Grant has found his calling. Many of us don’t discover ours until late in life. But Grant, has been telling stories and writing since he was a young lad. Thus, it was only a matter of time before he would find himself tackling the most difficult literary art there is… Screenwriting. But Grant isn’t afraid or intimidated. No. He knows what it takes to master this craft and is happy to put the time and effort in. That is why I am excited to introduce you to him.
This is Grant Lane Oberhansli…
It’s only been in recent years that I’ve knowingly loved to create feature films, but I’ve apparently had a panache for it since before I could remember. My family has told me countless times, that before I could talk, I would “write” action stories. The only problem is that they couldn’t read it because the words consisted of shapes like squares and circles. It made sense to my younger self, but not to anyone else. Luckily, my prose is more competent now. By my teen years, I still loved to write, but lacked the knowledge of how to structure a script. What I began to do is build my store of stories and begin to learn how to write.
2012 was an important year. A friend of mine introduced me to a book called Save the Cat! Reading it, I realized something that I knew subconsciously, but could never put into use: All movies share the same structure and beats. Regardless of genre or length, each movie is quite similar to another. With this new information, I began watching movies more closely to look for these beats. Sure enough, they were there. I could see Jason and the Argonauts in Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. The list is endless. So now I knew how to make a structured feature but needed something that spoke to me.
In 2015, my brother and I began writing our first co-written feature. Even with everything coming together, it still was extremely difficult to make something that made sense and was entertaining. Writing is extremely difficult, but to craft a story and see characters come to life is a true pleasure. I am now working on an engaging television script.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
I had always dabbled in it, but never had the knowledge of how to make a script that follows all the rules and was entertaining. In 2012, I was introduced to the Save the Cat! screenwriting book. Finally understanding how movies were structured sparked a fire in me. So long as I’m writing that flame will never die.
Submit to the Script Summit
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
Star Wars. Episode 4, 5 and 6 are honestly some of my most early memories. Then the prequels came out. Those movies inspired me like no other film had done before. But I also just really love movies in general. Any time I watch a great flick, I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’s the creative juices flowing.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
I was home-schooled and thankfully my mom always pushed me to follow my dreams. Luckily, my whole family has always been very supportive. My brothers are several years older than me and had already decided to enter the film biz while I was still a kid. Seeing them make films definitely had a major impact on me.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
There wasn’t a specific day, but it gradually grew in me. Growing up, I knew I wanted to do something in film and TV but hadn’t settled on one specific job. As I got into my later teen years, I developed a need to jot down stories. There’s something special about seeing a story come together on a page that I just wrote.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
To be able to make a living while writing would be a dream. To write full time and to see my name on a feature film or TV show would be tremendous. To be a part of history by making something that people love to watch and maybe even inspire others to write. I would love for a director or actor that I grew up respecting to see a movie of mine and reciprocate that respect.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life:
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl?
My tweeting isn’t very strong before 9 A.M., but my hooting grows strength past midnight. That’s probably a strange metaphor, but it’s just a fancy way of saying I’m a night owl.
Do you have a morning routine or ritual?
Wake up, play video games and eat breakfast, either cereal or toast, and I always like to do some writing before lunch. I also like driving around just to get out of the house.
What do you do during the day?
My main goal is to write for as long as I am able. I am training myself to get at least a few hours done each day. I treat it like a full-time job.
What do you do at night?
Night is when my strongest writing comes through. I try to do at least half an hour to an hour of writing between 12 and 1. Sometimes, though, the writing bug bites me and I write until 2 or 3. Before that, my roommate comes home and we normally end the day by getting some food and watching a TV show.
Do you have a pre-bed ritual?
Writing. I almost always get half an hour of writing done before hitting the sack. Then I normally play a crossword puzzle on my phone.
How do you define a successful day?
A highly successful day is when I get a lot written. It feels great to see a story come to fruition.
Q: What’s been the most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
Being able to clearly see the things that I like and dislike in movies and TV shows and replicate them on my own page. Time management is something I have struggled to conquer. As I have gotten older, and my writing has improved, I push myself to write more.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far?
I’m going to be super cliché – writer’s block. I always have a serious case of writer’s block when I try to find the inspiration to begin a feature. Even when I have that inspiration, it’s hard to contextualize from my mind to the page. After finishing my first feature, it took me a while to decide on the next thing I was going to write.
Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made?
Getting to make something that comes from my mind and putting it on the page. I’ve entered several competitions and done quite well. That’s given me the confidence to continue writing and know that I’m on the right track.
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
I’m lucky enough to be part of two separate Facebook screenwriting chat groups. The bevy of knowledge that spills out from there is astounding. What I love is the comradery and willingness to be helpful. I think everyone has been at a point where they feel lost and not sure what to do with their script. Learning what to do after the script is made is what I most want to learn. I know exactly what I need to do when I’m writing, but after it’s finished and needs to get made, that’s a blank page. Luckily, people discuss their stories and give advice very often.