Meet our fourth consider so far for 2023: Andrew Stopyra. We reviewed his pilot SCARLET, about a sultry con artist with a grand plan in turn-of-the-century France, weeks ago and gave it a “consider with reservations” for script – a Get Repped Now near miss. Stopyra promptly rolled up his sleeves and resubmitted a better, stronger, faster version that put SCARLET over the finish line.
Well done, sir!
Originally from the Philadelphia area, Stopyra has “lived all over the place – mostly throughout Europe, which helps when it comes to capturing the atmosphere for SCARLET,” he told us. With a background in ancient history, archaeology, and linguistics, he earned his PhD in Classics in New Zealand. “Basically, this means that I’m the guy who watches something like X-Men: Apocalypse and says, ‘Why is that third-millennium Egyptian pyramid inscribed with seventh-century Neo-Assyrian sign forms?’ My wife and friends love it when I do that, I assure you.”
Over the past four years, Stopyra has written novels in period mystery and YA dystopian fantasy genres. “I’ve always had a fascination with con artists,” he said, “thanks in part to my childhood obsession with FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (including skipping 28 days of school my senior year). But when someone I knew was accused of running a multi-million-dollar Ponzi scheme, I soon found myself reading about the hows and whys behind some of history’s most audacious grifters.” He noted that the jewelry heist that takes place in the SCARLET pilot “is based on a real-life con run by Sofia Blyuvshtein in St. Petersburg in 1883.”
Stopyra says writing about con artists is just plain fun, but for him, there’s a bit more to it. “I have a lot of compassion for people who adopt unhealthy means to cope with genuine pain and disillusionment. Not that I condone criminal behavior, of course! But I guess I hope that through exploring the life and redemption of a broken woman with a soul-crushing past, perhaps I might help someone understand the motivations behind their own self-destructive choices and potentially find a path toward healing and renewal.” Well, it sure worked for us, and we’re excited to present SCARLET to our manager panel this fall.
“I just want to write the kinds of stories I like to read or watch,” he said. “I think that when we do that, the things that matter most to us weave themselves into the fabric of our characters and themes whether we’re conscious of it or not. At the same time, my mind often wrestles with concepts like hope, perseverance, sacrifice, and forgiveness – the classic elements of tales that endure. If I can dig down into one or more of these, I’m happy.”