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Check Out Karina Wilson’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karina Wilson.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My journey has been a long and winding one. I’ve never been the type to have a rigid five year plan, but I like to dream big, set my course, and jump on opportunities when they present themselves. I was born in the UK, lived in Hong Kong for many years, and am now in my seventeenth year in Los Angeles, so I regard myself as a global citizen (I wish there was a passport that went with it!). I’m a storyteller at heart and I’ve built a career helping other people tell their stories as well as weaving my own. I started out with a lot of formal and academic training. I studied English Language and Literature as an undergrad at Oxford University and also earned a Master’s degree in screenwriting from the Northern School of Film and TV in the UK. I was a high school teacher for a decade after that, mostly as Head of Media Studies at an international school in Hong Kong, before switching to film and television development here in Hollywood. I loved teaching, especially spending time with creative students nurturing their projects on a one-to-one basis. Working in development was a natural progression — although the budgets of the projects have increased massively and I don’t put anyone in detention for not completing their assignments on time! My job keeps me very busy. There are always scripts to read, movies and shows to watch, and I plow through a lot of novels looking for adaptation potential. If I’m not focusing on other people’s material, I’m toiling away on my own. In the free time that I do get, I go for long walks in Griffith Park. I’m a big believer in volunteering within the local community, and I help the Cat’s Meow Animal Rescue find homes for kitties, as well as feeding a gang of ferals. I also volunteer with WriteGirl, mentoring LA’s teen girls, and with #StartWith8, helping the next generation of diverse female writers. Los Angeles has been full of wonderful opportunities for me and I’m very happy living here.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My official title is ‘writer and story consultant’, which means that every day is different. I handle all kinds of story projects, so I can never predict what will arrive on my desk for consultation or who might call me looking for advice. It could be a big-budget sci-fi screenplay, the seed of an idea for a documentary, or anything in between. Sometimes the story revolves around a topic already close to my heart, other times I have to do several days of research to immerse myself in the narrative world. I’ve learned a great deal about some obscure corners of history in this way. I also like to do deep dives researching my own projects, which sometimes means dropping off social media (and silencing all calls) for several days at a time. I’m neurodivergent and it can be quite a struggle to switch mental focus from one story to another and also to approach short-term assignments efficiently, without disappearing down a rabbit hole. It’s been a huge challenge to find time for my personal projects between assignments for other people — it’s taken me almost a decade to finish my first novel, for instance. I’ve become better over the years at carving out time for ‘deep work’ but I’m still guilty of succumbing too easily to distractions.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your?
My main passion is horror — and horror adjacent stories about cults, coercive control, and the shadowy side of human psychology. I’ve stared so long into the abyss that we’re on very friendly terms and often show up at each others’ homes unannounced. I’ve written (and been interviewed) a lot about the history of horror and most recently appeared in a documentary ‘The History of Metal and Horror’, which is doing the rounds of film festivals at the moment. I love independent-minded, wildly original, rough-around-the-edges horror rather than bland studio cash-ins. I’m the Supervising Judge for the niche horror, sci-fi, thriller and fantasy Shriekfest screenplay competition, and the festival itself (the first weekend of October every year) is a highlight of my calendar. The flip side of horror is romance, and I’m a long-term fan of this genre too. I love a happily ever after as much as Final Girl. The best stories, IMHO, find a way to combine the two.

The personal project closest to my heart right now is my novel about a haunted girls’ school in the wilds of Virginia, as I’ve just sent that off to a publisher. I optioned a series of books from a UK writer and am developing those for television. In this business, there are no guarantees, so you have to keep your options open and always be on the lookout for possibilities.

How can people work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Writing can be the loneliest job in the world. You spend ten or more hours a day arguing with yourself, talking to fictitious characters, and modeling extreme case scenarios. So, you need a solid support network to bring you back to earth — I am so grateful to all the people who support me both personally and professionally. You also need to pay the kindnesses forward and support others who are attempting to follow the same path. I’m committed to mentoring up-and-coming writers, especially women and those from diverse backgrounds. I’ve learned a great deal over the years and it’s good to be able to pass on useful nuggets to others while learning from them too. Los Angeles, more than anywhere else in the world, is a dynamic community of creative people, all striving, all learning, all producing, and it’s a privilege to be part of it.

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Image Credits
Kenneth Selko

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