Aspiring screenwriter Carlee Griffeth ’12 has always focused on comedy.
So when given the chance last semester to mentor with writer/director Craig Mazin — whose credits include Hangover Part II, Scary Movie 3, and Scary Movie 4—she jumped at the opportunity.
“Craig is such a nice guy and so incredibly down to earth and helpful,” Griffeth said. “He wants to see the next generation succeed.”
She spent her final semester in Los Angeles, developing big industry contacts through her internship at Hey Day Films, which produced the Harry Potter series.
At the same time, Griffeth was chosen by Emerson faculty to participate in a mentorship program through Writers Guild of America, East and was connected with Mazin.
Despite Mazin’s hectic schedule—he’s in the middle of writing the yet-to-be-released films Hangover Part III and Identity Thief, a comedy about identity theft starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy—he made time to critique Griffeth’s work, often over Skype.
“He was amazing. I don’t know where he found the time to do the mentorship program,” Griffeth said. “Surprisingly, we only had to reschedule a couple of times.”
Mazin helped Griffeth on her script, which has the working title The All-American High School Marching Band and is loosely based on the real-life, high-profile sex scandals that recently rocked Griffeth’s hometown high school in Park Ridge, New Jersey.
“We never actually re-wrote the script, but together we extensively re-wrote the outlines,” Griffeth said. “Emerson does teach outlining but because of the limited amount of time in a semester, the focus of the class can’t just be on outlining. Craig and I went over how to develop a perfect outline.”
“I feel so much more confident in my ability to write a feature film,” she added.
Griffeth would like to return to Los Angeles to land an entry-level job, preferably at an agency that reviews scripts—something similar to Hey Day Films, she said.
“I made a lot of connections toward the end of my internship,” she said. “I feel a lot more confident because of the strong network Emerson has, as well as the skills I obtained through Emerson.”