News: Northern Script gave courage to continue writing – meet our jury member Mikko Peltotupa

Mikko Peltotupa

My name is Mikko Peltotupa and I study screenwriting at Aalto University. I actually won the first ever Northern Script competition back in 2017, which was a remarkable step on my career. 

Before the competition I was ashamed of calling myself a screenwriter. I never let anyone read my scripts and it was impossible to land a job as an unknown author. Although I was invited to the competition finals, I was still ashamed of my script. Even after I was announced as a winner, the victory felt somehow unearned.

Courage to write starts to grow

But a few weeks after the competition I noticed that something had changed: I started to trust my writing little by little. For the first time ever, I was true to myself: If I wanted to become a writer some day, I had to feel a bit insecure and ashamed. After the competition I found the courage to introduce my scripts for somebody and soon I got my first screenwriting gig, which was soon followed by another gig and so on… The snowball was rolling.

Although the winning script was never filmed, the Northern script gave me more than I could’ve asked for. I still keep in touch with a few contestants, and I’ve been honored to work for Northern Script competitions as a judge. In this position I’m privileged to read astonishing scripts and meet the talents behind them. Every script and every meeting have broadened my view on the craft and art itself. 

I’m looking forward how much this competition could mean for a starting screenwriter, because it meant (and still means) a world to me.

Mikko Peltotupa in October 2021

 

News: Meet Northern Script workshop teacher Dragan Mitic

Dragan Mitic

Northern Script masterclass is getting closer. The virtual screenwriting masterclass is held from 18th to 20th November in Zoom. During this ongoing October all the Northern Script participants will receive the information if they made it to the finals of the competition.

During the virtual workshop we will have three great teachers: screenwriter Anna Brotkin (FI),  filmmaker Thomas Wangsmo (NO) and screenwriter Dragan Mitic (SE). The workshop place is offered for the best six writers.

Introducing Dragan Mitic

Dragan Mitic (born 1970) is a screenwriter from Gothenburg, Sweden. He has a background in journalism, transitioned twelve years ago to writing episodes on a drama series for the Swedish broadcasting company SVT and has since written plays, screenplays and developed concepts for tv- series, commissioned from major Swedish production companies. In 2017 he was nominated for a Guldbagge Award for his screenwriting on the feature length drama My Aunt in Sarajevo. Since 2019 he has also been a part time head teacher in screenwriting at Yrgo, a college in Gothenburg.

Dragan Mitic´s workshop will focus on techniques for giving and receiving feedback and the process of writing the second version of a script. The final workshop program will be planned according to the participant wishes.

News: Meet one of our workshop teachers – Norwegian Thomas Wangsmo

Thomas Wangsmo

Northern Script competition will have a 3-day masterclass for the best six writers. The workshop will be held from 18th to 20th November online. Workshop teachers come from Finland, Norway and from Sweden.

Our Norwegian teacher is a screenwriter and director Thomas Wangsmo. He is a film graduate from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. He has written and directed one feature and more than twenty short films.

His first feature film, Into the Dark, was released in Norwegian cinemas in February 2012. It premiered internationally at Montreal World Film Festival in 2012, where it won the Bronze Zenith Award. His short film Amor won the EFA Best Short Award at Ghent International Film Festival in 2009, and was a Best Short nominee at the European Film Awards in 2010.

In addition to writing and directing, Wangsmo has edited all his films, and occasionally also photographed and produced them.

He is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Norway, and regularly teaches film in addition to working as a filmmaker.

Thomas’ workshop is focusing on dramaturgy or dramatic structure, as well as the importance of developing a strategy for how to pitch the scripts and find avenues to take them into production. The final workshop program will be planned according to the participant wishes.

News: Northern Script made new record

Northern Script 2021 competition has closed for new scripts. Overall 34 scripts were sent into the competition – which is a new record. Thank you all who participated!

Next our pre-jury member, screenwriter Milla Tuokkola, will read all the scripts. All the competitors will receive short feedback from their scripts. Tuokkola will choose 6 best scripts and the writers are invited to an online workshop held from 18th to 20th November in Zoom. Workshop program is under planning. One workshop leader is Anna Brotkin. You can read more about Anna here.

News: Screenwriter Anna Brotkin’s workshop for Northern Script finalists

This year Northern Script will invite best six writers to an online workshop held 18. – 20.11. 2021. One of the workshop teachers this year is an experienced screenwriter Anna Brotkin.

In her workshop, Brotkin will talk about creating great characters to your stories. In the workshop Northern Script finalists’ dive into the world of character development through lectures, talks and writing tasks. 

The workshop includes themes such as:

  • What makes a good main character for a screenplay?
  • How to write interesting and multifaceted characters that make the audience believe in your story? 

Introducing the lecturer

Anna Brotkin. Kuva: Antti Grundstén

Anna Brotkin (born 1987) is a screenwriter from Helsinki, Finland. She’s the creator and writer of the hit-series Aikuiset (“Adults”) broadcasted by the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle.

She has also worked as a head-writer for a comedy show called Putous (“Comedy Combat”) and as a staff-writer for several comedy and drama series including Jättekiva, Pohjolan laki and Rehtori.

She’s also written several short movies that have traveled film festivals such as Palm Springs ShortFest, Aspen Film Festival, Tampere Film Festival and Seattle Shorts. Anna Brotkin has a master’s degree in screenwriting from Aalto University.

If you want to participate in this year Northern Script competition, please remember to send your max. 10 pages script no later than 5th September 2021. Send it via e-mail to: nosi@mediametka.fi 

Last weeks to submit your script – Northern Script 2021 deadline is getting closer!

Dear all scriptwriting lovers in Finland, Norway and in Sweden! This is a kind reminder that Northern Script 2021 competition is closing in some weeks. If you want to participate, please send your script to the competition no later than 5th September. 

You can participate in the competition with a maximum of 10 pages of a short film script. The theme of the competition “TRUST” must be seen in the script.

The script must be sent to the competition organisation via email. The e-mail address is: nosi@mediametka.fi

Masterclass for the finalist on November

All of the participants will receive a short feedback from their texts from our lovely pre-jury member, scriptwriter Milla Tuokkola. Read more about Milla here.

Milla Tuokkola

The finalists will have a chance to improve their scripts based on the feedback and are invited to an online masterclass held 18. – 20.11. 2021 during the 40th Oulu International Children’s and Youth Film Festival. During the masterclass the finalists will get to know each others and learn new skills about scriptwriting. One of the masterclass teachers is a Finnish scriptwriter Anna Brotkin.

Mentoring session and film workshop place for the winner

The winner of Northern Script 2021 will be announced during the masterclass. The winner of the competition will have a chance to participate in a film workshop in Tromsø, Norway in summer 2022 as part of the NUFF Film Festival. The prize includes workshop program, food and accommodation in Tromsø. Part of the travel expenses are also sponsored for the winner.

Jussi Rantamäki, kuva: Arsen Sarkisiants

The winner will also have an online mentoring session with an experienced, award winning film producer Jussi Rantamäki. He is the producer of the film Compartment Number 6 (dir. Juho Kuosmanen). The film won Grand Prix -prize in Cannes Film Festival in 2021.  Read more about Jussi here. 

If you want to improve your writing skills, meet fellow writers from other Nordic countries, Northern Script competition is for you! No matter if you are a beginner or a more experienced writer, you can participate! GOOD LUCK!

Meet our pre-selection jury member: scriptwriter and comedian Milla Tuokkola

This year Northern Script competition will have a lovely pre-selection jury member, scriptwriter Milla Tuokkola. Tuokkola will read all the texts sent into the competition and choose the finalists. All the participants will also receive a short feedback from their texts from Tuokkola.

Northern Script 2021 competition is open until 5th of September so you still have some weeks left to participate. GOOD LUCK! 

Milla Tuokkola

Introducing Milla Tuokkola

Milla Tuokkola is a Finnish scriptwriter and a comedian. She studied scriptwriting for film and television at Bournemouth University in England. After her graduation she worked as a writer for Nickelodeon International in London and Los Angeles. She’s crazy about comedy, having studied improv at the UCB Theater in LA and performing stand-up comedy around the country whenever she can. For the last two years she has been developing, and now writing, a teen drama series for Finnish television.

Milla is very excited to be involved in this year’s Northern Script because she’s passionate about young voices getting a chance to break into the industry. Taking part in scriptwriting competitions like Northern Script are a great way to do just that! Writing to a specific brief such as this year’s theme of “trust” is an effective way to deepen your writing practice and you’ll also get a fresh, new writing sample to boot! That’s what they call a win-win situation.

Milla is looking forward to reading all of this year’s entries. She TRUSTS that they’ll be great!

How has pandemic time affected in young scriptwriters’ life? – “The world seems to be in a kind of limbo”, says previous Northern Script winner

Marianne Lauritsen, winner of Northern Script 2019

In 2019 I was fortunate to participate in the Northern Script Competition, just a few short months before the world shut down. 

It was the first time I had ever been in Finland, and I really enjoyed the city of Oulu, and the Children’s Film Festival that was being held there during the competition. Also, the sauna was wonderful, I would definitely do that again.

Just after Northern Script, I went to Basel, Switzerland, where I could do a filmmaker’s residency for three months. The last week in Basel, restrictions started to come, but my stay was not interrupted, and I left when I was supposed to. 

The world seems to be in a kind of limbo, and we just have to surf whatever waves that come our way.

Then, some long months at home with my parents followed, where I did not quite know what to do. Then I decided to apply for some studies in the fall, because it seemed unlikely that my travel plans would happen.

Right now I live in Bergen, Norway, studying at the Writing Academy, which is a one year study in creative writing. It has been the writing that has been at the core of almost everything artistic I have done, so going further with writing seemed like a natural thing to do.

What happens now? I really don’t know. The world seems to be in a kind of limbo, and we just have to surf whatever waves that come our way.

Written by Marianne Lauritsen, winner of Northern Script 2019, in March 2021

Marianne Lauritsen. Photo: Milla Korkeamäki

 

Juuso Kuusisto: “Script is the most important part of the film”

Juuso Kuusisto

A short summary in English (the longer blog post is in Finnish):

Juuso Kuusisto (winner of the Northern Script 2018) is wondering how to become a professional screenwriter in Finland. Juuso thinks that the script is the most important part of the film but at the same time there are not too many possibilities for young writers who want to become professionals. There are some “official” ways in Finland: you can study screenwriting in Aalto university or try to have an internship. Juuso hopes that the film companies would offer more internships for drama writers. 

Juuso Kuusisto: “Käsikirjoitus on edelleen elokuvan tärkein osa-alue”

Pohdin edelleen, kuinka Suomessa tullaan käsikirjoittajaksi. Mielestäni käsikirjoitus on edelleen elokuvan tärkein osa-alue ja alue, jossa Suomessa olisi eniten parantamisen varaa. 

Käsikirjoittamisesta ammattina kiinnostuneen nuoren mahdollisuudet ovat rajalliset. On virallinen reitti Aalto-yliopiston kautta käsikirjoituslinjalle tai käsikirjoitusharjoittelun kautta toivottavasti työelämään. Mitään pikakonstia alalle pääsyyn ei ole. 

Tuotantoyhtiöt tiedostavat tarpeensa hyville kirjoittajille ja samaan aikaan hyviä kirjoittajia on vapaana, jotka eivät koskaan pääse kirjoittamaan. Tämä kysyntä ja tarjonta pitäisi saada vastaamaan toisiaan. Elokuva-alan tuotantoyhtiöt voisivat harkita enemmän harjoittelijoiden ottamista draamapuolelle käsikirjoittamaan.

Nuori voi onneksi osaltaan aina kirjoittaa niin paljon kuin pystyy. Ideointi ei maksa mitään. Kannustan myös osallistumaan muihinkin kuin käsikirjoituskilpailuihin.

Jos todella uskoo tekstinsä voimaan kannattaa sitä pyrkiä julkaisemaan, vaikka sarjakuvien tai Youtube -videoiden muodossa. Tätäkin kautta on ihmisiä ajautunut ammattikirjoittajiksi. Naiivilla tavalla haluaisin uskoa, että todelliset lahjakkuudet pääsevät lopulta esille. 

Kannattaa aina kirjoitusprosessin aikana kysyä itseltään: haluaisinko katsoa tällaista elokuvaa, nautinko tämän tekstin kirjoittamisesta, onko tämä maailman paras tarina, jos henkeni riippuisi nyt tästä, olisinko valmis seisomaan tekstini takana?

Monipuolinen osaaminen on mahdollistanut töiden tekemisen myös koronakeväänä 2021

Kuten tiedetään, elokuva-ala on kovien koettelemusten äärellä. Teatterisuluista huolimatta tuotantoja tehdään tälläkin hetkellä kiitettävästi. Itse kuuluin niihin onnekkaisiin, joka sai tehdä töitä vuonna 2020.
Tein kiinalaista I Remember -elokuvaa alkuvuodesta 2020 juuri koronan alkuvaiheessa. Tuotanto saatiin purkkiin ja kiinalaiset kiidätettiin takaisin ennen rajojen sulkua. Seuraavan kerran töissä olin vasta kesällä, kun lähdin tekemään Punkkisota -elokuvaa ympäri Eurooppaa. Matkasin autolla Suomessa, Saksassa, Belgiassa, Hollannissa, Ranskassa, Italiassa, Sveitsissä, Itävallassa ja Tšekissä. Loppuvuosi meni Justimus Duo -sarjan merkeissä ja Sorjonen -elokuvaa tehdessä.

Pidän yhä muistikirjaa mukana siltä varalta, jos saan hyvän idean.

Tänä vuonna olen lähinnä näytellyt ja tehnyt lyhyitä keikkoja muun muassa Salattuihin elämiin. Laajan osaamiseni ansiosta olen tarpeen tullen taipunut useisiin rooleihin, joka on ollut korona-aikana ehdoton etu.

Kuluneen vuoden ajan olen töiden lomassa suorittanut Metropolian Virtual
Writer’s Room -käsikirjoituskoulutusta. Koulutuksen aikana kehitellään
käsikirjoituspaketti, joka pitchataan Ylelle.

Yritän kirjoittaa aina vapaa-ajalla, kun ehdin. Pidän yhä muistikirjaa mukana siltä varalta, jos saan hyvän idean. Palkallisista kirjoitushommista ei ole vielä tietoa, mutta olen optimistinen. Odotan muutenkin tilanteen normalisoitumista, jotta tuotannot alkaisivat rullaamaan. Vapaapäivinä minulla on tapana kävellä 15-20 kilometrin lenkkejä ja kehitellä ideoita samalla kun kunto kohenee.

Juuso Kuusisto

Kirjoittanut Juuso Kuusisto, Northern Script 2018 -voittaja, maaliskuussa 2021

The writing confidence came back – Read Alisa Korva’s Northern Script experience here

Alisa Korva, winner of Northern Script 2020

I don’t remember when exactly I heard about Northern Script for the first time. But what I do remember is how I was always reminded of the competition just a few days after the deadline.

Every year I’d see a link on Facebook or somewhere similar and get super excited only to notice that I’m a few days too late. Thankfully this year that wasn’t the case.

In 2020 the theme of the competition was not far from the theme of the year itself; ”isolation”. I, just like everyone else in the world, was feeling down, scared and tired of being isolated from other people.

I didn’t feel like focusing on anything and I was constantly restless. However, I wanted to write about a different kind of isolation – the feeling of being isolated from everyone while still being surrounded by the people you care about the most.

As summer turned into fall and the finalists were revealed I was more than surprised to find out, that I was among the six! Like most things, Northern Script had also turned from a live event into an online one, but this wouldn’t stop us! Although I really would’ve loved to visit Oulu and meet everyone in person. Hopefully some other time!

The workshop was quite intensive, and it really felt precious to spend a few days talking about nothing but storytelling and screenwriting with people, who were just as into it as I am. 

On Friday we even had a chance to have a casual hang-out as well – on Zoom of course – which was surprisingly fun!

When the final day arrived, I assured myself that I wouldn’t win, since there were so many great screenplays to choose from. Hearing my own name come up was unreal. Especially because I’d had a long episode of self-doubt in writing. But thanks to Northern Script, I finally got my confidence back.

I’m now in my second year of studying screenwriting at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Most of my time is currently spent on producing a short film I wrote earlier this year. Other than that, I’m most likely training my puppy, playing video games or writing a book, that I’ll hopefully get to finish at some point.

I’m so very grateful Northern Script was arranged during a time like this, when everything else was postponed or canceled. I’d like to end by thanking all the other participants and especially the organizers for an inspiring and unforgettable experience!

Thank you for the memories!

Love, 

Alisa Korva,  in March 2021

News: Mentoring session for the winner of Northern Script 2021

Northern Script wants to improve and support young screenwriters’ position in the Nordic countries. This year Northern Script will offer a mentoring session for the winner of the competition. The mentor is an experienced Finnish film producer Jussi Rantamäki from Aamu Film Company. The mentoring session will be held online during the late 2021 or early 2022.

The aim of the mentoring is to discuss the winner’s artistic work and to support his/her career as a writer. The discussion or mentoring session comes from the needs of the winner and can cover themes such as:

  • Developing the winning script
  • How to get script into production
  • How to find financial support
  • Screenwriting as a profession

Introducing the mentor

Jussi Rantamäki, kuva: Arsen Sarkisiants

Jussi Rantamäki (1980) was born in Kokkola, Finland. After graduating from high school, he studied in the university of applied sciences and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in cultural management in 2004. Rantamäki started working as a producer in Aamu Film Company Ltd in 2008. His first two productions premiered at the Berlinale and the Cannes Film Festival. He became the sole owner of Aamu Film company in 2013 and the first feature he produced The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki won prix un Certain Regard in Cannes 2016 and was sold to over 30 countries.

Jussi has participated EAVE and was the Finnish producer on the Move in Cannes in 2013. He was chosen the producer of the year by fellow Finnish producers and also received the State Art Prize in 2016. He became a member of ACE producer’s networks in 2017.

He works closely with four devoted directors in long term relationships that start from making short films and develop into international fiction features.

Selection of filmography and festivals:

THE HAPPIEST DAY INT THE LIFE OF OLLI MÄKI, 94′ dir. Juho Kuosmanen
Prix un Certain Regard, Cannes 2016

ANY DAY NOW, 83′ dir. Hamy Ramezan
Premiere in Berlinale Generation 2021

FUCKING WITH NOBODY 95’ dir. Hannaleena Hauru
Premiere in Venice International Film Festival 2020

THICK LASHES OF LAURI MÄNTYVAARA, 95′ dir. Hannaleena Hauru
Premiere in Torino IFF 2017

TIGER, 10′ dir. Mikko Myllylahti
Premiere in Cannes Critics Week 2018

LADY TIME, 62’ dir. Elina Talvensaari
Premiere in International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2019

THE PAINTING SELLERS, 60’, dir. Juho Kuosmanen,
1 st prize Cannes Cinefondation 2010.