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The Inspirational Journey of Janine Pecenkova

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The Inspirational Journey of Janine Pecenkova

Janine Pecenkova is a screenwriter and author living in Los Angeles and Prague. Since childhood, Janine has been interested in creating stories. She has always been passionate about the appearance of the characters in her made-up tales or books she red, wondering who could play them. Later, she decided to study at Skvorecky’s University of Literature and Filmmaking to pursue her passion.

In here, Janine learned creative writing from renowned writers such as Michal Viewegh, Milan Kundera, and Milan Uhde. Milan Uhde, author, theater writer, and former dissident, played a significant role in establishing democracy in the Czech Republic. He also served as the Minister of Culture. During her dissertation, Milan Uhde supervised Janine and recommended her dissertation thesis (collection of short stories) for publication. 

Filming a Short Movie for a Competition

After graduation from Skvorecky’s University, Janine moved to London and got accepted at Kingston University London (filmmaking program), where Nick Hornby and Eric Clapton once studied. She felt delighted and believed that she had decided to become a filmmaker.

After completing this studies and coming back to Prague, Janine faced difficulty in finding a job in her field. She realized that having the right contacts was crucial, but unfortunately, she didn’t have any. But she was unwilling to quit writing. Eventually, her mini-story won a summer-tale competition in, a Prague culture news magazine, which led to the publication of her book.

Publication of Janine’s book ‘Světlo.’

“Světlo” (LightFight) is a novel about a girl who struggles with an unusual ability. She sees people’s missing light, which allows her to know who will die soon. To end this power for good means trying to save one of them – which is extra difficult. While studying in London, Janine created a feature screenplay that served as the inspiration for her book.

After publication, Janine finally got into writers’ room for a TV production company and practised her screenwriting skills. This job also helped her clarify what kind of writing she enjoyed doing.

Eventually, she quit her job and traveled to the USA to study Writing for TV.

New York Film Academy

There was no way back now. So, studying at the New York Film Academy and later at UCLA TFT in Los Angeles seemed like the most suitable choice.

During her time in New York and later at UCLA TFT, Janine focused on writing for TV Shows that dealt with genres such as sci-fi and fantasy drama, with occasional humorous elements; drama/crime or black comedies. She was the only European student in her class. At first, this was frustrating for her, but as her English improved and she became fluent, she was glad for the challenge. Screenplays they used to write in a class, were just samples for learning purposes. However, towards the end of the program, Chuck Kim (who had written for the TV Show “Heroes“, among others) became their teacher and greatly influenced her.

UCLA TFT Program, Writing for TV

Janine had been thinking of a particular TV screenplay for a long time. Her teacher encouraged her to finish it. However, “Voices” didn’t place in any competitions. She realized that her teacher’s advice not to send a first draft was right. After reworking it multiple times, it began winning regularly. Janine then wrote and submitted more screenplays to competitions and festivals.

Her latest TV pilot scripts have been selected 15 times and have won 12 awards. They were recognized as part of Coverfly’s Red Carpet’s Top 9% of 5,080 fantasy projects and the top 12% of 135,000 submitted screenplays. Additionally, her scripts have received numerous honorable mentions, semifinal and quarterfinal placements, and made it to the Script Summit finals as one of the top five selected screenplays.

Winning in a Summer-Tale competition, iDNES.CZ

Janine is thrilled with her recent success but she hopes that her journey doesn’t end there. Her next goal is to bring her screenplays to life, just as she always imagined. She wants to get them filmed or work for a studio that appreciates her work. This is her dream. She believes that even though the path to success may be winding, it is also the goal.

Connect with Janine Pecenkova

FilmmakerLife Magazine Vol. 69 – Janine Pecenkova

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