: https://www.instagram.com/sedaanbarci/