After years of juggling several miscellaneous jobs, working for big Hollywood names and putting his own screenwriting ambitions on the back burner, Woodward native Bryan Dick is at last getting his chance to shine.
A full-length film titled “Gone Missing,” starring actress Daphne Zuniga (“One Tree Hill,” “Melrose Place”), could be Dick's big game-changer.
The thriller chronicling the not-so-relaxing spring break of a mother and daughter premieres at 7 p.m. Saturday on Lifetime cable network. The storyline follows a mother, Zuniga, whose daughter goes missing while vacationing. Drama unfolds around the investigation into her disappearance.
“I think it kind of taps into an innate fear that we all have about losing loved ones and sort of the trauma that we go through with that,” Dick said. “That is what good suspense does, is tap into fears that we all have.”
As a high school freshman, Dick was exposed to screenwriting through his mother's humanities class. During this early stage in his writing, he fell in love with the work of Alfred Hitchcock, and this is perhaps why thriller films such as “Gone Missing” are slowly becoming his specialty.
Never stopped writing
It took Dick nearly 20 years to get to where he is now. Throughout his days in the Critical Studies program at the University of Southern California, Dick worked many glamorous and not-so-glamorous jobs, but always surrounded himself with movies; from cashiering at Blockbuster video stores to interning for Gray Frederickson, producer of “The Godfather” films.
“It's been a major ride, up and down,” he said.
However, following graduation, he was thrown onto the roller coaster called finding a real job, which is not a simple task in the movie industry. He held mundane jobs as a film development assistant and a restaurant host, neither furthering his career, but he never stopped writing.
“When I was working at the restaurant I would get home, put on a pot of coffee and write until 3:30, 4 in the morning,” Dick said.
His journey led him next to Brian Grazer, the co-founder of Imagine Entertainment, working as his house assistant and then as an office manager.
After nearly 10 years around Imagine, Dick was offered his big break writing “Gone Missing” and he jumped at it, he said.
Sharon Bordas, MarVista Entertainment senior vice president of development and production, pitched the project to Dick in February after reading several of his scripts, she said.
“I'm always looking for people to write smart, well-crafted thrillers, and on the page Bryan was clearly that guy,” Bordas said.
Throughout the process of filming “Gone Missing,” Bordas said, Dick was on set almost daily, which in her experience is very rare for writers.
“He jumped in to help; he's even an extra in the film,” she said.
Dick said he couldn't be more excited to be a part of this project.
“To actually have something that is going to be available for mass consumption is great because I have had a lot of starts and stops; a lot of moments where I am thinking this is where it's going to happen, this is where things are going to start rolling, and then it just doesn't.”
Dick said he is positive about the future. One completed script has been filmed; a MarVista film currently titled “Off Season” and another, “Lion's Den,” are being looked at and could possibly be shot this summer. No official dates have been set for either.
As a longtime producer, Bordas said she sees obvious talent in the Oklahoma writer. After working with Dick on “Gone Missing,” she said she is positive he will continue working to achieve his dreams.
“I think Bryan will keep writing, which is the best future I can foresee for any writer in this business,” she said. “And I hope he'll keep writing for me.”