bio and credits
SHORT BIO: Peter Hanson is the director of films including the acclaimed 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.” He also co-wrote the narrative feature “The Last Round,” and he writes the daily blog “Every 70s Movie.” Additionally, Hanson is a screenwriting professor and 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, 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 read and analyzed scripts for Film Independent’s Filmmaker Labs, and he was on the producing team for the Saturn Awards for several years. In 2005, the narrative feature “The Last Round,” cowritten by Hanson, was released, and in 2006, 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, Hanson wrote and line-produced a series of irreverent promotional videos for Mini Movie Channel. For "Script" magazine, he created and wrote a monthly column titled "Beyond the Page," and for Yahoo! Voices, he wrote about movie-releated topics. Hanson's Yahoo! articles received over 700,000 page views, and he won a Yahoo! Contributor Award. More recently, he has penned articles for "Written By," the official magazine of the Writers Guild of America, West.
In early 2010, Hanson completed a major nonfiction project about screenwriting, simultaneously releasing the work as a book and a movie. The book, titled "Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories," was released by HarperCollins Publishers. The documentary feature film was released by First Run Features. The book and DVD are available here. The “Tales from the Script” project has received widespread acclaim, with Leonard Maltin praising the film as “a hidden gem” and Jon Favreau recommending the film for “insight into screenwriting.” The book received praise including a starred review in “Booklist.” Also in 2010, Hanson sold his action/horror script “Savage,” based on a story cowritten with Academy Award winner Thomas Curley, to independent production company Picture Road LLC, and launched the daily blog "Every 70s Movie," To date, the blog has notched more than 2.5 million page views, and Hanson has written original reviews of more than 2,000 movies from the years 1970 to 1979. Recent 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 Hanson wrote and directed.
Hanson has several projects in development, including the dramatic feature film "The Eulogist," which he wrote; the first installment of a crime-novel series set in the film industry; and a new nonfiction book, “Scriptbuilding: A Common-Sense Approach to Screenwriting.” Additionally, Hanson works as a freelance screenwriting professor, teaching at Pepperdine University and guest-lecturing at UCLA, and as a freelance screenwriting consultant. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Leslie.
The Eulogist. Feature. Writer. (in development)
Scriptbuilding: A Common Sense Approach to Screenwriting. Nonfiction book. (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 (2002)
Every Pixel Tells A Story. Documentary feature. Writer, producer, director (2002)
Dalton Trumbo, Hollywood Rebel. Nonfiction book (2001)