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West Virginia screenwriter is making his mark in Hollywood

The Free Press WV

A Bluefield native is taking Hollywood by storm after years of work and practice.

Brian T. Arnold was raised in Bluefield, WV, attended Bluefield High School and graduated from Concord University with a broadcast journalism degree.

Seven years ago, he moved to Los Angeles, Calif. to pursue a career in writing for film and television. He studied at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, wrote and performed for the iO West Theater and wrote for the CBS Diversity Comedy Showcase.

“The Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB) is an improv and sketch comedy school and theater,“ Arnold said. “It was founded by Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts. They founded it in New York City and brought it to Los Angeles.“

While Arnold did not pursue a career with UCB past the “house team,“ he said that he learned a lot there about comedy and his own craft. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2012, his career has taken flight and opportunities opened up for him.

“Career-wise, it was a huge change, it was a lot of part-time, stay alive jobs in the beginning,“ Arnold said. “Just to keep going and build on what I was passionate about and making enough money to get by.“

Arnold began his career in journalism, but always knew he wanted to be a screenwriter.

“I always loved movies and TV shows,“ Arnold said. “I have wanted to do it since I was a kid and writing scripts with my sister. I worked as a producer at WVVA for a while and wrote movie reviews for The Bluefield Daily Telegraph for a while.“

Arnold’s real “breakout year” was 2018. He was awarded for his latest script and interviewed about them.

Arnold wrote in an email, “Recently, I was honored to be mentioned on two prestigious Hollywood writing lists: The Hit List, which is a list of the best spec screenplays of the year, and the Young & Hungry List, a list of Hollywood’s Top 100 New Writers. I was also interviewed by Creative Screenwriting, an industry magazine and blog.“

The script Arnold was honored for is called “Friend of the Show.“ The description of the show is as follows: “When a high profile news host is kidnapped by a deranged fan with ties to an extremist group, a young reporter finds herself at the heart of a conspiracy that has it sites set on assassinating the party-unifying candidate in line to become the next President of the United States. Think Michael Clayton meets Gone Girl.“

Arnold is now working on a couple different projects and said doors have been opened for him since being mentioned on The Hit List and Young and Hungry List.

“The script that I wrote and am focusing on now is more of a thriller, drama, there is some humor now it is satirical, it is easier to get in the door with thrillers,“ Arnold said.

Arnold credits his variety of interests with his success as a screenwriter. Having a background in comedy and journalism gives him an interesting and fresh perspective when writing.

“I have a lot of different interests but I always want to direct at some point, acting is a fun thing but not something that I am pursuing,“ Arnold said. “It took me a few years to get my foot in the door and I am happy to be here.“

Of his hometown, Arnold said he enjoys visiting home and walking the same streets he did as a high schooler and college student, dreaming of the life he has now. His last visit was in Thanksgiving of 2018.

“I live in the middle of Hollywood so I miss living in a small town and friends and family in the area,“ Arnold said. “ I do not get to visit as often as I would like to, my parents live in S.C., and my sister moved to Tenn., but I was home for Thanksgiving catching up with a lot of family it was really cool to be back in Bluefield.“

~~  EMILY RICE ~~

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