21 Jan Scriptwriter of the Month: Marko Marković
Marko Marković is starting 2020 in full speed. He has three different projects lined up. Feature film SILVANA, to be directed by Nikola Zdravković, is being developed through First Films First at the moment; short film 9-5, to be directed by Maša Šarović, is set for a shoot in February and he is developing a TV series with director Kosta Đorđević and producer Miloš Ivanović.
If this sounds interesting, you can find out more about him from his MTSW profile here.
Marko found some time in his busy schedule to answer our favourite eight questions. We hope you’ll enjoy our short conversation.
• What makes the 5 films on your Top 5 list so special?
I’ve recently watched, back to back, SOY CUBA and all of the films from the APU TRILOGY. In addition to them being made in similar period, they are interesting for me because I see them as polar opposites.
The Satyajit Ray’s films often have technical mistakes and even some not-so-great acting, but they tell amazing, warm, relatable human stories. SOY CUBA is one of the best shot films in the history of cinema, but it features a story filled with propaganda which managed to be criticized by both sides.
I loved the APU TRILOGY. I hated SOY CUBA.
Even though I see movies as group projects, where every job is more or less of the same importance, I tend to like movies that have strong stories. I can look past any mistake, as long as I can relate to the characters, or feel something, or learn something new. My Top 5 are just a collection of films that fulfilled these expectations the best.
• Why did you decide to go into film?
I think that writing is the only thing in my life that I always had enough confidence to say I’m good at. Regardless, I probably didn’t write a single thing that wasn’t a school assignment, until I decided to study Dramaturgy.
I kind of wandered all through high school, not knowing what I want to do with my life. I decided that I want to study sound design, because I like making music as a hobby. The problem is that I’m tone deaf, so they didn’t accept me at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts. The good thing is that I first heard of Dramaturgy that way.
I didn’t immediately start studying Dramaturgy, because I chose Philosophy first. But, when I saw all these amazing professors that taught us every day, I realized that this is how my peak in a career in philosophy would look like. I realized that I don’t want to spend my life that way and that it will always be hard for me to make a decent living. So, I decided to go to a very lucrative business of screenwriting.
I started writing the script while I was sitting in the amphitheatre of the Faculty of Philosophy, which got me accepted in the Dramaturgy program at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts.
• Commercial films or art house?
I probably couldn’t define where is the border between these types of films. I could recognize extreme examples, obviously, but there are a lot of films which I wouldn’t know where to place.
I think the most important thing is that film set me in motion in some way. If I get that from a particular film, I don’t care if the project was developed by a producer who collaborated with a machine learning engineer so they could decide which elements are necessary in the film so the target group reacts the best and they earn an X amount of dollars, or some introverted girl found a camcorder in the basement and used it for the first time in her life while creating something completely original and honest.
• How and when did you begin writing?
In elementary school. It was always some assignment which I had to do in order to get a grade. I remember the first “important” essay I wrote. I was nine years old and we had 45 minutes to write about our summer. Something got into me, I started writing like a mad child and I wrote four pages, while everybody else wrote a page and a half at maximum. I got the best grade, but more importantly, I realized that I like the process of writing and the feeling it gave me. I only wish I could write four pages in 45 minutes today.
• Where do you like to write the most?
Final drafts I always write at the same place – on my desk in my room. However, I easily get bored, so I need to change my place frequently.
When the weather is nice, I like to go out and sit in some park. There are a couple of benefits. Firstly, constantly changing surroundings helps with creativity. The other thing is, when I’m outside, I’m forced to write with a pen in a notebook. Because I write slower than I can think, I try to “catch up” with my thoughts, so I kind of rewrite things even before they are written. Then, I have to transfer it into digital form, so the first draft that I officially put on a page is, in a way, the third time I’m thinking about it. That’s how I write the majority of screenplays.
• What kind of music do you listen to while writing?
Music is incredibly important for me when I’m writing. I have a system:
When I’m developing a new story, I like to discover new music. Even though my concentration is divided between these two things, this overload of the senses helps me with creativity.
When I write something that I don’t like writing, I need to listen to some music that will pump me up. Something like Kanye West, Talking Heads, Fela Kuti, Parliament-Funkadelic, Južni Vetar, Ipče Ahmedovski…
When I need to concentrate, I play something more relaxing, like Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Radiohead, Claude Debussy, Lana Del Rey, Bora Spužić Kvaka or some drone music.
I also make playlists that will get me into the mood of the scene I’m currently writing. If I’m writing SILVANA, it’s the songs of Silvana Armenulić, if I’m writing TV series about hyperinflation, I play songs from 1993. Really, in those playlists you can find anything – Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, The Beatles, Šaban Šaulić, Bajaga i instruktori, Igor Stravinsky…
• Where do ideas come from?
From the people I know and surroundings. I deliberately try to expose myself to as many different things as I can. It helps with my writing and it makes life more interesting.
So far, I’ve worked as a copywriter and currently I work as a journalist for IT and entrepreneurship. I studied art faculty and philosophy. I went to electrotechnical high school and spent my childhood with friends who have the most traditional lives you can imagine. Some good friends are in prison, some decided to move abroad. One of my best friends is a waitress from a small town in Serbia. I like to go to kafanas and meet people there. I follow football and talk to die-hard fans. I worked as an extra in a movie, in order to see from their point of view how they are treated on movie sets.
If I’d take one person from each of these groups and put them in one room, it would probably be the worst party in history. But it’s really interesting to meet different kinds of people and ideas. It’s a source constantly full of ideas.
• If you could go anywhere in space and time, where would that be?
Some place and time in the future. I can always read about the past, but I’m interested in what’s coming.