As the Director of Development at FilmEngine, Devin Andre oversees creation of screenplays from idea to a workable production draft. He works with writers, producers, agents, studio executives, directors, financiers, among many others. He began his entertainment career at Creative Artists Agency in 2006, working in both Motion Picture and Television Literary departments. After two years, he moved to Participant Media, where he worked on many projects, including The Crazies, The Help, Contagion, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. In 2011, Andre took the next step in his career and worked at Underground Films, where he identified, spearheaded, and closed negotiations for the rights to Where in the World is Carmen San Diego, setting up the project at Walden Media with Darren Lemke attached as the writer and Jennifer Lopez attached as the star. Andre is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in History and is a Santa Rosa, CA native.
Tell us about your background. What inspired you to want to make movies, and what led you to your current position as Director of Development for FilmEngine?
Since as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to change the world. My early years were spent in the world of politics thinking it would be the best arena to achieve my goals. Funny enough, it took 15 minutes during a one-on-one with Jeffrey Katzenberg (while interning at DreamWorks Animation) where he convinced me that filmmaking is where I should be. I graduated from college, moved to LA, and have loved every day since.
Have you always been interested in science? How did you acquire your interest in science?
In movie terms – most people in the world would love to have the magical talents of Harry Potter. The amazing thing is that it is possible! It might not be as easy as using a wand and a spell, but the magic of our world is in science. My interest stems from the inventions and technology created for the improvement of our world, made possible by people with a mastery of science.
When you first find a story that you want to make into a film – maybe a book or a news article or a script – what are some of the qualities you look for as you decide to bring it to the screen?
I always try to remember that movies are meant to entertain. Laugh, cry, be motivated, or have a new perspective in life, the best movies are ones where each member of the audience walks away feeling something. I approach all stories through that filter and from there work on showing them something they have never seen before.
Generally, how has The Exchange helped you in developing ideas?
Every day writers, directors, and producers scale countless sources of information to identify a kernel of an idea that can serve as the central character, device, or basis for a movie. The Exchange is the best version of that search. I get to interact with the greatest minds on subjects I find fascinating. In one conversation or lecture I am exposed to ideas that I might never have considered.
Why do you think filmmakers seem to be increasingly interested in getting the science right?
Storytelling is currently in the middle of a revolution. Internet and the immediate access to information have made audiences smarter. This exposure to information has catalyzed a desire for grounded, believable, and relatable narratives. In order to service that need, filmmakers have spent considerable labors to ensure the science of their film is as close to the truth as possible.