bio and credits
SHORT BIO: Peter Hanson is the director of films including the screenwriting documentary "Tales from the Script," and the author of the books “Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel” (a finalist for the Theatre Library Association Award), “The Cinema of Generation X,” and “Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories.” Additionally, Hanson is a film professor at Pepperdine University and UCLA Extension, a contributing editor at "Written By" magazine, and a script consultant. A Michigan native, Hanson did his undergraduate film studies at NYU and earned his MFA in screenwriting at UCLA.
LONG BIO: Michigan native Hanson studied film and screenwriting at New York University, where his instructors included celebrated documentarians Jim Brown (“The Weavers”), Christine Choy (an Oscar nominee for “Who Killed Vincent Chin?”), and Michel Negroponte (“Jupiter’s Wife”). He also studied journalism at the University at Albany. Hanson worked extensively in student journalism during his college years, then began a ten-year career as a writer/editor for various publications in upstate New York. Hanson’s work for newspapers included features, hard news, interviews, and reviews, in addition to managerial duties. During this period, Hanson worked on several independent film productions, occupying such roles as assistant director, story consultant, and storyboard artist.
Hanson's first book, "Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel,” was the first full-length study of the title subject's screenwriting oeuvre, which includes such classics as "Exodus," "Roman Holiday," and "Spartacus." Originally published in 2001, the book was a finalist for the National Theatre Library Association Award. Reissued as a paperback in 2007, and also republished (as a translated edition) in Japan, the book led to Hanson’s inclusion in the documentary feature "Trumbo." Hanson's follow-up book, "The Cinema of Generation X,” explored the work of filmmakers including Kevin Smith, Steven Soderbergh, and Quentin Tarantino through the prism of generational identity. “The Cinema of Generation X” was published to favorable reviews in 2002.
Hanson's professional filmmaking debut was a 2002 documentary short about the interaction between high school students in Columbia County, New York, and their filmmaking advisor Courtney Hunt (the Oscar-nominated writer-director of "Frozen River"). Hanson’s featurette was shown at the 2002 FilmColumbia festival. That same year, Hanson made the feature-length documentary "Every Pixel Tells a Story." To launch the film and to amplify its theme of digital filmmaking unifying the community of independent filmmakers in and around Albany, New York, Hanson organized the well-attended Capital Region Digital Film Expo. The feature version of “Every Pixel Tells a Story” screened at regional festivals, and an hour-long version appeared on PBS affiliate WMHT.
In 2003, Hanson relocated to Los Angeles, where he has completed numerous freelance screenwriting assignments and served as a consultant for many aspiring and professional screenwriters. He analyzed scripts for Film Independent’s Filmmaker Labs, and he was on the producing team for the Saturn Awards for several years. Narrative feature “The Last Round,” which Hanson cowrote, was completed in 2005. The following year, Hanson launched the production company Grand River Films. That same year, he wrote the fantasy novella “The Mourning Queen.” In 2007, Hanson wrote and directed the comedy/drama short "Stagehand." The following year, he wrote and line-produced several promotional videos for Mini Movie Channel. Soon afterward, Hanson created the monthly column "Beyond the Page" for "Script" magazine, and he wrote about movies for Yahoo! Voices. Hanson's Yahoo! articles received over 700,000 page views, and he won a Yahoo! Contributor Award.
In early 2010, Hanson completed a major nonfiction project about screenwriting, simultaneously releasing a book and a movie. The book, titled "Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories," was issued by HarperCollins Publishers. The documentary feature film, simply titled "Tales from the Script," was released by First Run Features and subsequently streamed on Netflix for four years before shifting to its current streaming home on Amazon Prime. The "Tales" project received widespread acclaim, with Leonard Maltin praising the film as a "hidden gem" and Jon Favreau recommending the film for "insight into screenwriting." Also in 2010, Hanson and cowriter Thomas Curley sold their action/horror script "Savage" to independent production company Picture Road. Later the same year, Hanson launched the daily blog "Every '70s Movie," featuring pithy original reviews of nearly 3,000 movies released from 1970 to 1979; to date, the blog has notched more than 3.5 million views. (To visit the blog, click here.) From 2012 to 2015, Hanson earned his MFA in screenwriting at UCLA.
Hanson's other projects include the 2011 comedy short "Closure," starring Scott Krinsky of the NBC TV series "Chuck," and the 2014 comedy short "The Pre-Interview," both of which he wrote and directed. In 2017, Hanson wrote the dramatic short "Exposure" for producer/director J.D. Funari. In 2018, he was named a contributing editor at "Written By" magazine, for which he has authored a number of stories about writing for film and television, interviewing such noteworthy figures as Guillermo del Toro, Damon Lindelof, and Aaron Sorkin.
In addition to teaching screenwriting at Pepperdine University and film studies at UCLA Extension, Hanson is a freelance screenwriting consultant. For information on his services, click here.
Hanson lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Leslie.
The Eulogist. Feature. Writer. (in development)
Exposure. HD short. Writer (2017)
The Pre-Interview. HD short. Writer, producer, director (2014)
Closure. HD short. Writer, producer, director (2011)
Advice for New Screenwriters. Featurette. Writer, producer, director (2010)
The Gospel According to Bill. Featurette. Writer, producer, director (2010)
More Tales from the Script. Extended featurette. Writer, producer, director (2010)
Tales from the Script. Nonfiction book. Author, editor, photographer (2010)
Tales from the Script. Documentary feature. Writer, producer, director (2009)
Stagehand. DV short. Writer, producer, director (2007)
Trumbo. Documentary participant (2007)
The Mourning Queen. Novella (2006)
The Mysterious Kid. Series. Treatment for client (2006)
Personal Injury. Pilot. Teleplay for client (2006)
The Last Round. Feature. Cowriter (2005)
Deathtracks. Feature. Rewrite for client (2004)
Throwing Stones. 16mm short. Writer, producer, director (2003)
Chatham High School Film Project: Behind the Scenes. Featurette. Writer, producer, director (2002)
The Cinema of Generation X. Nonfiction book. Author (2002)
Every Pixel Tells a Story. Documentary feature. Writer, producer, director (2002)
Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel. Nonfiction book. Author (2001)