Brislin left her native Boston behind to study Art History and French at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and spent the following decade extending her student visa, immersed in the contemporary art and film worlds of Paris, Berlin, and London. She received her MFA in screenwriting and directing from EICAR, the International Film School of Paris. Now based in Los Angeles, she works as a freelance writer and producer, with a passion for historical fiction. She is currently finishing the screenplay for BELL, a creative biopic about Alexander Graham Bell told from his deaf wife’s perspective, which participated in the Sundance Screenwriting Lab and was the recipient of a number of awards, including the Sundance/Sloan Commissioning Grant and the SFFILM Science in Cinema Fellowship. BELL was amongst the top 10 scripts written by women in the 2019 Nicholl competition and a finalist for the 2020 Athena awards.
Artist's Chosen Interviews:
- Interview with Writers of a New Film on Alexander Graham Bell
- Do You Have a Screenplay Exploring Science and Technology?
Artist's Chosen Resources:
Before I got into the film world, I worked in the art world for a few years and have a degree in art history. Spending time in museums has always been incredibly inspiring for me. My first short film revolved around a sculpture I saw at the Maison Rouge in Paris, and (after much negotiating/begging) I was able to use the actual piece in my film. In a less literal sense, the things we can learn from art in terms of mood, composition, character, and storytelling are vital to filmmaking. Here in LA, I make regular visits to LACMA, the Getty, and MOCA, as well as local galleries. In the wake of Coronavirus closures, MOCA has gone virtual.
I've read a bunch of screenwriting books and have an MFA in screenwriting, but the one course that really transformed my writing was with Corey Mandell. His approach to finding an organic story structure to suit the material (rather than following a predetermined structure) as well as his conflict-building exercises are unlike anything I've learned elsewhere. While he's based in LA, many of his courses are taught online, so you can participate from all over the world (and in our current age of social distancing).
John August and Craig Mazin's "Scriptnotes" has been one of my go-to's since the podcast launched almost ten years ago. Covering everything from craft, to industry politics, to psychology, to many topics unrelated to screenwriting but just as interesting, these two talented and generous writers are like the mentors you never had.
Anne La Mott's "Bird by Bird": A witty, poignant book that is less instructional than it is inspirational, encouraging writers of all levels to find their voice, overcome obstacles and focus on what's essential.
"The Gap" by Ira Glass: Ira's profound words about the creative process still resonate years after I first heard them. As one of the best storytellers out there, it's worth listening to all four parts of his interview (and subscribing to his "The American Life" podcast).