The BAFTA-winning writer-directors of The Lego Movie unpick their collaborative writing process and offer in-depth screenwriting advice.
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“Everything is awesome” may be a song title from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s film The Lego Movie (2014), but it could just as easily be used to describe the careers of the writer-director-producer duo right now. The pair, collectively known as Lord Miller, are on the up-and- up, bringing the Midas effect to seemingly every new film they touch. Perhaps a key to this success is their versatility, the ability to switch seamlessly between the guises of writers, directors and producers. They also seem to have an inherent understanding of pop culture and how to imaginatively use it to generate the greatest laughs.
That’s certainly evident in The Lego Movie. It was also a key element in the success of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009), the animated film that first set them on their current golden path. Outside of screenwriting, it’s hard to ignore Lord Miller’s other successes. Over the past decade or so, they have co-executive produced 17 episodes (and wrote two) of the How I Met Your Mother; they directed live-action comedy 21 Jump Street (2012) and its sequel 22 Jump Street (2014) and directed and executive produced the pilot episode of the golden globe-winning Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It must all seem a far cry from their days at Dartmouth College in the US, where the pair first met while taking an introductory animation course. This led to jobs developing Saturday morning cartoons for Disney, before they had their first primetime television experience creating Clone High (2000).