screenwriter to watch
Jimmy Mosqueda is a California native, Stanford grad, avid eater of scones, and a current fellow in Film Independent’s Project Involve program. Previously, he participated in Sundance’s Screenwriters Intensive where he workshopped his dark comedy Valedictorian.
Jimmy wrote a pilot and is currently developing another series with Mitú Network. His short film The Station will premiere at the L.A. Film Festival in 2017.
How did you break in or get your start in screenwriting?
My first big break was my screenplay Valedictorian. This is the one that started opening all the doors. It got me my reps, got me meetings, got me in the door to pitch on several projects and land a couple of gigs. It’s true what they say, all you need is that one killer script.
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
Keep writing. Keep, keep writing. Make it a daily habit. Even if it’s for an hour before work, on your lunch break, after the kids go to bed. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish by just devoting even just a small chunk of time to your craft.
What’s the hardest scene or project you’ve ever had to write? How did you navigate the challenge?
One of the hardest projects I had to write was also one of the shortest: the short I wrote for Film Independent’s Project Involve. The program is intense! I was producing draft after draft after draft, constantly getting notes from the director, the producer, the execs etc. I had to figure out a way to satisfy certain parties but also protect the kernel of the story that meant the most to me, that little nugget that made me want to write it in the first place.
What was a major turning point in your career?
Being a finalist in the Austin Film Festival. No joke. It exposed my script to a lot of different parties, which set the foundation for relationships that I have in the industry today. Also, buying a Keurig machine.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently writing a comedy pilot that’s like a second cousin to VALEDICTORIAN. It deals with similar issues: education, class, the American Dream. I find myself returning to certain themes over and over in my writing, working things out on the page and untangling those knots buried inside me.
What are some of your favorite movies?
I’ll keep the list recent. Some of my favorite films from the last several years: The Big Short, Edge of Tomorrow, Cabin in the Woods, The Guest, It Follows.
Who are some of your favorite screenwriters?
I want to be Drew Goddard when I grow up.
Share a memorable experience at Austin Film Festival:
Certainly that epic storm from 2015! Nothing like getting both a flash flood and a tornado warning on your phone at 8:30 in the morning. I’m from California, so that was kind of… fun?