Scriptwriter of the Month: Sotiris Tsellos

Greek scriptwriter Sotiris Tsellos was born in Athens in 1979. He studied Physics at Patras University and then Scriptwriting at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Currently, he teaches Screenwriting at IEK (Institutions of Vocational Training) and continues working on his own scripts. 


To find out a bit more about what he’s working on, check Sotiris’ MTSW profile here and, of course, go on reading. 


• What makes the 5 films on your Top 5 list so special?


First of all, there can never be 5 films, not in my case at least. There can be 100 or 200 best films because there are just so many films that I enjoy and so many screenplays that I admire so that it’s totally unfair to name only 5. But for those 5 my logic was this:  I named Truffaut’s LES QUATRE CENTS COUPS and Bob Gales* BACK TO THE FUTURE as two of my teenage self bests, then David Webb People’s TWELVE MONKEYS and Jim Uhle’s FIGHT CLUB as two of my late twenty’s bests and I added a very unrated master comedy from the Farreli Brothers HALL PASS as my 5th.


* for me focusing on screenwriting it’s the writer’s film so unless the director is also the writer I can’t say a Zemeckis film when Bob Gale wrote it, for me, it’s a Bob Gale film directed by Zemeckis. Same with TWELVE MONKEYS etc. Writers are creators of the films or at least co-creators with the directors and should be named equally. This thing of writers being leftover must end someday.



• Why did you decide to go into film?


I loved mathematics and Physics as a kid and ended up studying Physics at the university as well, but upon finishing and taking my Physics degree I realized I wasn’t enjoying Physics anymore, so I had to do something that I enjoy, and the only other thing was screenwriting. So, I enrolled in a Film School, etc.   


• Commercial films or art houses?


Films with art inside them but not boring ones. Boring is not art in my POV. So, let’s take the technique of the commercial ones and the meaning of the art ones and combine them like many writers have done producing works like CHINATOWN, TAXI DRIVER, THE VERDICT, ADAPTATION, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, NIGHTCRAWLER, and many, many others. 


• How and when did you begin writing?


I had never written anything before film school so I can say I began writing at Film School. We wrote many short films there during our first two years so it was good training.


• Where do you like to write the most?


In my home at night.


• What kind of music do you listen to while writing?


I listen to music a lot before and after writing but never while writing, it makes me lose focus.


• Where do ideas come from?


From everywhere, you see something interesting on the road, or at the news, or you think of a character doing something and you combine it with other thoughts you may have. Then when the idea is strong enough it starts developing into a story in your mind and if it stays there for long you know it’s a story that has something meaningful for you and you start developing it and outlining it etc until you write it down to a screenplay. 


• If you could go anywhere in space and time, where would that be?


You mean go and come back, right?  Then it would be the mid-50s to go pay a visit in Paris to Roger Leenhardt and Andre Bazin and make them put writers into their auteur theory. 

If there is not the coming back option, then I would rather go to the future 3000 AC, etc ☺