When he’s not teaching students in Full Sail’s Creative Writing MFA program, Course Director Ricky Roxburgh is conjuring up tales of time-traveling elves and evil villains invading the North Pole. Both of those scenarios come to life in Saving Santa, a new animated film Ricky wrote that was released nationally earlier this month.
The film – which features the voices of Martin Freeman, Tim Curry, Ashley Tisdale, and more – has been years in the making for Ricky, who got his start in the industry as a stand-up comedian and comedy sketch writer, then got into scriptwriting from there. He started working on the script two years ago after he was approached by a team of producers that he had worked with on previous projects.
“The idea came from one of the film’s producers, after he answered his child’s question of how Santa makes it around the world in one night by telling him ‘time travel,'” says Ricky, who’s been teaching The Business of Creative Writing course since November 2012. “He wrote a very rough outline, and then I met with the producers and had a bunch of ideas to expand his outline, and it went from there.”
Originally intended to be a one-hour television special, Saving Santa picked up speed after a major distributor expressed interest in the project. It was then picked up by Prana Studios – the original script idea was expanded into a feature-length independent film and and Ricky got to writing. He finished the first draft in about two weeks, and was heavily involved throughout the film’s production.
“One of the story artists lives right here in Central Florida, so we spent a lot of time with the director talking about how the scenes would play out,” says Ricky. “It’s a time travel movie, so there’s a lot of criss-crossing and it’s a complicated timeline. I was involved all the way through production giving notes, helping with voiceover direction, and writing new lines and jokes when needed.”
Ricky and his children pick up their copies of ‘Saving Santa.’
The film is Ricky’s first screenplay to make it all way the screen – all of his other screenplay projects in the past have folded for some reason or another. He’s especially proud of Saving Santa, and is excited to work on more family-friendly animated projects in the future, in addition to teaching at Full Sail.
“It feels great, it feels like finishing a marathon,” says Ricky. “When I walked in and saw [the DVD] on the shelves, I didn’t feel elation, I just exhaled.”
You can purchase Saving Santa exclusively at Walmart, and it’s available to stream through Netflix, Amazon, Bright House, and iTunes. Saving Santa is being released in theaters worldwide throughout December and January.