Meet Tomás Fleck, writer/director from Porto Alegre, Brazil, now based in São Paulo! Tomás is cultivating a prolific career in film and television, working both in Brazil and with creatives around the world!
What project are you currently working on? What is your role in the project?
I recently wrote a half-hour comedy series called dr4g0n, set in the competitive world of e-sports, for Globo's streaming service in Brazil: Globoplay; and worked as a writer/creator on a project for Anonymous Content Brasil. Now I am the lead director and one of the screenwriters on the new comedy series All in the Family, about a conflicted family in need of therapy, with two seasons on order. And we start shooting in August!
Do you have a favorite hat under the “creator” umbrella?
Writer and/or director. I started as a writer 11 years ago and never stopped. The art of creating, developing, dealing with the desires of the characters is extremely pleasurable to me (and doing it in a writer’s room is amazing). It was the writing, its beauty and craft that made me fall in love with film and TV, that led me to directing.
I started directing 6 years ago and have enjoyed it a lot. At the same time, I believe a big part of my directing is involved in understanding the script to translate it for the crew to transform it into aesthetics, acting, editing… - and that understanding comes from what I've learned from being a writer. I believe that one of the most important jobs of the director is to clearly communicate his ideas and intentions to the crew - and this is very similar to the work I do, as a screenwriter, in the writer’s room. The notion of character and scene intention, which we talk about so much in the writing process, is very much reflected in the directing phase. The two forms of creation are very close for me nowadays.
Another part of directing that really appeals to me is working with actors. Mainly because I think, care and feel so much for the characters when I write them or read the script I'm going to direct, that I'm so happy to work with the artists who will bring them to life. Also, editing and creating the soundtrack is a very intense moment where we set the pace and final tones of the show (and it's almost like a final draft). So, for me, this constant exchange of craft with the writers, cast and crew, going toward the same creative intent, is one of the most beautiful elements of television and film.
What were your earliest inspirations? How did you get started as a creator?
I grew up watching shows like Scrubs, The West Wing, Gilmore Girls - and started working when Breaking Bad, Weeds, 30 Rock were on the air. Like many people, I started out as a fan of these series and decided to understand how they were made. What I liked most about them was the way they balanced humor with other genres to develop strong characters. In this way, I understood that I would like to work on projects from various genres that had some hint of humor among the characters and their relationships to create an emotional effect on the audience.
I started to take writing and directing courses in 2012 and soon I was able to produce the first projects I wrote with public funds from Brazil. Since then, there have been 10 series of different genres - 2 of which I had the joy of having premiered on Netflix and 2 on Amazon Prime Video in Brazil. I dream of one day being able to collaborate with some project that aims at global reach, in the English language, in which I also have a background.
Whose work do you admire? Who are your dream collaborators?
I really like the work of Amy Sherman-Palladino, Damon Lindelof, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin, Jordan Peele, Bill Lawrence, Jenji Kohan, Christopher Storer, Vince Gilligan, Moira Walley-Beckett, David Simon, Jesse Armstrong, Tina Fey, Armando Iannucci, Quinta Brunson, Coen Brothers, Adam McKay, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
What’s your proudest moment as an artist so far?
In 2019, the first series that I created, wrote, produced and also directed some episodes (Necropolis) was completed and premiered on Netflix Brazil. Seeing it debut on such a big platform after so many years working on it independently and seeing the audience watching it, commenting on twitter how much they laughed and cheered for the characters (it's a workplace comedy in a morgue) was an immense sense of accomplishment that motivates me to create more and continue in this arduous task (that we love) of telling stories that entertain, thrill and make us laugh. The feeling of shared experience with the colleagues who do the projects with me is incredible, and is enhanced when the show goes to the audience.
What’s your must-read/must-watch book/show or movie?
One that inspires me more every time I read: Into the Woods - a Five-Act Journey into Story by John Yorke.
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