Interview: Karin Howard - German/American Writer
Karin Howard has written for nearly every medium: she's written film scripts and TV shows in English and German, she has several novels to her credit, she has a degree in journalism and has worked as a journalist and even hosted a television magazine.
Her work as a writer and director on 'The Tigress' earned her a Merit Award, and she's received fellowships from both AFI (American Film Institute) and MAAPAS.
A native of Germany, Howard now lives in Los Angeles, where she writes extensively for German and European films and television.
Computers definitely make my life as a commuter easier, she said during our recent conversation. While in Vienna or Cologne, New York City or Los Angeles she can talk via conference call to everyone involved in the project, with special help from her software program of choice, Final Draft 5.
Howard uses the Internet to keep in touch with her agent in Munich, does a bit of research courtesy of Yahoo! and finds the Net an easy avenue for buying a current book or locating one that's out-of-print.
But though computers have made life easier on some fronts, Howard feels that they have introduced a new set of concerns. 'Computers have spoiled the industry,' she said. 'Everyone expects everything instantly and sets deadlines accordingly. Writers need dream time.'
Her advice is to leave yourself adequate time to let work sit for at least a few days, then go over it again before sending it out.
'For the first draft, put yourself in a bubble and do your own thing,' she said. 'A screenwriter is very much a service person, and the first draft is the only time you can truly be creative. Once the first draft is out, writing becomes a collaborative effort,' she said, likening the process to a puzzle or game of chess wherein the challenge is to move to another level.
Life as a writer has provided her with a wealth of anecdotes and a philosophy she willingly shares. 'This is a very unreliable business. The director may fire you at lunch and management may toast you at dinner. What you hear you can never trust. Believe in yourself. And, if it's artistic freedom you're after', she added, 'this is not the right profession for you.'