Tell us a little bit about your writing background and the road to getting signed.
I’ve been writing since I was young and started writing screenplays in college. Soon after graduating I attended the American Film Institute Conservatory for screenwriting and graduated with an MFA. From there, the process of getting signed involved a long journey of working contacts, entering contests, and attending programs like those offered through Roadmap Writers. It was through Roadmap Writers that I met my current agent at Abrams.
You're signed with Abrams. Tell us a little bit about the differences between writing as an unsigned writer vs working with a manager.
The major difference is that an agent will provide you guidance throughout the writing process about what might actually have a chance of selling. A good agent will review your ideas from conception, through outlining to finished draft with an eye to making sure that the script is as ready as possible for the marketplace. In terms of writing, this means being open to suggestions and adopting a collaborative mindset at all stages of the writing process.
The Long Night, a feature you wrote, comes out in 2020 and stars Bruce Willis. Tells us a little bit about how that came to be, what was the writing process like from script to screen?
The process of getting the script made began by attaching a young up and coming director, Matt Eskandari. With a director attached, my agent began shopping the project around. It was soon optioned by EFO Films. I then did a rewrite of the script designed to make it more attractive to a star. After that, I didn’t hear anything for months until Bruce Willis came on board and then production began very quickly.
How did Bruce Willis get attached?
When EFO Films first optioned the project they requested I do a rewrite of the script with an eye towards making the script more attractive to a star. At the time they mentioned someone like Bruce Willis playing one of the parts so I wrote it with someone like that in mind. With the rewrite in hand, EFO was able to get Bruce Willis to join the project.
We work with a lot of emerging writers who hope to some day have major stars like Willis attached to their projects. Talk a bit about what that feels like.
It feels great. To get a film produced at all is incredible, but to have an actor like Bruce Willis involved makes the entire thing very special. I’m very excited to see the final product.
Who are your writing influences? Whose work do you admire?
I've always admired the work of David Webb Peoples who wrote Unforgiven, Blade Runner, and 12 Monkeys - some of my favorite movies of all time. When I’m writing, though, I’m not trying to sound like any of the writers I admire. I’m just trying to tell the best story I can.
How did you discover Roadmap Writers?
At the time I had been entering screenwriting contests for some time and had even spoken with several managers based on my placements in the contests but was looking for a new way to get noticed. After researching several different programs, Roadmap Writers seemed like the best program with the best chance of connecting me with managers and agents.
Other than getting signed, what's jazzing you right now?
In the limited time I have, I enjoy reading nonfiction books. I’m currently searching for another TV show to watch now that Game of Thrones has ended and the next season of Stranger Things is a year away.
Listen to Brandon share how his script landed at Lionsgate and attached the producer of JOHN WICK!