Lorene Scafaria is not one of those writers who has wasted much time struggling with self-doubt or extended periods of inactivity. At 22, she moved to New York and promptly staged her first play, “That Guy and Others Like Him,” which she adapted into a film script.
She continued writing screenplays and, against the advice of friends in the industry, began sending out blind query letters to Hollywood. To her surprise, an agent at ICM liked her work and offered to sign her. But as Scafaria was driving out to Los Angeles, she discovered that the agent had jumped ship to CAA and, subsquently, the new scribe got lost in the shuffle.
Undaunted, Scafaria kept plugging away. Four years later, she has two high-profile projects in the hopper. Her spec “The Mighty Flynn,” a comedy-drama about an efficiency expert who gets fired, was sold to Warner Independent, with David Heyman (“Harry Potter”) producing. Also, she’s been hired to adapt Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s novel “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist” for the Weitz brothers’ Depth of Field shingle and Focus Features. The story revolves around two 18-year-olds who meet at an NYC club and change each other’s lives over the course of five hours.
“Lorene’s got a very fluent style, an easy way with dialogue,” says Chris Weitz. “She manages to convey the emotions of her characters in an accessible but not overly formulaic way. Her writing is psychologically sound and not exaggerated.
“And she’s younger and hipper than all of us.”
Scafaria says she’ll be pitching several film and TV projects to the studios this summer. She recently directed a short, “This Will Be Our Year,” and hopes to get behind the camera for her first feature in the near future.
“For me, everything is tone and theme and character — that’s where it starts,” says Scafaria. “Even if a character ends up a foot ahead of where they were before, that’s enough for me.”
Birthplace: Rahway, N.J.
Inspirations: “I feel like I’m inspired by the good movie and the bad movie, the great script and the terrible script. I think there’s inspiration everywhere, even in Los Angeles.”
Favorite unproduced script: “Lovely Rita, Meter Maid,” a father-daughter comedy
Agent/manager: Cliff Roberts at William Morris; Doug Johnson at Management 360