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KATARZYNA KOCHANY - 10 Questions



10 Questions from the August 2014 SHORT STORY Winner.

1. What is your STORY about?

Father son road trip from Idaho to Nevada leads to strange encounters with a Shoshone Indian legend. Written in the voice of a snarky white thirteen year old who needs an attitude adjustment, this Young Adult adventure won The Grand Prize "for outstanding imagery" at the Nevada Sesquicentennial historical writing competition.

2. Why should people read your short story?

Filled with action, adventure and understated humor, "Strange Things Happen In Nevada" honors a culture that has often been misappropriated and ridiculed. Heavily researched to be faithful and honest, this story is respectful of Shoshone history and entertaining to the average reader. After witnessing a sunrise ceremony at a reservation in the American Southwest, and learning about tradition from the Six Nations people in Canada, I realized that understanding Native American customs requires a complete abandonment of the western way of thinking. "Strange Things Happen In Nevada" is my attempt to bridge the gap of understanding between cultures, respecting both while placing neither on a pedestal. You should read it because is also funny and suspenseful.

3. How long have you been writing screenplays?

If memory serves, my first story was in the form of an original song about bears. I was about four years old, recorded it on a cassette tape, and declared at the end of the recording that all parties interested in the song should contact me. It was very business-like for a four year old. My parents are scientists so I don't know where my entrepreneurial spirit came from. Maybe I should have been an agent.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

A fellow filmmaker once said to me, "You're not a filmmaker. You're a human being. With other filmmakers I talk about movies. But with you I talk about real life." I'm not your typical movie buff. It's tough to pinpoint just one movie. If I had to pick a movie genre or TV series, I would say classic westerns, I Love Lucy and adventure/exploration documentaries. Unless we count The Weather Network, YouTube horse videos, TEDx talks or obscure technology studies. Of course, in the winter, it's more likely to be a travel show that involves palm trees. Does that sufficiently not answer your question?

5. What artists would you love to work with?

Adventurous artists, scientists and engineers who are committed to creating a productive, respectful and fun work environment. I've been blessed to have had the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing people. I would love to work with more adventurers/explorers such as those who create shows like Angry Planet, Globe Trekker and Departures, and horse people such as the Heartland team. Heartland is a terrific family show with strong storytelling. It would be an honor to be a part of it. I'd love to meet the Lunar X Prize team and other people who dream that big.

6. How many stories/screenplays have you written?

Too many to count.

7. Ideally, where would you like to be in 5 years?

Someplace warm. On a beach. Or a horse ranch. Better yet, on a horse ranch near a beach someplace warm.

8. Describe your process; do you have a set routine, method for writing?

Peanut butter sandwich, blueberries and coffee. Sometimes grape jelly. Or tuna. But not together (I'm not *that* adventurous). I am very visual so I tend to look for images before I write. "Strange Things Happen In Nevada" research included plenty of "drives" with the little yellow man on Google maps. Thanks, little yellow man.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Financial literacy. Lifelong learning. The science of team success. Horses and classic cars tend to distract me, as do random concepts in technology. I'm a fan of science centers, and enjoy them just as much when I go by myself. You know that person who might randomly show up at a hackathon just because? I am that person.

10. What influenced you to enter the WILDsound Script Contest?

Online readings, loglines and SEO

11. Any advice or tips you'd like to pass on to other writers?

Be careful what advice you take. Find somebody who is doing what you want to do and learn from them. Don't forget to have a life outside of work. Floss daily. If you keep horses or classic cars, call me.

I love to hear from readers so please contact me through DerynWarren.com.



KATARZYNA KOCHANY