Ken Daurio: Mormon Screenwriter

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Ken Daurio Mormon Screenwriter

Ken Daurio is a screenwriter known best for his work with writing partner Cinco Paul on such box office hits as Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. They are working on Despicable Me 3, which will be released in 2017. Daurio also worked with Paul on Horton Hears a Who! and The Lorax, and are working on The Secret Life of Pets, due for release in 2016.

Daurio began making films with his Super 8 camera when he was nine-years-old and directing music videos after he graduated from high school. He met Paul when he had a lead in a musical Paul wrote for his LDS stake’s sesquicentennial celebration (1997) of the Mormon pioneers’ arrival in Utah. They found they had the same sense of humor and decided to form a band, which they called Otter Pops. They also began to collaborate on scripts and within a year had sold their first script (which has not been produced). Their second script was made into a movie the following year (Bubble Boy).

One of their tactics early in their careers was to sing their story pitches to movie producers, which opened some doors for them. When Chris Meledandri left Fox Animation and started Illumination Entertainment in 2007, they followed him and were in position to develop Meledandri’s idea of a villain who adopts three little girls. Their first draft of Despicable Me was created in three months, and then rewritten over the course of the next three years. Both Daurio and Paul have three children each that served as inspiration for the three distinct personalities for the girls in the film.

Daurio and Paul work independently, dividing up scenes and then reading pages to each other. Wikipedia reported that “Cinco, having an education in screenwriting, generally works on scenes that contain emotion and require the three-act structure, while Daurio, being a more visually oriented person, usually does scenes with action, sight gags, and physical comedy.”[1] Both Daurio and Paul are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have said that their beliefs have had significant impact on their careers, “most obviously in the types of projects we’ve chosen to work on. . . . We want to write movies that are uplifting, optimistic, and for everybody.”[2]

Daurio and his wife, Michelle, live in California.