Who: Writer-director of feature The Boys in the Trees (2016); director of award-winning television series Nowhere Boys.
How did you break in or get your start in screenwriting?
My first script was optioned when I was still studying at university. One of my lecturers read it and said, “I don’t understand a word of it, but I’m pretty sure it’s good,” and asked if he could pass it on to a producer friend. She optioned it and while the film didn’t make it into production, it started a long creative relationship that allowed me to transition into television production and kept me writing. My next feature script, Boys in the Trees, was optioned by another company and that went into production.
What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned?
Be ready for luck. When you get that lucky break, make sure you have something ready to show. Also, it’s worth having more than one thing on the go. You’ll always have that favorite priority project, but have something ready as a back-up to increase your odds.
Who are your favorite screenwriters?
I think Thelma & Louise is a perfect screenplay and whenever I hit a wall, I go back to that film and wonder, ‘What would Callie Khouri do?’ I also love the wit and pace of Billy Wilder dialogue and the magic and heart of Melissa Mathison. These days I’m inspired by Eric Heisserer, Michael Werwie and John J. Griffin.