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In the Spotlight: Drew Henriksen

Writing isn’t just an art there is a bit of science to it as well. Elements such as structure and character development have a particular formula to them. Working within that and creating something original and compelling is where the art comes. Drew has found that balance and is able to truly dip into his skill set to create worlds full of fantasy and intrigue. This is why I am excited to introduce you to him.

This is Drew Henriksen…


Always loving science, I got a master’s degree in Immunology and ran a hospital lab. I also loved coming up with stories that were different than mainstream. I have been studying martial arts for 24 years and now a fourth degree black belt with no cartilage left. Lab work and the hospital, not being like TV, became repetitive but stressful so I went back to school to become a science teacher and now teach forensics for both Amityville Memorial High School and adjunctly for Syracuse University .

Writing screenplays and novels since 1986 as a fun hobby and getting some notice. I had an entire trilogy of novels published by the now defunct ArcheBooks, Dragons & Wolves, The Dragon & The Detective, and Dragons & Science. Would see that universe made into a series. Also learned stunt work and have done fight choreography for indie films. Been squibbed many, many times. What guy (or gal) doesn’t want to get shot-up while wearing a shoulder holster? Took acting classes to help with the screenwriting and had some gigs with that. I was a regular on NBCs Kings, no lines, and was told that they may have expanded the role if the show continued.

Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?

I wanted to strengthen my writing skills before I went back for my masters. Plus, I wanted to write a skit for SNL, Ferdinand Marcos and Baby Doc Duvalier had both fled their countries so I wanted to write an Odd Couple skit with them and submit it to NBC. Lol, never heard back from them. Another lab tech I work with showed me a class at NYIT for screenwriting. Been hooked ever since.


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Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?

Reading an interview with Nora Ephron.

Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?

Alison Robbins who taught me screenwriting at NYIT back in 1986. She now teaches screenwriting at Tish. All of us in her class had to write the first few pages of a screenplay. I was the only one that seem to get it and get past the first 10 pages. She used to read our scripts to the class and when she read mine, she gave that nod that I got it and I was allowed to progress and write more. She told me I had a talent and should continue. Screenwriter PJ McIlvaine also encouraged me after meeting her at Parent Teacher Night.

Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?

When I finished my first script and people who never read for enjoyment, loved my script. Then watching, and analyzing, other films and seeing the plot points and figuring out to do it myself.

Q: How do you define success for yourself?

If other people enjoy my stories. Winning awards and getting them filmed is just the icing on the cake. MMmmmm Caaaakkkke.

Q: Give us a typical day in your life:

Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl? Nowadays I’m an Early Bird.

When do you get up? 5:30 am!

Do you have a morning routine or ritual? Get to school early, answer emails, set up classroom for the day.

What’s for lunch? No lunch for me.

What do you do at night? Work out at gym after work. Watch news and eat low carb dinner. If working on a story, I write, otherwise train at Bushido Karate Dojo.

How do you define a successful day? Everything graded, good training, still having a pulse rate.

Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?

Taking a massive story, streamlining into plot points and the proper three act structure without much dialog, but real life and relatable dialog.

Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?

Spelling. I have Auditory Discrimination Impairment and cannot sound out words. I have lost competitions because of a typo. Agents and producers see a typo and immediately disqualify you many times.

Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?

Meeting so many creative people and enjoying their work.

Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?

How to improve my craft. To look at things differently than my own, and maybe where to find an Executive Producer, lol. Oh, and how to break into writing graphic novels.

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