Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More from Banff: Hart Hanson on how he broke into the business

Blogcritics has another post about various showrunners/producers/writers sharing how they broke into the business.

Hart Hanson - Bones

That’s a quote from Bones creator Hart Hanson, who was studying creative writing at the University of British Columbia when he and his girlfriend – now wife – discovered they were expecting a baby. He’d meant to become a novelist after his rock god aspirations didn’t pay off (“I'm a really crappy guitar player”), but had been forced to pick two other fields of study. One happened to be screenwriting.

Suddenly desperate to support a family and aware that writing the Great Canadian Novel wasn’t the quick road to riches (but screenwriting is?), he started faxing pitches to the long-running Vancouver-based The Beachcombers. After the 15th fax, the executive producer relented, inviting him for a meeting.

He doesn’t recommend that approach to aspiring writers, and not just because of the near-obsolescence of fax machines. However, it led to work on that half hour dramedy as well as a wide range of popular Canadian series, including family drama Road to Avonlea and Traders, the series he helped create with fellow Canuck-gone-Hollywood David Shore about the "scintillating and exciting" world of investment banking. “Researching it, I thought I’d developed narcolepsy,” he quipped.

Hollywood beckoned based on his Ally McBeal spec script, since “none of my Canadian scripts mattered a bit,” Hanson found himself on Cupid and forever pigeonholed in the U.S. as a light dramedy writer ("because I didn't write a Homicide spec").

Does this mean he'd be sympathetic and willing to listen if I barraged him with my own specs? =) Somehow, I'm not so sure it would.


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