We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Schatz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think risk is an essential part of trying to break into Hollywood. I had always known I wanted to be in the film/TV industry, and knew that meant having to be in LA. However, I had never once stepped foot in California, let alone Los Angeles.
So after I graduated college I was able to land a job that was in LA, packed the car and drove across the country. Without that initial step, I wouldn’t be where I am.
Risk also plays a part in my career. Whether it’s pushing myself to write new stories or forcing myself outside my comfort zone. It might be scary at times, but if you have the confidence that you’ll come out the other side, risk can be a good thing.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love telling stories that people otherwise wouldn’t know about. To me, writing is therapeutic. I can sit at my desk and get lost in a story for hours. It wasn’t always easy though. It took years (and many bad scripts) to finally write one that wasn’t half bad. A lot of trial and error to find a routine, to find my voice.
I learned that if you really want something, whether it’s in the industry or not, you have to pour yourself into that endeavor. You have to be willing to take criticisms, work to get better and above all — not give up.
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?
Some of my favorite spots in LA are:
Beachwood Market (my neighborhood market and so wonderful)
And of course, the movies!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s been a lot of people who have helped me along the way. Early on there was Jenn and Beau Bauman, Beau being a producer he gave me advice and was kind enough to read a very early (and mostly terrible) script. But he saw enough there to encourage me to continue. Another one was Dan Fogelman. He was instrumental in helping me realize that drama was a world I could excel in. To both of them I’ll be forever grateful.
Marisa Sommerville was the first person to really stick her neck out to help me get scripts read when I was just an aspiring writer. Our friendship still continues to this day and she’s now even my lawyer.
Because of Marisa I met Jenna Block, at the time an exec at Escape Artists, now an agent at Verve, who was my first ever meeting. She help land me my first ever manager, Lee Stobby, a fighter for his clients. Lee got me meetings all over town and for the first time I felt like a real writer.
I ended up switching gears in my career to focus on drama/true stories/thrillers, and signed with my second (and still current) manager Jeff Portnoy. A fantastic manager and person. He played a huge part in helping me land a script on the Black List, along with producers Sarah Schechter and Mike McGrath, agents Adrian Garcia, David Boxerbaum and Martin Spencer.
There have been many others along the way, as well as my wonderfully supportive family and girlfriend, Samantha. This support system has played a pivotal part in my career.
Top two photos credited to: Samantha Labrecque https://www.samskapeproductions.com/about