We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Grimm and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what matters most to you?
We live in a day and age where status is given such weight, whether racking up the number of followers on Instagram, showing off a brand new Gucci bag, or in the movie-making business where ego and pride try to ‘control the room’. Success is to be celebrated, yes, but a humble person puts others first, is gracious, and seeks to listen.
How does this translate to my industry? I’m on both sides of the desk depending on the day (creative executive/screenwriter), so it varies depending on what my focus is, but…
Someone sending a ‘thank you’ e-mail after a general meeting or truly listening and collaborating when working on notes. It can be finding a middle ground for the success of the project as opposed to seeking a higher paycheck because “it’s their quote”. It’s treating assistants and junior executive with respect and compassion and reminding their worth to the company. So many little things can add up to great results — as long as those nurturing them along remain humble.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My ‘art’ is screenwriting, which any screenwriter will tell you is one of the toughest crafts out there — there are just so many elements to balance. I love it though because it allows me to be anyone, go anwhere, do anything — to live vicariously through my characters and hopefully impact strangers because of it.
I’ve got a lot of feedback that my work really does a good job balancing humor and heart. I love the coming-of-age genre and I think my experience as a high school teacher really helps me stand out in that genre by having those experiences to draw from — from heartbreaking to hilarious.
My journey to one or two ‘yesses’ has been paved with a path of ‘nos’…but it’s really part of the process. At the beginning of my career, I took the PASSES pretty hard…I believed in my work so it was tough that I couldn’t connect with everyone. As I’ve matured and my skin has been thickened by passes, I’ve learned that’s very much part of the process and makes the wins all the sweeter. If I were to give one big lesson to any creative, whether screenwriter or otherwise, it’s to fall in love with the process, not the results. If you’re focused on selling every single thing you create, you’re in for a world of hurt. To me it’s about doing something I love, and if success comes out of it, great. If not, I’m doing what I love!
I suppose I’d want the world to know that pursuing your passion, no matter where you are at in life, is worth it. If you don’t know what your passion is, then explore! Try new things. Go out of your comfort zone. I’ve lived my life with the goal to never regret not trying something, and I think that mindset has helped get me where I am today.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This city is so diverse — I love it. You can go hiking, surfing, and skiing in the same day. If it was baseball season, we’d go to Dodgers Stadium for some Doyer dogs. I’m most familiar with the West Side, so a trip to the pier would be a necessity. We’d also walk around the local campuses — USC, UCLA, LMU — they’re all beautiful in their own way. I’m a fan of Dockweiler beach over all others. It’s simply so much more chill then some of the more popular beaches but still has a great view of the coast. For hikes, Topanga Canyon has a million spots, but I also love the view the Culver City steps provide. As far as places to eat — there’s so many. We’d gain ten pounds in that week. But we’d go to some of my local Culver City Favorites: S&W Country Diner, La Juquila, Cafe Laurent, Sage, and then of course treat ourselves to a boujee dinner at Mozza Osteria. The nightlife can’t be ignored, either. Citizen’s Market is such a vibe with an eclectic variety of food, drink, and entertainment. The Backstage is good ol’ fashioned fun with Karaoke night!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a shoutout to my man Justin Baldoni, the chairman of Wayfarer Studios! He’s the man who gave me a chance to be a full-time creative despite lacking true industry experience. He trusted my creative instincts and character and gave me the confidence and tools to succeed in this position. Ultimately, he’s a shining example of someone who is trying to genuinely do good in Hollywood and beyond by changing hearts and minds through Film and TV. Through his company at Wayfarer Studios (everyone on my Wayfarer team deserves a shout out too, of course), I feel fulfilled creatively while still being able to pursue my passion of screenwriting — my vocation and avocation work hand-in-hand. I can’t thank him enough for giving me that one big break.