A former violin prodigy rekindles her love of music and finds the strength to overcome drug addiction and trace her abducted child.
Set in present day Venice, the story draws on motifs from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and bridges past and present through a violin once played by one of Vivaldi’s scholars and which now offers a chance for salvation to a young, destitute mother. The Recital is written by Helen Louise Taylor.
What draws you to writing scripts?
I've spent most of my career writing technical and scientific reports but always wanted to write creatively. I initially explored writing novels but found it easy to get bogged down on the minutiae. I took a step back and analyzed what I enjoyed about my writing and wasn't working for me, and through this process realized that script writing was the perfect writing form for me as I like the structure and format of scripts, the concise form of the writing and the use of one, succinct, descriptive word in place of a whole descriptive sentence (or more!).
How and when did you start studying screenwriting?
It was early 2017 and I thought it was time to make a big change from the day job and finally follow my dream of being a (creative) writer. Initially I thought I would maybe struggle with ideas, so I decided to start with adaptations. I enrolled for an online course with the Screenwriters University, which introduced me to the basics of scriptwriting, and then spent the next year adapting stories that were out of copyright and in the public domain. Then I worked with a script coach, and he encouraged me to develop my own story ideas. To my surprise, I found that I could do it and that I really enjoyed this part of the process. Since then, I've been developing story ideas and I'm constantly jotting down ideas.
What makes screenwriting stand out to you in the language of cinema?
I see screenwriting as the art of conveying the essence of a visual image from the mind of the writer to what's shown on screen. It's a translation tool, if you like - a bridge from one medium to another. And what makes it clever is the language used. Part of the enjoyment of writing, for me, is finding that exact word which conveys the image in my mind onto the page. and I love it when I see cleverly written scripts which do just that.
Do you ever plan to direct and produce one of your scripts?
I don't currently have any plans to, but if the opportunity arose, I'd love to be involved.
Tell us more about your latest script and the inspiration behind the writing of your script.
The Recital is about a mother's love for her child and the lengths she'll go to to be with her child. It's about having the strength and determination to turn away from a destructive path and return to your true self, which may have got lost along the way.
The protagonist is Luisa, who was a talented child prodigy with a promising future ahead of her as a violin player before circumstances change and she becomes an addict on the streets of Venice. When she gives birth, the child is taken away and so Luisa's battle to prove her ability to be a competent mother begins. She undergoes drug rehabilitation and along the way rekindles her love of music and the violin, but then discovers that she's been lied to by the authorities and turns detective in order to find her child.
The inspiration for the story came from a documentary I saw about an orphanage in Venice, which, during the seventeenth century, took in young girls and trained them to be accomplished musicians. This was at the time that Antonio Vivaldi worked there as a music teacher and composed many of his works for the girls. But I wanted to tell a modern version of the story so set it in the present day, adding a brief historic element to connect Luisa's story with the past. I've also used different movements from Vivaldi's Four Seasons to support the story arc.
What were some of the challenges of writing your script and the research that went into it?
I haven't woven music into a script before, and that was a challenge. I was always conscious of not including too much but having enough to create the audible backdrop to the story. In this instance, I see the music as an integral part of the story.
What is your cinematic goal in life and what would you like to achieve as a writer?
Of course, I'd love to see my scripts on screen, and I hope that will happen soon. To win one of the top screenwriting prizes would be my absolute greatest achievement.
What kind of impact would your work have in the world and why do you think these themes are important in your script?
Above all, I want to entertain people so my goal is to write stories that they will find interesting and engaging, but also that they can identify with on an emotional level. In a world where, increasingly, we wonder if the bad guys are winning, I think it's important to uphold right over wrong and see truth and goodness winning the day.