Film Courage: Mark, your new book (A SCREENWRITER’S JOURNEY TO SUCCESS: Tips, tricks and tactics to survive as a working screenwriter in Hollywood), I understand from what you told me off camera, it took you five years to actually write it?
Mark Sanderson, screenwriter: It did. I didn’t sit down to write a book initially. I was blogging and I wanted to get my past 20 years of professional experience out of my mind and heart and try to be able to share it with people. And so after five or six years of blogging I realized I had enough information to create something. And so I started the process of stripping down the articles and re-fabricating them into chapters and then I thought Well, I’m going to chart my journey from how I started in the business as a filmmakers at eleven years old. What was that spark, that creative spark? And chart it all the way until today.
Not so much as a memoir but also using examples and funny anecdotal stories but disciplines that I’ve used that have helped me stay in the game that hopefully other writers will be able to see and go “Oh, yeah? I’m not doing that” or “I need to do that.”
Film Courage: Well you referenced a friend’s grand father gave you a camera when you were both around [age] eleven and that sparked your love for making movies together. Have you ever thought about what if that hadn’t happened?
Mark Sanderson: Oh, yeah. I’m not sure…I would have gone into some creative endeavor. I wanted to be a cartoonist originally because I love to draw and I still do. And in the book, when I was writing the book, I drank a lot of coffee and so it would leave a coffee ring on the notes. So I would do little doodles and I’ve turned those into coffee ring mugs and TV-shirts and things like that. But they’re also in the book after every chapter. And so I wanted to be a cartoonist or animator or something creative. My parents eventually bought me my own camera. But it’s interesting there are these times in your life that you can only look back on now. I don’t know. It would be interesting, I would do something creative, absolutely. I was not going to be a doctor (not that that was…), I was not going to have a day job. I was going to do something creative so I knew that because my parents were always very supportive of my brother and myself in the creative arts and my brother is a graphic designer and he’s always had the ability and talent for art.
So my parents, my dad wanted to be a singer and he came out to Los Angeles from Michigan in the early ‘60s and he would sing in piano bars and he recorded little 45 records and he wanted to be a singer and that was his creative thing. But I always saw him doing poetry and drawing and things like that.
And my mom was artistically inclined with jewelry making. And so I came from creative parents but they came from an era where their parents didn’t support them. You were going to get a job in business or you were going to go in a factory. It was just very clear cut. And so I think they wanted to break that mold and really supported my brother and I for that and that’s so vitally important. In the book I dedicate the book to my parents because without them there would be no support system. You know, that’s vital I think…(Watch the full video interview here on Youtube).
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MORE VIDEOS WITH MARK SANDERSON
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).
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