Simons & Schoolcraft: Tooned up for action

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

So two guys room together in college, bond over Monty Python and the Coen brothers and end up as writing partners whose first script sale grosses more than $45 million in its first weekend of release. Sounds ridiculous. Except it happened to Brent Simons and Alan Schoolcraft.

It wasn’t exactly overnight success for the pair, however. “?’Mastermind’ was the script that got us our representation and several jobs,” write the pair in an email, “though it didn’t sell initially.”

Instead it became their calling card. Unlike many calling cards, however, this one came a cropper, developing into “Megamind,” the first spec ever bought by DreamWorks. “Three years after it first went out, we got a call that Ben Stiller and DreamWorks wanted to buy it. For a second we thought it was a cruel joke being pulled by one of our college buddies. It still might be, which would be really impressive.”

For Schoolcraft and Simons, ideas “usually start with some sort of conflict that we find funny,” says Simons, “like with ‘Megamind,’ a villain kills this hero, then doesn’t know what to do with his life. We did another script, ‘All About Adam’ (optioned by Disney for producer Scott Rudin), which was ‘What if Eve left Adam?’ He’d have to win her back.”

Their success clearly isn’t a college prank, and after “Megamind,” the sales continued. “We sold (“All About Adam”), another to Warner Bros., and a TV show to Fox. And all of it started because we found a line we wrote in one of our old idea notebooks that said, ‘What would happen if Lex Luthor killed Superman?’?”

Age: Brent (36), Alan (43)
Provenance: Brent (Burnt Hills, New York) Alan (Groton, Connecticut)
Inspired by: Steve Martin, Tom Stoppard, Ernest Lehman
Reps: Manager, Brian Lutz; agents, Nicole Clemens, Adam Weinstein (film), Pete Stone (TV) (ICM)