Brandon Barker is on a roll. As a result of his scoring a “consider” for his feature script “Nottingham + Hood” in our Get Repped Now! promotion in fall 2014, we hooked him up with Benderspink’s Jake Wagner, who signed him and launched his career with a bang. Incredible things happened for Barker very quickly. We caught up with the now in-demand scribe to find out how things are going (the answer: pretty damn great.)
Jim Cirile: Dude! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you get into writing?
Brandon Barker: I grew up in the suburbs of San Diego on Nintendo, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars. I’ve been writing and making movies since I was eight. I don’t think a month went by where I wasn’t working on some movie thing with the kids in the neighborhood. I grew up a big Spielberg and Lucas freak and still am.
In high school I was a drama geek, a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. Went to UC Santa Cruz which was a magical place and then transferred to NYU film school. Moved to LA after graduation. Met my wife on a blind date at Disneyland. I did not have a lot of incredibly interesting jobs save for a year as a sixth grade teacher. That was just way too interesting.
JC: What was the inspiration for “Nottingham + Hood”?
BB: I wanted to do “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in the middle ages. I had never seen a buddy movie in that time period and thought it sounded fun. The story evolved from a generic knight and rogue character to the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood. I rewatched “Midnight Run” and thought it was an even better template. Just kept evolving from there.
JC: The mash-up is definitely “Midnight Run” meets Sherwood Forest. How does it feel to be at Benderspink? What’s that ride been like?
BB: Feels great! I am really impressed with Jake Wagner, his smooth moves, his network, and his relationships – that’s what it’s all about. I was not an obvious choice and he really took a chance on me. And meeting Jake would have never been possible without Coverage Ink. Honestly, out of all the services, you guys had the smartest coverage. Some very exciting things are happening that I can’t even talk about and it’s killing me not to, but hopefully I can spill it soon!
JC: Okay, before everyone hates you for having this amazing good fortune, you’d better give us an “always darkest before the dawn” moment. We all have a time when everything writing-wise looks bleak and we’re ready to throw in the towel.
BB: I had a little success right after film school with an option that got pretty far up the chain. Unfortunately, the execs I was dealing with were let go, and there went my project. At the time I did not know this was a common experience. I thought it was unique to me and such a tragedy that I gave up writing for about five days. It made me realize how hard it is to make a living as a writer and how long it takes and that’s when I started getting into teaching. Though I never stopped writing after that. I believe in the whole “Outliers” 10,000 hours thing. That book should be required reading. It’s all about hard work and falling on your face over and over and over again. Luck, timing, and talent are all factors but pale in comparison to hard work… and meeting Jake Wagner.
JC: Right on. What are your favorite genres to watch and/or write?
BB: Action/adventure with a sense of humor. That’s what I want to do. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a perfect example. That was my kind of movie. Great balancing act between organic, believable characters and a goofy sense of humor. More than one friend said that movie was totally me!
JC: Now I know there’s all sorts of coolness going on with “Nottingham & Hood” that you can’t talk about yet. What else are you cooking up?
BB: A sci-fi actioner… with a sense of humor!
JC: I walked right into that one. Continued success and thanks for your time.
BB: No, thank you! You really got the ball rolling for me, man. Seriously – THANK YOU!! Query letters did not work for me – it was your site and promotion that really did the trick!!