Stacy Thunes: Transforming Passion into Purpose with The Scriptory

Stacy Thunes’ journey is a testament to the power of passion, creativity, and resilience. As the founder of The Scriptory, Stacy has transformed her love for storytelling into a unique business that spans writing, acting, and dialogue polishing. From writing her first screenplay at eleven to navigating the challenges of an evolving industry, she has continually found inspiration in her work and the stories of others. In this interview, Stacy shares her insights on starting a creative business, the impact of AI on writing, and the importance of staying true to one’s mission. Her story is sure to inspire anyone looking to make their mark in the world of storytelling and beyond.

What inspired you to start The Scriptory?

The Scriptory has had two incarnations, actually. Initially I started it back in 2007 when I began receiving commissions to write screenplays based on true life stories. This was very inspiring to me because I love talking to people, travelling and learning about cultures other than my own. The scripts I was commissioned to write were as different and varied as night and day and beyond anything I personally had ever experienced. So much for ‘write what you know’! Then, when the translations began taking off and I got more acting work, I sort of let it go. Now it’s having a kind of revival, but this time as a screenplay dialogue polishing and editing service. The idea came to me because, as an actor, I am coming across more and more scripts either written by novice writers using AI, their first language isn’t English, or the work has been translated from another language and not properly checked. I knew someone needed to do something about that so instead of waiting for someone to do it, I did!

Could you share a bit about your personal journey that led you to this business?

When I was 11 years-old my mother received a cancer diagnosis, which was of course very difficult for a single mom of 3 kids to navigate. So I began to escape the real world into acting and writing. I became obsessed with those two things. I performed in my first play, the musical Oliver, and spent all my time in front of the TV or at the cinema. In the early 70’s there was a film called The Poseidon Adventure that I loved. In fact, I loved it so much I think I saw it 50 times. And when my 6th grade teacher gave me a writing assignment one day, I wrote the entire screenplay, by hand, on a stack of yellow lined legal paper! That escape led to a career that has spanned up until today. 

What challenges did you face in establishing and growing The Scriptory?

With writing scripts based on people’s life stories, the biggest challenge was getting producers to read them. I am not a producer, per se, so I am not skilled in financing and the like and rely solely on what the client offers to pay me (or not!). The absolute biggest challenge in the dialogue polishing service is getting people to know that they need it! Some writers can be very touchy about their work, which is understandable. Convincing someone to review and potentially revise their script after they’ve spent years writing it isn’t easy. This is because my services are offered at the end of this long creative process and as a writer we can be attached to certain things that might not be good for the overall script. Mainly, though, because it’s a new idea that no one has ever really focused on before, creatives don’t know they need it. 

What advice would you give to other women looking to start their own creative business?

Know why you’re doing it and be passionate about it. And don’t be afraid to take risks. Easier said than done, but I know from personal experience that if you really want to do something and are supported by the right intentions, the universe will definitely conspire to give you exactly what you need. In addition, I ask myself these questions in just about every endeavor I embark on: Does it create value? Will I make a living at it? Is it something I love? If you can answer those three questions with a yes, then there’s no reason why you can’t be a success, just remember to not give up!

Can you share a success story or memorable moment from your work with The Scriptory?

The most memorable story about The Scriptory happened in 2010 when I was walking down the street in the small town where I grew up, actually looking for a job, any job! A small shop selling lingerie had a sign outside announcing Help Wanted. I was in there for no longer than 5 minutes when a man came in and asked me if I knew of an optometrist nearby. I felt it was an odd question since he was wearing glasses, but I played along and soon it was clear that he wanted to talk to me, was a very witty person and we quickly hit it off life wildfire. After taking it outside so as not to annoy the shopkeeper and talking for another few minutes, he asked me what I did for living. When I told him that I was an actor and writer of screenplays, he hired me right there for a whopping 10,000$ to write two screenplays, one of them based on his life called THIS AIN’T HARVARD and the other from a book he wrote. Needless to say, I didn’t need the job in the lingerie shop.

How do you stay updated with the latest developments in AI and its impact on writing and creativity?

I don’t need to read about the impact of AI in writing and creativity because I feel it first hand! For several years I had a very lucrative career translating scripts, treatments and pitches from German into English until literally from one day to the next they stopped. I haven’t had a translation for 2 years now, and I blame AI 100% for that. Recently I saw a post from a creative on Threads that went something like this: “Why are they developing AI to take over the creative jobs instead of promoting it to do the menial tasks like accounting and doing the laundry?”

What strategies do you use to stay motivated and overcome setbacks in your entrepreneurial journey?

For the past 36 years, I have been a member of the Soka Gakkai International, a worldwide Buddhist lay organisation whose members chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo daily in order to create value and promote peace by doing their own personal human revolution. Without my daily meditative practice, I wouldn’t have developed the self-discipline to continue with this precarious creative life. The opportunities I have met along this journey have been what I can only describe as mystical and have taken me to places I never dreamt I would go. So whenever I feel like giving up, I remember that I have a mission in this life, which is my method for overcoming any and all obstacles.

How do you prioritize and manage your time effectively between your various roles and responsibilities?

A sense of responsibility is what keeps me managing all the things I have to do. And of course lists! I love lists! 

What are your long-term goals and aspirations for The Scriptory?

I would find it absolutely delightful if it became the norm for every producer who is about to green light a script that has been written by AI to give it to me for a go-over. I offer an affordable service that is professional and reliable and it only takes a few days to make sure the actors won’t come back to you and say, “I can’t perform the dialogue like this!” 

What role do you think creativity plays in driving innovation and success in today’s competitive landscape?

Our individuality is our creativity. All innovative ideas came from a creative spark in an individual who was then able to motivate others  to either share in that vision or to develop their own creativity. It’s been said that a true teacher is one who makes their students more capable than they themselves. So to me it is imperative that no matter what your profession or passion, you are able to bring out your individual creativity into it. Daisaku Ikeda, my personal mentor, once said,  “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, can even enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.” I believe this with my whole heart.

What are some key lessons you’ve learned from your experiences with The Scriptory?

I have learned that every single individual on this planet has a story to tell, one that is, in some way relatable to every one. We are all connected and remaining open is the only way to enrich your life as well as the lives of others. 

How do you envision the future of dialogue writing and AI collaboration in the entertainment industry?

Instead of rebelling against AI in the entertainment industry, we have to work with it while maintaining a critical eye. This is why I feel The Scriptory works perfectly for the times that lie ahead. In fact, they are already here for the most part, whether we like to admit it or not, so if humans and AI can collaborate, that could be a very fruitful relationship and beneficial for the entertainment industry as a whole. 

The Scriptory: https://scriptory99.wordpress.com

Talent Agency: www.crawfordtalents.com/stacy-thunes

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2256550/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cl_t17

Killing Eve Scene: https://youtube.com/watch?v=ew7tiWj3aOU

Showreel: https://vimeo.com/183108069

by Harness Editor

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