Exclusive Interview with Sarah Jamgotch – Screenwriter
Sarah Jamgotch made her bold debut into scriptwriting by becoming a finalist for her first-ever feature-length script, Ramona. Ramona experiences difficulties with sex and physical touch as she realizes the ways people are taking advantage of her.
Sarah’s goals include becoming a full-time scriptwriter and continuing to dive into the film and writing scene in NYC. Sarah directs, casts, and produces short films with film professionals in the NYC area. As a social worker by day, Sarah has worked in various positions like legislative aide, programs manager, and executive assistant roles. She graduated from Columbia University’s School of Social Work in 2021.
NY Glam: What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently directing short films in NYC, as well as writing scripts. I have three feature-length films I’m in the early stages of writing: a drama about a relationship between a mother and daughter, a woman who keeps running from her problems, and a horror-comedy on themes surrounding sexuality, power, and, surprisingly, veganism, co-written with writer Hogan Jaskolski. I am also working on the trailer for Ramona. When the idea strikes, I’ll jot down short film scripts when they arise.
NY Glam: What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
I love films that make bold cinematographic choices. I want bold shots. Get the weird angles we don’t think of. I also love films with scarce dialogue. I love to do the talking in my own head.
NY Glam: As a screenwriter, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
Character-building must always start with something that is a part of you. Regardless of how different their lives are to mine, I try to find the core connecting trait, flaw, personality between myself and the character. I build my characters around the concepts I want to explore, push up against, and debate within myself. Am I writing a character who is always running from her problems? Great, how do I do that in my real life? What parts of myself do I want to run away from? Where can I interject the toughest parts of my own character into them? What do I wish I’d do differently with these same traits?
NY Glam: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?
As a new screen-writer, Ramona has by far been my favorite project. I started this screenplay within a week or two of getting diagnosed with an autonomic nervous disorder. My life completely changed since that diagnosis and a number of other potentially life-changing health issues – the foods I can eat, the ways I can move, the way life has had to slow down to accommodate my illness. Despite this, Ramona was a solace for me during this period of uncertainty, and I would write her in between doctor’s appointments or waiting for the test results if I had cancer, ulcers, diabetes, etc. So, Ramona has a special place in my heart as a project that literally kept me going when the light in me wanted to give out.
I want to shout out my writing buddy Hogan, my partner Connor, and the wonderful family members, especially Katie, Ben, Gabe, and Alex, that table-read for hours with me on Ramona. You all rock.
Other notable favorite projects are Our House, where a young girl deals with the chaos as her immigrant mother babysits at her own home as income, as well as The Vote, where a budding political aide finds herself stuck between orders.
NY Glam: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
I love to sing, dance, and watercolor. I also creatively express myself through exercise and movement.
NY Glam: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking?
“I just started ‘filmmaking’ a few months ago, so if you find someone who knows what they are doing, will you connect the two of us?”
In seriousness, if you’re a writer – just write. Even if you think it’s bad, just write it. You never know. Sometimes the best time to write is when everything else is going wrong.
You can expect that I’ll dive head-first into screenwriting and film. I am taking intensive courses and workshops on writing scripts, connecting with directors, filmmakers, actors, make-up artists, you name it. If they are in filmmaking, I want to get to know them. You can expect that I’ll continue to support those in the industry and work on projects to help others shine too. Oh, and I’m thinking of hosting a “home film festival” this year. Maybe.