–We talked a little bit about how you became a writer on Justified in your video interview with Fred Golan, but how did you first begin to write? At what age did you start and how did you first get hooked?
I wrote my first story when I was 11, because I heard about a girl who got a book published at the age of 12 and was determined to best her. This did not happen, but I did end up with a 23 page rip-off of the Chronicles of Narnia. I kept writing short stories after that, and eventually combined that with my desire to make movies and wrote a screenplay when I was 16.
–What comics are you reading right now? What are some of your all time favorites?
I’m reading some of my friends’ comics like “Seven Percent” and “Killing Machine,” and I’m catching up on Walking Dead and Powers. My favorites are pretty typical, “Dark Knight Returns,” “Watchmen.” Also most of what Grant Morrison writes, like “All-Star Superman” and his runs on X-Men and Justice League.
–How would you say your affinity for comics influences your writing for Harlan and the cast of Justified? Which character would you most like to see in his/her own comic book?
I often see things through a genre prism, for instance viewing 310, “Guy Walks Into A Bar” as a super-villain origin story. Wynn Duffy could have a comic, for sure.
–What are some lessons that you’ve learned while shooting? What should a writer know before their first time on the set of their episode?
Make sure you understand the big picture, why each person is saying/doing what they are doing in that particular scene, because people will ask. Other than that just stay out of people’s way, but don’t be afraid to point stuff out to the director if you think they missed something. Just common sense.
–This episode takes place after everyone gets on the same page about Drew Thompson, but before he’s apprehended. What were the challenges of breaking this episode and stalling that get?
Mostly just keeping it from feeling like stalling for the viewer. Figuring out what we wanted to say about the various characters with this hunt.
–What’s your writing routine like? Are you a morning person? How do you balance family, writing, and hobbies?
I don’t have a routine. I write every weekday during hiatus, just normal 10-6 hours, but when the show is up and running I write at night, early mornings, whenever. Caffeine makes this possible. I don’t know that there’s a trick to balancing things, I just prioritize and do what has to be done at that moment, then figure out what has to be done the next moment, etc.
–What advice do you have for a person about to write a spec script in the hopes of getting staffed?
Make sure you fill out your portfolio. You can use the spec to try and get in fellowships, but you should have a couple of pilots as well. Prospective employers want to know you have more than one script in you and that you actually enjoy writing.