How I Became a Script Writer

1941, New York City. Nina Performs as the Gypsy Dancer in one of her early scripts.

1941, New York City. Nina Performs as the Gypsy Dancer in one of her early scripts.

“Scripts” entered my life early. I must have been about 7 years old when my after-school group at the New York’s Hudson Guild Neighbor house was asked to write a play. I thought it meant to take the stories you spin in your head and let them come out of your mouth. The teacher writes them down and then different people play the various parts, adding variations of their own dialogue and actions.

After many decades of creating scripts for theatre, radio, street theater, film, slide show, PowerPoint and video, my definition of “scripts” hasn’t changed much.

My first professional script writing experience was in 1968 in Cuba when I met Roque Dalton, now El Salvador’s national poet. Then, he was a political exile having escaped from a Salvadoran jail and on the lam in this tropical paradise. We wrote our play, in ten days and nights, “The Dalton’s Ride South / Dalton y Cia,” based on his family history.  It was produced on Cuban National TV after the last page was written, leaving only 3 days of rehearsal. It was shot live in the studio with documentary and hastily filmed on-locations scenes edited in. I remember how Roque and I were dying of shame when we viewed on the live monitor the frozen face of terror of one of the actresses who forgot her lines, since there was so little time to memorize them. Later, people said how great that scene was when the frightened face of the close-up of the severed head came on the screen in silence.

So now after so many years of dedication to the theater, I was a playwright as well as an actor, director and teacher. What would I write? And of course the other big problem for any playwright is who will produce it? But most importantly I now thought of myself as a writer. So I began writing poetry and articles and got published! Wow!

About Nina Serrano: Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 82 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.comor contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Ninaon her website.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, or visit for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577;

The Play “The Story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg” is now available

The Script: From Writing Though Production We are republishing this blog post today (October 17, 2016) which originally was posted in 2013 when we first made the play available on the website. Recently, the CBS 60 Minutes program featured an interview with … Continue reading