Alum writes screenplays in LA

Lindsay Kriz

WKU alumnus Trevor Simms said he knew where he needed to be in order to turn his film-making dream into reality.

And it only took him a day and a half to get there.

“I think I broke a record,” he said.

Simms graduated from WKU in December 2009 with a TV/film production degree and a double minor in writing and film studies before moving to Los Angeles in February 2010.

He stopped only once on the drive to sleep for about four hours in Texas. Once in Los Angeles, he slept in an empty apartment.

“I was a squatter,” he said.

Simms said once he reached California, his first goal was to get a movie made in order to advance his career.

“I want to do one after another,” he said. “But first, I’ve got to make the first one.”

Currently, Simms is filming the trailer for his first production called Misirlou.

He is using the website to help fund the trailer, and will eventually shop around to potential producers.

In order to make the movie, Simms will need $200,000.

Simms said writing the script for Misirlou took about a year after he came up with the idea.

“It was originally going to be a short that we were going to shoot on Venice Beach,” he said. “But then it turned into a psychedelic thriller.”

Simms recently finished drawing up the storyboards, which look like cartoons, he said.

He is currently in the process of shooting the opening sequence.

“You start thinking your shots as you’re writing,” he said. “Then you either get someone to buy it or you make it yourself.”

He is also searching for other talent to complete his trailer and is currently interested in casting two friends of his, Andrew Keegan, who starred as Joey Donner in Ten Things I Hate About You, and Erik Von Detten, who acted in the Disney Channel movie Brink! and Princess Diaries, and served as the voice for Sid in Toy Story.

Simms also works on an organic farm and said it’s hard to find time for filming, but that he needs the money.

“In 10 years, I want to be able to make whatever movie I want and to make it a large-scale production,” he said.

While Simms is making his way in Hollywood, he still has fans back home.

Dale Augenstein, another WKU alumnus who lives on Hilton Head Island, S.C., said he and Simms still keep in touch.

“His work ethic is incredible,” he said. “He was up at the computer virtually all hours of the day and night, writing.”

The two first met on WKU’s campus, and Augenstein said he knew right away that Simms was very creative.

“He’s the finest young man you can find,” he said. “He will be very successful.”

While friends and family from back home keep an eye on him, producers that Simms has approached are doing the same thing.

Christopher Montgomery Bender, a Hollywood agent and producer, has known Simms for about three years, after Simms was referred to him by a former client.

“He was very ambitious,” Bender said. “Very driven.”

Simms sent Bender two to three scripts of his right away, as well as a DVD of projects he participated in while in college.

“It was unique stuff,” he said. “They were very offbeat, very different and kind of refreshing.”

Bender said that Simms still comes to him for advice on a frequent basis, and Bender tells him that this kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight.

“Success at the end of the day is about who’s prepared and who’s willing to take chances,” Bender said.

Simms hopes to raise $5,000 to complete his first production by Jan. 2.