Australian scriptwriter Brendan Gore is almost 30, but in the right context he could be mistaken for a first year uni student. But, behind his youthful persona Brendan has what can only be described as “life experience”.
“I was worried because I was like the ring leader of causing shit."
He's been a finalist in many prestigious script writing competitions such as the International Film Maker Awards, worked with the producer of cult classic Donnie Darko and has already written over 20 feature length films and over 100 short films. But, his life experience extends far beyond his successful career.
Brendan has a life philosophy that revolves around acceptance. He established this philosophy in an Indian monastery in his early 20s, where he was a Buddhist monk for six months on his search for enlightenment.
“When I was 20 I had a near death experience, to this day I don’t know what happened. On the way to the hospital [it was] peak hour traffic, Mum was driving and I remember I was frantic. But as I looked out the window and saw the sunset, the pain in my chest stopped. It was an indescribable feeling, and I knew I had to find it again.”
That’s when he started to chase that feeling, starting with religion. He laughs as he talks about being catholic growing up and describes it as a shirt he put on to make his Mum happy.
But essentially it wasn’t religion that was able to reignite that feeling; instead it was the people he met while in India that helped him find what he was looking for. He realised that finding that sense of bliss and peace is an internal process and there is no need "to make it a religion, obsession or to worship it, just let it be". He began to view people differently realising they were all a reflection of self.
Both Brendan and his co-writer and friend, Yannick Teijken agree that the idea of self-reflection and this outlook on life is something that is carried through their work when collaborating together, creating a personal perspective on characters and situations. After his time in India Brendan wrote his first award winning script Entangled Karma where the lead characters were a reflection of his inner conflict between materialism and enlightenment.
This script kicked off the career that had been beckoning him since he was 15. He first started writing scripts in year 10 Drama, where he would charge other students $10 to write their assessment for them.
The reminisce of a school boy smile runs fleetingly across Brendan’s face as he explainsthat one day he got caught out by the teacher and was asked to stay back after class. Brendan explains, “I was worried because I was like the ring leader of causing shit, but rather than getting angry she just said ‘these scripts are really good you should do this as a job’.”
At the time he took very little notice of it because he was set to play soccer professionally on the Australian team. His dream job was to be a professional goalie and he had almost made it when he injured his shoulder at training.
The subsequent nine months off ended his soccer career and kicked off scriptwriting. He says was 16 when he sent his first script to a Hollywood producer, “It was terrible! It was like a Scream rip-off, it was formatted like a play and my friend had just thrown it into a bin filled with grass clippings. So it smelt like shit and was covered in grass clippings so I put that in an envelope and sent it to America.” Needless to say that was one producer he never got a response from.