Andrew Lanham: Nicholl Fellowship Screenwriter
Andrew Lanham uses his own challenges
to inform his writing
Remember the name Andrew Lanham. Chances are, you will be watching one of his screenplays come to life on the big screen sometime very soon.
Lanham, a master's student in screenwriting in the College of Communication's department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF), is already on the road to success. Though he isn't graduating until spring 2011, Lanham has accomplished something that many screenwriters never achieve: having his screenplay recognized and funded.
Out of thousands of applicants, Lanham was one of only five recipients of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' prestigious Nicholl Fellowship, which has provided him with $30,000 to continue writing and his dream of becoming a professional screenwriter.
His screenplay, only the second that Lanham ever wrote, is entitled "The Jumper of Maine," and is about a paramedic with Tourette syndrome who falls in love with a single mother.
"I have Tourette's, so I guess that's where the germ of the idea came from," says Lanham. "Growing up, I was obsessed with movies -- I still kind of am -- and I thought I wanted to be an actor, (because) my Tourette's disappeared when I was acting. But that faded away when I started writing in college.... I've been writing ever since."
Lanham says that, after graduating from college, he moved home and began to write the script that got him into graduate school at The University of Texas.
"I love the small, diverse screenwriting department here," says Lanham. "The program has been incredibly supportive (and) really amazing and encouraging with bridging the gap. I couldn't imagine a program encouraging me more and supporting me more as it is all happening."
Lanham signed with agents when he was out in Los Angeles receiving his Nicholl award, and hopes that "The Jumper of Maine" will sell sometime in the next year, then allowing him to get paying work.
Lanham says that he feels "incredibly well-prepared" for his future because of his graduate studies in the RTF program at the university.
"They really taught me how to write a screenplay," he says. "I've gotten the best of everything at this program."
By Lauren Edwards
Radio Television Film master's student
Awarded a prestigious Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences