10 Screenwriters to Watch 2011: Lauryn Kahn

Last year, Lauryn Kahn was making her living as an assistant to multi-hyphenate Adam McKay of Gary Sanchez Prods., a shingle he co-owns with Will Ferrell. Last month, Kahn sold her comedy spec “He’s Fuckin’ Perfect” to Fox 2000 in a deal that is reportedly worth $1 million. Emma Stone is attached to star.

Kahn’s life is about to get a lot more interesting, but she admits the transition has taken some getting used to. “I’m still working out of the Gary Sanchez office and people keep saying things like, ‘Stop ordering lunch for everyone!’?”

After becoming McKay’s assistant five years ago, it didn’t take long for Kahn to realize that it was more than just a job; it was also a priceless opportunity to learn. “Every day was an improv lesson,” says the WME client.

If the office was her school, then McKay was her teacher. He saw a lot of comedic potential in the woman who was in charge of keeping his schedule, and encouraged her to enroll in improv classes at Upright Citizens Brigade. Soon after, Kahn found herself writing, directing and appearing in shorts on FunnyorDie.com, the website founded by McKay and Ferrell.

After selling an untitled pilot a year and a half ago, Kahn began work on the outline for what would become “He’s Fuckin’ Perfect.” McKay read it, gave her notes, and then suggested she write the spec herself. “He told me, ‘The outline is really strong and you’ll have more creative control, so just do it.’ ”

He also gave her another piece of advice. “He said, ‘When you pay your $13 and sit down in a movie theater, what do you want to see? That’s what you write. Not what you think is gonna sell. Not what you think is gonna be big. Write what you want to see.’ ”

In the end, Kahn took McKay’s advice and wrote and sold the movie she wanted to see.

Now if Kahn could just stop ordering food for the rest of the office.

TEN SCREENWRITERS TO WATCH 2011:
Josh Appelbaum & Andrew Nemec | Jay Baruchel & Jesse Chabot | Justin Britt-Gibson | Neil Cross | Andrew Haigh | Kurt Johnstad | Lauryn Kahn | Paula Pell | Jon Spaihts | Brian Yorkey

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