Woodward, Okla. —
Bryan Dick found his passion for screenwriting when he was a freshman at Woodward High School.
Now after pursuing that passion for more than 20 years, Dick is eagerly anticipating the first nationwide public screening of one of his scripts. The full length movie "Gone Missing," staring Daphne Zuniga, will premiere on the Lifetime cable network on June 15 at 7 p.m. CST.
PURSUING FILM SCHOOL
"I've always sort of written," Dick said, but noted that he "would have to credit my mom (Kathy) who was an English teacher at Woodward High School for 20 years" for awakening his passion for script writing.
"I was in her humanities class as a freshman and we did a film unit and that was when I was introduced to screenwriting. From that moment on it clicked, I knew that's what I wanted to do," he said.
Dick was so committed to pursuing a career as a screenwriter that when it came time to apply for colleges, he said, "my parents and I researched which were the best for film. The University of Southern California (USC) was rated number one, so I applied there and to OU and that was it."
By the time he graduated from Woodward High School in 1995, he learned he had been accepted to the undergrad program at USC, but not to the film school.
But he didn't let that small setback deter him.
"My parents and I discussed it and thought that it would be okay for me to go and get out there and make connections to help me when I applied for film school again," Dick said. "It wasn't until my third time to apply to the film school that I got in."
He said it turned out that he and his parents had been right in feeling that going to California would be a good networking experience for him.
"Because I was out there, I became friends with a professor of mine who wrote me a letter of recommendation," which finally secured his place in film school, he said.
Dick graduated from USC's Cinema School with his bachelor's in critical studies in 1999.
EARLY CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD
After graduating from college, Dick still continued to write, but found he needed to supplement his income with other jobs.
"I got into film development right after college," he said. "But then I realized I was spending all my time and creative energy on other people's work. I was miserable."
Since his job was taking away from his writing, Dick decided he needed a break from the film industry.
"I quit and worked at a restaurant for 2 years," he said. "But in my off-time I wrote and worked on my friends' projects."
He then got an opportunity to work with one of the big names in Hollywood.
"Oddly through a connection at the restaurant, I got a job as the house assistant to Brian Grazer, who is Ron Howard's production partner," he said. "I then worked in and around Imagine Entertainment from 2002 until 2012, when I started writing the script (for "Gone Missing")."
Throughout his career, Dick continued to network with others in the film industry and work to develop his writing.
Then during a screenplay camp and writers retreat called "CineStory," he met Sharon Bordas, who is a film producer with the independent production and distribution firm MarVista Entertainment, Inc.
"I sent her a sample of my work later and she loved it," Dick said.
It was because of that sample, he said, that Bordas and MarVista approached him to write the script for "Gone Missing" last year.
BRINGING 'GONE MISSING' TO LIFE
"She (Bordas) had read the sample script of mine and felt it was much too dark for what they do, but said MarVista was looking to use this idea of this girl going missing and wanted to see if I would write it," Dick said.
In a brief synopsis of the plot, he said "Gone Missing" is about a mother who takes her daughter on a senior spring break trip to San Diego, but then the daughter goes missing and the mom has to try to find her.
Dick was approached about writing the script in February, and after meeting with Bordas to work out the basic story line, he set down to writing and "finished the script by May."
"I think that's part of why they like me," Dick said of his quick writing ability. "They like content."
Once the script was complete, he said "they shot it in October in and around LA."
Since he now lives in Los Angeles, Dick said he tried to visit the set as often as he could.
"It was very sweet that they let me hand around the set and watch as they made it," he said. "I would try to stop by the set everyday as my schedule allowed, just because I love the whole film process. And by that point my job was over, so I was able to sit back and enjoy while everyone else was busy running around and working."
And enjoy he did, noting that he was pleased with how his script had been filmed.
"It was what we set out to make; I think we nailed it," he said. "The director Tara Miele did a great job with it."
The filming was completed within a matter of a few weeks, and then the movie was sent off for post production and editing.
"That's usually the longest part of the filmmaking process, but they were able to turn it around pretty quickly," Dick said.
Then it came time to sell the movie. And he feels a very appropriate buyer acquired it.
"It's right in line with all the other Lifetime fare," he said.
THE BIG PREMIEREE
Dick said he only learned of the sale of the movie a few weeks ago, with the announcement that it would air on June 15 coming shortly after.
Upon hearing the news, he said, "I was ecstatic."
And ever since he has been telling friends and families to make sure they tune in, "or at least set their DVR to record it."
While this isn't his first time to sell a script, Dick said it is the first time for it to make it all the way through to release to the public.
"I sold a script a few years ago and it got shot, but then the financing dried up and the producer turned out to be kind of a shyster. So it's nice to see something get out there finally for consumption," he said.
In addition to his own excitement, he said his family is also quite pleased and eager to watch his script come to life, especially his parents.
"They're excited. Ever since I went out there to California, they've been asking 'when are we going to see your name in lights?' This is the first chance for them to see my written by credit up on a screen," he said.
MORE IN THE WORKS
While excitingly anticipating the premiere of "Gone Missing," Dick said "I also hope it's just the first of many."
He has already completed another script for MarVista earlier this year, which has already been shot and is "in the middle of being edited and being put together."
"If the timeline fits with this one (for "Gone Missing"), hopefully it might be out by the end of the year," he said.
Dick said this second script is "another female in distress, suspense thriller," with the main character being a woman who is 6-months pregnant.
Currently he said he is working on a rewrite for a production company and is continuing "working on a lot of my own ideas," which are also suspense and thriller based.
"When I was in high school, I fell in love with Hitchcock. I just love all his work. So my writing tends to be down that path," Dick said. "Even though I've written other genres, it seems thrillers are where I'm going to make my mark. Maybe more specifically female in distress thrillers seeing as those are the projects I've done with MarVista."
Dick said he enjoys thrillers because of "we all have fears."
"It's those movies' ability to tap into those innate fears that we all share that intrigues me about the genre," he said. "I'm not big into the horror genre because how many people can identify with being lost in the woods being chased by an ax murderer? On the other hand how many people can identify with being a parent and the fear of losing your child or losing a loved one?"
By writing about a situation that he feels the audience may be able to relate to, Dick said he hopes to provide a production that people will enjoy.
"I hope people will tune in, enjoy the 2 hours of suspense and just enjoy the show," he said.