The first feature for this Los Angeles-based screenwriter-director, "Fresh" (1994), was a gritty depiction of a 12-year-old Brooklyn drug runner. Yakin researched his script in the drug-ravaged communities of his native New York. The picture was generally well-received and projected its helmer into the forefront of young American independents. Yakin launched his career shortly after graduation from film school, moving West to pursue opportunities as a screenwriter. In L.A., he developed projects for United Artists, Warner Brothers and White Eagle Productions, Sylvester Stallone's production company. Yakin co-wrote an action flick, "The Punisher" (1989), for New World Pictures. Based on a popular Marvel Comics vigilante character, the film starred Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett Jr. His second co-writing credit was on "The Rookie" (1990), an underperforming cop picture co-produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, who also starred with Charlie Sheen.