Jul 23 2020


Screen Shot 2020-07-24 at 12.43.30 AMI’m finally able to share exciting news on not one, but two projects! This is a crazy business where many things I work on for a long time I have to keep secret. Well now two big secrets are out! While Deadline Hollywood broke the news yesterday, I can give you a lot more details here.


Fearless Netflix PicMy recently-completed animated feature, Fearless will be premiering on Netflix, August 14. This is the project I moved my whole family to Montreal for, and it was quite a life experience. The film is about a teenage gamer who has never gotten off the couch, until he mistakenly opens a portal that brings the game characters into his backyard. He has to protect super-powered babies from a super villain who’s chasing them. It’s got a really cool look and some big fun superhero/sci-fi action sequences. It’s really amazing to see it out in the world now because, to be honest, it was one of the most challenging productions I’ve ever been on. The budget and script changed drastically several times throughout production, and the final film ended up very different from the film I originally set out to make. But is it fun? Yes!

The voice cast includes Susan Sarandon, Yara Shahidi, Miles Robbins, and rapper Jadakiss. Jay-Z’s Roc Nation produced the soundtrack, which is also very cool. The characters were designed by legendary artist Peter DeSeve (Ice Age, A Bug’s Life, Mulan) and my production designer was Kevin Conran, The guy who basically designed every single thing in Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow, a favorite film of mine. Cinesite animation was the studio that created everything from start to finish, and were a pleasure to work with. If you love babies throwing tanks, angry floating robots and goofy alien sidekicks, this is a good one for you!

SC 7Every project is a growing experience that sets you up for your next project. Every film teaches you something about yourself as a creator and what you want to do better next time. That’s why, as difficult as this last film was to finish, it makes my second announcement all the sweeter…


My next film is a real labor of love, something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time. It’s a sci-fi comedy that is basically a love letter to 80’s science-fiction and touchstone comedies like Ghostbusters, and Galaxy Quest. It’s a movie about the kind of guys that never get their moment; blue-collar workers who are usually invisible in a Star Wars kind of world. They aren’t bounty hunters or freedom fighters… they’re janitors. This is Doomstar Janitorial.

Doomstar PosterThe story is about Gabe, who mops the floors and changes the lightbulbs of a very powerful space station. When he finds out its planet-killing weapon is targeting his own home planet, he rallies the rest of his janitorial crew to sabotage the whole place. I’ve been working on the script for years. It was originally planned as a live action project, but when I realized I had a better chance of getting it made as an animated movie, I added a lot more funny robots and aliens and animation-friendly jokes. It’s truly one of the funniest things I’ve written and I can’t wait to get started.

I’ve got a fantastic team behind me on this one. Executive Producers are John Williams of Vanguard Animation (Shrek), Tom Jacomb of DNEG Animation (Puss In Boots, Rise Of The Guardians) and Peter Seaman (Who wrote a little Academy Award-winning film called Who Framed Roger Rabbit). Characters are already being designed by another legendary artist, Carter Goodrich (Despicable Me, Finding Nemo, Coco).

The poster displayed above is based on some “work in progress” versions of the characters, but they’re close. Screen Shot 2020-07-24 at 12.58.57 AMEven the poster itself is a realization of a long-time dream of mine: to create a Drew Struzan-style movie poster for the film. If you don’t know who Drew Struzan is, look him up! He’s basically the master of 80s and 90s movie posters. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, he’s done them all. The artists at DNEG worked very hard to refine the brushstroke style of Struzan, and it’s pretty cool to see.

The next big hurdle is locking in the remaining financing and moving into the all-important greenlight for production. We are also currently casting, out to some pretty big names — names I will be very excited to share if they say yes! Bottom line, I want to fill this cast with the funniest people I can and really let them play when they get on the mic. Spontaneous comedy from actors is hard to capture in animation, especially improv and funny moments between two people that you usually get on a live action set. But I’m going to try… This film will center on the performances first and build from whatever crazy alchemy we get in the studio.

So tune in to Netflix on August 14 and enjoy Fearless, and I’ll give as many updates as I can about Doomstar, right here on this blog. It will be my joy to share as much as I can.

Jul 9 2020

Notes: Just Put The Couch By The Window

332_swoon-chairI love metaphors. As a writer, they really help me explain concepts, especially to myself. One particular metaphor helps me survive notes and story changes that I don’t agree with. On any script, pressure will come from the studio or the producers to second-guess what you feel is the natural choice. In these times, it is better to view them as a CLIENT rather than a collaborator.

Here’s the metaphor: A COUCH.

The client will ask you to “decorate” the “room” that is your story. You know where the “furniture” will look best before you even move it around. You know where the couch should go right away. It seems so obvious to you. But you serve the client, and they want to put the couch by the window. You already know it won’t work. You explain all the reasons why the furniture should be arranged in the way you envision, why the whole room will work better that way. After all, that’s what they paid you for — for you to arrange the “furniture” of this “room.” You discuss, you push your point, but they just don’t see it. They just really want that couch over against that wall.

You want to please the producer. But if you are a good writer, you can’t help but think of what’s best. You think, “I know the couch won’t be good over there. I know that every day at 3 pm, the sun is going to hit them in the eyes. And it’s too wide for that wall. And it makes the whole room smaller there. I have to say something.”

But sometimes, the client just wants the couch by the window. Period. They want it there, you know it’s not best there, but that’s that. Put the couch by the window. Just do it.

Maybe a week later they will call you back and complain about the afternoon sun and tell you to move the couch again. And you can say, “What a great idea.” It’s not about winning your position. Just make them happy. At the end of the day, they may just want what they want, even if it’s not the best.

For artists who listen to their instincts and trust them, this can be tiresome. But this is part of the job. It’s really the difference between writing for yourself as a hobby and writing for clients as a career. As painful as it is to admit it, even your own original idea, once paid for by a studio or producer, is not entirely yours anymore. You are now in collaboration with another person. And you must view that person in a “client” mentality to get over these annoying, annoying moments. When you “put the couch by the window,” defying all your instincts, you can take comfort in the fact that on this point, for now, you are serving the client.

Lonely CouchNine times out of ten the best version of “where the couch goes” will be revealed to everyone. It may even be revealed to you too. Just remember the couch is never done moving until the movie is in theaters.

Metaphor over!

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