According to IMDB Shane Salerno has co-written or re-written four films that have opened #1 at the box office; Armageddon, Breakdown, Alien vs. Predator, Shaft (though not always credited). He got a jump start in the business when he made an award winning documentary in high school that landed him on Larry King Live. That opened the door for him at age 19 as an apprentice on the TV program NYPD Blue.
Salerno likes to stress that he was raised by a single mother, didn’t come from money, and never went to college. He probably says those things to encourage you and help you avoid the tired excuses.
I found a couple quotes of his from Screenwriting Expo 3 held years ago which echos some favorite themes here on Screenwriting from Iowa, or wherever you live outside L.A.
“I just hope these people stay persistent because sometimes it’s six or eight scripts before they have that great script. All the people they admire went through these things and had adversity. Oliver Stone wrote 10 scripts before he wrote Platoon which got him all of his first jobs which got him Midnight Express and then he waited 10 years to get Platoon made...I attended all these (film industry) functions, the classes and the bookstores reading all the time. I have a 10,000-book library in my house from collecting books over the years. Young writers and beginning writers need to stay persistent and understand what the odds are against them succeeding.”
Interview With Screenwriter Shane Salerno
J. Freedman, FilmMakers.com
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