Kyle Bradstreet, ’02, ’04, is a writer and supervising producer for the USA Network series Mr. Robot, winner in the Best Television Series-Drama category at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards. He has also served as a writer and producer of the popular BBC America
television series Copper, created by Buffalo State alumnus
Tom Fontana, ’73. Bradstreet returned to Buffalo State in May to receive the Young Alumnus Achievement Award at Commencement and deliver an inspiring address to graduates. He also took the
time to share some thoughts with 1300 Elmwood on the writer’s life.
TV writer/producer seems like an awesome answer to the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question.
To be honest, I didn’t even know that TV writer/producer was a job when I was growing up. There were various phases of dream jobs, though—ranging from professional soccer player to musician
to president. But, for the time being, I’m happy where I landed.
What’s the biggest difference between writing for the stage and writing for the screen?
Time. I’ve leisurely taken a year to write a play, intently focusing on every single word. I’ve written an episode of TV in three days. But they’re different writing muscles, and I love both mediums.
Writers are always scribbling down ideas. What do you take notes on—phone, tablet, or paper notebook?
I love paper and pen, the act of scribbling. Not a big napkin guy. Post-it notes are popular around my apartment. But I do have a favorite notebook I use every morning: Apica, 7" by 10." On the subway or the street, I find myself using the Notes app on my phone more frequently.
Roald Dahl said, “A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.” Why become a writer?
Because you have to. Because you don’t have a choice. Because you love the act of writing. And when you’re doing it, when you’re alone in that moment, nothing else matters.
Back in 2003, you gave Tom Fontana a ride from the airport to campus. What happened in that 20 minutes?
I made an incredible friend who later became a most generous mentor. We talked about everything but show business.
As mentioned above, I wasn’t even sure what a writer/producer was. Tom opened up that world to me, and I am forever grateful.
Any favorite perks of working in Hollywood?
The business? Collaborative work, storytelling, meeting new people, craft service. The city? The return flight to New York—knowing that I’m going home to my wife, my apartment, my neighborhood. I don’t mind working in Los Angeles for short stints—I’ve made some great friends there, and I’ve been introduced to some fascinating places—but I far prefer my life in New York.