Screenwriter Spotlight: Winner Lila Holley
Chicago Screenplay Awards Questionnaire
By Chicago Screenplay Awards Dept.
What’s your name? Where were you born? Where do you live? And what’s your hobby?
Born in Newburgh, NY currently reside Killeen, Texas. I love cooking, listening to music & audio books and writing.
Where did you come up with the concept that just placed as Finalist in the screenplay contest? How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?
I have 9 published books and have heard hundreds of stories from courageous military women across the US, this inspired me to come up with the concept of the Camouflaged Sisters script. I wrote the treatment and worked with Voyage Media to fine tune that and create the script. It took us about 3-4 months to finalize. I believe because I had already written and had a clear vision of what I wanted to do with the project, that streamlined the process of creating the script.
From concept to finished draft, can you take us through your screenwriting process?
My main goal was to create characters that people could relate to – flawed yet strong women. It was easy because I had experiences to draw from. I also wanted characters whose storylines could grow over time and carry an episode with topics related to this unique population of women. Again, drawing from my 22 years of military service and life experiences, in general. I feel like the pilot script sets the ground for each character’s storyline to develop over time. With that concept at the forefront of my mind, I went into writing the script like I do my books using transparent storytelling – a vulnerable, open, honest depiction of these women.
When did you realize that you wanted to become a screenwriter?
I’m a writer, that’s who I am. It’s what I love. I love all forms of writing and screenwriting was a natural progression for sharing amazing stories.
Who are your biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influences? What about their style do you like or borrow?
I love the way Ava DuVernay tells stories. I have been a fan of Regina King’s as far back as I can remember. I have really enjoyed watching her evolve as an actress, director, producer, and overall incredible storyteller.
Have you ever been obsessed with a movie or TV show? If so, which one? Why?
I am obsessed with Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Claws created by Eliot Laurence starring Niecy Nash, and Sistas by Tyler Perry. The creativity that went into Hamilton amazes me. The characters in Sistas are so relatable and I really love the camera shots in Claws.
What’s your favorite moment in cinema history? Why?
It has to be when Hamilton was released during the pandemic. This opened up the world of theater to the world. People who would likely have never had a chance to see this production on Broadway had a front seat view via their television sets. They have since gone on to tour across the world. I’ve seen it live twice with plans to see it again. I just think this phenomenon has been incredible to watch and experience.
Who’s your favorite character in cinema history? Why?
I’m torn between Joy Mangano in Joy and Nina in Love Jones. I love them both because I see their vulnerability, strength and desire to have more in life. I love their tenacity and ability to persevere even in the midst of disappointments and life’s challenges.
If you could talk to anyone from any era, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would talk to Regina King when she started acting, when she was playing little Brenda on 227. I would ask her what does the future look like for her and how does she plan to get there. I just think she’s an amazing actress & director and know there is so much more to come for her.