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A William Goldman screenwriting workshop at the University of Hawaii ignited in McElvaney a passion for film that burned throughout his decades teaching high school literature and creative writing.

After earning a credential at the Georgia Film Academy to teach a new screenwriting course for high schoolers, McElvaney began writing his own scripts and soon became a full-time screenwriter.

Having spent his teaching career sharing stories with others and helping young adults tell their own stories, McElvaney has a deep understanding of narrative and audience as well as a veteran teacher's calm and comfort with collaboration.

A 2nd-rounder at AFF in 2022 for a TV dramedy pilot, McElvaney also recently earned semi-finalist placements for two original features as well as a Top 5 Finalist spot in the Save the Cat! Screenplay Challenge for Dragons of the Gloaming, a fantasy/action comedy feature.

A father of two adult children, McElvaney is an active member of the screenwriting community in San Francisco where he lives with his wife Kate. Praised for emotionally resonant scripts and compelling characters, McElvaney continues to write screenplays that hum with the language and energy of today's youth.

Special Skills


Joel McElvaney

When a bullied outcast seeks violent revenge on his longtime tormentor, his best friend must choose between helping his friend or saving the bully.