Who: 24 year-old who left his job at CAA to write full-time after winning the AMC One-Hour Pilot Award at AFF for The Devil and the Deep.
How did you break in or get your start in screenwriting?
I was constantly trying to come up with ideas that utilized the things around me, and I eventually hit a wall with these shoestring-budget projects. I decided to tell the best stories I could think of, not just ones I could realistically shoot. Screenwriting gave me the freedom to do that.
What was a major turning point in your career?
Winning the AMC One-Hour Pilot Award at the Austin Film Festival. The Devil and the Deep was the first script I had written, and I submitted it to AFF largely because of the free notes that came with entering. I was just hoping to make it past the first round and gauge my level of writing, but the script was like the little engine that could, and I was fortunate enough to win. The experience led to meetings with executives from AMC and talent reps, and gave me the confidence to pursue writing full-time.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m working on a pilot called Land of the Midnight Sun. It’s a dark comedy crime series set in Fairbanks, Alaska during the summertime, when there’s 22 hours of sun a day. The concept of that world intrigued me, as there’s no cover of darkness; the sun shines on every foul deed. It also takes a certain kind of person to live in Alaska, so it’s made for interesting characters.