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Mike Jones: Journo turns to fiction on film

10 Screenwriters to Watch

10 SCREENWRITERS TO WATCH
Travis Beacham | Sheila Callaghan | Adam Cozad | Michael Diliberti | Tim Dowling | Lena Dunham | Seth Grahame-Smith | Simons & Schoolcraft | Mike Jones | Jones & McCormack

Before making headlines for being tapped to adapt Sony’s all-CGI animated 3D feature, “Popeye,” Mike Jones wrote the headlines.

In his past life, Jones served on the senior editorial staffs of Filmmaker Magazine and IndieWire.

He eventually left journalism to become a full-time screenwriter and wrote “Evenhand,” which was produced in 2001, as well as the film adaptation of Steven Sherrill’s book “The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break,” which would prove instrumental in landing him “Popeye.”

During the writers’ strike in 2007, Jones returned to journalism when he moved to Los Angeles and worked for Variety.

“Film is my passion,” Jones says. “I love story, but I also really love the work of other filmmakers and I like writing about it.”

When he decided to once again concentrate on his screenwriting two years later, Jones changed his focus from small art films to animated features. Scribe is working on Henry Selick’s latest stop-motion feature for Disney/Pixar, co-writing the script with Selick.

“The difference between writing for animation and live action is that with animation you’ve got to lock down all descriptions. You essentially have to make a movie on the page in all dimensions. It’s also a very collaborative experience, which is not the norm for most screenwriters. I happen to really like it,” he says.

Commuting between L.A. and San Francisco to work with Selick, Jones is thankful for his East Coast days as a lonely screenwriter.

“I came into this business writing art films in New York,” he says. “When I moved to L.A., I felt like I could bring some of those complex characters into bigger ideas. I’ve luckily been able to find some success with that.”

VITAL STATS:
Age: 39
Provenance: San Antonio, TX
Inspired by: Horton Foote, “Midnight Cowboy,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Toy Story 2.”
Reps: David Kopple at CAA; Lindsay Williams at The Gotham Group; Darren Trattner at Jackoway Tyerman.

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