By Molly T. ’25
“It is a crisp, breezy Saturday afternoon in October in Greenwich, a small, eerily quiet Connecticut town. My interviewee, Ms. Olivia Krebs, and I, are brought together by both the circumstance of a family reunion and our mutual affinity for writing. She has worked as a screenwriter on projects at Dreamworks, HBO Max, and Paramount Animation. At this particular moment, Olivia has agreed to talk to me about the complexity of the world within Hollywood, her identity as a writer, how she was led to the path of writing, and even her stance on Harry Styles.
I begin by asking Olivia about what drew her to a career of writing. She tells me it was less of a longing or willing attraction, but more of a compulsion. Olivia started writing when she was a child, and initially resisted the idea of writing as a calling, but she found satisfaction in storytelling. Olivia couldn’t find herself in any other career. She describes her own voice as a writer as “awkward, hopefully honest, and sometimes painful.” Olivia often draws from a surreal yet playful sense of reality to enhance the comedic elements of her own screenplays. Afterwards, we broached the long awaited topic of her experiences and view as a woman of Hollywood.
I inquire about what the term “women in film” personally means to her. Olivia states she wishes it didn’t have to mean anything particular special or to her, but nowadays, it is symbolistic of the idealized equality in the film industry. She is most times the youngest person and only woman present in writer’s rooms. This results in her having to fight for her voice to be heard. Olivia recounts a story in which she was pitching an idea for a script, and a domineering man force fed her a cookie in an attempt to shut her up. She said that, at that moment, she had to choose between making a scene or going along with it. Olivia chose the latter. She later informed me that she cried the first time that she was in a writer’s room with another woman. Above all, Olivia stressed the desire for a world in which female screenwriters don’t have to prove themselves to men in writer’s rooms.
It is pertinent to note that in between questions, we left to get ice cream, because, as Olivia put it “all interviews should be conducted over ice cream”, which I wholeheartedly agree with. After our short break, she talked about her love for comedy, and how she could never write anything that didn’t have comedy infused in it. Olivia credits the film Harold and Maude as validating her dark sense of humor, and giving her the confidence to explore the taboo in her own writing. When finally asked about Harry Styles, she said she didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion, but she respected his acting in Dunkirk.
Olivia cites her experience as being the youngest child of three, and the desire to differentiate herself, as having a profound effect on her comedic voice. She also mentioned her favorite writer being Haruki Murakami, describing him as a “magical realist.” Olivia relates and recognizes some of his written sentiments as being similar to her own, internal thoughts. We discussed a funny story about her bicycling across the U.S. and falling off her bike, which resulted in her severely injuring her face. The funny part is that the whole incident was caught on tape.
Lastly, Olivia advised aspiring writers to write for the sake of enjoyment. She acknowledged that writing won’t always be enjoyable, but to try to find some sense of happiness within the writing process. Olivia cautioned not to just write for an end product. Writing may not always be glamorous, but you should always be able to grasp its touches of beauty within moments of great monotony.”