Broken Road’s Sean Robins On The Life Of A Creative Executive


Sean Robins, Creative Executive & Producer from Broken Road Productions took some time out to chat to Creative Screenwriting Magazine about his career.

Describe a good and bad day in the life of a creative executive.

As a film and TV producer, you come to find that every day has a mix of both good and bad. Good days are whenever you set up a new project, get a green light, start a movie, wrap a movie or have a movie opening. Bad days are every other day of the year. But when you love what you do (and you can wear shorts doing it) life isn’t so bad.

How many film and TV projects do you currently have in active and inactive development? What determines how many projects you have in each category? What determines when something in active development?

Generally, I work on around 75 active film projects and 10-15 TV projects. Some are in the idea stage, others are being written, some we are packaging with talent. If we love a project it never truly becomes inactive. We just sold Players to Paramount Pictures. It’s a project we’d been working on for years that hopefully, will be in production later this year.

How long is the screenplay development process typically?

I like to think of script development as a pyramid. The first draft of a screenplay is the base. The second draft you’re narrowing in on the movie and by the third draft, you’re toward the top. If we don’t see the movie by that draft either it’s the wrong idea, we’ve chosen, the wrong writer or I’m the wrong person to help develop the material. From there we never stop developing as the movie script will continue to change even during production. It can last anywhere from months to years.

What attracts you more to a project? Story or marketability? What’s more important- the writer’s vision or profitability?

Story first. A great story can always be marketed. You always start with the screenwriter. If they don’t have a vision for the story, they aren’t a writer.

Creative Screenwriting Magazine

Sean Robins

Do you have any passion projects dying to get made?

I’d like to think every project of mine is a passion project dying to get made.  It’s such a hard process to get a movie made that you have to believe in all your projects to find success. Are there some I gravitate toward a little more? For sure.

What films made during the last decade do you wish you produced?

There have been a ton of movies I’ve loved but never any I wished I produced. I’m always happy for my fellow movie producers and execs when they get their material made.

How has the film industry changed in the past five years and how do you see it evolving in the next five?

With the advent of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and new players entering, the content world like Facebook, Snapchat etc. there is more room today than ever for new content. The content on TV is fantastic and the lines between features and TV are being blurred.  That being said, we live in a world where we are competing for viewers’ attention and aggregators like Rottentomatoes have made it an almost all or nothing for films on their opening weekend. Probably the biggest change to come is the potential narrowing of the release window which seems more and more likely to happen.

 Is the multitude of film distribution platforms a blessing or a curse?

Blessing. The more ways in which we have to get our film and TV content out into the world the better. This also presents more screenwriting opportunities.

How/ where do you find story ideas to adapt into movies?

Everywhere. I found a project on Facebook. I found a project in a used bookstore.  I troll the internet looking for inspiration. I read as much as possible. I try to learn about new things every week because you never know where inspiration will strike.

How do you balance being a creative executive/ producer with other parts of your life?

Unfortunately, the balance isn’t always healthy. I make sure I am home every morning when my daughter wakes up and home every evening to play with her before bed. I take an hour to myself every day to go to the gym. The rest of the time I’m in the office or I have a film or TV script in my lap or I’m teaching. It is exhausting and rewarding, but it never stops.

 What are the current screenwriting trends?

As much as I read in a week (parts or all of 40-50 scripts), I’m not sure I really see trends in scriptwriting.

Apart from typos, spelling etc, what irks you the most about certain screenplays submitted to you?

Bad ideas and flawed execution. And unfortunately, you see this way too often.  Writing is terribly hard. Writing well, even harder.

 What would you be doing if you weren’t in the film business?

Teaching. Traveling. Eating. Playing with my daughter. And if it weren’t for math, maybe be an architect.



Sean Robins has been at Broken Road since its inception and has been a partner for the last nine years. Robins has helped steer Broken Road’s slate including films such as PAUL BLART: MALL COP and PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2, KNIGHT AND DAY, ZOOKEEPER, HERE COMES THE BOOM, SORCERER’S APPRENTICE, JACK AND JILL, INTO THE STORM, THE SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, TRUE MEMOIRS OF AN INTERNATIONAL ASSASSIN, NAKED, and the forthcoming CADAVER, TAG, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC, 1974 and HAUNT all in production or pre-production amongst others. On the television side, Broken Road produced MTV’s cooking show SNACKOFF and has recently sold over a dozen new projects. Starting at George Clooney’s Maysville Pictures, and then running Robert Lawrence Productions for seven years, Robins has used his writing degrees both as a Producer and as a writer, having optioned many of his scripts in the past. Robins is a graduate of Northwestern University and participated in the Peace Corps Partnership for Service Learning in Kingston, Jamaica. There he worked for the Jamaican Human Rights Council while taking classes at the University of Technology. Robins grew up in the food and beverage business and parlayed his love of food into a fourteen-year, four thousand plus restaurant journey that saw him become the first and only person to eat at every restaurant listed in a Zagat Guide. Featured on CNN, KCRW’s Good Food, NBC, Delish, The Daily Meal, Robins created the concept for the restaurant ChocoChicken with partner Adam Fleischman of Umami Burger and 800 Degrees fame. <br> <table> <tr> <td><a href=""><img src="" style="height:25px"></a> </td> <td><a href=""></a> </td> </tr> </table>

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