Kathryn Rushent is a renaissance woman with a big heart and she isn't afraid to show it. Not only is she a dedicated animal rescuer but also has an impressive set of skills at her disposal. She is a talented painter, novelist, screenwriter, and even a musician (she was in a rock band 🤘). She is that rare type of person who can master anything she sets her mind to because she is the eternal student.
She is always studying, growing, and discovering new paths in life. Kathryn’s had quite the journey and has caught the eye of some really impressive people in the industry. I am pleased to introduce you to her. This is Kathryn Rushent…
I toured the United States and Europe with my band where I made a living as a high realist artist. I’ve written ten novels, but, after realizing that films and television were a far better means of getting my stories out there, I moved into screenwriting. I’ve been blessed to have many of my screenplays place highly in several prestigious contests, such as Fresh Voices and Scriptapalooza.
I’m known for my character-driven science fiction and horror, both usually peppered with own brand humor. Outside of screenwriting, I work as an animal rescuer – where my sister and I have rescued nearly a hundred cats in the last two decades.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting?
I wrote and submitted a script to Star Trek: TNG after becoming extremely disenchanted with their first season. I thought the characters were lacking (imagine cheering when one was killed off!) and the plot points were uninspired. I was actually one of those people who would say, “Even I could write something better than this!” And, given I’d already written five novels at that time, I decided to give it a go. Little did I know just how far that would take me!
Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path?
My older sister Jessie urges me on. She’s always been my greatest cheerleader.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
Lolita Fatjo, their script coordinator for Star Trek TNG, liked my story, but couldn’t send it along to her supervisors, because the format was wrong. She sent me “the Paramount format” of the time, and told me to try again. Five years later, I almost sold an episode to their final season, but producer Rick Berman was unable to fit it into their concluding story arc. After that, Berman granted me an “open door” to submit scripts without an agent.
Q: What was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
Right at the moment Rick Berman opened that door! I knew then that I really could write a better episode than those early ones. I went on to write episodes for “Stargate: SG1” and “The X-Files”. That cemented my desire to write, particularly when Chris Carter wrote me back to say while he couldn’t buy my episode, he liked what I’d written so much he wanted to keep a copy. Did I mind? Hell, no!
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
Continuing to write and being willing to take notes is success to me. Hearing great things from execs is also success. Of course, the first time I see something on the big or little screen will be an incredible thrill too. I don’t drink a lot, but something bubbly will certainly come out when I see my name in the credits.
Q: Give us a typical day in your life:
When do you get up?
7:30-8:00 AM. It’s harder in the wintertime here in Canada to get up early because it’s still dark.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Brush my teeth and feed my kitties. Think about what I’m going to write. Make any necessary notes (I always keep a notebook with me – very old-fashioned, perhaps, but then my first five novels and my first five scripts were written on a typewriter).
What do you do at night?
Often more writing, or contemplating what needs to be done in the script next. A mahjong fan when I’m planning out plot points. (I am not an outliner.)
Do you have a pre-bed ritual?
Reading (have to get away from that blue light, you know.)
Q: How do define a successful day?
Knowing I’ve gotten done what I wanted to do. When I can let go of the content of what I’ve written and simply fall asleep, without hashing it and re-hashing it over, I know I’ve done my job.
Q: What’s been your most important skill you've developed on your path to screenwriting?
Learning to schedule a time to write, to only write – well, drink a little coffee too – and to use that time well. Writing is a creative exercise, yes, but it’s also a business. A writer has to learn to set hours, I believe. I write my best work in a short, set period; the rest of my time, usually spent in other creative endeavors, gives me time to plot out while I’ll do the next day.
Q: What’s been your greatest challenge in your writing so far?
Learning to edit my descriptive passages. I started my writing career as a novelist, so not being a run-on typist has not come easily to me. And I really want to write in the damn camera directions!!
Q: What’s been your greatest reward in the choices you've made?
Making friends in the industry. Discovering people (and professional people, like execs and managers!) actually like my material!
Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers?
Anything. Everything. I believe if you stop wanting to learn, you die inside.