screenwriter to watch
Name: Britta Lundin
Britta Lundin is a TV writer, novelist, and comic book writer, currently writing for RIVERDALE on the CW. Her young adult novel SHIP IT, about a teenage fanfiction writer who yearns for more from her favorite TV show, will be published May 2018. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she has an MFA from UT Austin, and now lives with her wife and their lime tree in Los Angeles.
How did you break in?
I wrote a feature screenplay called SHIP IT that I was convinced no one would be interested in — it was too personal, too specific, too gay. I thought if I couldn’t sell it, maybe I could crowdfund it and make an indie feature. I had no idea that the most personal thing I had ever written would also be the thing that got me noticed. That was the script that attracted the attention of my agent, Jim Erich. It was my writing sample that got me staffed on RIVERDALE, and I actually did end up selling it, not as a feature, but as a young adult novel, which will be published this May!
Writer RIVERDALE (CW), author of YA novel SHIP IT.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
Write the thing that’s personal to you. Write the thing that scares you to write. Write the thing that makes you wonder, “Do I really want to be airing my dirty laundry like this for everyone to see?” Because often the answer is YES. People love to see other people’s dirty laundry. The specific is universal. If you feel strongly about something, it shows in the writing.
What has been your hardest scene to write?
Coming from screenwriting, writing fiction was a new challenge for me. I had to teach myself to write in a new way. As a screenwriter, I had some blind spots that you can’t have in fiction. My first draft of the book, my editor was like, “You gotta describe what kind of room these people are standing in, you gotta explain what they’re wearing!” And I was like, “Oh, usually that’s the art department’s job, that’s the costume department’s job…” So it was a learning curve, but I really fell in love with writing fiction as I was writing SHIP IT, and I’d love to write another book.
What do you feel was your turning point?
I’ve written a lot of scripts in my life, but until I got on RIVERDALE, I had never broken story and written scripts at such a rigorous pace before. When you’re writing 22 episodes of TV a year, the pace has to be unstoppable. But it’s also so satisfying — you can be writing a script one day, and just a few weeks later it’s being filmed, and a few weeks after that your mom is watching it on TV. It still feels like magic.
What are you working on right now?
We are finishing up writing season 2 of RIVERDALE, and I am gearing up for a book tour for the release of SHIP IT. After so long writing SHIP IT, I can’t wait to see it in actual book stores, and in people’s hands. What a dream come true.
What are your favorite movies?
Love & Basketball, Magic Mike XXL, Carol, and Jurassic Park. I love movies that subvert gender roles — if a movie is too traditional, I get bored easily.
Who are your favorite screenwriters?
Gina Prince-Bythewood, Lena Waithe, Rian Johnson
What is your most Memorable AFF Moment?
AFF is wonderful because it’s just as much about the people you meet there as it is about the amazing panels and screenings. I’ve met lifelong friends at AFF — other writers I’m excited to see succeed just as they get excited to see me succeed. One of those friends I met because she came up to me at an AFF party (her opening line: “I love your glasses!”). I didn’t know then that just two years later, we’d be going to each other’s weddings!