TRANSCRIPT Ep21 - Writing the Script for Final Destination with Jeffrey Reddick

Updated: Apr 12

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Intro: All right, welcome to the successful screenwriter podcast, where we are dedicated to anything and everything screenwriting. Here, we interview successful screenwriters and filmmakers to discover just what it takes to make it in the industry.

Geoffrey: Welcome to the podcast, we have on a very special guest today. We have on the writer of Final Destination, Jeffrey Reddick. Thank you for being on with us today.

Jeffrey: Thank you for having me, other Geoffrey.

Geoffrey: I spell mine weird, so you’re totally normal.

Jeffrey: No, you spell yours cool!

Geoffrey: It’s very writerly, I’ll tell you that much. I wanted to reach out today because I love to bring on professionals and experts, like yourself, and peel the veil back on the writing process and how you design what you’re doing. Final Destination is one of my favorite movies and it spawned so many sequels. Even my wife is into it, and she hates scary movies, so if that tells you anything.

Jeffrey: That’s awesome!

Geoffrey: Before we dive into it, I want to get your origin story on how you started writing, how you broke into the industry, and what led you to that big break.

Jeffrey: My origin story is a little unique, as I think all origin stories are. I’ve always been a big horror movie fan. When I was fourteen, I saw the first Nightmare on Elm Street movie, which I fell madly in love with. It’s still my favorite movie of all time for creative and personal reasons. When I saw that film; me being this 14-year-old hillbilly in Kentucky who doesn’t know anything about the movie business; I found out the studio that made the movie, Bob Shaye, got his address, typed up a prequel idea, and I mailed it to him.

Geoffrey: Oh wow.

Jeffrey: Yeah, the balls of a 14-year-old hillbilly. He sent it back to me because it was unsolicited, and I had to look up what that meant because I was fourteen. I sent it back to him and I wrote, “Look sir, I spent $3 on your movie so I think you can take five minutes to read my story.” And he read it and got back to me. From the age of fourteen to nineteen, when I ended up eventually going to New York, him and his assistant Joy Mann; who is unfortunately no longer with us; they took me under their wing. They would send me movie scripts, posters, tchotchkes, read my stuff, and just be very encouraging. My dream at the time was to be an actor, so when I was nineteen, I went to New York to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. While I was there, Joy and Bob offered me an internship for the summer at New Line. The acting looked like it was going to take off, but this was back in the day when non-traditional casting wasn’t a thing. My agent told my I was an ethnic Michael J. Fox type, which was awesome because everybody loved Michael J. Fox, and they still do. But she said, “They don’t write role