September 13, 2012

The Perks of Being a Trojan

Writer/Director of Perks of Being a Wallflower sits with SCA

By Valerie Turpin

“An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world,” sounds like a typical first year at the School of Cinematic Arts. It’s also the logline for alum Stephen Chbosky’s ‘92 new film The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

A production still from The Perks of Being a Wallflower

An education at the SCA allows students to try many different hats along the road to finding their unique vision. Chbosky took this education to heart when he decided to write the novel, adapt the screenplay and direct Perks.

“I got a great writing education at USC,” Chbosky explains. “Even though I had never taken a fiction-writing class, the emotional tools that I needed to write a book were in my schooling at ‘SC.”

Stephen Chbosky began writing the novel for Perks during his senior year at SCA and later revisited the story to its final conception. When the novel began the move to the big screen, Chbosky made certain that his novel would not fall into the wrong hands.

On the choice to direct Perks, Chbosky notes, “You can turn this [story] into something else very easily, and I was not going to let that happen. My mantra was ‘I will either direct this movie, or it will not exist’ because it was too important to me and I know it was too important to the fans as well. The fans who have seen it so far love it, and they know I did a faithful adaptation for them.”

The Perks of Being A Wallflower follows a shy high school freshman who is befriended by two seniors who encourage him to discover himself. The film includes stars such as Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Nina Dobrev and Paul Rudd.

Chbosky offered advice for students, saying, “The people who think it’s all about rules might have some good things to share but be a little more sceptical as opposed to the people who encourage you to follow your passion. And I don’t mean just passion to make a movie, let’s say, that’s very personal and emotional like Perks is, you know, your passion can be sci-fi, then go do sci-fi. Follow the thing that you actually love and write and make the movies you would actually want to see. You’ll have a much better career and a much happier time.”

Visit the Perks website at: