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Becoming a Storyteller

Albert Payano, OutSet fellow.
Albert Payano, OutSet fellow.

Meet Albert Payano, a 21 year-old OutSet fellow whose short script was chosen to be produced.  All 15 fellows arrived to their first class on November 8th 2012 with a simple pitch of an idea they had for a story.  The fellows, all between the ages of 16-24 years old, had never met before and were asked during class to write down their pitch on piece of paper without their name.  They were prompted to fold it into a paper airplane, or for those who experienced anxiety with that prompt, just to simply crumble into a ball…most chose the later.  Five Outfest Alumni filmmakers sat across the room in the LifeWorks office at The Village and asked them to throw their ideas into the air at them.  Let them go.  Fly them across the room…. or dramatically whip them as needed.  Without knowing whose was whose at this point, mentor Deondray Gossett, picked up a paper airplane off the ground and read the following aloud, “Jake, a confident teen who is out to his mom as gay, is unaware that his mother has been snooping in his room and found condoms and incriminating writings on his computer about the most recent invitation from his friends: an all-boy weekend away at the cabin of Jake’s crush. She is as torn as ever.  Their trust in one another will dramatically be tested.”  This of course caused some fellows in the class to gasp and laugh out loud.  Everyone discussed what the themes were, how the story could be told, and what could happen to test their relationship.  It was very exciting for Albert who sat silent and listened to the buzz of ideas and then finally revealed it was his idea.

Albert went home over the next few weeks and turned his idea into a short script after getting notes from several volunteer professional screenwriters and Guinevere Turner, the guest screenwriting teacher for OutSet on the December 6th class.  He decided to land with the story being about a teenage Jake and his father.

Albert was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and then moved to Whittier, CA in the fall of 2009 for his junior year of college and has been living in LA for the past year post graduation.  His film will be shot on Saturday February 16th, 2013 at The Village in a collaborating group of three fellows who liked the script and chose to work with Albert to make it.  Albert is producing the film with fellow Cassandra Padilla.  Fellow Tawana Briggs is directing and the group is mentored by Chiedu Egbuniwe.

Let’s meet Albert.

SG:  What has been the best advice you have been given so far about being a filmmaker from one of our guest instructor’s, mentors or staff?

AP:  It would definitely have to be one from Guinevere Turner. During the screenwriting class she led she mentioned how truly interesting dialogue is never on the nose; not exactly what the characters want to say. This has completely changed the way I write and even listen to conversations during my everyday life.

SG:  What is the story you are telling with your script?

It is the story of a father and a son who are not communicating very well because they’re afraid of saying the wrong things. They eventually work through their issues thanks to an imminent gay sex talk and their love for each other.

SG:  Favorite thing about OutSet?

AP:  My favorite thing about Outfest has been getting feedback from the other fellows and from the mentors. I have become a better listener because of it.


Written by:  Shari Greicar, Outfest Forward Coordinator.  For questions about OutSet and how to get involved please contact Shari at