Film Courage: From what I saw in your book on Amazon [A SCREENWRITER’S JOURNEY TO SUCCESS: Tips, tricks and tactics to survive as a working screenwriter in Hollywood] when I was going through (before the interview) you said you did not have relatives in the industry, you had very supportive parents and you had to break in what you call “the old-fashioned way,” which was hard work, discipline, faith. And I‘m wondering if we can talk about the faith part? What is that exactly?
Mark Sanderson: Faith is if you don’t believe in yourself why do you expect other people to believe in you? And it’s your dream. Someone else will live their dream and why shouldn’t you live your dream? That was always my opinion and it’s scary because you don’t know if you are going to or if they will allow you to do it. So you have to write something that you care about but also that somebody else sees that care in there and wants to make it. Then the business part they want to invest millions of dollars in your idea as opposed to someone else’s idea. And it’s the finding that company, finding the timing.
My spec sold because (my first and only spec which was my fifth spec) but that opened the door to assignment work so I haven’t sold a spec since then because I’ve been blessed with assignment work, which is fine. I’ve written other specs, yes. But it’s exhausting to try to continue. It’s a much better experience when the producer comes to me and says “Are you available? We have this concept that’s greenlit, we need writer.” You’re like “Thank you very much. I would love the job. I’m available.” And I’ve turned down stuff as well. But the faith aspect, you always have to have faith. Not blind faith, but there are times when you’re staring into that abyss and you go “I’m going to take the leap.”
When I worked a day job at the law firm, I only had a day job for 2 years in my whole life. I worked other odd jobs like restaurants and things but once I decided to take that day job because things were really slow in my career, when I got the call from the production company and they said we have this job, we want to get back in business…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
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About Mark Sanderson:
Mark Sanderson (aka @Scriptcat) is a Los Angeles based screenwriter, author, script consultant and sometimes actor blessed to be living his childhood dream of making movies with over two-dozen screenplays written in genres ranging from comedy to drama. His work ranges from his sketch comedy writing and performing as a founding member with The Amazing Onionheads, writing for MTV, to his spec sale, and nineteen screenplay assignments with television premieres and worldwide distribution of his twelve emotionally compelling films— the WWII indie feature “I’ll Remember April,” Lifetime Network’s “An Accidental Christmas” and “Deck the Halls,” the stylish indie noir feature “Stingers,” and action-packed thrillers “USS Poseidon: Phantom Below” (aka HereTV’s “Tides of War”) and SyFy Network’s “Sea Snakes” (aka Fox’s “Silent Venom”), LMN’s “Mother of All Lies” starring Franchesca Eastwood, Lifetime’s highly rated thriller “Mommy’s Little Girl,” the LMN Network premiere “One Small Indiscretion,” and his latest produced films “Deadly Vows” aka “A Wedding to Die For,” “A Night to Regret,” and “Hunted by My Ex.”
Mark’s films have premiered on Lifetime Network, LMN, SyFy, Fox, HereTV, HBO Canada, Christmas 24, and NBC/Universal, The Movie Network, and have been distributed globally. His films have been recognized at festivals including a premiere and opening the Palm Springs Int. Film Festival, premieres at the Hawaii Int. Film Festival, St. Louis Int. Film Festival, The Rainbow Festival in Hawaii, Newport Beach Int. Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale Int. Festival, and nominated for the Starboy award at the Oulu Int. Children’s Film Festival in Finland.
Mark’s long association with award winning Hollywood filmmakers dates back to his first produced screenplay and has since worked with Academy Award® winning producers Paul Colichman (Academy Award® winner “Gods & Monsters”) and Mark R. Harris (Academy Award® winner “Crash”), veteran directors Brian Trenchard-Smith, Fred Olen Ray, George Mendeluk, and the late Bob Clark, and has written films starring Academy Award® acting nominees Seymour Cassel, the late Pat Morita, Haley Joel Osment, Tom Berenger, and Emmy® acting nominees Mark Harmon and James Hong…(Read more here).