Alan McElroy
Appreciative Reflection Screenwriter
About ten years ago, I interviewed Alan for a Gund Foundation grant that was examining
the sustainability of filmmakers and screenwriters making their home in Cleveland. What I
admired then and now is his approachability, passion, and humble attitude along with his
great success in the screenwriting industry. Although living in Cleveland to raise his family,
Alan frequently commutes to Los Angeles for meetings and work related projects.
Alan visited my class at Cleveland State University and talked about his screenwriting
projects Halloween IV (1988) Spawn (1997), Rapid fire (1992), Rolling Thunder (1996),
The Marine (2006). Recently, he adapted the video game Tekken (2010) for a live action
feature. His project Man and Wife (2011) was picked up in a bidding war with X-Men
producer Ralph Winter. He’s currently working on three television pilots. You can view his
credits on the International Movie Database: (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0568416/).
The Irony: Hated To See Cruelty; Became a Screenwriter
His great passion is science fiction and time travel screenwriting, but is skilled at many
different genres from horror, suspense and war stories to relational drama. Alan’s a self-
described futuristic techno geek. He studied Psychology at Miami University in Ohio. He
comments, “People fascinate me. Even as a kid, I couldn’t understand how people could
be so cruel to each other. How they could turn on each other so easily. Friends can
switch loyalties in an instant and I’ve never understood that. I could never understand the
nature of rapid betrayal.” I note that it’s interesting he went into screenwriting. Alan
humorously responds, “the irony of it right?”
He is intrigued by the limits of human beings, “Writing for me has been a way to ask
questions and then answer them on the page. Pose a question, suss out the answer,
wrestle with it through these characters and then come to a resolution or a catharsis that
I’m happy with. It’s me trying to figure out people. How will people react in this situation?
Who will break? Who will survive? Who will go forward? Who will wither? Who will grow?
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