Lipscomb students and alumni gathered in Shamblin theatre on Friday for the College of Entertainment and Arts’ first speaker of the year.
Film and TV writer Allan Heinberg has written for films and TV shows, such as “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Wonder Woman.” He’s also written comics for both DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment.
Heinberg started the night talking about his upbringing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, being both Jewish and openly gay. After graduating high school, he soon realized that Tulsa was not the place for him, so he attended Yale University to study acting.
While at Yale, Heinberg was active in his craft. He auditioned for and performing in many shows, but he felt his true passion was writing. After graduating from Yale, the “Wonder Woman” writer spent 10 years on Broadway performing.
In that time, he experienced the woes of being an actor while starring in “Laughter on the 23rd Floor.” Soon after that, he decided that acting wasn’t for him. After appearing in two other plays, he decided to reevaluate his career. It was then that the GLAAD Media Award winning writer chose to transition to behind-the-scenes and become a writer.
During the Friday night event, he analyzed some scenes from “The Catch” and “Wonder Woman.” He explained that his style of writing is based on realistic relationships. He gave an example of that in a scene from “The Catch.”
Heinberg conveyed how the characters’ relationship between each other affects the tension in the scene. Relationships being his focus, Heinberg told the audience that his message in the movie was not action but connection.
He then credited his years of acting for helping his ability to write the best stories for his cast. He also expressed how maturity in actors determines the success of his writing.
When analyzing the scene from “Wonder Woman,” the Emmy-nominated writer told the audience how the superhero was one of his biggest influences growing up. He said making the film was a long process. The journey began when he wrote a pilot for a “Wonder Woman” TV show on the CW, only to have it cancelled.
He gave credit to his friend, Geoff Johns, President and Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics, for the opportunity to write the movie.
At the end of the event, Heinberg gave a final word of advice to the acting hopefuls in the crowd. “If acting is the field of choice for you,” he said, “then you should love what you do no matter how much you get paid.”