I never wanted to be a writer. In school, I hated English, barely comprehended grammatical structure. What I loved was TV and movies. I wanted to do that. Tell stories, entertain, make people laugh and cry. Make people notice me.
I needed attention. Lots of it.
I tried acting, teaching acting, various adventures in production. As well as a shitbarge full of day jobs – everything from selling vibrating pillows to post-payment auditing.
Nothing worked, but everything stuck.
Everything I did from the time I was 17 on, has led me down this career path. That’s not just spiritual “Let go, let god” stuff, it’s the pragmatic truth. Where I am makes perfect sense. This is the only place I could be.
I learned about the importance of organic behavior, moment-to-moment interaction and compelling character choices from three years of Meisner acting training. All of that shows up in my writing. I learned how to weed out good actors from bad and how to get great performances from actors through my three years of teaching Meisner. All of that shows up in my directing and producing.
I learned about depression, suicide and damaged souls from thirteen years of starving artistry, alcoholism and addiction. I learned about god, faith and humility from fourteen years of recovery. I recently learned about love and joy from my wife, stepkids and newborn daughter.
Eight years ago, I hit a bottom. All of my life choices collided and through some act of providence, I wrote my first script. From that script on, I found my voice, my vocation. I found my way.
I became a man.
And a man needs to work. I believe that men are defined by what they do. At the end of the day, I need to feel like I've built something. That I've hunted and gathered. Without that sense of accomplishment, I grow bitter, and hopeless. Before long, I begin to complain, find fault in everything and everyone. I slam doors and punch holes through newly-painted drywall.
Writing is not just what I do, it’s who I am. When I’m not writing, I feel disconnected from myself and my surroundings. Down time fucks me up. It emasculates me.I have honored the strike, supported my union. I've not written a single page since October 31st. At first, it was fine. I crammed and finished three different projects before the deadline. I needed a breather. But now, I'm miserable. I feel lost. I feel like punching drywall. I know there's a lot I can do to stay busy. I have producorial duties on my pilot, I can walk the picket lines, volunteer at the WGA HQ, etc. All that fills my calendar, but not my heart. I am not a striker or an administrator. I am a writer and I cannot write.