I’ve never been comfortable with self promotion. I’m even uncomfortable writing in the first person. Maybe it’s a midwestern thing, maybe it’s just in my DNA. But this website? In my name? Run by me? Promoting my writing?
I guess it’s always going to feel weird.
My grandmother hammered into me the danger of getting a big head — this despite the fact that I’m already 7 ⅝ hat size, which is close to balloon and/or pumpkin proportions. (Or was that her point?)
A few years ago, at one of those television critics association meetings in Pasadena, where in my emergency role as co-show runner of the Fox television series Alcatraz I was to be trotted out to face the press and promote the show, my reputation preceded me: those executives at Fox and Warner Bros. who know me from my previous incarnation as a t.v. creator were in continuous contact to ensure I’d attend (in the past I sent my mentor, Bill Sackheim, telling everyone I was too busy writing the next episode to take time out to talk about it).
Happily, the critics had no interest in me. Their focus was on J.J. Abrams, whose production company developed the show and who is deservedly an entertainment superstar. And seems to enjoy it.
I just don’t, sorry. The end, full stop.
Unfortunately, in the age of social networks and the culture of personality, of fetish and spectacle, an aversion to self promotion is professional suicide.
So here we are.
My history, in a nutshell: ten movie credits, a modicum of uncredited scriptwriting, some television series that didn’t last, some pilots that didn’t sell, just enough unproduced original film and t.v. work to push me to finish the novel I intended to write when I stumbled out of Stanford with a degree in economics and more creative writing under the tutalege of Chuck Kinder than was probably healthy.
Well, not exactly the novel I intended to write then. That one is still in a box, unfinished. UCLA film school sent me to an alternate universe.
Hard Copy was my first produced series. Pacific Heights was my first produced film. My feature directorial debut, Where’s Marlowe? was distributed by Paramount Classics, much to their chagrin.
You can look the rest up on IMDB, or Google me, a lot of them are ancient credits, I’m proud of them, but they’re not on the cool kids critical radar except in tepid footnotes or anecdotal passing reference in retrospectives on the many fine and famous directors with whom I’ve had the good fortune to work.
I have a new movie called Backstabbing for Beginners with Danish filmmaker Per Fly, and I’ve been working on the Amazon TV series Bosch (and will be show-running season four). Not so long ago I adapted the British thriller Death of a Thin Skinned Animal (which Studio Canal keeps insisting they’re going to make), and the Alfred Bester sci fi classic, The Stars My Destination (only to have it spiral into turnaround hell). My first two novels, Twentynine Palms and A Hole In The Ground Owned By A Liar, were published by Counterpoint Press.
Which was spectacularly satisfying.
My third book, Fifty Mice, was published by Blue Rider Press. And now Blue Rider is releasing my fourth, Catalina Eddy, which is not about Catalina Island or a guy named Ed.
Sometimes I teach graduate screenwriting at UCLA film school. I was a writing fellow once at Sundance. A jurist at the Shanghai Television Festival in 2015. I’ve been a journalist, an advertising copywriter, a cartoonist, a sculptor, a silk screener, struggled with short fiction (some of which you can find in the fine webzine hotvalleywriters.com), did my time as television staff writer and story editor, then a series creator, a producer, a director and, I hope, a pretty good husband and dad.
It’s been a good career, and a long career, one that finally has circled back to the prose fiction I’ve wanted to write since I started, and that it probably took me this long to learn how to do properly.
In my perfect world I could remain invisible, letting the work speak for itself.
In a perfect world.