Reality TV Producer, Steve Wright, on Manning Road Productions, Allan the Dog, & D.A.G.
July 29, 2015
I’m from the Midwest. I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and right after college, it was film school that brought me out to Los Angeles.
I attended The American Film Institute, where I received a Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting.
First Entertainment Job
For several years after film school, I worked for a boutique literary agency that represented television and feature film writers. I was the assistant to the two principle agents there, but I also got the chance to work with several of the screenwriters they represented, reading scripts and offering notes.
It was great, because I was also a client, so I got to see my own scripts hit the market, listen to my boss/agent talk on the phone about me – just see the whole process from the inside out.
That seems like a rare opportunity.
What Drew You To The Entertainment Industry?
My brother Joe.
When we were young, Joe appeared in national commercials, TV movies, feature films, and on Broadway. Co-starring with guys like Michael J. Fox, Sean Astin, Gary Busey, Robert Klein, and Corey Haim.
As you can imagine, that was the coolest thing ever, so it definitely had an effect on me.
Also, my humor. I was born to make people laugh, so Hollywood always seemed like a logical destination.
You’re a Senior Story Producer in Reality Television that also writes original material - how has having experience in the Reality Television impacted your original material?
In the scripted world, you make up the stories. In reality, you watch them unfold. Although those two things are very different, they weirdly both involve story and thinking in story terms.
So, both have helped each other.
I’m all about comedy.
I’m really motivated by it and all my ideas are based on it. I’m working on a comedy screenplay right now, and still pump out comedy videos when I can.
One challenge is not getting what you want, when you want it. Most of us have this problem.
When I left film school as a represented young writer taking meetings at all the studios, I was convinced I was going to have a three-picture deal by the end of summer.
Ten years of great meetings while selling zero screenplays burst that bubble.
What has helped?
Frankly, modifying my goals and being a little more realistic.
Am I selling screenplays at a million a pop, banging Burt Reynold’s daughter, and living in a hover mansion?
No, I am not.
Am I still trying?
You bet your ass.
And while I’m trying, am I working a full time job in television?
Yes, and I absolutely love it and realize how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing.
(I just went and did a Google image search for ‘hover mansion’ -- not as much cool stuff as I was hoping. Also did a quick search for ‘Burt Reynold’s daughter’ – doesn’t look like he has one. Whew).
In What Ways Do You Utilize Social Media For Your Projects?
Not as much as I could and should.
But I am happy to report that everything I have ever produced, starting with a short film I made in sixth grade called Slow Times at Park, is available on my YouTube Channel
So, if nothing else, I use social media as a host for my content, and a means to promote it. (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
To get my script Allan The Dog made into a movie. That is my number one goal when it comes to Hollywood.
That was my dream starting out – to make movies – and that has never faltered.
Top 5 Moments In Entertainment
Here are 6…
Opening up my acceptance letter to The American Film Institute. It was my summer after college, and I was in Indianapolis, standing in the kitchen of the home I grew up in. My father was next to me, and when I was done reading the letter, I looked up and said “I got in.” My Pop held out his hand and smiled
As a kid, visiting my brother Joe on the set of B.R.A.T. Patrol (Disney) and watching him duke it out in a scene with his co-star, Sean Astin.
Dressing up like Santa Clause and getting punched in the nuts for a Holiday Clip Show that aired on a major network during primetime.
Winning ‘Best Director of a Short Film’ for Boom Man at The 2006 Action On Film Festival. For a moment, it felt like the world was mine.
Meeting Joe Pantoliano twice. I met him at The Sedona Film Festival in 2007, and again when I was working for Celebrity Ski Fest (CBS).
Stepping on location for The Bachelor for the first time. It blew my mind.
Find a way to get your foot in the door and work your way up from the bottom.
I personally don’t know any other way. And it’s not like starting at the bottom is easy.
Entry level jobs can be hard to get too, but if you can get your foot in the door and do good work, good things can happen.
I was a Creative Writing major in college, then attended film school for screenwriting.
But man, there is no substitute for doing.
So, after film school, I managed to produce an independent movie called Shock Therapy TV…the Movie! It’s a little ‘out there,’ but it was a tremendous learning experience for me.
It was almost like a second film school (and almost as expensive).
In my personal fantasy of winning an Oscar (come on, we all have them), I imagine myself thanking the people who taught me how to write.
Starting with my mother Jan, who was my high school English teacher for two years.
Then Allen Estrin, my screenwriting mentor at The American Film Institute, and another screenwriter named Robert Kuhn, who continues to give me extremely valued writing and career guidance to this day.
I’m working on getting my feature screenplay Allan the Dog made. Here’s a link to a trailer for a short film we made, based on the feature screenplay.
I’m also still pumping out episodes of my web series Driving Asshole Guy. Here's a link to a classic episode called The Nose
I’ve also gotten back into producing episode of The Steve Wright Show, where I, or Allan The Dog, interview artists of all kind, just like Scott Bonnie.