Alma Ramirez, MA Scriptwriting, Mexico City

Alma Ramirez - Student profile

Alma Ramirez - Student profile

Time flies! A year ago I was packing up my stuff and having farewell parties with friends and family because I was going to be away for a year. What an adventure this year has been! I’m so sad this journey has come to an end but I’m glad I had the determination to get out of my comfort zone and leave my country.

When I arrived to the UK and to Cardiff a year ago, I didn’t know what to expect. It was the first time that I was going to live on my own in a foreign country, so I was pretty excited but scared at the same time. However, it only took me a couple of weeks to adapt to my new life in this city, thanks to the support I got from the people of my student residence and to the friends that I met during the
International Welcome Week.

Writing in a foreign language
One of the toughest things that I had to deal with while studying in the UK was not the weather or the different kind of food, but the language barrier. Although I’ve been studying English for nearly 20 years (I began to learn it when I was in elementary school) writing scripts in this language was certainly a challenge. For example, writing dialogues is one of the hardest parts, as you don’t know all the colloquial expressions and the slang that native speakers use in their everyday life.

Because of this, you can’t say everything you want to say in the exact way you want to say it. This happened to me while I was writing the full-length script for my major project. The writing process was intense but enjoyable, and it took me the whole year to clarify what I wanted to tell. At first, my story was supposed to be a musical about a woman who suffered from the Cinderella Complex. Then, it turned to a TV series about a 40-something ill woman who gets pregnant just right after divorcing her husband and then, I changed it to the story I’m currently developing, a science-fiction love story.

Regarding the character creation, I identified with my alter ego Stella because she’s as selfish, ambitious, perfectionist and self-centred as I am. Every time I had to find her journey (what she wanted, her inner goal and conscious goal) I felt I was doing self-therapy on myself. It was an interesting introspection exercise that made me think about the way I see love and relationships. I never imagined that the course –and writing – would help me to know myself and to grow as a person.

Meeting people
Being away and living in another country was very useful for writing because I could visit new places for inspiration (like Cathays Cemetery), as well as people with interesting life stories. For instance, I met a lawyer from Oxford University who decided to pursue a career in filmmaking at the age of 45; a Peruvian single mother that rents flats to students to make a living; a waiter whose dream is becoming a professional rugby player; a music composition student that works in a Waitrose store and as an extra in soap operas to pay his student loans; an aboriginal Australian teenager that came to Cardiff for 18 months as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; a homeless guy from Swansea that once dreamed of being a professional actor; a Portuguese Tesco bodyguard that used to be a cook in his early years… and many more. This is something that you only find in a cosmopolitan city like Cardiff.

Also, working in an independent production company (It’s My Shout) and in random things that I had never done before (till cashier, extra, bar staff, nightclub photographer), as well as visiting places that I thought I would never have the chance to visit (like Stonehenge and London), and sharing a flat with people from different cultures, religions and backgrounds have certainly enriched my experience and allowed me to learn other ways of thinking, beliefs, different ways to see life, and what’s more important: make friends from different parts of the world!

What’s next?
What am I going to do after graduation? At the moment I’m collaborating with a former MA scriptwriting student on her web series that will air next year. I’m aware finding a job as a film and TV screenwriter in my country is quite hard but I’ll stay positive. I do think everyone makes their own luck, so I will send some of my scripts to competitions and I’m thinking of becoming a teacher, as well. Whatever
happens, I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life. Like they say, “the best is yet to come”.

Diolch Caerdydd for an amazing year.