While recently going through some of the latest news of what our alumni have been up to, I came across the names Andy Knauer (MFA/Screenwriting ’06) and Arthur Pielli (MFA/Screenwriting ’06). They were recently featured as the inaugural interview in Script Magazine’s new series “Writers On Breaking In.” Both Knauer and Pielli have been keeping busy, with Kanuer having written 2013’s
The Last Stand
, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Pielli being a staff writer on the Disney show
Randy Cunningham.

The latest news from these two is that they recently sold their script
Senior Year
to CBS Films, with Broken Road and Benderspink on board to produce it.

I caught up with the two, and was able to ask them a few questions about their careers, what’s next, and their process.

JH: Tell me a bit about what you both have been up to before Senior Year.

Senior Year
is the first thing that we’ve sold together, but individually we’ve been working fairly consistently for a while. We definitely want to continue working together and we’re looking forward to our next project.

JH: How did you both wind up writing together?

AK/AP: We’ve known each other since Mrs. Benson’s kindergarten class, but we only started writing together in 2001. We were both out of work and both wanted to try our hand at writing so we gave it a shot. The first script either one of us ever completed was that one we co-wrote. Once we finished, we felt like this was something we could do so we enrolled in Chapman and decided to really make a go of it.

Andy Knauer and Arthur Pielli with tree

JH: What is Senior Year about?

AK/AP: The most popular girl in high school falls into a coma, wakes up 20 years later and decides to finish her senior year and fulfill her dream of becoming prom queen. We wanted to something that captured our voice. This story begins in 1997, the same year that we graduated high school and because our character skips the last 20 years via the coma, it gave the chance to talk about the present day through these 1997 tinted goggles.

JH: How long was the process to get Senior Year sold and into the right hands?

AK/AP: Writing it took a little longer than usual because we were both working on other projects simultaneously and doing this in our spare time, but we got lucky in that it sold fairly quickly once it hit the market. From conception to sale the whole thing took maybe six months, at least four of which was us writing the thing.

JH: How did Dodge College, and Chapman, help you in your writing careers?

AK/AP: Going to Chapman let us focus solely on the craft of writing, which is incredibly valuable and virtually impossible to do outside of academia. We spent two years learning from some excellent professors and had access to a lot of like-minded people, all looking to excel at their craft.

JH: Any advice for students at Dodge trying to break into the industry?

AK/AP: Writing and other creative endeavors can be very stressful. It’s important to stay loose. So whether you’re staring at a blank page or a massage parlor ceiling, be open minded. Trust us.

A big thank you to Knauer and Pielli for taking the time to answer some questions for us. Be on the lookout for
Senior Year
from CBS Films!