Who: Director of 2013 Sundance award-winner “Jungle Fish” and co-director of documentary 61 Bullets (2014); writer and director of 2016 romantic comedy Quaker Oaths.
How did you break in or get your start in screenwriting?
In the eighth grade, I wrote a spec script for Beverly Hills 90210, which didn’t exactly land me in the writers’ room with Darren Star, but it did introduce me to the power of screenwriting.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
The hardest project I’ve had to write has been the follow up to Quaker Oaths, which I’m working on now. Quaker Oaths was easy to write because it has a very gimmicky pretense: A couple gets married in the Quaker tradition, where every wedding guest has to sign their marriage certificate, and then years later when they want to get divorced, they have to go to every wedding guest and ask them to cross off their name. That lent itself to a very formulaic screenplay—though I promise we threw some curve balls in there!—which was pretty easy to execute. My second film is proving to be harder to get down on paper, because it doesn’t have such a specific beginning-middle-end already planned out.
What was a major turning point in your career?
I finished college at University of Texas and then got an internship at a post production house, the late, great Match Frame, where I met so many great people that I still work with today. So maybe that initial interview for an unpaid gig duplicating VHS tapes and taking lunch orders was the major turning point I’ll look back on.