Vinaya: What is your career history?
Sébastien Boatto: I did cinema studies at the University of Bordeaux (France). I studied classic cinema, scripting and expertise in scripting which allowed me to meet famous writers such as Frédéric Krivine who created P.J and Un Village Français. It allowed me as well to do my first internships, to the CNC. It was very educational because I read a lot of scripts and did my first reading reports. Then, I didn’t want to work as a script doctor right away. So, I return to Bordeaux and go on with my studies. I did a PhD in cinema. And it’s only at the end of my thesis that I decided to work as a script doctor.
So, we could define the work of a script doctor as an expertise of scripts?
Yes, we could or ”advice” in script.
An anecdote, a good memory?
The short movie Maman(s) from Maïmouna Doucouré on which I worked received the César 2017. It was wonderful, a great moment.
So you were credited in this movie which is not always the case for script doctors…
Indeed, some writers don’t want the script doctor to be credited. Also, when we get involved quite soon in the movie process, the script doctor can be simply forgotten.
A bad point about this business?
The job of script doctor is not well recognised in France. The concept of author is spotlighted. They are considered as fully-fledged artists and claiming that you need a script doctor’s support is frowned upon. Then, there are some writers in France who don’t hide it, who even claim it. Guillaume Gallienne thanked his script doctor when he received the César du Meilleur Film in 2014 for Les garçons et Guillaume à table! [Me, Myself and Mum].
A bad experience?
It was at the beginning of my career when I was looking for clients. I was sending e-mails to producers and about once a month, I was answered by writers that my job was useless. We go back to what I told earlier, that the job of script doctor was frowned upon.
Do you have other activities?
Yes, I’m also a script teacher in university and in the cinema school 3IS in Bordeaux. What’s more, I do interventions in high schools about studying a script or film analysis.
Something to add?
I think this job is better considered now even though there’s still work to be done on this side but it’s beginning to exist. If a writer submits his work to a regional support and he needs to rework on his script, he’s going to be redirect towards a script doctor, which is quite new in France. For 5-6 years, they’ve starting to think that a script doctor may be a good thing to consolidate a script and make it effective. So, it’s evolving the right way for script doctors but rather the wrong way for writers because to pay a script doctor is cheaper for a producer than paying a writer.
A big thank you to Sébastien Boatto for this interview !
More about Sébastien Boatto:
His website: https://www.docteur-script.com/
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