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Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive Script Pipeline interviews with writers and industry.

Jason Kaleko

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– Jason Kaleko, Writer of Hold Up! (2012 Script Pipeline Contest Winner). Jason is currently developing new material with Script Pipeline development execs and other Pipeline industry partners. Your winning script was touted by some of the judges as one of the best comedies that came through Script Pipeline in years—why do you think that is? Is writing comedy tougher than people think? Comedy writing is tough because it’s such a fine line between the ludicrous that makes us laugh and the ludicrous that makes us roll our eyes. Comedy is rarely universal and even more rarely timeless. Austin Powers had people rolling in the aisles in the late 90s, but now, many people consider those films to be silly and corny. There seems to be a “you had to be there” element to all humor—but comedies like Tootsie or Dr. Strangelove persist because there’s a structure and wit to…

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Marc-Andre Samson

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– Marc-Andre Samson, writer of I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead (2011 Script Pipeline Contest winner). Marc’s horror film Where the Devil Dwells will be released in 2015. What do you think clicked so well with I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, making it one of the top scripts we received in 2011? Hopefully, it’s because of the characters. . . and people seem to dig the non-stop action in the third act. I think the script has a nice balance of mystery and action. How many scripts, roughly, have you written? How long have you been writing? I started writing stories when I was in third grade and never stopped. I wrote about a dozen scripts so far. . . some good, some not-so-good. However, I had fun writing all of them. Do you stick to a certain style or genre? Are there certain themes running throughout all your screenplays? Crime and horror….

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Tyler Burton Smith

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– Tyler Burton Smith, writer of Henchman (2011 Script Pipeline Contest Winner). In addition to working as a writer for video game content, Tyler is in development on multiple feature film projects. He’s repped by Chris Goble at Grandview. Henchman is an animated comedy. Given the fact Pixar and . . . well, Pixar has such a stronghold on the mainstream, studio world of animation, did you see this script as more of a writing sample, or something that had a legit shot at the big-budget animated market? I definitely saw Henchman as more of a sample when I was writing it. I knew there were a lot fewer opportunities for optioning an animated script, but it was a story I really wanted to tell. Sometimes, I just have to go with my gut and write the stories I’m excited about, because those are the ones that come out the…

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David Love

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– David Love, writer of Unorthodox (2011 Script Pipeline TV Writing Contest Winner). In 2014, David wrote an episode of the FX show Partners and is continuing a career in TV writing and development. What was the motivation behind writing Unorthodox? How long it take from concept to finished product? I guess I’ve always had some pretty major hang-ups with religion. When I was very young, my parents put me in an after school program at Chabad, where they approach the Bible as the literal word of God. This made absolutely no sense to me, but they were my teachers, and I had been taught to trust them. It created a cognitive dissonance in me that would one day lead me to write Unorthodox, so for that, I guess I should be thankful. I had originally conceived the show as Malcom in the Middle with Orthodox Jews, but the more I…

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Matthew Bozin

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– Matthew Bozin, writer of Granite Falls (2011 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner; 2012 Screenwriting finalist) What was one of the main motivations to become a screenwriter? I remember watching movies at a very young age and just thinking to myself that I wanted to be a part of that in some way. I wasn’t really sure how, and I think that stayed in the back of my mind over the years until I got to high school and took an interest in writing. I’m not sure when I put the two together, but I do recall reading an article about Fight Club, where Brad Pitt said how he met the writer and told him it was the best damn script he’d ever read, and thinking, I want to do that. Early on, what was one of the more challenging aspects of writing? Coming up with a concept? The execution…

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Sean Fallon / Charlotte Barrett

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– Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett, writer of Denny Delivers (2008 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest finalist). Sean and Charlotte went on to write and direct the indie dramedy Virgin Alexander and are actively developing new feature films. How long have you been writing screenplays? Did your writing start with scripts, fiction. . . ? We started writing full length scripts in 2004 and have been writing as a team since 2005. Were either of you “formally” trained in film and screenwriting (i.e. through a university film program, extension classes, etc.), or were you more or less self-taught? We actually met at our first day orientation at NYU. We both transferred into the undergrad film program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and immediately began working on each other’s short films. Our senior year we wrote a short together that Charlotte directed. What do you think is the best way…

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Brian Watanabe

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– Brian Watanabe (Script Pipeline “Recommend” writer), writer of Operation: Endgame, formerly Rogues Gallery. CC: What was the motivation behind Rogues Gallery? BW: Back in 2001, during the dot-com bust, the ad agency I was working at in San Francisco started some massive lay-offs. It was pretty brutal. Cubes emptied, factions developed, paranoia spread—it didn’t feel like we were getting fired, it felt like we were getting whacked. When I was finally let go it was almost a relief. I started to think: What if an office full of spies got downsized? What if instead of firing you they killed you? What if these trained assassins started killing each other to save their jobs? The idea had a lot of cinematic elements I loved: action, comedy, satire, a Ten Little Indians, who-will-survive structure. That was the start of the Rogues Gallery. CC: How did the project get off the ground,…

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Evan Daugherty

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– Evan Daugherty, writer of Killing Season (a.k.a. Shrapnel, 2008 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner), Snow White and the Huntsman, Divergent, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and numerous studio and television projects. Due in part to his Script Pipeline win, Evan went on to become one of the most in-demand screenwriters in Hollywood. He’ll make his directorial debut in 2015 with the Dimension Films feature Ink and Bone. How long have you been writing screenplays? Did you start with scripts, fiction. . . ? I’ve been writing in one form or another for a long time: short stories, poetry, etc. But to be honest, from an early age, I was more interested in “making movies” than just “writing scripts.”  Most of my creative energy went into filming backyard movies with a digital video camera. I think I started to write my first feature script as a senior in high school. I didn’t know how…

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Sean McKittrick

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– Sean McKittrick, producer of Donnie Darko, The Box, and Bad Words What did you do after UCLA? SM: I worked for a temp agency called Apple One. They specifically place you in entertainment related jobs. I became a full time temp at New Line Cinema and floated from desk to desk when assistants were out sick, taking vacations, etc. That actually led to my first job. When a position opened up, they were familiar with me and I hit it off with one of the executives. I ended up staying there for two years as her assistant. When did you intern for Lucas Foster? SM: I worked for Lucas when I was a Junior and Senior in College. How did it go? SM: The internship was an eye opener, you know, you’re in college, you don’t know anything. You’re working for free, doing the most menial tasks, making copies. You learn the…

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Jonathon Rosenbloom / Justin Merz

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– Justin Merz and Jon Rosenbloom (writers of Topsiders, sold to DreamWorks) Did either of you attend film school? JR: No. In college I think I took one film class. That was it. JM: No. I have my degree in education. I was planning on trying to go to film school and had applied a few places but I ended up having a kidney transplant so I was not going anywhere. I ended up taking courses locally, finished my degree in education. When did you first pursue interest in writing? JM: When I was six years old and I saw Star Wars. I was making movies in the backyard. I Got really serious writing scripts in the early nineties. What was the first medium you wrote in? Did you start writing stories? JM: I wrote a few stories, but I think I was really trying to write scripts when I was…

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