Film Courage: How many screenplays did you write before Final Destination?
Jeffrey Reddick: I think about seven.
Film Courage: And these were features?
Jeffrey Reddick: Yes. Seven Features of varying degrees starting with really awful to okay to good [Laughs]. Because I wrote my first one when I was in middle school (no high school) and I sent it to New Line Cinema and they were like “Oh, it got great coverage but it’s not right for us.” And when I started at New Line like five years later, I dug the coverage up and they were like “This is awful! It was obviously written by a middle schooler.” And I was like “I was in high school!”
So it’s interesting because I always tell people you can’t take rejection when you get it because if I were to take that coverage in high school, I probably would have just been like “Oh I don’t have any talent” and I would have just given up. But you also have to be open to growing because I also meet a lot of young people and God Bless them, but they also think that they are already there. They are like “You know this is the best script that Hollywood is ever going to make.” And I’m like “You’re 15. With all do respect, I’m sure it’s not the best thing that Hollywood is ever going to read.” So you kind of need to let your ego go and you have to grow.
So I wrote a lot and just learning…it was a learning process. But when I was young it was a lot of fun to write. And then you start learning structure. And then when you start working at a studio you start learning there’s a hard craft that you need to kind of learn, too. So it’s mixing the business with the creative….(Watch the video on Youtube here).
Bio (via IMDB):
Jeffrey Reddick is best known for creating the Final Destination (2000) film franchise. He also co-wrote the story for, and executive produced, Final Destination 2 (2003). Jeffrey lives in Los Angeles. He grew up in Eastern Kentucky and attended Berea College. Jeffrey made his first connection to the film industry at age 14, when he wrote a prequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and mailed it Bob Shaye, the President of New Line Cinema. Bob returned the material for being unsolicited. But the young man wrote Bob an aggressive reply, which won him over. Bob read the treatment and got back to Jeffrey. Bob, and his assistant, Joy Mann, stayed in contact with Jeffrey for over five years. When he went to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York at age 19, Bob offered him an internship at New Line Cinema. This internship turned into an 11-year stint at the studio.
Aside from Final Destination (2000), which spawned four successful sequels, Jeffrey’s other credits include Lions Gate’s thriller, Tamara (2005) and the remake of George Romero’s classic, Day of the Dead (2008).
Jeffrey has several feature and TV projects in development and he directed his first short, Good Samaritan (2014) in 2014.
MORE VIDEOS WITH JEFFREY REDDICK