Screenwriters come in all shapes and sizes. They come from a variety of backgrounds too – like football. That’s right, Andy Rodriguez-McCradic, Arizona based screenwriter, director, and producer (just to name a few) used to play football for Arizona State University before becoming a screenwriter. While he played for one of the most famous college football coaches, Frank Kush, he majored in Broadcast Journalism to pursue his passion for writing and broadcasting.
Andy’s professional journey into writing started in 1977 when he got his first magazine article published. He became a radio news anchor, radio host, newsmagazine contributor, TV news reporter and TV news writer – writing and producing over 1,100 NBC newscasts. Plus, he contributed to CNN, Univision, National Network reporter, BET news. He became an Assistant News Director at the young age of 24 and even went on to win a regional Emmy.
After being in front of the camera and behind the microphone, Andy fulfilled a dream of writing, directing and producing videos, televisions shows and films. He produced two local TV series in Phoenix. A real estate show called “Dreamhouse” aired for 1 ½ years, while a spirituality show called “Inspire and Awaken” aired for 4 years. He also wrote, directed and produced corporate videos (over 220), for municipalities like The City of Phoenix, Gilbert and El Mirage, Arizona and for a variety of foundations such as The Gates Foundation. He has interviewed or directed numerous famous personalities like Cesar Chavez, Deepak Chopra, Charles Schwab and Dr. Wayne Dyer – which he still produces to this day. That shows a testament for his talents.
Andy has made local documentaries that had profound impacts on the community, but feature and teleplay length works are the ones that were the most fun for him. When he set out to write, Andy said “he knew he could do it”. He’d put pen to paper, because “everything starts with a story … that’s all that matters” according to Andy. He wrote, directed and produced Darkfury (1994) – a film based from live action comic books. He has since expanded into the horror/suspense genre with Strange Places (2012). This super natural horror film is Andy’s 30th film, which bridges the gap of horror and paranormal, something that his audiences enjoy.
With distributers in the U.S., Tokyo, The Netherlands and 44 other countries (spanning five continents), Andy has become a global name in Arizona film and television production. His film expertise has landed him in local, national and international newspapers and film magazines. He’s been interviewed and featured on local television stations, but it has been his screenwriting that has piqued the interest of television channels such as the Syfy Channel.
Andy’s most important contribution to the Arizona film industry has been the fact that he writes, produces and distributes from his home state of Arizona – from script to screen. It all began back when he distributed Darkfury (1994). This film was the second Arizona film in Arizona history to be completed and distributed nationally and internationally. Why is that important? Because many people make Indy films, but “after a screening, it would end up on their home movie shelf” says Andy. But Andy was able to make a film and distribute it well before digital internet film technology was created and accessible – an unheard of feat during that time.
Creating and building the Arizona film industry has always been Andy’s passion, which is why he has hired and paid over 300 Arizonians to work on his projects. He founded New Phoenix Filmworks in 1993 that became Arizona’s leading Indy movie maker. In 2010 he went on to create Purple Box Filmed Entertainment.
Currently Andy is working on a rom com (that’s “romantic comedy” for you non-film folks). Andy wrote his rom com “Destination” back in 1995 and won’t reveal too much about the film other than sharing that “I’d been sitting on Destination for 18 years and decided it’s my best story and time to do something with it.” “Now that we’re actually going to have a modest budget ($200,000) I can finally get it into production and distribution” Andy exclaimed.
If you’re an Arizona film maker just starting out, Andy has this advice:
“there’s ‘Show Art’ and there’s ‘Show Business’. If you’re going to get in this field, do something that has value. Pay your people – don’t tell them you’ll get ‘great exposure’ because that’s nonsense – and get it in the national and international mix. Film festivals are fun, but sooner or later, you have to put yourself out there and do a film for real…otherwise, it’s just a hobby.”
Does Andy have a favorite super hero, director and film? He sure does: Fantastic Four, James Cameron and Signs. But what Andy wants readers to know is that he is a firm believer in making Arizona a viable film production state. He should know, he established the industry and has helped put Arizona on the show business map. He feels that:
“it would be awesome to have the means to create a working – day in and day out – sound stage film production facility, that could be a gathering place for all Phoenix based filmmakers to learn how to do this. Maybe “Destination’ will be the answer? Who knows? But the time for talking is over…it’s time to do.”
Creating an Arizona sound stage is a challenge that Andy welcomes. After all, he has been defeating the odds his whole life, and succeeding at it. If Andy’s dream becomes reality, you can be sure you’ll see Andy right there behind the camera shouting “action”.