How long have you been writing and what made you want to write in the first place?
I have been screenwriting for about five years now, and in the last three, I decided to start producing my own content. I moved out to Hollywood to pursue acting, which has been successful in its own manner, but I want to create more opportunities from myself. I didn’t want to wait for auditions for characters I knew weren’t authentic to me, so it was time to buckle up and create. I realized I had a unique perspective being Indian AND American, and what that amalgam and juxtaposition of two cultures really means.
Looks like comedy's your thing. What draws you to that genre?
I think it is amazing to see millions of people from across the world watch the same thing, whether it’s 10 seconds or 30 minutes and laugh, forget their problems, and feel that life is ultimately joyous.
Which comedians/writers inspire you?
I am very influenced by the multi-hyphenates such as Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae, Aziz Ansari, and Mindy Kaling who are telling their engaging, successful stories and making their own content. They not only show how spectacular and necessary diversity is in the Hollywood landscape, but they hustle to take the reins of their own careers.
Tell us three things you're currently digging
I binged You and I’m Sorry on Netflix and got wrapped up equally on really good storytelling and comedy, respectively. I recently learned to make Thai curry at home, so I have eaten that 4 times in 5 days. And finally, I got a Patchouli candle that I light every day like a pyro because I just realized how much I enjoy that smell.
What interested you about Roadmap's Diversity Initiative?
Diversity! I get the chance to really hone my skills and ideas so I can pitch my ideas and take my career to the next level. It gives such a great stepping-stone to someone who is fairly new to the writing world. Also, the success rate of the Roadmap program to champion their writers to get industry meetings and get signed is something I haven’t come across in LA.
You can find Shawn at his website shawnparikh.com or on Instagram @shawnparikh.