20: Tedi Sarafian – Writer/Director

The Doorpost
December 5, 2014

20: Tedi Sarafian – Writer/Director

GUEST: Tedi Sarafian

TediTedi’s early training in film came from two legendary iconoclasts in the industry: his father, award winning screenwriter/director Richard C. Sarafian (Vanishing Point) and his uncle, Academy Award winning director, Robert Altman (M*A*S*H).

Growing up on sets and trained in his youth as a production assistant, he was given a rare inside education in all aspects of filmmaking and by his late teens was working as an assistant editor. He took a hiatus from the family business to attend North Texas University where he studied film and music. While in college, Tedi wrote his first screenplay.

Imaginative, his storylines were fast-paced with smart characters and his affinity for epic action sequences quickly got the attention of major studios. His first produced credit, Tank Girl, starring Lori Petti, became an underground cult film. He then went on to write and co-produce Roadflower (aka Road Killers) for Miramax.

Some more of his writing projects include, Man Plus, for Warner Bros., Flying Tigers, for Morgan Creek; William The Magnificent, which he sold in a bidding war to Steven Spielberg; Metal Heads, which he sold in a bidding war to United Artists; The Radda Condition, which he wrote for John Calley and United Artists; Adaptive Ultimate, which he wrote for 20th Century Fox and Jody Foster.

Now, garnering seven figures per project, Tedi branched out to deliver rewrites of existing material on such major projects as the television mini- series, Dinotopia and the hit feature film, Rush Hour.

He wrote an original screenplay that attracted Arnold Schwarzenegger and director Jonathan Mostow. The resulting feature film, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, became the 3rd installment of Sony Pictures’ blockbuster franchise grossing $450 mil worldwide firmly establishing Tedi as a major screenwriter.

Working for top directors such as Ridley Scott, John Singleton, Gary Ross, Michael Bay and Sam Raimi, Tedi has several screenplays presently in development including, The 8th Voyage Of Sinbad for Sony and “Arabian Nights” based on a treatment by Sam Raimi and 20th Century Fox, Creature From The Black Lagoon.

His television projects include the half-hour sci-fi comedy, “Hoax,” for Fox Television; and a dark, twisted family drama titled, “Blood Relatives.” This project is currently set up at NBC. Tedi is also developing his original TV pilot, The Bus, with actress Charlize Theron, who is attached to produce and play a cameo roll. This project is out for funding.

Tedi sold his action/comedy pilot titled Indigo to Katie O’Connell, a project with which he is teaming up with his brother, director Deran Sarafian (House, MD). Currently, he is preparing to pitch Volt, a project that he co-created with comic icon Stan Lee (Spider-Man, Iron man).

Tedi recently completed his directorial debut, Altergeist. A psychological thriller that he also wrote, starring Kristina Anapau (Black Swan). Altergeist was filmed entirely on location in Sonoma, California at Korbel Champagne Cellars. This film is scheduled to be released in October, 2014.

Tedi’s most recent endeavor is an original screenplay titled Lilith, which he is attached to direct. Academy Award winning producer Phillip Goldfine is producing.

His latest spec screenplay, Bot, is a tent pole blockbuster science fiction/action trilogy. Mario Kassar (Terminator/Rambo) is attached to produce.


“Take Fountain” – Betty Davis

“Have fun” – Sting


First big break was getting the opportunity to write a film called, Dinotopia.


Early on he would have an idea and not be open for someone else’s input.


Always studying screenplays, television shows and films

Playing Music

Driving in his car to get away from it all


Books by Robert McKee

Books by Syd Field




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