Burnt Hills has gone Hollywood, kind of.
Brent Simons, a '93 graduate of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, is co-author of Megamind, the 3D animated superhero comedy film starring the voices of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt and David Cross. He said seeing one of his screenplays make it onto the big screen is literally a dream come true.
"It's been absolutely amazing. Since I was a kid, something I've always dreamed about was writing a story and seeing it up on screen," said Simons.
Simons and his writing partner Alan J. Schoolcraft racked up "astronomical" phone bills creating "Megamind," writing it coasts apart with Simons based in California and Schoolcraft in New York, while both working minimum wage jobs.
"Megamind" wasn't an instant hit, not immediately selling when Simons and Schoolcraft put it out to the film scene in 2003. What it did do, though, was put them on the map. The yet-to be picked up script was what Simons calls, their calling card.
"It opened the doors for us. It got us an agent, got us screenwriting assignments where the producers come to you with an idea," said Simons.
It was on his fifth wedding anniversary that his life changed again.
"I got a call out of the blue that Ben Stiller and Dreamworks Animation wanted to make [our screenplay] into a movie," said Simons. "From there, it was another four year process because animation take so long."
The film was originally written to be a live action movie, but Simons said not much about the script was adapted to fit animation. Throughout the entire process, Simons was kept in the loop.
"Pretty much what we wrote initially is up on screen. It was great because they kept us involved the entire time and we did work very closely with the artists going back and forth to see what works," said Simons.