Sara Parriott Graham is a successful Hollywood screenwriter whose most recent accomplishment includes co-writing the popular Disney Channel Movie, The Descendants. Currently working on the sequel, Sara took time from her busy schedule to fill us in on her Findlay roots as well as what life in the movie business looks like.
Sara moved to Findlay at the age of six and spent the majority of her childhood years here. She reminisces about her fond memories of small-town living, “I loved playing kick the can with all the neighborhood kids. There were no fences between yards. Everyone was called in by dinner bells and we would go right back out until dark…It was such a free and fun way to grow up.”
From Findlay to LA
Although Sara describes herself as part of the art crowd at Findlay High School, it wasn’t until she was thirty that she got into screenwriting. “I went to art school, Rhode Island School of Design, and studied textile design but ended up not liking it. I eventually moved to Los Angeles where my brother was a screenwriter. I wrote humor books for awhile but ended up in screenwriting. I loved it and it was a perfect time in the industry for women. By then I was writing with my best friend, Josann McGibbon, and that partnership has lasted 30 years.”
Sara and Josann’s screenwriting accomplishments include many movies such as Runaway Bride, Three Men and a Little Lady and The Descendants. They also wrote and produced the popular television series The Starter Wife, which Sara thoroughly enjoyed. “The Starter Wife was by far our favorite experience. Debra [Messing] and the cast were not only super-talented but fun, great people. We are still friends with a lot of them. Our staff was great, USA network was so supportive. It was a blast to be
The day of a screenwriter
When asked what a typical day looks like as a screenwriter, Sara distinguishes between movies and television. Since writers have freedom to work on their own time with movies, “I’m home most of the time in my sweats, with a dog on my lap,” explains Sara. She points out that writing for television is quite different, “When on a television show one goes into work every day. The days can be very long, but the show might only be in production 6 months out of the year.”
Sara and her husband, John, have been married for thirty years and have two adult children, Hannah (26) and Henry (25). She volunteers with foster youth and hopes to devote most of her time to that passion when she retires. Sara and Jon live in Thousand Oaks, California, which she describes as a quiet, small town adding that you “can’t take the Findlay out of the girl.”