Artist Talk Q&A with Marcus J. Guillory on Starting a Career as a Screenwriter
Making the transition from one career to another is hard, no matter what business you’re in. If you have been thinking about making the switch from your 9-to-5 and jumping all in to screenwriting, this Q&A session with Lawyer-turned-Screenwriter Marcus J. Guillory could help.
This lesson is an Artist Talk Q&A session with Marcus J. Guillory and Letitia Guillory as moderator.
Marcus has written for Empire, Cloak & Dagger, Tales, the Breaks and many more!
Wherever you are on your screenwriting journey, check out this series. Also if you have pages you’d like table read, send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help put together a reading!
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Here’s a clip from screenwriter, Cheo Hodari Coker.
In the clip below he shares his process for writing:
About Marcus J. Guillory
Polymath. Guillory is from the neighborhood of Southpark, Houston, Texas. Marcus attended the University of Pennsylvania where he received a B.A. in Philosophy. While attending UPenn, he worked as a financial analyst at Hamilton Lane Advisors, private equity firm. Yet his artistic passions began to take form, having taught himself saxophone, trumpet, guitar and percussion. Marcus performing as a percussionist. After college, he enrolled at Tulane Law School in New Orleans. While pursuing a J.D., he studied, performed and recorded with world renown percussionist, Bill Summers of The Head Hunters and Los Hombres Calientes fame and started a Latin jazz fusion band, Taino, which received great praise in the New Orleans area. While in New Orleans, Guillory recorded and performed with George Clinton and P Funk, Cyrille Neville, The Meters, George Howard, N’Dea Davenport and many others.
After law school, Guillory served a brief stint at the Directors Guild in Hollywood then began a sojourn with the entertainment law firm of Bobbitt & Roberts as their protégé attorney, spending four years as a full service entertainment attorney, working in film, music, TV, internet, literature and more. His client list included Spike Lee, Usher, MTV, BET and more.
Later, Guillory left the law practice to head development for an old client, Ruff Ryders Entertainment. While at Ruff Ryders Films, Guillory began writing and ushered in his new path as writer – producer – auteur.
Today, he continues to write for film and television in Hollywood with his first film, Karma, Confessions & Holi, making him the first American to write a produced Bollywood movie. Guillory has written films for Paramount Pictures, BET, Sony Pictures, Wood Harris, Antoine Fuqua, Djimon Hounsou, Laurence Fishbourne and other top-level Hollywood talent. Marcus has also developed film projects for music talent such as Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Damian Marley, Lil’ John, Nellie, Pharrell Williams, Chronixx and other chart-topping talent.
In 2012, Guillory produced a documentary, Indians and Cowboys, about the Lakota Sioux in Pine Ridge, South Dakota at the invitation of the late Chief Oliver Redcloud.
Guillory is a 2016 Sundance Screenwriters Lab Fellow for his original screenplay, Gully, which premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Starring, Terrence Howard, Amber Heard, Jonathon Majors, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Jacob Latimore and others. His avant-garde French New Wave comedy, Pas Honteux, has gathered several film fests wins, resulting in an animated-comedy-in-development deal at FXX.
His first novel Red Now And Laters (2014 Atria Books/Simon & Schuster) received great critical acclaim, including a starred Kirkus Review and shortlisted for the 2014 Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His short stories can be found at thuglit.com, Outcry Magazine, Secret Attic (UK), Dogmatika Magazine and other literary periodicals.
In non-scripted television, Guillory has worked as a creative executive and story producer in reality television for MTV, E!, CourtTV, BBC and others.
In scripted television, Guillory has written and produced on Vh1’s The Breaks, BET’s Tales, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger and Fox’s Empire.
In music, Guillory returned to his music background in 2007 by DJing and producing house music (under the moniker “Mateo Senolia”), culminating into a partnership with 89.9 KCRW Los Angeles radio personality, Garth Trinidad – Trinidad Senolia. The Trinidad-Senolia unit created the new dance/spoken word genre called “Lit House” where Trinidad would recite Marcus’ writings over house/alternative music produced by Marcus (as Mateo Senolia.) In 2012, Trinidad-Senolia signed at record deal with house music legend Osunlade’s Yoruba Records. As “Mateo”, Marcus has produced remixes for such artists as Body Language (Om Records), Kelis (Ninjatune), Little Dragon, Electric Wire Hustle (okayplayer), Sid of The Internet, Banks, Lana Del Rey, Gabrielle Poso and many more. He’s also scored commercials for Vitamin A Swimwear, bloodsweatandtears clothing and other companies.