Writer: a job shadow

Scénariste: un métier de l’ombre

Unlike directors, who are often known to the general public, writers usually work in the shadows, especially at the cinema. Yet, they play a key role in the success of a film, the scenario being the raw material for the creation of a cinematographic work.

Sylvain Guy knows something. It is he who has signed the script of the popular biographical drama Louis Cyr, one of the most successful quebec film of the last years (more than$ 4.2 Million at the box office in 2013).

It is also responsible for the scripts of the movies Mafia Inc. (more recent feature film Podz released earlier this year) and Gallant : Confessions of a hitman, that Luc Picard has turned in the past year.

“The scenario, everything starts from there ; it is the origin of a film,” underlines Sylvain Guy in interview to the Newspaper. In my case, I’m pretty lucky because I always worked with directors who have given a lot of credit to my scenarios. But it is true that unfortunately there is sometimes a tendency to gloss over the role of the screenwriter in the production of a film. “

Sylvain Guy wrote already in theatre when he was in college. He turned to the cinema after having made his studies in law. His first scenario : Stereotype, a short film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée in 1991. But it is the thriller, black List – also made by Valley – that truly launched his career, in 1995.

“When I arrived in this environment, I had little knowledge of the quebec cinema,” admits Sylvain Guy. The first thing I told myself was that I was going to write a movie that I would like to go see. I like thrillers, I was a lawyer, so naturally, I wrote a story that takes place in the middle of the bench. And obviously, the public was also interested in this kind of movie because black List has had a good success [$1.3 Million at the box office]. It was a genre film, what we did very little in Quebec at that time. “

Years of research

Sylvain Guy, who has also made a few films (including Detour, with Luc Picard, and the remake of English-speaking black List), is still working on a few scenarios at the same time. Some projects require several years of research and writing.

“The more complex to write for me has certainly been Mafia Inc., he confides. Because I was not a specialist on the mafia and make a movie of mafia is a huge pressure, because there are very large works that have been carried out on the subject. I’ve done research for a year before starting to write. I spent a lot of time with the authors of the book [André Cédilot and André Noël], and I met people who know the middle-there. I put a year of research and a year writing. I wanted to make a film that ambitious of me, without censoring. For me, there was no question of making a film that takes place in a single room with three mafia. And I think that it is successful. Podz [the director] has done a great job. “

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