“The truth is I am happiest in a movie, even in a bad movie.” — Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
Nobody gets there alone.
That’s the message, stated or implied, in pretty much every acceptance speech ever given by the winners of an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony. Everyone’s work is built upon the work of others.
My most significant mentors were my parents. Probably yours too. But they were not my only mentors, not by a long shot.
Teachers, friends, colleagues, authors, artists – we encounter these guides/helpers/fellow travelers regularly, if not exactly predictably, as we make our life’s journey.
Wherever our ultimate destination, the common lesson is Nobody gets there alone.
My journey to this moment began when I was 5 or 6, in my school auditorium in suburban New Jersey. On those happy days when my teacher announced we were heading to an assembly, my eyes always sought the auditorium’s center aisle.
That’s where the projector would be set up. If it was the small grey one, we were being subjected to a boring “film strip.” But if it was the big blue projector, I knew I was in luck.
Usually it was a movie about science. Time lapse stuff of flowers blooming or butterflies popping out of cocoons. But it wasn’t the movies themselves that got to me.
For me it was the anticipation, the moment of mystery when the house lights went down – the nervous rolling in my stomach in the momentary darkness – then the projector reels clicking to life, followed by the warbling of the music track getting up to speed and …
… Even today – decades later – I can still feel that rising excitement as the world around me fades away, and I’m lofted into the realm of the waking dream.
Bliss then. Bliss now.
I’ve been a professional screenwriter working in Hollywood for more than 30 years.
My feature film credits include:
Death Wish V
Darkman III: Die, Darkman, Die!
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
I’ve also worked in the TV side of things, most notably on the Cartoon Network live-action series Unnatural History.
I’m currently showrunner for the action series adaptation of Soldiers of Fortune, inspired by the MGM movie starring Christian Slater.
20 years ago I was honored to return to my Alma Mater – UCLA film school – to teach its legendary “434” screenwriting class.
I’ve since taught many 434 workshops, and proudly cheered as many of my students have gone on to careers making movies and writing television shows.
The Bad Batch
Anything For Love
The Boy Next Door
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
To name just a few.
Along the way, I was named the Lew & Pamela Hunter/Jon & Janice Zakin Screenwriting Chair.
My affiliation with UCLA continues into 2016 with my Regents Lecture presentation, “Screenings for Screenwriters.”
In Spring, 2017, I’ll be debuting a new MFA class in screenwriting: Advanced Storytelling Tools for Screenwriters: Study & Practice.
Away from campus, I’ve mentored veterans through the Writers Guild Foundation’s annual Veterans Writing Retreat, and volunteered as a mentor for the CineStory Foundation.
It’s my hope that I can assist you on your way to celluloid glory. You can hop over to my contact page HERE.