NY Elite: Congratulations on being an ISC finalist. What does it mean for your work to be
selected at the International Screenwriting Competition in New York?
Raisa J. Oliveira: Thank you! I’m incredibly honored to be selected as a finalist. Two of my projects were selected; one was a semi-finalist while this one, PRIME TIME, was a finalist. This is a very validating experience for me and how I perceive my own writing. The fact that a group of unbiased people read two scripts that I worked very hard on and found them worthy of recognition truly keeps me going.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about the work that you participated with at ISC? What is the
Raisa J. Oliveira: Well, the one that’s placed as a finalist is called PRIME TIME. It’s a comedy about a college girl who ventures out to lose her virginity at a grad party. I wanted to take the primal behaviors that we see a lot in young men in comedies and switch it to a young woman protagonist, named Sonia. She has this complete tunnel vision to just lose her virginity to get it done and over with. It’s a messy, absurd, satirical girl power comedy project. I’m extremely proud of it.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about yourself and your artistic talents?
Raisa J. Oliveira: I’m a 22-year-old college student living in Rhode Island. Since I was about eight years old I’ve been writing scripts. I would skip school for weeks at a time just to write, so I was a genuine truant from fourth to twelfth grade. I come from a very creative family on my father’s side: my father is a musician, my uncle is a painter and a musician. I dabble in a bit of painting and music, but my heart is set on writing and acting.
NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?
Raisa J. Oliveira: More than I can count right now. I’ll just count PRIME TIME, SUMMER JOB (which was a semi-finalist in this competition) and this other script I wrote called WHERE THE GARDEN GREW, which was a top 5 finalist at the Block Island Film Festival in 2020 and was my first glimpse into having a project in pre-production. I suppose I could also add my 2019 script YELLOW which was a semi-finalist at the Rhode Island International Film Festival for best feature screenplay.
NY Elite: What are your favorite projects you have been involved in?
Raisa J. Oliveira: I love writing and I have the most fun writing comedies.
NY Elite: What type of scripts do you want to write in your career?
Raisa J. Oliveira: I want to write comedies. I want to make people laugh and forget about their troubles. If I can make someone truly laugh with the words and sentences that I say, then I know that my purpose on this planet is being fulfilled.
NY Elite: As a writer, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
Raisa J. Oliveira: I love chaos and I hate deus ex machinas. A character for me needs to have good intent but act selfishly. Because that’s really just life, isn’t it? We all want what benefits us. When a character has a goal, they want to achieve it any way they can. Sometimes characters don’t have to go through development to better themselves. In real life, some people are just stubborn and stuck in their ways no matter how many interventions they’re given. Especially in comedy, characters should be exaggerated and ambitious to truly highlight and demonstrate humanity.
NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?
Raisa J. Oliveira: I’m currently working on writing a musical. It’s exciting because Broadway writers have deeply influenced me for my whole life, and this is my first musical.
NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
Raisa J. Oliveira: My entire life revolves around writing. It’s the only thing I’ve ever been truly committed to and never gotten bored of. However, I love playing guitar, and I’m teaching myself piano.
NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in
Raisa J. Oliveira: It’s stressful! It’s not an overnight thing! Don’t be discouraged by rejections, because you’ll get way more rejections than acceptances, and that’s okay. A lot of this is subjective. If you feel like this is something you truly want to do, you have to not give up. I’ve spent nights contemplating giving up, but at the same time it’s just something I cannot make myself quit. Also, be confident in your writing and what you’re trying to get across. It makes a huge difference.