Updated: Mar 18, 2021
While working closely on set with Armen Dilanchian, Producer and Screenwriter of Pride Jewel, I wondered what his inspiration was to write the movie. I was also curious about his professional background, given Pride Jewel was his first feature film. Now that filming has wrapped, I had the chance to sit down with Armen to pick his brain and ask him some burning questions about the creative process behind the script.
What inspired you to become a screenwriter?
“When I earned my Master of Fine Arts from San Francisco State University, I never specifically thought of becoming a screenwriter. Originally, I was more inspired to be a playwright. As matter of fact I wrote several plays which I had produced while I was the Artistic Director of Infocus Theatre Company in San Francisco. However, I made two short films and really enjoyed the writing process. It’s much different than writing a play… It’s very visual. I realized telling stories visually is an entirely different art form, which I wanted to explore more. That’s why I began to write more screenplays. The funny thing about writing a screenplay is that it’s always changing and developing even when you get to the first day of the shoot. Don’t get me wrong, at some point you have to lock in your script so the first day of the shoot people aren’t standing around trying to figure out what we need to shoot for the day.
I was also inspired by movies written or co-written by Steven Zaillian, an American-Armenian screenwriter, -- “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'', which in my opinion is an amazing script and movie. Same thing with “Gangs of New York”, “Schindler's List” and “American Gangster” - all these films the scripts were written so well.
What was your inspiration behind the storyline?
“My father was an Armenian immigrant who moved to the United States in his mid-50's. I was constantly in awe of his determination and courage while he started a new life in an unfamiliar country. I knew I wanted to include my Armenian heritage into Pride Jewel and the story of immigrants moving to the U.S. to find their American dream. When I wrote Pride Jewel I wanted to tell a story of a father and young son who lost their beloved wife and mother after the 1988 earthquake in Spitak, Armenia along with what happens to them when they move to the United States after 20 years.
How did you spend most of your time writing?
“I’d write early in morning, usually starting around 3 AM or 4 AM. However, I spent most of my time brainstorming and constructing the story while working out, walking, eating breakfast with my son, and going through the routine of my everyday life. The story starts to take shape as I construct the characters. The characters start to have a voice, certain demeanor and even each of their own backstory. Backstories help me a great deal to construct a character.
I don’t sit down to write unless I had already visualized what it is I wanted to write. Then the writing pours out. I’d try not to edit much, because I truly believe that whatever comes out during that process, is just right. I would, however, reconstruct the story- thinking of it like a puzzle, making sure each piece fits in the right place, then composing the dialogue from there.”
How long did it take to complete the script?
“About 2 to 2.5 years. And a lot of sleepless nights and cups of coffee."
What is your favorite genre of film?
“Definitely thriller, crime and suspense. I always like the unpredictability of those genres. I loved how “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” kept me interested throughout the entirety of the film. “Memento” is one of my other all-time favorites, and I really appreciated that I never knew what would happen next!”
I know a lot of the cast, including myself, is hoping for a Pride Jewel sequel! How likely is
that to happen?
“I would love to produce a sequel. We’ll see--I’ll leave it at that.”
Do you have any other projects in the works?
“I recently completed my second feature script titled "Gabriel", another action/thriller/crime story which I’d love to produce. “Gabriel” is about crypto currencies on the black market and how they’re traded. A retired FBI detective is pulled in to solve the problem on illegal trades being made on Wall Street."
To find out more exciting information about Armen and his work, check out 4D Legacy Studios!
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