With over 20 years of experience in Hollywood, John Glenn is an esteemed screenwriter, producer, director, and investor. He was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
John Glenn began his screenwriting career in 1999 when he sold an original screenplay called Red World to Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney Pictures. From there, his career has grown to develop, selling, and producing dozens of projects with every major film and television network, including Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, Sony, Paramount, Fox and ABC, TNT, NBC, CBS, and Fox.
John Glenn delivered drafts of feature films including Journey to the Center of the Earth, Clash of the Titans, and did the production rewrite of Law Abiding Citizen. In addition, he wrote and directed The Lazarus Project, starring Paul Walker, and well as delivering a page one rewrite of Eagle Eye. He’s worked on re-imaginings for Blade Runner and The Warriors. He has partnered and worked with several high-profile producers, actors, and directors throughout his career.
With many connections and passions, John Glenn also actively seeks out investing opportunities. Recently, he has invested in a mobile educational platform called EssayPop and has recently partnered with Favilli Studio in Los Angeles to develop family-centric animated projects.
What do you love most about your industry?
It’s something new every day, which keeps my work exciting. I love working with different creative people and helping them fulfill their needs. Lately, I have also had time to focus on side projects that I’m passionate about. I recently wrote a spec pilot and a feature film just for me. Maybe I’ll sell them, and perhaps I won’t. I also like to invest in technology and creative opportunities, so I recently invested in EssayPop, an app that helps demystify the essay writing process for students. It’s a perfect distance learning tool that operates on their phones, tablets, or computers. I also recently partnered with Favilli Studios to start an animation division of my business, so I am very excited about that.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
E writer is bound to suffer from writer’s block at some point. Staring a blank page when you’re starting a new project is a nightmare. Some days the ideas just flow more freely than others. A lot of the time you know what you want to write, you just don’t know how to say it. I’ll typically start by making notes about what I want to write about. Freeform thoughts, dialogue, and themes because it helps to visualize it before getting started. If I do that and still feel like I can’t get started, I’ll write conversations between the characters with no intention of using them. Often those pieces end up to be some of the best.
What do you look for in potential investment opportunities?
I will only invest in projects with causes that I am passionate about. If I’m passionate about the cause, I will do everything in my power to help it succeed. I also need to be inspired by those who created these companies. EssayPop was created by a real middle school teacher and programmed by the schools ‘technical support guy’ – so it has a phenomenal story, and it’s very inspirational. There obviously needs to be some sort of demand for the service or company in order for me to invest or partner with that company. I was passionate about EssayPop because it makes teachers’ lives so much easier while teaching kids how to write in a much simpler way. It takes the fear out of staring at a blank screen. The platform will help a lot of children learn to write better. These children could be the next generation of writers. These factors also came into play when I recently chose to partner with Favilli Studios as well…
Why did you decide to partner with Favilli Studios?
I luckily happened to meet Andrea and Camille Favilli in 2019. Through our conversations, we quickly learned that we had a shared love of high-quality animation, the old school Disney and new school Pixar work, to be specific. Andrea and Camille had a unique background that intrigued me: part artists, part designers, and part storytellers, with the guiding light, professionally, being that everything they do is infused with art.
I’ve been involved in animation previously, but have always wanted to take a deeper dive into it professionally, in particular with the current demand for family content. Andrea and Camille were transitioning from their focus in entertainment tourism design (parks and resorts) and turning back toward the IP/original content space. After many meetings, we decided to team up and create a slate of family-friendly animated shows that can spin off into consumer products, gaming, publishing, and interconnected universes. As of the moment, we have an initial slate of eight shows in development and 15 additional properties in the pipeline.
What advice do you have for those wanting to start out in the industry?
When it comes to Hollywood, I think starting off in an agency if you are able to be a great bet. You’ll have to start on the bottom, which is usually in the mailroom, but over a short time you will learn a lot, and you will meet a lot of different people with interesting jobs. Through this, you’ll probably learn if you’d like to be a writer, a producer, a director, or even if you’d want to be an agent yourself. You’ll make a lot of connections too that could be vital for your future. I think the best way to get started is just to start at the bottom and discover what aspect you really want to get involved in.
How do you stay motivated?
The overall idea of creating something beautiful and powerful is what helps to keep me motivated. I am inspired by ideas, voices, and stories. It’s easy for me because my work is literally me. It’s what I do.
How do you cope with long workdays?
I am typically working 10 or 12 hour day, but I love what I do. When you love what you do, you don’t mind putting in the work. I always make sure I am home to have dinner with my family every night. Making time for family is very important and it also reminds me why I work – that it’s not just for me.
What defines you aside from your work?
It may seem like a cliché, but my family, friends, and faith as a Catholic really define me as a person.