As a screenwriter (writing as Kathy Mackel), Kathryn Mackel has worked for Disney, Fox, and Showtime. She’s famous with the kids for the Disney movie Can of Worms. She was the credited screenwriter for Frank Peretti's Hangman's Curse (with Stan Foster) and part of the story team for Left Behind: The Movie.
See Kathy’s movies here:
WHAT’S A MIDDLE-AGED MOM DOING IN HOLLYWOOD?
I was an English major back in the days when that meant I was suited to do nothing but type
when I got out of college. I became a secretary, got married, had two great kids, and found Christ.
When my children were in middle-school I began to mull what I would be when I “grew up.” As an English major with no teaching credits and no journalism background, I had few vocational skills.
Then PCs and VCRs and microwaves came along, with instructions that drove users nuts. A new career field sprung up—technical writing. The Biochemistry minor I obtained with my English major worked me into this new career niche.
I eventually got a job at a major corporation that made great products, treated its customers well, and offered me a great future. I took advantage of tuition reimbursement and entered a part-time Masters program, focusing on Professional Writing. A semester came along with only tech writing—my specialty—being offered so I was at a loss what to take.
At the age of 41 I took my first fiction writing course. I almost dropped out of the class—my classmates included a journalist, a novelist, and a published short-story writer. My secretary shamed me into staying. I survived. Barely. But I had a blast and so, when the next semester offered Screenwriting, my friends talked me into taking that with them.
For the first time in my life I found a talent. Perhaps it was because I had literally been raised in a movie theatre—my father had been a projectionist and took me there during the day while he cleaned, then kept me with him in the booth while he ran the matinee showing. Or perhaps it was because I was the kid in the neighborhood who orchestrated all the imaginative play. Whatever the reason, something was awakened in me that I had no idea I possessed.
I began writing scripts. Hollywood is a tough, tough place to sell into. My writing professor advised me to write a kids’ book. (Silly us—as if kids’ books are easier to write than anything else…)
Bottom line: The month I turned 45 I sold my first book out of the slush pile. The editor told me it was a million-to-one shot that they bought something out of the slush pile. Three weeks later I sold my first screenplay—out of the Hollywood equivalent of the slush pile. The studio exec told me that it was a million-to-one shot that they bought something that way.
You do the math. It adds up to impossible.
Because the truth is this: only God could send a middle-aged mom to Hollywood.
And He’s kept me busy ever since. Each day is a blessing, each year another adventure.
What’s He got in store for you? It’s never too late to find out.