A Decade of Following A Dream

Wow, so the beginning of a new year is upon us which usually calls for reflection anyway, but I'm coming up on another milestone also...
10 years of living in Los Angeles.

On January 9th of 2008 my dad and I flew to LA and in the days following I began a semester long film program called the Los Angeles Film Studies Center. 

Since then basically a third of my life has happened, right? I thought I'd make a list of some memorable moments, in sort of chronological order...

- Directing a short film featuring Justin Grant Wade aka Steve Holt! from Arrested Development
- Background acting (aka being an extra) on shows like House and Criminal Minds and (the newer versions of) 90210 and Melrose Place, rubbing elbows with Nick Kroll and Dave Franco and Jerry O'Connell. One time when I was an extra Jesse Tyler Ferguson strolled up and said I looked familiar then we had a nice chat!
- Writing a handful of direct-to-DVD movies with religious themes and African American casts (anyone see Nora's Hair Salon 3: Shear Disaster?!)
- Stumbling into a career in producing reality TV, starting at the (very, very) bottom
- Working on over 100 episodes of A&E's Intervention
- GETTING MARRIED!!
- Caring for my first dog
- Meeting and writing for Orlando Brown and Chingy and other people of note! One time Orlando took me to Chili's in Northridge to discuss a sitcom pilot we wrote together. Another time I was introduced to Jamie Foxx and he was not impressed...
- Pitching to Funny Or Die, taking sketch comedy class at UCB, guesting on podcasts and YouTube shows
- Having our first son!! Being a stay at home dad during the day and working at night
- Telling Shane West that I'm a big fan, running into Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller at The Grove right before seeing Forgetting Sarah Marshall
- Seeing awesome comedy at UCB with Ash: Judd Apatow, Jonah Hill, Aziz, Dragon Boy Suede, Brett Gelman, Reggie Watts, Charlyne Yi, The Birthday Boys, Paul Rust and Neil Campbell, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Garlin, John Ross Bowie, etc, etc
- Steadily working for 10 years in the field that I studied in high school and college without having to take a non-industry side job ever
- Producing sketch comedy videos that got featured on the front page of Funny Or Die
- Writing a feature length movie that was shot in Tokyo
- Writing two YA novels, the first of which getting optioned to be developed into a movie or tv show
- Having our second son!! 
- Making new friends and keeping the ones that mean the most

I don't know what the future holds. I'm still writing constantly. Book 3 is in the works. I have sitcom specs and feature scripts and all kinds of stuff I want to get made. 

So here's to 10 more years in LA?

First Attempt

The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last was the second screenplay I ever tried to write.  I would sit in my classes at Towson and brainstorm scenes for it then go back to my dorm and plunk away at my Costco-bought desktop computer's keyboard into just a Microsoft Word document.

My first attempt at a screenplay was called Worth a Try, but the Word Doc was just called "First Attempt" because I didn't have the courage to actually let myself pretend I was actually writing a movie.  It was just an attempt, an experiment.  I loved movies so much that I couldn't imagine fooling myself into thinking that I could write one.

But I wrote it, and it may have been a little short, and cliche, and it was definitely too autobiographical for anyone to probably care, but I left the document titled "First Attempt" when I gave it to my friend to read.  He thought the script was pretty good, but suggested I change the title, First Attempt wasn't that compelling.  I said "Yeah, it's called Worth a Try, I don't know why uh, it says "First Attempt" on there..."

My second attempt was the brashly titled The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last.  It started as the kernel of: how would I feel if I graduated college with a film degree and then immediately went back and worked at my summer job and exploded from there into the collage it is today.

The Summer Before Last... This Summer!

This summer I will have my first novel published.  I mean, it's actually a novella (I like to euphemistically call it a "quick read") but still, the fact that I just wrote that first sentence of this blog and it's true is currently blowing my mind.

You know what's not short though?  The title, The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last.  It's a mouthful, I know, but ever since I first started writing the story in college, that has always been the title.

A quick synopsis: The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last is a bittersweet, nostalgic, but comic novella about a team of misfits, including a loser who secretly lives in the guard house of the club, a struggling artist with webbed toes, a timid teen with a concave chest, and the beautiful heiress of the Comfort Inn fortune.  They have to win the impending Tri-County Relay Race and save the club from being run by a management company that only cares about money.  The management company hires an opposing relay team of ringers including a girl with a prosthetic dorsal fin and a man named Carmichael Schmelps who looks suspiciously like a certain Olympic gold medalist.

So basically it's the 'let's get the team together and win the big (fill in the blank, in this case it's a swim meet) so we can keep this place we love' story, but it's a new take on that type of story and it's also so much more than that.  

I've been writing this story in different iterations since college.  It started as a feature length screenplay, once I moved to LA I got several rounds of notes on it from my writer's group and others that I asked to read it.  The screenplay was even a finalist in the Beverly Hills Film Festival Screenplay Competition one year.  And I still ultimately see it as a movie too, and I'm hoping this book will be a step in that direction.