An interview with Marco Raspanti
We caught up with the Italian scriptwriter and Neflix series creator to discuss his work, background and views on Italian programming.
Read the short profile below.
“I’m a co-creator and writer of the Netflix series ‘Baby’ (IG: @baby_netflix ). It started when I formed a writing collective to work on larger projects – because unity is strength! The collective is called GRAMS* and it consists of five people – Giacomo Mazzariol, Eleonora Trucchi, Re Salvador, Antonio Le Fosse, and myself. One of our projects, ‘Baby,’ was brought to the attention of Netflix by a producer called Nicola De Angelis. I remember when I found out it was being commissioned. I was in my car driving and I almost crashed. It was the most shocking and fantastic moment! I feel totally changed since taking on this job. At school, I was never top of the class and the same thing at university. I really liked lessons, and I loved everything about the cinema, but I didn’t study a lot. Now, I feel really motivated. I think the job of the scriptwriter is a beautiful job – people like to hear stories, and we are the ones to tell and create these stories.”
Marco was born in Rome. Until a month before the release of “Baby,” Marco worked part-time as a tutor, living with this mother and brother. The success of “Baby” has meant he now has his own place, though he still sees his mother and brother often. Marco has also been engaged for six years, but the past couple of years have been dominated by work. Part of his motivation stems from the sudden loss of his best friend when he was 20 – one night he just stopped breathing. His friend was his greatest champion, and Marco thinks he would be proud of his success. That said, it hasn’t always been easy.
“At the start, we were inexperienced. The project was bigger than us. We were joined by writers Isabella Aguilar and Giacomo Durzi for the first season as it was hard to suddenly be writing a series for an audience of 190 countries. Initially, the idea for the series began by thinking about how and why two underage girls, who seemed to have everything, would start prostituting themselves. We wanted to explore the motivations and social contexts, and we also really wanted to tell a story about teens’ secret lives. The first year of actual writing was hard. We worked a lot. During tougher moments, working as a group was indispensable – we give strength to each other. It was difficult starting at such a high level and it left us very exposed, which we weren’t prepared for. But overall, it’s been great, and the show has had a real impact on teens, which was our major goal. Internationally, too, the response has been good. Of course, there have been some who have been disappointed that the series isn’t even darker, but it’s important to remember that it is a teen series. That was always the intention.
“At the start of a career such as this, friends tell you it’s a difficult path, so now they’re all really happy and proud of what GRAMS* has achieved. Now, my aim is to continue working hard getting to the next phase of my life. I want to build solid roots in order to stay grounded because, you know, my job is flying with my mind, so it helps to not lose touch with reality. I think in Italy the future of television is looking bright. Series such as ‘The Young Pope,’ ‘Gomorrah,’ ‘Suburra,’ and hopefully ‘Baby,’ are all allowing Italy to have a rebirth in the sector, and, in my opinion, this is just the beginning! I’m not saying we’ll reach the mightiness of the American market, but we’ll certainly produce shows that can be easily exported. In the last years, we’re succeeding in this! I think Italian stories have a particular Italian DNA – they are very recognizable and ‘local.’ It’s like a brand, a style that is unique to our country and our customs, but which are still universal stories. So certainly, I think global programming is a positive thing. It’s given rise to a general awakening in Italy because it creates competition and incentives, it creates debates, all of which are important for ideas to be addressed.”