19 February 2016

Spotlight On – Elijah Louttit


In the last of our series for Blak and Bright, Express Media speaks to screenwriter and Fresh Blak Writer Elijah Loutitt.

What kind of writing do you do?

Most of my creative writing experience has been writing for the screen. I’m currently working on an hour length pilot episode for a drama mini-series and a feature film for my Masters of Screenwriting course at the Victoria College of Arts. I often practice just writing down my random streams of consciousness when I’m alone, obsessing and need an expressive outlet. I also occasionally delve in other forms such as song writing, writing for comedy and experimental writing (adapting, appropriating, reappropriating) for fun and creative inspiration.

 Have you always been involved in writing and storytelling?

Not always writing. But I have always enjoyed storytelling. Just verbally sharing stories with friends and family from a very young age. It wasn’t until I began writing essays at university that I discovered my own writing voice.

I took a creative writing subject in my first year and failed terribly. It wasn’t that I was uninterested, it was just a complicated time in my life. I hadn’t applied myself. I didn’t give up though. In my first semester of second year I attempted the same subject again and I did very well. I also took an introductory subject on screenwriting and enjoyed that subject so much I decided to change my major from indigenous studies to creative writing. From then on screenwriting has been my primary writing form.

 What inspires your work? Where do you find this inspiration?

A thought, an experience, an emotion. It can come from something you see or hear from someone you’ve spoken too or just something you’ve observed. From things you know to be true, to things you imagine and fantasise about. It can come from some completely random bright idea that just pops into your head while you’re singing in the shower or dancing on the floor in the round. It can be anything really and you can find it anywhere. It could just be you.

 What are you currently watching/reading?

I am currently watching Mrs Doubtfire literally right now on Netflix. I have also been watching the television shows The Flash, The X-Files and Master of None. Today I watched this sweet New Zealand film called Eagle vs Shark. Last night I watched Marco Polo’s One Hundred Eyes which I thought was particularly wicked cool and before that the latest James Bond movie Spectre which was sick but not as fully as Skyfall. It was partially sick.

I started reading Darth Bane: Path of Destruction about a week ago seeing as though Star Wars is so  awesome and relevant at the moment. It’s the first book in a trilogy series. It’s basically about this dude who grew up on some mining world in the outer rim, pretty much a slave and his rise to the dark side. He is the darth dude famous for restoring the “rule of two” which basically means there must only ever be two sith at a time. One master and one apprentice. I totally recommend this book if you’re into Star Wars fosho.

Why do you choose to share your stories and ideas through screen-based/film media? What do feel this medium can do for your stories that other media can’t?

I chose to share my stories and ideas through screen-based/film media because when I imagine a story I often think about it visually using my mind’s eye. Sometimes I see moments in time as pictures, other as an invisible omnipotent god figure looming over characters, guiding them or simply following them around and cutting between characters point of views. This train of thought guides me during the creative writing process when I’m writing a scene and plotting a story.

I think when it comes to the visual medium, I feel as though as I have more control over what the audience experiences as long as I can justify it to the powers that be. There isn’t as much room for your imagination to go opposed to reading a novel or poem. You experience strictly what is being fed to you and that’s exactly how I like my stories to be experienced. I like that a script is written to be interpreted, performed and captured on film. I think the medium is much more accessible, particularly for illiterate people. I also just really love the viewing experience that only cinema and television can provide.

 Why is the Blak & Bright Festival important to you?

Most importantly the fact that it will bring together emerging and established Indigenous writers from Melbourne for the first time ever. It will give our mob the opportunity to discuss the importance of writing and storytelling while giving the wider public the opportunity to engage with our mob too in a safe and positive forum.

 What are you most looking forward to about Blak & Bright in 2015?

Hearing other Indigenous artists talk about their passions and experiences writing. Getting to represent mob, meet and yarn with people about writing. This festival is a really great idea. It’s probably been a long time coming. I’m just honoured and thankful to be a part of it. I hope to see it grow and gain more and more attention over the coming years.

Elijah Louttit is a Pitta Pitta, Maiawali and Karuwali man raised in Brisbane, QLD. He has completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. In 2015, he started studying a Master of Screenwriting at the Victorian College of Arts and is currently working on a pilot episode for a television miniseries and a feature length film, both of the drama genre. Elijah aims to produce interesting, culturally appropriate work that is reflective of his interests, aspirations and those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.

Don’t miss Elijah at Fresh Blak Writers on Saturday February 20 for Blak and Bright.