Podcast: Screenwriter Shawn Christensen on Abduction

Taylor Lautner in Abduction.

Taylor Lautner in Abduction

When the idea of a high school kid who finds his photo on a missing persons site was given to screenwriter Shawn Christensen, he couldn’t get it out of his mind. He was pitched the one-line story nugget while at a meeting at Gotham Group for another job. The screenwriter was given the chance to write his take on the film, on spec. It took 64 days, he said, but it was worth it.

Screenwriter Shawn Christensen.

Screenwriter Shawn Christensen

The next thing he knew, teen heartthrob Taylor Lautner was interested in playing the staring role. A week-long bidding war began which ended in Lionsgate paying high-six figures for the project. Christensen couldn’t have been more thrilled. Less than a year later, the movie, staring Lautner, Lily Collins, Sigourney Weaver, and Alfred Molina, is ready for release.

Abduction is a high-paced thriller about a high school kid on the run to find the truth about his past. Script sat down with Christensen to find out just what it takes to write a script top to bottom in only two months.

Podcast highlights:

  • [On holding back exposition] “I’m one of those people who watched Lost and didn’t care if they solved the mysteries …”
  • [On writing thrillers] “Whenever you give one pay-off, you still have to set up another pay-off…”
  • [On writing] “Go read your favorite screenplays … whatever inspires you.”

Listen below:

5 thoughts on “Podcast: Screenwriter Shawn Christensen on Abduction

  1. Gary

    This was an awesome interview! I like what he says about letting the dialogue dictating the direction. I find myself doing the same thing. It’s amazing how you can be in the zone writing and make a character say something totally unexpected, and then run off on a tangent. I’m not a big fan of outlines. It’s great to hear that there are professional writers that have writing techniques similar to my own.

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