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She wrote her first action scene using alphabetti spaghetti
December 21, 2012 6:17 PM   Subscribe

Who is the youngest person to have ever written or co-written a script for a film that has been produced?

In this post on the blue Terry Zwigoff mentions a script written by a 12-year old and, failing finding out who that was and what the script was called, I'm wondering who might have been the youngest ever produced script-writer. For instance, I know Nikki Reed co-wrote Thirteen when she was around 14/15 years old.

Is there anybody else?
posted by urbanwhaleshark to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
There was no script by a 12 year old--it's just his shtick about Juno. And Nikki Reed's writer credit was just a sop to her--she hasn't written anything else, unless you count her blog. I'd say you'd have to go to the silent era when scenario writers were pretty young. Shane Black sold a script at 22. Discussionhere.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:41 PM on December 21, 2012


Emily Hagins wrote, directed and edited Pathogen—a feature-length zombie film with a $7k budget—when she was twelve.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:51 PM on December 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Racer Rodriguez is credited as a co-writer of Shark-boy and Lava Girl which was released when he was 8. After seeing the movie about a billion times with my children (oh god noooo, not againnnnn) I can confirm it was written by a six year old.
posted by saucysault at 6:51 PM on December 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Nikki Reed provided a lot of the raw material for Thirteen, but Catherine Hardwicke turned it into a screenplay---Reed and Hardwicke talked about how they worked in interviews at the time, and it sounds like Hardwicke bounced lots of questions off Reed a la "what would you do then? what would you say then?"

Reed is a songwriter now, apparently.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:54 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


This Indian movie was made by middle schoolers, but I don't know how widely it was released.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:59 PM on December 21, 2012


[There's also a behind-the-scenes documentary about Emily Hagins, shot during the making of Pathogen, called Zombie Girl: The Movie. Hagins's most recent film is My Sucky Teen Romance, written and directed at the ripe old age of sixteen or so; here's a Q&A she did at SXSW last year.]
posted by hot soup girl at 7:09 PM on December 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Racer Rodriguez is credited as a co-writer of Shark-boy and Lava Girl which was released when he was 8. After seeing the movie about a billion times with my children (oh god noooo, not againnnnn) I can confirm it was written by a six year old.

Yeah, and it's a retread of "Neverending Story", which my own eight year old and six year old noticed IMMEDIATELY.

But this is what I clicked through to answer as well.
posted by padraigin at 8:22 PM on December 21, 2012


Early 20's is not unusual. In fact, being a decade older than that I feel like most of the people winning competitions and fellowships and getting staffed in TV are immediately post-college. That might be my own demons talking, though.

Many to most of the writers interviewed on the Nerdist Writers' Podcast say that they first considered screenwriting/TV writing as a career at disgustingly young ages. There are also a few indie directors who dropped out of college to make their first movie, or never went in the first place. I wouldn't find it shocking to hear of a 19 year old feature director or a 17 year old screenwriter.

I guess Racer Rodriguez is technically correct, though the idea that he "wrote" a movie is a little bit absurd. My guess is that it was his dad who did the work and got his kid credit the same way a lot of filmmakers will get their teenage kids PA jobs on movies so they can start accruing days to join the DGA and have a built in AD or UPM career as a backup if needed.
posted by Sara C. at 9:13 PM on December 21, 2012


Story credit, not a whole script, but Alexandra Kaczenski got a story credit for the Malcolm in the Middle episode "If Boys Were Girls," for an idea for a script she had when she was 11: "The episode's gender-bending story concept came from an 11-year-old named Alexandra Kaczenski, a niece of a costume designer on the "Malcolm" crew."

This factoid has been rattling around in my head for 10 years for no apparent reason.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:29 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Axe Cop, now being made into a TV series, is co-written by two brothers, one of whom was five when the comic series began.
posted by bq at 10:17 PM on December 21, 2012


A lot of adults with WGA credits contributed no more to the screenplays for which they're co-credited than did Nikki Reed (assuming what she and Hardwicke said about their working process is correct) and probably Racer Rodriguez, even if what he did was mostly "And Dad, wouldn't it be cool if they...and then they..."

Agree that for more solo-auteur things, early twenties isn't unusual anymore. When John Singleton did Boyz n the Hood, his youth seemed like a big deal, but now doing features in your early twenties is just par for the course.

Sofia Coppola was in her teens when she wrote her segment of New York Stories.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:46 PM on December 21, 2012


Matt Damon was 27 and Ben Affleck was 25 when Good Will Hunting was released. I'd guess they were a couple years younger than that when they actually wrote the script.
posted by deborah at 10:59 PM on December 21, 2012


Harmony Korine wrote Kids when he was 18 or 19, in three weeks. According to this he met Larry Clark as a teenager, showed him a 35-page script (not Kids) and soon afterwards Clark challenged him to write a script "about a kid whose way of having safe sex is to only fuck virgins and for there to be something about HIV".
posted by acidic at 12:09 AM on December 22, 2012


Daisy Ashford wrote 'The Yound Visiters' when she was nine years old in 1890. From Wikipedia:
Full of spelling mistakes, each chapter was also written as a single paragraph. Many years later, in 1917 and aged 36, Ashford rediscovered her manuscript languishing in a drawer, and lent it to Margaret Mackenzie, a friend who was recovering from influenza. It passed through several other hands, before arriving with Frank Swinnerton, a novelist who was also a reader for the publishing house of Chatto and Windus. Largely due to Swinnerton's enthusiasm for this piece of juvenilia, the book was published almost exactly as it had been written. J. M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, agreed to write a preface.

The book was so successful that it was reprinted 18 times in its first year alone. After its publication, rumours soon started that the book was in fact an elaborate literary hoax, and that it had been written by J. M. Barrie himself. These rumours persisted for years.
I'm not sure whether the book's still in print but I have read it. It's been adapted as a musical and for film, pretty faithfully. While Ashford had no hand in any screenplays, the 2003 BBC film is great fun. Though sad.

Don't know why I just didn't copypaste the whole wiki entry.
posted by glasseyes at 2:34 PM on December 22, 2012


Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg claim they started writing Superbad at age 13. It presumably went through some drafts in the 12 years between then and the film's release. In the intervening time, they were both writers on Da Ali G Show at age 22, and Rogen had writing credits on some episodes of Undeclared when he was 19.
posted by lemonadeheretic at 10:41 PM on December 22, 2012


Outside the edit window, I just remembered an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures written by three 13 year-old girls was produced, with some slight modifications, while they were still about 13. I loved it when I was a kid.
posted by lemonadeheretic at 10:53 PM on December 22, 2012


Louis C.K.'s daughter Mary Louise Szekely got an "idea" credit for the Louie episode "Duckling" -- his then-six-year-old daughter. But that's just barely a writing credit.
posted by dhartung at 12:23 AM on December 23, 2012


Thanks everyone. I was particularly interested in actual writing credits rather than story credits, so Emily Hagins, the girls who wrote that TTA episode, and the Superbad duo are a great match.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:39 AM on December 23, 2012


For the Dexters Laboratory episode 236, airing Apr 29, 1998, you'll note that Tyler Samuel Lee, born Nov 10, 1991, gets a writing credit for the (omg hilarious) segment "Dexter and Computress Get Mandark!". Not exactly a regular credit, but six and a half ain't bad. :)
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:19 AM on December 23, 2012


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