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MovieMaker Presents: Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch, 2016

MovieMaker Presents: Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch, 2016


VJ Boyd

Who: Writer and producer for TV series Justified and The Player; author of graphic novel Ghost Cop; currently producing pilot The Jury for ABC

How did you break in or get your start in screenwriting?

I moved out to L.A. and worked as an assistant on TV shows, showed my work to my bosses, and eventually one of them had an open spot on the second season of a show I was working on and he hired me.

What’s the hardest scene or project you’ve ever had to write?

Two things: The first short story I had to write in grad school is one of them. I had probably 50—not exaggerating—partially finished stories, scripts, novels, etc. But actually being forced to finish a story—to end it and wrap things up and make sure it held together—that was so difficult. I threw notebooks against the wall and hit myself in my own head and scribbled down nonsensical notes like the guy in A Beautiful Mind. Eventually I forced the story out of my unconscious and made it work. It wasn’t bad.

The second was the teleplay for the Justified episode “Raw Deal,” in season five. It wasn’t even that great of an episode, but it was terribly difficult for me to get down on paper, because there were so many non-Justified elements in it, such as a hacker with one leg who steals Raylan’s identity.

In both of these cases, the key was just sticking to it.

What are you working on right now?

I’m about to travel to Atlanta to produce my pilot, The Jury.

What is your favorite film or television show?

Always tough to say, but Heat.


1. Annie Silverstein 2. Jared Frieder 3. Mike Covino and Sam Kretchmar 4.Troy Anthony Miller 5. Kieran Fitzgerald 6. Ya’ke Smith 7. Brian Klugman 8. Nina Ljeti 9. Kevin Hamedani 10. Eric Haywood 11. Andrew Lanham 12. Julie Howe 13. Tess Morris 14. Matt Cook 15. Monica Zanetti 16. VJ Boyd 17. Edward Ricourt 18. David Broyles 19. Sasha Gordon 20. Eric Hueber 21. Faraday Okoro 22. Arturo Ruiz Serrano 23. Maya Perez 24. Max Taxe 25. Negin Farsad

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