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Anders August A modern storyteller

Storytellers have always had a central role in human history. The first ones passed on legends that were never written down. Later, storytellers’ books enthralled generations. New times call for new storytellers, and we met a modern one: scriptwriter Anders August.
The BMW’s sound arrives before we see anyone. Soon August rolled before us on his vintage bike and smiled as he pulled off his helmet. We stood outside an old historical stone building with a cobbled stone yard in central Copenhagen where August has his office.

He’s an award-winning, Oscar-nominated scriptwriter with Applause and Lykke-Per (films) and Follow the money (TV series) on his résumé. He splits his time between Copenhagen and Los Angeles – last year’s boom of high-quality TV series put screenwriters in demand.
As we stepped into his office, words overwhelmed us: large sheets of paper filled with handwritten text covered the walls. This took us off guard – we expected a screenwriter to be someone tapping a keyboard in front of a computer (later, we received an explanation). We were curious about where a good story starts, so we asked him what inspired his characters and stories.

“The most important thing when starting a new story is to find out what is really interesting about your character or the group of people you’re writing about. Imaginary persons must attract interest. After that, the plot evolves. A good story begins and ends with the characters.”
August was born into a film family, so there was no question that he’d end up in the industry. His dad is director Bille August, and several of his siblings are actors.

“Storytelling is my passion and always has been. That said, I’ve done other things such as camera work. I tried my hand at writing short stories and novels but always returned to writing movies and television shows. Films and TV shows are a great fit for me. My strength is the ability to develop great character pieces. I’ve had opportunities to write for talented actors who really got into their roles, made the most of what I gave them, and further developed the characters. Naturally, I’m delighted that many of the movies and television shows I’ve written have won awards for the actors.”
“The most important thing when starting a new story is to find out what is really interesting about your character or the group of people you’re writing about. A good story begins and ends with the characters.”
While talking, he removed many sheets of paper from the walls before we took photos. The sheets contained a new story outline for a major US network. A true story about a Danish criminal and his life. Of course he didn’t want details to leak out before the story was ready and the network deal was done.
“Writing is a creative process but also hard 9-to-5 work. We put in our hours in the office every day. Right now, my colleague and I are simultaneously working on one feature film and two TV productions. That’s why we need this system with the sheets. We get a great overview of each project. We outline the most important events at first. Then we rewrite, go back, take notes, change, and constantly update these sheets.
We looked at the sheets and realized that we saw the birth of a great story. It’s amazing that scribbles on the wall will soon be translated into a big production in Los Angeles – and then broadcasted to millions of people worldwide. It makes us realize that imagination is a very mighty power to possess.

We said our good-byes, and August immediately started to put the sheets on the wall again. We could see his imagination working on the project. He wasn’t there anymore; he was back in his story.

Anders August — A modern storyteller

Storytellers have always had a central role in human history.
The first ones passed on legends that were never written down.
Later, storytellers’ books enthralled generations. New times call
for new storytellers, and we met a modern one:
scriptwriter Anders August.
The BMW’s sound arrives before we see anyone. Soon August rolled before us on his vintage bike and smiled as he pulled off his helmet. We stood outside an old historical stone building with a cobbled stone yard in central Copenhagen where August has his office.

He’s an award-winning, Oscar-nominated scriptwriter with Applause and Lykke-Per (films) and Follow the money (TV series) on his résumé.
He splits his time between Copenhagen and Los Angeles – last year’s boom of high-quality TV series put screenwriters in demand.
As we stepped into his office, words overwhelmed us: large sheets of paper filled with handwritten text covered the walls. This took us off guard – we expected a screenwriter to be someone tapping a keyboard in front of a computer (later, we received an explanation). We were curious about where a good story starts, so we asked him what inspired his characters and stories.

“The most important thing when starting a new story is to find out what is really interesting about your character or the group of people you’re writing about. Imaginary persons must attract interest. After that, the plot evolves. A good story begins and ends with the characters.”
August was born into a film family, so there was no question that he’d end up in the industry. His dad is director Bille August, and several of his siblings are actors.

“Storytelling is my passion and always has been. That said, I’ve done other things such as camera work. I tried my hand at writing short stories and novels but always returned to writing movies and television shows. Films and TV shows are a great fit for me. My strength is the ability to develop great character pieces. I’ve had opportunities to write for talented actors who really got into their roles, made the most of what I gave them, and further developed the characters. Naturally, I’m delighted that many of the movies and television shows I’ve written have won awards for the actors.”

While talking, he removed many sheets of paper from the walls before we took photos. The sheets contained a new story outline for a major US network. A true story about a Danish criminal and his life. Of course he didn’t want details to leak out before the story was ready and the network deal was done.
“The most important thing when starting a new story
is to find out what is really interesting about your character
or the group of people you’re writing about.
A good story begins and ends with the characters.”
“Writing is a creative process but also hard 9-to-5 work. We put in our hours in the office every day. Right now, my colleague and I are simultaneously working on one feature film and two TV productions. That’s why we need this system with the sheets. We get a great overview of each project. We outline the most important events at first. Then we rewrite, go back, take notes, change, and constantly update these sheets.
We looked at the sheets and realized that we saw the birth of a great story. It’s amazing that scribbles on the wall will soon be translated into a big production in Los Angeles – and then broadcasted to millions of people worldwide. It makes us realize that imagination is a very mighty power to possess.

We said our good-byes, and August immediately started to put the sheets on the wall again. We could see his imagination working on the project. He wasn’t there anymore; he was back in his story.
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