Melissa Rosenberg got her career as Scriptwriter by mistaken identity

Melissa Rosenberg has been on a seven-day-a-week work schedule for two years now, a time crunch about which she has no complaints. The executive producer of “Dexter,” whose fourth Showtime season premieres Sunday, is also writing the third “Twilight” movie, after finishing her script for the second film, “New Moon,” in time for its Nov. 20 release. Her screenplay for the original “Twilight” helped turn the then-obscure series of novels into a runaway smash hit for Summit Entertainment.

Rosenberg spoke with Eric Estrin about kismet, misguided nepotism and the easiest job she ever got.

I went to USC’s Stark Program for producing, knowing that what I wanted to do was write but feeling like if I got some producing chops behind me as well, I would probably be pushed around a little bit less.

While I was at USC I was also spec’ing material, and I spec’ed a feature. So I thought, I have to get this feature to someone; I need an agent. So I found that in the list of alumni of the Stark program were four people who happened also to go to my undergraduate, Bennington College.

This was strikingly unusual because Bennington has a very small student body, and the Stark program graduates only 25 a year. So it was very odd that from these two very small schools, four people had crossed over.

One of them was Liz Glotzer, who was and is an executive at Castle Rock. So I contacted Liz, never having met her before, and I said, I’m an alumna from Bennington and Stark; would you read my material? She agreed to read it, and then I met with her. She said, I love this; we’re not gonna make it but let me help you get an agent. 

Then “Misery” was opening and she got even busier than usual and completely dropped the ball. But her assistant called and said, Look, I read it too and I love it, and I know we’re not gonna make it but let me help you get an agent.  

So her assistant calls some producer she knows and she sends it to someone from her office for coverage -- I cannot remember the woman’s name -- and I meet with her, and she says, I love this; we’re not gonna make it, but let me help you get an agent. So then finally that woman sends it to like four or five of her favorite boutique agents, and I call them to say I’m going to send the script, and before I’m even able to send it, they’re going, Get me that script, get it to me right away, I need you to send it this weekend, hurry, hurry!

I’m like, Wow, what did she tell them? This is fantastic! I send them the script, and then I go in to meet with one of them. Everyone in the agency wants to meet with me, and I’m going, This is amazing.


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