Rising Through The Ranks: Anil Foreman
May 15, 2019
For the better part of three decades, writing was an afterthought for 35-year-old Anil Foreman.
Foreman went to college and became an administrative and healthcare attorney, and for years, the Atlanta native worked at the Georgia Department of Community Health.
“I always enjoyed writing, but I thought I needed a stable, professional job and I didn’t think writing was something I could do,” Foreman says. But one day a few years ago, her mindset started to shift. “I saw a movie and I thought, 'I could do better than that.'”
Foreman began writing screenplays on the side and, in 2017, she worked up enough courage to apply to the Universal Writers Program.
“I only had a few days to put together an application,” Foreman recalls. “I sent it off and thought, maybe something will happen, maybe it won’t.” Foreman was selected for a phone interview, an in-person interview, and then, in March 2018, she found out she’d been selected for the program.
“It was a roller coaster of emotions,” Foreman says. “I screamed through the phone and then immediately apologized. I was thrilled and so excited because when I applied, it was such a long shot.”
Foreman left her comfortable, stable job and moved to Los Angeles a few weeks later to pursue her dream. Foreman says she was in the program from April 2018 until April 2019 as one of the six writers chosen.
“We wrote two feature scripts over the course of the year,” Foreman says. “You’re matched with studios, producers and advisors to help you develop the scripts, and then the scripts were given consideration by Universal.”
Foreman says during the year she also experienced roundtables with executives and people in the industry. “We got the opportunity to learn about the process of pitching,” Foreman says. “What kind of material studios like, what genres they’re looking for.”
Then, once the program is done, Foreman says Universal has three years to consider the scripts. “It’s just the beginning,” Foreman says. She believes she was chosen for the Universal Program because of her original script, Clap Back, but also because of her life experience outside of Hollywood.
“I think they were looking for fresh, original voices and people with unique life experience as well,” Foreman says. “Having a legal background and being outside of Los Angeles helped me provide a different perspective.”
Since moving to L.A., Foreman’s perspective has also shifted. She realizes that although some take the same path, every writer’s journey is different. “I think we have a common conception of what the path should be,” Foreman says. “USC, intern, then writer’s assistant to staff writer… but I think there are a lot of different paths to success one can take. I keep meeting people and they didn’t all come straight from film school and they aren’t all someone's nephew.”
“I don’t think you should limit yourself based on the fact that you didn’t realize you were a writer until you were a little bit older.” Foreman also says. She surely didn’t limit herself, as she works toward getting staffed on a show and selling her original feature.
Her advice to anyone working outside of the industry who is thinking about uprooting their lives and taking the risk to move to Hollywood:
“To be a writer, you have to live a little. Having a completely different experience is helpful,” Foreman says. “You need experiences outside of the business to bring something to the business.”
“Life is short. It’s worth trying. If you’re passionate about something, even if it’s risky, you should go for it.” She adds, “I’d rather have regret about really messing up, than that I didn’t try at all.”
Written by: Allison Collins-SmithAllison Collins-Smith is a twice Emmy-nominated journalist who has worked as a television reporter and anchor in markets around the country. She has covered a variety of stories from the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia to President Trump’s travel ban in the fourth circuit court of appeals. Allison has also won AP awards for her work and a Catalyst For Change award from the Arc of Virginia for her reporting on the disabled community. Allison just moved to Los Angeles with her screen writer husband and two cats and is excited for all LA has to offer!