5 Things I Learned from Netflix series YOU Screenwriter Kelli Breslin

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Today’s interview is a dream come true.⠀

You might not know, but Olivia and I are huge fans of Netflix series YOU. We binge watched Season 1, patiently waited for Season 2 to come along, and then did the same thing. ⠀

Now I guess we’re feeling a bit empty as well as other YOU fans out there whilst waiting for the upcoming Season 3, but that’s okay. This interview makes up for it.⠀

Here we go...⠀

I had the pleasure to talk to none other than Kelli Breslin, one of YOU’s screenwriters and story editors. I finally got to ask her a long-awaited question: did they write Joe with the purpose of making us despise him? 

Let’s find out.⠀

 Hello, Kelli! It's a pleasure to have you. 

We'd love to let you know that a recent Into The Script article about You has been a huge hit, which was only to be expected. After all, viewers around the world have been obsessing over it. What was it like to be one of the writers of a Netflix favourite? 

It’s been a crazy ride. 

When we started writing season 1, it was a Lifetime show that no one had heard of and it took almost a year after we were done writing/shooting for it to come out. 

We knew we were working on something really special but no one seemed to see or know anything about it. 

Then, it hit Netflix and everything changed. 

It’s been completely surreal. 

I get to work with an amazing team of writers who are all truly wonderful people. And Penn’s awesome. It’s just a dream come true. 

It turns out many viewers don't see Joe Goldberg as a stalker or killer, but rather as a heartbroken guy in search for the love of his life. 

Could you tell us if this was an anticipated reaction from the audience when it comes to Joe's characterisation as a dangerous yet charming white male?

Yes and no. 

It was our goal to make you like him and then kinda punish you for it. 

We wanted the audience to be conflicted. Some people completely empathise with him and think he’s done nothing wrong. Others think we are glorifying him. 

It’s a pretty fun Rorschach test, actually. Because these are the same conversations people are having in real life when they really like someone but their behaviour is abhorrent.

Can you tell us a bit more about the role of a story editor and his/her importance for story development and pre-production? 

Writers earn different titles as they rise in the ranks based off of experience. It’s kind of annoying, actually. 

Because ultimately, we are all just writers on the show and in the writer’s room, we all have the same job— break the story, come up with good pitches, fix the plot holes. 

For a lot of shows, Staff Writers and Story Editors don’t produce their episodes. Some don’t even visit set! 

I’m lucky to work with a showrunner like Sera Gamble, who wants everyone to be on set and produce their own episodes. 

She even bumped me and another writer up to Co-Producer for season 3 so that our titles match the work we do. 

She’s incredible. 

You're not only a screenwriter--you're also a director, producer, and actor. Among so many projects you might have been working on, how did you find the opportunity to work in You with Sera Gamble and other writers?

I got into the Warner Bros Writer’s Program in 2016/2017, which is how I got staffed on YOU. 

But for years, I’ve made my own projects— and I still do! 

I recently self funded and produced a short film so I could have a better director’s sample. I’m a big believer that you always need to have 5-8 things going at once in this industry. Never stop creating. Ever. 

One of those things will get attention and then the rest will follow. 

Do you have any advice for our budding screenwriters who want to make their way into writing a hit TV show?

You know what I’m going to say. 

First and foremost… WRITE. 

Have at least 3-5 scripts that you can share with people at any given time. 
Don’t be precious, get it out there. 

And you know how everyone says it’s about the contacts you make? 

It’s actually about the FRIENDS you make. Make friends. 

Don’t just use people for who they are or who they know. 

Nurture your friendships. I have my agent and manager because friends sent them my samples. 

I met Sera Gamble because friends reached out to her on my behalf. 

Then, when you’ve made it into the room… listen more than you speak. 

It’ll make you a super valuable problem solver! :)

Laila Resende is a 20-year-old freelance copywriter and a Feature Writer and Social Media Assistant at Into The Script. Her insatiable passion for movies and blogging is perfect for her role as Feature Writer & Social Media Assistant at Into The Script. 

Laila shares all of Into The Script's news on her Instagram page (@lailarsnde) and Facebook.

Post a Comment