It isn’t everyday that you get the opportunity to interview an up and coming writer/director currently making a splash in Hollywood! We’re excited to have the opportunity to speak with Adriano Valentini, the mind behind various web series include CLUBSCENE and The Age of Insecurity. The catalyst for this interview was the realization that within many of his films, he often utilizes games and gaming culture to bring out the personality of his characters and their interactions. That isn’t very common, and we had to ask him about his screenwriting and also about his new-found love of indie games.

Thank you for joining us! Tell us about yourself!

Hey, thanks for having me Alex.  Sure, my name’s Adriano Valentini.  I’m a writer, director and producer.  I studied film at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  I love writing comedy and working with actors.
 
Adriano Valentini, writer/director of Age of Insecurity and CLUBSCENE.

Adriano Valentini, writer/director of Age of Insecurity and CLUBSCENE.

In your films, you often portray characters playing games. How does incorporating video games into a screenplay effect the film? 

Nintendo has always been a huge part of my life growing up.  I don’t think I consciously try to incorporate video games in my writing.  I think instead the culture of playing games naturally seeps into my stories and characters because it’s so close to me.  Nintendo specifically has had a huge impact on not only childhood, but also my imagination and sense of humor.
In CLUBSCENE there’s a scene where the main character is playing Super Nintendo when visiting a girl he likes.  I didn’t include this as a throwback to SNES or anything like that.  The idea to include this first came to me because I felt the theme song to Yoshi’s Island, which he’s playing, had a romantic, soft feel that worked really well with what was happening with the relationship of the two characters.  It also made sense that the characters probably grew up playing this game and could bond over it.  You know, I always put myself into my writing and my characters so these kind of things just naturally come into play.
In ADVENTURE’S IN PREGAMING, the characters are playing N64 as they stall before going out. They reference staying in and playing Goldeneye rather than going out to meet girls.  In this instance it’s about finding comedy in the specifics.  When you say Goldeneye, the audience immediately identifies with something nostalgic. Rather than just saying something broad like “let’s play video games”, people like to connect to something specific like Goldeneye, because it makes them feel like “hey, I totally get this, I’ve been there.”
 
What were your favorite games growing up?
 
I was and continue to be a Nintendo fanboy.  Nintendo is all I really care about.  I’ve been very loyal to that company since the beginning.  I own an NES, SNES, N64, Game Cube and Wii and of course a Game Boy and Game Boy Color. I really need to get a Wii U, I just feel like it’s going to distract me from working.
I don’t think I was as big of a gamer as some people.  It was just a regular part of my life, like watching television or movies, you know?  It was just so much a part of it that becomes a part of my characters’ lives that I write about.  And it’s not just the idea of playing games that seeps into my writing and directing.  It’s the actual storylines, the characters, the worlds of specific games that influence my imagination just as much as other movies and books.  Just think of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. That came out when I was like twelve years old. It was cinematic, it was huge, it captured my imagination. It was like how kids must have felt when Star Wars first came out.  The characters and worlds jumped out of the screen. It wasn’t just about playing a game, there was emotion to it.  It blurred the lines between movie and game.  And so all of that influenced me as a writer and director, not as a gamer.
That SNES has been in many films.

That SNES has been in many films.

When did you first get introduced to indie games?
 
As I mentioned previously, I have always been a huge Nintendo fan. To be honest, in many respects I didn’t really open myself up to other platforms until very recently. I was speaking to a close friend when they mentioned an indie game called Papers Please. When the game was introduced to me, I immediately connected with the story, the art, and the gameplay. There was something about it that really reached out to me. The visual aesthetic worked so cohesively with the storytelling, and the tone of the game really drew me in. I found parallels in Papers Please’s creative design with film making, in the sense that you can visually capture an audience and tell a powerful story. With that came the realization that there were countless independent games out there, each with a story to tell.
Teslagrad

One of Adriano’s favorites.

What are your favorite games from Steam Greenlight?

Well, Papers Please certainly tops the list! Outside of that, I loved the art and silent-storytelling of Teslagrad. The game’s platforming was great (which I appreciated being a huge Super Mario fan), but again, as someone who is highly visual, the art style really drew me in. The game looks absolutely incredible! I also really enjoyed the narrative storytelling in The Novelist. That game connected to me in a very different manner than Teslagrad. The Novelist spoke to the writer in me, and much of the story really struck a cord with me. As someone who spends a lot of time working and writing, I really found myself reflecting on my life while playing that game. It gave me a new perspective on how I need to manage my work and my family.
 
6) What’s the next game on your “to play” list? Are there any other games on the horizon that you are looking forward to playing? 
 
The next game on my to play list would have to be Jazzpunk. The game was developed by a team close to my hometown in Canada, and it looks absolutely hilarious. Being someone who enjoys comedic film, I’m really looking forward to playing a comedic game!
With regards to games coming out in the near future, I’m really looking forward to Transistor. The art, the storytelling… everything about that game has me intrigued. I can’t wait for it’s release!
 
7) Where can people go to learn more about you and your projects?
 
Right now you can find most stuff online.  CLUBSCENE was up on the CityTV site and new episodes of The Age of Insecurity can be found on Webisodes Network as well as on theageofinsecurity.com.
You can always check out my stuff at www.adrianovalentini.com or at www.facebook.com/adrianovalentini.  You can follow me at @avalentini or on instagram at adrianovalentiniproductions.
 
8) Thank you so much for spending time with us!
 
Thanks for having me man!  I really appreciate being included in this.  I’m a huge fan of your site and of Steam Greenlight.