screenwriter to watch
Bradley Slabe is an Annie Award nominated writer and director. His latest short film LOST & FOUND was shortlisted for the 91st Academy Awards® and received an Australian Academy Award. He has been honored by the Australian Writers’ Guild, having won Best Animation as well as the Major Award. His work has also won awards at Sydney and Austin Film Festival and has screened at acclaimed festivals such as the Berlinale. He currently writes animation for the international screen. Bradley is represented by Verve Talent and Literary Agency in LA.
How did you break in or get your start in screenwriting?
I always enjoyed writing stories and was encouraged to pursue a Masters in Screenwriting at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. This is where I conceptualized and developed LOST & FOUND. During this time, I was also lucky enough to gain industry experience in story development at an animation studio and get my first writing gig on a children’s cartoon, KITTY IS NOT A CAT. It was happenstance that my episodes on that series began airing at the same time LOST & FOUND started its festival run. The collision of events garnered momentum and launched my writing journey. I’m still trying to stick the landing!
Writer/Co-Director “LOST & FOUND”
Writer “KITTY IS NOT A CAT”
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
1) Understand other departments of filmmaking. Demonstrating appreciation for all roles of a film makes others feel valued. Plus, it’ll sharpen your writing from script to screen.
2) Listening to feedback is a skill. You don’t have to take it but it’s important to understand where it’s coming from.
3) Your IP is your most valuable weapon as a writer. Seek legal advice, join a guild, protect yourself.
What’s the hardest scene or project you’ve ever had to write? How did you navigate the challenge?
I find all of it hard. I think the best way to deal with any writing challenge is to try shift your perspective and enjoy the process of problem solving.
What was a major turning point in your career?
Receiving funding to make LOST & FOUND for sure! I was at a stage of my writing career where I had knocked on too many closed doors and was beginning to lose hope. I mean, I was looking into how to become a Marine Biologist. (I’m afraid that’s not a joke).
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently staffing on a fun Australian cartoon, KITTY IS NOT A CAT and a new AR project, which has been an exciting new form to play with. Out of hours, I’m developing my own slate of projects including a long form adaption of LOST & FOUND and a feature animation set in Japan (during the Edo period). I’ve also been taking meetings at studios to see if they have any material that’d be a good fit for me to team up on.
What are some of your favorite movies?
Oh gosh. This question makes my hands sweaty. I think this might be my new greatest writing challenge yet.
Who are some of your favorite screenwriters?
Charlie Kauffman, Spike Jonze and the Cohen Brothers. These writers have such distinct voices and are masters at creating heightened worlds and concepts with such authentic, nuanced emotions. They effortlessly lean into the bittersweet, which is my jam. I just love their stuff so much. I’m also a big fan of Michael Arndt, Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig, Sophia Coppola, Wes Anderson, Andrew Stanton… (tell me when).
Share a memorable experience at Austin Film Festival.
I adored everything about this festival; the super friendly staff, the A-class panels, the smokey, smokey BBQs. But most of all, I cherished screening amongst some of the best animated shorts I’ve seen AND being able to crack a beer with the talented filmmakers afterwards. I really felt like my script found its home at AFF and I can’t wait to return with something new.