screenwriter to watch
AFF 2014 pilot semifinalist with Education, Secondary; AFF 2016 pilot finalist with Growing Up Dictator; writer on Dr. Ken and Walk The Prank; editor on The Good Fight. Host and producer of the podcast Pulling Your Hair Out: Conversations About The Writing Process. Currently a writer in the Warner Bros. Writers’ Workshop.
How did you break in?
I got my start when I realized that storytelling combined emotion and comedy. As a kid, I was very emotional; I could cry and laugh without much effort. I really knew it was a career I had to pursue when I realized writing meant I could sit alone for most of the day.
Dr. Ken, writer
Walk The Prank, writer
The Good Fight, editor
Pulling Your Hair Out, host/producer
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
Writing is just work and is less personal than it feels. Surround yourself with kind, supportive people who give great notes. Fail and learn. Don’t give up. Nap, meditate, stay healthy, and go to therapy.
What has been your hardest scene to write?
I’ve been trying to crack a TV sitcom about a cult and I haven’t quite found the proper way to do it yet. There have been a ton of dramas done about cults, but no comedies and I’m realizing there may be a reason for that. I’ve done three different drafts of three different cult ideas and none really worked… So, if anyone has a good idea on how to do it, please do it! I just want to see it made, even if it’s not by me.
What do you feel was your turning point?
Is it too much of a plug to say the Austin Film Festival? I was a TV pilot semifinalist in 2014, where I met some amazing fellow writers who have since become my best friends. I joined their writers group and they helped me write a pilot that was an AFF finalist in 2016, got me my first two TV writing jobs, and opened a lot of industry doors.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing an original pilot about San Francisco Chinatown.
What are your favorite movies?
Magnolia is the film that inspired me to become a writer, so that’ll always be number one. Some others: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Big Lebowski, Inside Out, Sullivan’s Travels, and Naked Gun. As for TV, Workaholics made me realize I might have a voice in television. A few more: 30 Rock, Ren & Stimpy, Cheers, Breaking Bad, and Baskets.
Who are your favorite screenwriters?
Charlie Kaufman, PT Anderson, The Coen Brothers, Tina Fey, ZAZ, the Pixar Brain Trust.
What is your most Memorable AFF Moment?
Some friends and I met Ted Cruz outside a taco truck in 2016. We chatted him up and he was very polite. He asked me about my pilot that was in competition, so I told him it was a comedy about North Korea. He nodded, then grabbed his tacos and went on his way.