About the Screenwriter
0% Hollywood, 100% Professional
The advantage of using me as a writer is that you get 0% hollywood bullshit. No weird promises. Just writing. I am available to write commercially-oriented screenplays based on your true stories about twice a year. I write because I enjoy it. I learned to write scripts because it was a pre-requisisite to making my own films. It's that simple.
When I was about 17 years old, living in a remote region of the Great White North (aka Canada), an ad in a magazine caught my eye: the editor was looking for freelance writers. I sat down at my Underwood (actually a Commodore 64) and pounded out a writing sample. Back in the day, I printed it out on a dotmatrix printer and sent it off to the great US of A and held my breath, and for good measure, crossed my fingers. Then I went back to writing software and playing varsity basketball.
Maybe a month or two went by before I heard back. Not only was I accepted, but they sent a package of free swag. I was jazzed. I laid a big gusher on my 11th grade English teacher. He had introduced me to The Mosquito Coast, and so naturally I practiced my victory dance in front of him. Alas, a month or so later the magazine folded. And worse, my 12th grade English teacher had handed me my only failing highschool grade, a D -- the penalty for turning in a short story written in a style mimicking Kurt Vonnegut's Kilgore Trout era of surreal fiction. Surely the muses looked down on me with scorn, I pondered...
Cut to five years later and, like HELLO, deja vu -- totally -- when I logged onto the internet (actually CompuSERVE) and found another posting from a US magazine editor looking for freelance writers. My C64 was elsewhere and I was living large on a Macintosh IIsi, pounding out streams of pulpy ASCII in Microsoft Word. This time, my celebration was long-lived. My writing sample lead to my first assignment, a 40-page product wrapup/review and buoyed by my success, I also pitched a true freelance article which landed on the cover for the same issue. "It never rains but it pours" -- the aphorisms congratulated me. What started as a writing sample grew into a monthly column, which lead to writing for other publications. I had a run of it before I got bored and retired my typewriter.
By this time I was getting interested in the technology of visual storytelling, which we today call digital filmmaking. I took that about as far as I could, designing tools for digital distribution and post-production. Eventually, the technology of digital filmmaking got boring so I started making music videos. Which lead me to investigate screenwriting. I did what most people in L.A. do -- I went to workshops, I wrote some scripts. I only got into screenwriting as a means to an end -- to make my own feature film I had to write a script first. I discovered that I not only enjoyed it, but my background in logic and information architecture turned out to be of great advantage in designing screenplays. And make no mistake -- a script is designed before it is written.
Screenwriting is, by and large, a practical matter. Unless you're inventing the story at the same time. But for pre-existing stories, the screenplay is the blueprint for a visual retelling of a story. Most importantly, the screenplay is a kind of pidgin language that allows a diverse group of artists and businesspeople to share a common reference point. It is composed of scenes, shots and dialog -- designed to reveal the story in an entertaining and engaging manner -- and provide for lively entertainment.