My love affair with storytelling began in a dark theater in 1977, when my brother took me to see Brian De Palma's Carrie. I was seven years old. While that movie may have been wildly inappropriate for me at the time, it was also a watershed moment, exposing me at a very early age to the power of cinema, storytelling, and genre, all wrapped in one. I was blown away.
There were seven of us kids, and we moved back and forth from small-town Wisconsin to Los Angeles nearly every year, so we didn't have much money. No video cameras or VCR's to be had, so I told stories by designing comic books and programming video games on a Commodore Vic-20. Always making the most out of what I had to work with. Stretching the boundaries of the limited memory in those early computers. Learning how to make it work.
I found out that what I didn't have, did not matter — it didn't have to prevent me from doing anything. Instead, I found ways to work smarter, and it made me work harder. And what I did have turned out to be a storyteller's paradise:
Yes. Cable TV.
Dad was a big-time lover of the crime-genre, so he introduced me to every cop show and movie under the sun, and I pretty much filled every other hour of my days as a kid watching movies and TV on those cable boxes. I was spellbound and watching when Video Killed The Radio Star launched MTV and gave me another new obsession. A whole new world had exploded into my house and it set my imagination on fire! Horror, camp, music videos, coming of age, drama, sitcoms, you name it — I devoured it all.
In fact, cable TV was such a huge part of my world that one of my chief forms of teen mischief was centered around it. In the eighth grade I was living in Watertown, Wisconsin, and it didn't take me long to discover that the cable remotes worked with EVERY cable box. So, I introduced my friends to the art of "remoting". We would go to random houses and change the TV channels through the windows while the people watched, confounding residents and sometimes causing quite a stir, or, when we found houses where everyone was asleep, we would turn their TV's on, tune them to MTV, and then crank up the volume, watching the ensuing chaos with a mixture of fascination and glee.
It was a little outside the box (no pun intended) and made for more than a few unforgettable moments.
The summer after ninth grade, driven by the fact that the small town I lived in carried an extreme sense of claustrophobia and was short on opportunity, I called up a former boss of my dad's and negotiated for him to get an old job back, so I could attend high school in Los Angeles. It worked, and off we went, back to LA. Eventually, I majored in creative writing at UCLA, and followed my love of poetry and desire for experience on a fifteen-year journey as a band frontman, touring the US extensively as a one-man-band called The Wanteds, and even having a documentary made about my life as that music career collided with me becoming a father. That movie, The Wanteds: the Part of Rock and Roll They Never Tell You About, won a bunch of awards and, for me, also signaled the start of another bold chapter in this creative life: the arrival of my son — which really flipped the script on my world — and a path that led me back to film.
Since that transition, I've worked just about every job there is on a film set. I started as a grip, eventually working behind the camera as an op and DP. I did a couple stints as an AD, as a PA, and as a UPM. All the acronyms. For a couple years, I was a working actor, too, on stage and in film. Now that was an incredible experience. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the craft, and work really well with actors and non-actors alike — I love people, I love helping them get where they need to go, and it just so happens that the chaos of my family life also gifted me with an uncanny ability to find and harvest emotion in those around me. Sometimes you find your biggest gifts in the painful places. Beyond all that, I have quite a bit of experience as an editor and sound designer, working on commercials, music vids, and films, and winning some awards along the way.
And that's me. A snapshot of who I am and how I got here. I'm a life-long maker of things. In everything I do, I believe very strongly that it always comes down to dedication to your craft and three very important ideas:
Speak up. Nurture. Create.
That's what I do.
And to this day, I still watch movies and TV around the clock.
But, enough about me. I want to know more about you...
And then, let's make something epic!