Josh Candia – August 17; 2020
He wrote the script of Sinuhé F. Benavides’ Otto Dollar Baby film.
SKSM: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Josh Candia: I am Josh Candia from Monterrey, Mexico. I am a Screenwriter, Writer, Director and Graphic Designer. I Studied Visual Arts with a specialty in Graphic Arts at the UANL. I have won 4 CONARTE Script Contests (2009, 2012, 2014,2016). In 2012, my first feature film script “Implacable” (“Relentless”) won a production contest organized by IMCINE and Canal 22. “Implacable” was directed by Carlos García Campillo and produced by Lesslye Yin Ramos and has been to various national and international festivals. I have written and directed two short films and four short plays, and have also written for television, the most recent for a show in development at HBO.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a screenwriter?
Josh Candia: As a teen I wrote short stories or things to amuse me, but never managed to keep up with it. While growing up I fell in love with movies and TV and one day, watching Pulp Fiction something clicked, and for the first time I paid attention and realized “SOMEONE WROTE THIS”. Since that day I became a fan of writers, specially of writers with a unique voice, that could tell a good story. It took me a while to admit I wanted to write, that I wanted a voice and to dare believe in myself. I am a late bloomer, started to write professionally when I was 30 years old, wrote a short for a screenplay contest and won. That gave me the boost I needed and slowly kept writing. Now I consider myself a professional writer, as in some one is paying me to write.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Otto Dollar Baby film?
Josh Candia: Sinhué (the director) and I knew each other, and while taking a class on directing he told me about Otto, that he had the rights and was interested in making this short, and wanted to see if I wanted to write it. I already knew about the short story, read it again and thought I had a pretty good idea where to take it, so I wrote the screenplay in very little time, we had a deadline for a contest which unfortunately we didn’t win. But Sinhué didn’t give up and he went off and produced and directed it anyway.
SKSM: How do you communicate with a director to design a screenwriter strategy for a film?
Josh Candia: We talk and talk and talk. Mainly about what is it that interests them in this particular story, see if they have an “in”. I try to write to the strengths of the directors, what I think would work best visually. Since this was a short story, and we had a tight deadline I wrote the first draft telling the story the way I thought worked best in a visual medium, focusing on the themes that I read in the story, trying to stay true to its spirit.
SKSM: You worked in a Dollar Baby based on a Stephen King short story. It was your most challenging film?
Josh Candia: Not really. I mean, it was challenging finding a low budget way to adapt it, staying true to it. But it’s such a good, clear story with a strong voice, so that made it fun.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Josh Candia: I think its themes are super relatable. It has this aura of revenge and guilt in such a Stephen King way that makes it so attractive.
SKSM: Can you tell us about the filming steps? Funny things that happened so far (Bloopers, etc).
Josh Candia: I wasn’t there while they were filming, such is a writer’s life. We rarely are invited. Ha, ha, ha.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Josh Candia: I finished work at a tv show for HBO that hopefully will be produced once this pandemic is done with. I am also currently working on two screenplays, and developing movies and tv shows as part of a writers collective called Co-Lab Historias para Llevar. We are 8 members, mostly writers, and we also have a podcast called “Guionistas sin Guion” on Spotify, apple, etc, where we talk about, what else, screenwriting.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Josh Candia: Big fan. I love his work. I have to confess that I haven’t read ALL of his books, the man is an unstoppable writing monster. He’s also a big inspiration, his book “On Writing” is one of my favorites on the subject, and I recommend it so much. Other than that, I love his short stories the most, specially the ones in Different Seasons. Of his novels I love The Stand and Carrie.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Josh Candia: I dunno, I think I am a pretty open person. Anyone that reads my twitter know what I think and what I love. Hmm, maybe they’ll be surprised if they knew that even though I work as a writer, and have dreamt of being a writer, I REALLY hate writing, I mean, I love it but I also hate it. It’s so HARD! (If you wanna be good)
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Something you’d like to tell our readers?