"People were calling for more women in films at the Goyas, but they were only thinking in terms of actors and directors"

Photo: UOC
ngels Doate
Laura Gost, Goya-winning scriptwriter

Laura Gost (Sa Pobla, Majorca, 1993) is a scriptwriter and writer, and graduate in Communication from the UOC. A few days ago she received the Goya for the best animated short film 2018 for Woody & Woody, directed by Jaume Carri. Gost also wrote the scripts for the shorts Chat vol dir moix and Hostal Orin. In 2016 she won the Art Jove literary competition with the short story L'Escriptora de contes (The Story Writer). She works in communication specializing in social networks and is the editor-in-chief of a cultural magazine.

What does Woody & Woody mean to you?

Out of all the things I’ve created, it’s the work that has brought me the greatest joy: not only because it’s extremely gratifying to get a Goya Award but also because in the Balearic Islands lots of people have felt part of our project and shared this great wave of happiness and emotions. I had never seen such a reaction, and it’s been spectacular the way it’s so intensely brought things together culturally that for me it’s all still overwhelming.

You created this project for the Teatre de Barra short play competition.

That’s right, it comes from a short piece of the same name that I wrote in 2014, which is still performed in Majorca, following stints in Valencia and Catalonia. The dialogues and surrealist premise already present in the play and retained in the short sought to pay homage to the work of Woody Allen. And, as is the case in his films, I like to think they are based on the idea that the audience is made up of intelligent people with a sense of humour who like to be treated as such.

What do you think are the keys to its success?

I think it comes from a combination of elements that make it an original and different product and, above all, a treat for filmgoers. It’s not a very conventional animated short. And we have the added attraction of Woody Allen (although he has recently been under scrutiny by the media).

What does Woody Allen mean to you? Do you remember the first film you saw?

He forms part of the collective imaginary of lovers of the seventh art and a director of such unquestionable personality that many film-makers have been influenced by his work. The Woody Allen hallmark is synonymous with intellectual and clever cinema. I don’t remember the first film of his I saw but I do recall the first one that got me interested in the rest of his work: Annie Hall. I must have been 11 or 12.

Script, animation... and the voice of Joan Pera. How did you ask him to get involved?

It was surprisingly easy to get him to participate in our project. Just a few months after we started, I sent an email inviting him to voice-over the two Woodys, explaining that Woody & Woody was meant as a double homage: to Woody Allen, on the one hand, and to Joan Pera, on the other, as he is the unmistakable and beloved voice that all Spanish filmgoers (even fans of the original version, like myself) associate with Allen. I attached the script and the poster designed by ngel Luque, on which, with barefaced cheek, we had already written: 'With the voice of Joan Pera'. Perhaps we didn’t leave him any option other than to say yes.

What are the keys to a good script, a good short?

I think it must have a very clear structure, with a powerful beginning and end, with well-defined characters and a coherent and credible story. You must have the premise or story you want to develop in mind, and it is best to focus on an idea. I think that people make very fine shorts in Spain; so fine, in fact, that I'm sure it’ll become increasingly less common for them to be referred to with the kind of dismissive tone we often hear, as if they were just a necessary step before shooting a feature film. I think Timecode, the great short that even made it to the Oscars, is an absolute delight.

Did you want to be a scriptwriter? Do you think that scriptwriters are appreciated?

I have always wanted to be a writer and, although I wrote the script of Woody & Woody when I was 21, I had been writing fiction since I was 8, such as short stories. One of the things I like most about scriptwriting is that when the film is finished it’s easier to reach more people: cinema is more democratized and popular than literature. Nevertheless, I think that the scriptwriter should be valued more, understanding that there are some films in which the unquestionable creative force is the director and others where it is unmistakably the script. I was struck by the fact that people were calling for more women in films at the Goyas, but they were only thinking in terms of actors and directors.

You studied at the UOC. Why? And why the Bachelor’s Degree in Communication?

I studied at the UOC when I was 18. One of the reasons was that in the midst of the financial crisis (2011) young people were already being given little hope for the future, showing up the inherent contradiction of companies demanding that recent graduates should have at least three years’ experience. Choosing the UOC was unconventional and a little experimental but the truth is that it enabled me to become independent at the age of 18 and to do a series of jobs related to the cultural, literary, advertising and audiovisual fields. So although I've perhaps missed out on some of the advantages of a bricks-and-mortar university, I am very proud of the results that this has brought me. And Communication because I love words and working with concepts, and I thought that this degree offered very multi-disciplinary knowledge that was useful for a job market demanding many different skills.

Do you have any anecdotes from your time at the UOC?

In the first year at the UOC, when introducing ourselves on the Virtual Campus, I realized that there were two students called Joel Prez Prez and Rubn Prez Prez (brothers, of course) who were from Majorca, and I soon arranged to meet for coffee. I’d never imagined that Rubn and I, apart from being fellow students, would end up working together (me as a scriptwriter and him as a sound designer) on two short films and an animated short film that won us a Goya Award.