screenwriter to watch
Born and raised in a myth called Texas. Studied business at The University of Texas. Somehow became a writer. Eventually wrote THE FRUITCAKE which ended up on the 2016 Black List.
How did you break in of get your start in screenwriting?
Like a tumbleweed. For years it was an unremarkable pursuit as I rolled along – finishing script after script – that no one ever read, until I finally wrote something that people wanted to read. Getting your start in screenwriting always reminds me of what Hemingway wrote, “How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
Write every day. Rewrite more. Fail fast. Surround yourself with quality people. Drink sweet tea. Find inspiration somewhere, even if it’s slow-smoked brisket, Davy Crockett and Bigfoot..
What’s the hardest scene or project you’ve ever had to write? How did you navigate the challenge?
I think every script I tackled before I got any interest from “the industry” was incrementally harder than the one before. I never really learned to navigate anything; just kept plodding forward like a stubborn mule and eventually got lucky.
What was a major turning point in your career?
At Austin Film Festival 2014, Justin Marks [who I’d met earlier in the year] introduced me to Adam Kolbrenner. Had coffee with Adam and he offered to read something. Two years later, we took THE FRUITCAKE out of the oven and, though weird and offbeat like its eponymous dessert, that ridiculous story kickstarted a career.
What are you working on right now?
Reading a lot of material. Working on a couple scripts. Eyeing an adaptation. Always on the hunt.
What are some of your favorite movies?
I think this list, like gulf coast weather, could change by the time I finish but I’ll go with: The Goonies, Caddyshack, The ‘Burbs, Dazed and Confused, Jerry Maguire, No Country for Old Men, ¡Three Amigos!, Toy Story 3, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, City of God.
Who are some of your favorite screenwriters?
Always in awe of any screenwriter who’s talented enough to catapult their vision into existence with only words on a page. Some of my influences would include: The Coen Brothers, Richard Linklater, Harold Ramis and William Goldman.
Share a memorable experience at Austin Film Festival:
With an odd gap in our schedule, Stephen Clark, Malcolm Spellman and I drove thirty miles to the world famous Louie Mueller Barbecue where we encountered a beef rib that could only be described as religious. Malcolm brought back a ton of barbecue for his friends but some people we’d never met, nor see again, ended up eating half the food. But that sorta encapsulates the spirit and camaraderie of AFF. During the fest, everyone is pretty much family…even if Malcolm paid for everything.