Film Courage: As I said before we began rolling, we have a lot of screenwriters who watch our channel. I’m wondering if you can talk about how you and your writing partner (Jason Dolan) ended up getting signed with an agency?
Shawn Christensen: So we were bashing each other’s screenplays. We were roommates in New York. We were slumming it in Queens. We were 23-24-years-old and were critiquing each other’s script and then we decided why don’t we just write one together and we wrote this movie, it was called SIDNEY HALL (not THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL at the time). And we were interested in this idea of how different we were when were 18 and now we’re 24 and we felt like we had changed a lot. Not necessarily matured, not necessarily a better person and we wanted to write something that reflected that.
So we wrote SYDNEY HALL, we wrote it in I don’t know, a half a year or so? And we emailed it back and forth to each other.
And then a friend of mine (Paul Wesley) had a manager and he gave it to a manager and she gave it to at that time WME (William Morris Endeavor).
And WME (an agent over there) read it and really loved it and signed us. And that’s really how it was. So I had an actor friend essentially who had a manager and really it’s Paul Wesley’s fault that I am in this industry because he did that. He also is good with notes and to help with giving me notes on some of my other screenplays.
I think for an aspiring screenwriter, unsolicited scripts is the problem, right? You know, finding out who to give it to or anything like that. The film industry is completely and wholly based on relationships and knowing people. And you don’t have to know the big stars or the big managers or anything like that, but I think any aspiring screenwriter if they know someone who plays bit parts on a show or something like that and that person has a manager, an agent, I’d say that’s a good route to go the way we did it. Which see if they like your script and maybe give it to them and get it so, if the screenplay goes to someone of importance who can pay you to rewrite it or pay for it to be made or make it into a movie and you know someone who knows someone that is friends with them, they’ll read it if it comes from a friend, as opposed to if it’s submitted just out of the blue from nowhere.
Question For The Viewers: Have you had success with an unsolicited script?
MORE VIDEOS WITH SHAWN CHRISTENSEN
THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL will be exclusively on DIRECTV from January 25–February 21, 2018; VOD on February 27, Theatrical on March 2, 2018. For more info, please visit here. Watch the movie on Amazon here.
Directed by: Shawn Christensen
Starring: Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Monaghan, and Nathan Lane
After publishing a bestselling novel based on the death of one of his high school classmates, the controversial writer Sidney Hall (Logan Lerman) finds himself catapulted to unexpected fame and renown. His relationship with his girlfriend (Elle Fanning) begins to fall apart as the dark consequences of the book intrude on their life together, and he disappears without a trace. Nearly a decade later, an enigmatic detective (Kyle Chandler) searches for the missing author, whose books are connected to a string of mysterious arsons.