Brian Wallace began his career as a stage actor in NYC and moved to Los Angeles in 2015. Once shortlisted for a Juilliard Playwriting Fellowship; produced the “play without a play” Kinsherf’s Coat (Hollywood Fringe Producer’s Award); wrote and produced the short film “The Briefcase” (Semi Finalist- L.A. CineFest, Honorable Mention- Fifteen Minute Film Fest, Honorable Achievement in Ensemble Performance- Independent Cinema Showcase); wrote the pilots for “M.A.R.S.” (Finalist- Inroads Screenwriting Fellowship & Oaxaca FIlm Fest) and “#TiredOfWinning” (Finalist- Seoul International Film Festival).
“Stay Green” was the first “mundane documentary” that Wallace wrote and directed for Fancy Movies, and the film was selected at ten festivals worldwide, winning best in its category at Los Angeles CineFest and the Ealing Film Festival in London, UK. The prize money from Ealing financed the next mundane documentary installment, “Play On.”
Wallace played a small but pivotal role in the pioneering transgender film “Relish,” which won Best Feature at the Madrid and Burbank International Film Festivals in 2019, and he can currently be seen as the steady but depraved Dr. Richter in Denim Richards’ latest film, “The Zoo.”
NY Elite Interview with Screenwriter Brian Wallace
NY Elite: Congratulations on being an ISC finalist. What does it mean for your work to be selected at the International Screenwriting Competition in New York?
Brian Wallace: Thank you! It’s a terrific validation. I’ve barely begun submitting this script to contests and festivals, so it means a lot to be recognized this early in the process, especially with a comedy. I have to believe it means someone laughed.
NY Elite: Can you tell us about the work that you participated with at ISC? What is the story about?
Brian Wallace: It’s a simple short film script, and hinges on the following action on page 2:
“She pulls a roll of mints from her bag, and he takes one. She then replaces the roll without taking a mint herself. He notices this.”
The characters develop opposing points of view about this action. It escalates and ultimately impacts other people.
NY Elite: Can you tell us yourself and your artistic talents?
Brian Wallace: I’m basically a bald and aging actor who is trying to find a foothold in the industry that I can build upon. I spoke to my mother a few days ago, and she kept urging me to get a colonoscopy. That’s how bad it is. I tried to change the subject, but she would not leave my colon alone, apparently because I have a birthday coming up. I don’t remember it being like this back when I turned twelve.
Anyway, when I moved to California, I started collaborating with some people who were in the same situation—meaning that we just wanted to create content without waiting for permission—I have no idea what their colons are like. So I’ve been writing more since then. It’s cheaper and faster that way, and I have a better chance of getting cast if I just write the part.
NY Elite: What scripts have you written so far?
Brian Wallace: I’ve written most of the short films our production team, Fancy Movies, has shot so far, and we’ve been fortunate to get them into dozens of festivals around the world. Beyond that, I have three comedy pilots under my belt and I still write stage plays. One of them is supposed to be published as part of an anthology later this year, and I’m shopping around a full-length comedy set in 1938 New Jersey about a family coping with the fallout of the War of the Worlds radio broadcast.
NY Elite: Top 3 favorite projects that you have been involved in?
Brian Wallace: Right now, I’m excited about a comedy web series Fancy Movies (www.fancymovies818.com) is helping to develop and pitch called Bad Agent. It’s about an inept talent agent in L.A. trying to hold onto his clients and keep a sinking ship afloat, no matter how bad things get. You can find out more at http://www.badagentshow.com.
Every New York actor has at least two major goals: being on Law & Order and seeing their name in the original cast list when a play they’ve been in is published. I had only a few lines on my L&O episode—I think I basically said, “he went that way.” And I was privileged enough to be part of a celebrated play called The Good Negro, set during the civil rights era, and featuring a director, writer, and cast that have since become extremely important people—and not without a lot of hard work. As important as the gig was for me at the time, the people I got to work with have continued to inspire.
And I wrote a short stage comedy years ago called Balls Alive! about an air guitar band breaking up. It got picked up and was produced around the globe. That was a real thrill, and when it was licensed by a publisher, I made a commitment to share any performance royalties with the original cast and theatre, something I plan to do going forward. I’m very proud of that.
NY Elite: What type of scripts do you want to write in your career?
Brian Wallace: I’ll turn down nothing. You hear me? Nothing. If someone needs to shoot an industrial film about colonoscopies, I can get you a draft by tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I’ve got the main points covered, based on that conversation with my mother.
NY Elite: As a writer, what is the most important aspect of building a character?
Brian Wallace: In my experience, it would be making them relatable. That’s not as boring as it might seem at first, because there are so many hooks for that. If someone offers you a breath mint, but they don’t take one… what’s that about? Should I be offended? Didn’t we both just eat? That can go anywhere.
Superman spinning the Earth backwards so he can go back in time and bring Lois Lane back to life is cool. But Clark Kent trying to determine whether he should change clothes in a phone booth to stop a mugging or be on time to work… well, that’s a quandary.
NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?
Brian Wallace: I mentioned the web series Bad Agent, which we are trying to get made (www.badagentshow.com). I’ve written a few of those episodes, and I’m supposed to play the lead, assuming my colon holds up. We’re also doing the festival circuit for a mockumentary we made during the pandemic, Play On. It’s about a folk-rock singer reflecting on a career he hasn’t had yet. It’s been doing pretty well at festivals so far, and we just came back from London with a special screenplay commendation for it. And I think we’re set to drive out into the desert soon to shoot our first drama. If I don’t make it back, somebody do a documentary about it.
NY Elite: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
Brian Wallace: I really like gardening. I don’t know if that’s a creative expression on my part—the plants seem to do most of the work. But the final act is usually satisfying, and the plot is never predictable.
NY Elite: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a career in filmmaking/writing?
Brian Wallace: Don’t wait. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait for that greenlight. We already spend enough time stuck in traffic. If you like it and you think it’s good, then it’s ready. Do it yourself if you have to. Don’t chase after someone else’s audience. Eventually you’ll find your own.