Frank McAdams: Award Winning Screenwriter/Part-time Lecturer at USC Film School

My NativeAdVantage:


B.S., Loyola Univ., Chicago; M.F.A., UCLA; Adjunct Prof., School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California, 1991-Present. Senior Instructor, UCLA Extension Writers' Program, 1981-2006. Author, "The American War Film: History and Hollywood; Co-Author, "Final Affair," a true crime book; Author, "Treason's Time," a World War II novel set against the "Tokyo Rose" investigation; Author, "Iris And The Gipper: The Tragic Love Story of George Gipp and Iris Trippeer"; Author, "Vietnam Rough Riders: A Convoy Commander's Memoir," 2013, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; 1st Place, Samuel Goldwyn Screenwriting Award, two years; Listed in "Who's Who in America," 2005-15; Fulbright Senior Scholar, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, 2010. Television interviews: The History Channel (2), Discovery (ID) Channel, C-SPAN-2.

What do you do best?

Write and teach. A writer writes and a teacher teaches. I'm fortunate to be in both places.

What makes you the best?

To accept and react to challenges.

How will you stay the best?

Never make the same mistake twice.

What are your aspirations: business & personal?

Business: To keep writing and teaching. I want to die "pen in hand."

Personal: Staying healthy with my wife, Patty.

What fascinates you?

Hollywood and National politics, probably because Hollywood and Washington are twins in many ways.

Favorite Motto?

Good judgment and common sense.

Favorite People?

Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, F. Scott Fitzgerald and whoever wrote under the Shakespeare byline.

Favorite Places?

Hawaii, Spain, Italy and my home in Dana Point, CA.

Favorite Products?

A bottle of wine at night with my wife.

Current Passions?

Time with my wife, being in the saddle with my Arabian and reading (books and screenplays).

Most challenging moment?

A moral dilemma in Vietnam. I was the executive officer (no.2) in a USMC truck company. My company commander had a bounty on his head and I was privy to this. If the bounty was collected I would have been a party to the investigation, e.g. What did you know? When did you know it? What did you do about it? I went out of the chain of command and put into action a transfer for my company commander, who was a hypocrite, a liar and a coward. My consolation was that I probably saved his life. He was a subplot in my Vietnam memoir which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Biggest disappointment - how did you/will you overcome it?

In 1978 and '79 I won 1st Place in the Samuel Goldwyn Screenwriting Competitions while in graduate school. I made repeated attempts to get these two screenplays produced, going through 14 literary agents. Both were optioned at various times but the films were never produced. The first, "California Rain," a murder mystery set against the Hollywood Blacklist, was adapted into a novel...and still making the rounds. The second, "Stagecoach Bravo," served as a foundation for my Vietnam memoir.

Biggest success?

A marriage that has lasted 49 years; surviving a combat situation; achieving a master's degree and using it; being awarded a Fulbright Grant; getting nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; and getting to my present point.