Megan Martin: It’s Canadian screenwriters’ time to shine

"It's very good, if you're serious about writing, to put yourself in that (L.A.) market and see how you do," the Canadian scribe told Playback.

Canadian screenwriter Megan Martin will go up to Banff, Alberta in August when Jeremiah Chechik starts shooting the indie feature Sex and Sunsets, based on her screenplay adaptation of a novel by Tim Sandlin.

But the irony is that screenplay, which Martin penned in 2008 for Serendipity Point Films, is what secured her a foothold as a working Hollywood scribe.

“That project (Sex and Sunsets) more than anything else got me my first job doing here, which was developing a romantic comedy with Hugh Jackman, and that was based on Sun and Sunsets, which was a draft at the time,” Martin told Playback on the phone from Los Angeles, where she’s currently a supervising producer on CW’s Cult series.

And Sex and Sunsets, to star True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten, finally getting to camera has delayed to spring 2013 another of Martin’s movie projects, The Ramones is My Dad, which is also to be produced by Serendipity Point Films.

Martin insists she wants to direct her first feature in Canada, even as she continues to work both sides of the border.

“You have to keep challenging yourself as a writer and working in different ways. I love the challenge of working with a team, as well as developing the tiny features that your heart breaks over when the draft isn’t right,” she said of working in Los Angeles writing rooms, while also working on her own to develop her own projects.

Martin adds the Canadian industry can only benefit from homegrown screenwriters developing their craft south of the border before bringing their skills and honed scripts back home.

“I really have strong relationships with producers in Canada that I really adore and really want to continue to develop things with. I feel I do exist in both markets. I hope to always do that,” she insisted.

Here Martin commends her Canadian training for allowing her to survive and thrive in Hollywood.

“When I did my first feature writing assignment here, when I first went to outline, the process was really very seamless. And I remember thinking that happened because of all those bloody outlines that I did through Telefilm Canada development, and was incredibly thankful for that,” she said.

Martin also did a training stint at the Canadian Film Centre, which she also has proved indispensable as she makes her way stateside.

The irony is, while American screenwriters are struggling as Hollywood attempts to deal with the DVD slump and get round the digital curve, the major networks are increasingly partnering with Canadian producers to tap tax credits and other soft money available north of the border.

“I think it’s a special time. What I think is exciting about exposing yourself to the Los Angeles market is it’s so competitive and there’s a lot of great material here,” Martin said.

“So it’s very good, if you’re serious about writing, to put yourself in that market and see how you do. You need to challenge yourself to compare your stuff with every other writer who’s trying it,” she added.