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Meet the Finalist: Samuel Garza Bernstein, "The Secret World of Danny Lopez"

Tell us about yourself, and about The Secret World of Danny Lopez.

Much of my life and writing reflect the wild intersections of modern life. My undocumented Mexican mom passed as white, and my Jewish, Texan dad sold arms to the Palestinians when we lived in Egypt. I was a gay Jewish kid surrounded by hot Muslims. I'm also a 2018 WGA writers access project honoree for "The Secret World of Danny Lopez.” I won Best Screenplay at UK/NY fests for "Elephant & Castle" and a G.L.A.A.D. nomination for the Showtime film "Bobbie’s Girl" (Emmy nom Bernadette Peters). Episodic credits range from the CBS drama "Judging Amy" to Nickelodeon's "Shimmer and Shine."

Share a memorable moment you experienced working on this project.

While I was in the UK with this project as a finalist at the C21 Content London International Drama Summit, I tripped and broke my foot. Luckily the Script Coordinator for "Holby City," a BBC hospital drama, was the one who took me to A&E -- so I had a medical professional there to help. The NHS paid for everything, by the way, it was totally free.

3 tips you’d like to share with aspiring artists in your field:

1. Write all the time. No matter what is going on in your life, good or bad. Your mood, surroundings, physical comforts, and mental state are irrelevant.

2. Rewriting really is what screenwriting is about. That's not just a bromide people say to hear themselves talk. It is the practical real-world truth.

3. Don't let the "write-what-you-know" maxim limit you. Your imagination knows a lot too.

What do you hope to achieve in your career in the next 5 years?

I want to be the showrunner of my own project. Hopefully this one.

Samuel Garza Bernstein is nominated for Best Screenplay of the Year at the New York Film Awards.


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