Student Highlight – Samantha Long Learns That Writing Is a Relationship

Samantha Long has a gift for creating well-liked characters, devising a plot, and creating noteworthy dialogue, and her talent will be recognized when the Winthrop Drama Society takes her script to the semi-final stage. Having always had a knack for writing, seventeen-year-old Long took a chance and passed a homemade script onto drama teacher, Karen Calinda, last summer.

“When Samantha approached me, I read what she had and I was blown away,” said Calinda.  “She is an amazing writer. It’s an endearing story, very relatable about a young boy trying to do the right thing and things get out of control. You can’t find a nicer person. She’s unassuming and talented.”

Samantha Long

Tell us about the process of writing the script.

Towards the start of summer, Mrs. Calinda and I talked about the idea of me writing the script, and I sort of approached it in this way: either I write the script and it is something we can use, which would be great, or maybe it isn’t up to par and we don’t use it, which is also great, because hey, at least I’ve written something and exercised that part of my brain. That being said, I was really, really excited when she decided to use it! The process of writing it was definitely not easy. There are a lot of factors that go into writing a script, especially if it is for a specific cast; you have to consider the people you have, their strengths and weaknesses, and make sure it is a story that people will hopefully like and enjoy telling. Also, since the show is for the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild (METG) competition, there were guidelines to consider, the big one being that the play can’t exceed 40 minutes. The script is constantly evolving, even now. Myself, Mrs. Calinda, and our whole cast are all perfectionists who want the script to be the best it can be, so little changes are always being made.

What is your favorite subject?

My favorite subject tends to be English every year. Writing and reading are huge parts of my life. You can convey such specific ideas and feelings simply by arranging certain words in certain ways. Language, writing specifically, is a gateway into unexplored worlds and experiences; the goal for someone who writes is to transport their readers/ audiences/ listeners into a new place and make them really feel something with their words, and English class has always been a good place to practice that concept. I also love psychology, which I started taking this year, and art, which I have been taking all throughout high school; anything that taps into human emotion and activity and tries to explain somehow who we are and what makes us tick. 

Do you have any plans for college or career goals?

College is approaching so quickly! I really feel like I was just in elementary school. My goal, no matter which school I attend, is to study some kind of creative writing. I love writing scripts, short stories, poetry, and I want to be surrounded by creative people at college, wherever I go.

Who is your role model?

Greta Gerwig and Ava DuVernay are big ones for me. They are both screenwriters and directors; Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Lady Bird, a movie that I watch over and over again just to marvel at and pick apart the dialogue. Ava DuVernay has such an incredible mastery of words in her scripts; she knows what is going to make the most impact and hit the audience in the gut. She said something once, maybe in a Tweet, that I found really poignant; she said, in reference to writing, “It’s a relationship. Between you and what comes from you.” I think this is so true and so well worded. Everything I write feels like a little piece of me outside of my body, tied back to me by a string, or something like that. Otherwise, my role models are everyone I’ve ever worked with in the Winthrop High School Drama Society. I have learned, and am still learning, everything from them.

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