Explore the fascinating journey of Eric Rudnick, a versatile screenwriter and filmmaker whose narrative prowess stems from an initial acting background. From discovering the art of screenwriting through analyzing the greatest plays to being inspired by childhood cinematic experiences, Eric's path has been a rich tapestry.
This is Eric Rudnick...
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
I started as an actor, and in the classes I was reading the greatest scenes from the greatest plays ever written. So, I was noticing why I was more attracted to one piece than another. Kind of from the character out at first, because that’s what I was trying to do in the class. And then reading the whole play I started to discover what I thought great writing was. I started writing plays, then added film and TV into the mix.
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
My parents. My mother taking me to Wednesday matinees on Broadway. And my father, who had a business buying, selling, and trading 16 mm films. He’d show us the first reel on a Friday night, and the second reel on Saturday night. I saw “Casablanca,” “Citizen Kane,”, and dozens of 40’s and 50’s noirs in our basement.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
This could be your first teacher or the first person who showed you that you could do this.
Richard Pinter at The Neighborhood Playhouse. An acting teacher who taught me so much more than what I thought I was there to get. This was the mid-1990’s in New York, and I remember one of the highlights of studying with him was him tearing up just a little during a scene I was doing with a friend from Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart.” It’s someone believing in you without saying it, but having a response to what you’re doing from a wonderful man who has watched a thousand of t
Enter the Script Summit
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
Early on I wanted to be in entertainment, and acting was the logical path at first. And then I realized that actors are the flame, but the writing is the fuel. Nothing’s happening without that.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
Writing original material that I believe in and that speaks to people. A recent example is Charisma Carpenter reading the script for my short, HOLD YOU SO TIGHT, and agreeing to do it. She just told Jeanette Benzie, our Casting Director, “Oh, I feel like this. I’ll do it.” I love that the script did the work of getting her into the movie, without any conversation between us.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life.
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl?
Night Owl most days. I’m an early bird if I have to be. With the hours we have to keep sometimes, I think it helps to be a little comfortable with both.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Coffee – 3 parts Colombian, 1 part Café Bustelo. The rest of the day I drink iced tea. I like Irish Breakfast. It’s got a little more attitude than English Breakfast.
Do you have a morning routine or ritual? I usually meditate for twenty minutes, then go back to sleep for an hour, which tends to be a super-deep knockout.
What’s for lunch? Lunch is usually a chicken or turkey sandwich. I’ve been told by a doctor that “wheat is not your friend,” so I eat gluten-free as much as possible. Trader Joe’s has these great GF sandwich buns, four to a pack. Sometimes I’ll make this chickpea pasta that is actually not too bad or fried rice.
What do you do during the day? I swim for a half-hour or walk at least a mile six times a week. I usually have a couple of projects going at once so if I get stuck somewhere with one I switch to the other. A hike or some golf is a treat.
What do you do at night? I see a metric ton of theatre. So, from Thursday to Sunday I’m usually watching a show, likely something that a friend is involved with in some way. TV one or two nights a week. Live music is always great. A movie in a proper theater as often as I can.
Do you have a pre-bed ritual? I listen to a podcast before bed that’s all news, but somehow I find it comforting.
How do you define a successful day? Did something for someone, got a little work done, didn’t allow anything around me to explode.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting? Patience.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Fitting an original idea into a package that seems comforting – like hiding a dog’s new medicine in a familiar piece of cheese.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
Getting to make theatre and a webseries, and sell a TV show and make a movie – with ideas that I believe in and some amazing collaborators.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
How do we keep the creativity at the right density – engaging enough to work on it, but not so heavy that it takes over our minds? Or, and I ask this constantly, is that the point?