he I’ve never been comfortable with self promotion. I’m even a little uncomfortable writing in the first person. Maybe it’s a midwestern thing, maybe it’s somewhere in my family DNA. But this website? In my name? Run by me? Promoting my writing? Oh man.
My maternal grandmother always hammered on the danger of getting a ‘big head’ (this despite the fact that I’m already at a hat size of balloon and/or pumpkin proportions — or was that her point?).
Quite a while ago, now, at one of those television critics thingies in Pasadena, where in my emergency role as co-show runner of the Alcatraz I was to be trotted out to face the press and promote the show, my reputation preceded me. Executives at Fox and Warner Bros. stayed in continuous contact to ensure I’d attend (earlier in my television career I would send my mentor and partner Bill Sackheim to the pressers, insisting I was too busy writing the next episode to take time out to talk about the show. Movie junkets are harder to escape, but I have flown below the radar for most of my so called career (and have no plans to fly higher). Happily, the critics had no interest in me. Their focus was on J.J. Abrams, whose production company had developed the series — deservedly an industry superstar and he seems to enjoy it. I just don’t, sorry.
But in the age of influencers, social networks and the culture of personality, an aversion to self promotion can be professional suicide.
So here we are.
My history, such as it is, in a nutshell: a handful of movie credits, an assortment of uncredited script doctoring; television shows, staff and showrunner (a few that were hits, many that didn’t last) a proud collection of pilots that didn’t sell, and just enough completely unproduced original film and t.v. work to push me, in the mid aughts, to finish Twentynine Palms, the novel I had intended to write when I stumbled out of Stanford with a degree in economics and more creative writing coursework, under the tutalege of Chuck Kinder, than was probably healthy. Well. Not exactly the novel I intended to write back then. That one is still in a box, unfinished. UCLA film school sent me to an alternate universe. Staffing on Matt Houston was my first paying job. Pacific Heights was my first produced film. My feature directorial debut was the largely unseen Where’s Marlowe? You can look the rest up on IMDB, or Google me.
They’re fairly ancient credits, but I’m proud of them. I didn’t win any Oscars or Emmys and much of my work is not on the 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. For many years I taught a graduate seminar in screenwriting at UCLA. I got to be a writing fellow at the Sundance Institute. I’ve been a journalist, a copywriter, a cartoonist, a silk screener, a pretty good husband and dad, and the proud owner of five rescue dogs and a bunch of cats.
And now? Water Memory my next book, will be coming out in February of 2021, from Thomas & Mercer, and I’m working on a follow-up.
You can find some of my short fiction at the webzine hotvalleywriters.com. I was recently showrunner (and co-showrunner with the talented Eric Overmyer) for Michael Connelly’s Amazon series Bosch. My last movie script was an adaptation of Backstabbing For Beginners for Danish filmmaker Per Fly. I continue to develop projects for film and for television. It’s been a good career, and a long career, that happily circled back to the prose fiction I’ve wanted to write when I started, and probably took me this long to learn how to do properly. In my perfect world I would remain invisible, letting the work speak for itself. In this world, I thank you for your indulgence, and interest in my writing. Now go read.