Shane Salerno

Shane Salerno is an American screenwriter, producer, and director. His writing credits include the movies Armageddon, Savages, Shaft, and the TV series Hawaii Five-0. He was chosen by director James Cameron to work on the four sequels to Avatar, set to release in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027. He spent ten years writing, producing, financing, and directing the documentary Salinger, and co-writing with David Shields the companion book which became a New York Times bestseller. Salerno is also the founder and president of The Story Factory, which produces film and TV series based on literary properties.
As a writer, Salerno has collaborated with James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, Ridley Scott, William Friedkin, Oliver Stone, and Ron Howard. He has sold pitches, spec screenplays, fiction and non-fiction books, feature film documentaries, television pilots, television documentaries, and foreign book deals of between $2 and $6 million.

Early life and education

Shane Salerno was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1972. He attended 10 schools in 12 years, including St. John's College High School, a military academy in Washington, D.C. where he was co-captain of the football team and the only write-in class president since the school was founded in 1851. At San Dieguito High School in Encinitas, California, he was editor of the school newspaper, played varsity football, and was voted most likely to succeed.
Salerno cited the influence of filmmaker Michael Mann and the TV show Miami Vice, which Mann created and produced. His first formative cinematic memory from childhood was watching Mann's movie Thief when he was eight years old. He wrote two films for Mann in 2000 and 2012 and dedicated his documentary film Salinger to him in 2013. He also said The Empire Strikes Back had a significant impact on him as a child. He compared his time on NYPD Blue to film school, having apprenticed with producer and director Gregory Hoblit. His time with Steven Spielberg he called his writing school.

TV and film

While Salerno was a high school senior, he wrote, produced, and directed the documentary Sundown: The Future of Children and Drugs. The documentary premiered on Larry King Live. For his documentary, he was honored in ceremonies in both houses of the United States Congress.
With crime novelist Don Winslow, he created the TV series ', for which he was executive producer, head writer, and music supervisor. From 2010-2011 he wrote three episodes of Hawaii Five-0.
When he was 23, he worked with director Steven Spielberg to adapt the World War II submarine thriller Thunder Below, based on the book by Eugene B. Fluckey. In 1997, director Michael Bay asked him to rewrite the screenplay for Armageddon. The movie became the highest-grossing film of 1998, earning more than half a billion dollars worldwide. With director John Singleton and writer Richard Price he wrote the screenplay for the 2000 movie Shaft. With director Paul W. S. Anderson he adapted the screenplay for Alien vs. Predator. Salerno wrote the screenplay for the sequel
Salerno co-wrote and produced Oliver Stone's movie Savages, based on the novel by Don Winslow. He also wrote screenplays for Ron Howard, William Friedkin, Michael Mann, and for producers Michael Douglas and Irwin Winkler. Director James Cameron chose Salerno to work on the four sequels to Avatar, one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.
Salerno spent ten years on his documentary Salinger, a project that he researched, wrote, produced, directed, and financed. The film examined the life of author J. D. Salinger, a writer noted for protecting his privacy. The movie includes interviews with Joyce Maynard, Edward Norton, and Tom Wolfe. A director's cut appeared on the PBS series American Masters in January 2014. With author David Shields, Salerno wrote the book Salinger to accompany the film. It reached number six on The New York Times bestseller list and number one on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list.

The Story Factory

Shane Salerno is the founder of The Story Factory, an entertainment company that currently represents authors Don Winslow, Steve Hamilton, Lou Berney, Meg Gardiner, Michael Lombardi, Marcus Sakey, John Katzenbach, Adrian McKinty, Reed Farrel Coleman, Bill Beverly, and Blake Bailey, as well as four-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Michael Mann. The Story Factory has produced five consecutive New York Times bestsellers, and its authors have either won or been nominated for every major writing award in the world, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Books Critics Circle Award, the Edgar Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New York Times Notable Books of the Year.
The Story Factory has also negotiated a number of seven-figure book-to-film sales, including Don Winslow’s Savages, Shane Salerno’s Salinger, Steve Hamilton’s The Second Life of Nick Mason, Winslow’s The Cartel, Winslow’s The Force, and Marcus Sakey’s Afterlife.

Film and television credits