David Hudgins: Former attorney finds focus

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When lawyers land in Hollywood, they usually work on legal dramas. Not David Hudgins, who has written for soulful family series (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Everwood”) and created the paranormal procedural “Past Life.”

“Character is my thing; I’ve always loved TV shows strong on character,” Hudgins says. “As a former lawyer, I met with producers on legal shows. I understand those shows, but what I really love is the character.”

Hudgins was inspired to change careers by his sister Katherine, who told him while dying of cancer, “I’m the perfect example of ‘You’ve got to grab life while you can.’? ” His first film script was optioned by LeVar Burton, and spec scripts for the series “The West Wing” and “Six Feet Under” won him a mentorship from “Everwood” creator Greg Berlanti, who hired him in the series’ second season.

While “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood” have been critical favorites, neither found large audiences. “It is frustrating,” Hudgins admits, “but after a while, you just sort of put it out of your head and say we want to write the best episodes of television that we can and hope the networks and studios have faith in you.”

The failure of his short-lived “Past Life” was a learning experience.

“When you take on material, it’s important creatively that you are passionate about it absolutely,” he says. “It had procedural elements that weren’t playing to my strong suit.”

He’s developing a new series for NBC. “I want another show on the air. I’m very motivated. I learned a lot from ‘Past Life.’ I had my first at-bat; now I want my second, and I want to hit it out of the park.”

Rising writers take biggest step
Alex Cary | Whitney Cummings | Lena Dunham | John Enbom | David Hudgins | Rolin Jones | Kyle Killen | Chris Provenzano | Emily Spivey | Hilary Winston

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