Since Middle School, I have been a writer, and was the editor of my school paper in Ninth Grade.
I began in television in high school and became producer and writer for the New Year’s Eve variety program “CELEBRATION” which aired on network affiliate TV stations in Minneapolis for several years. I then helped build and put on the air a new broadcast TV station, Channel 29, and became its Operations Manager as well as Writer, Producer, and Director for in-house programs and clients’ productions. I went on to work for several production companies, including TV production trucks, and went out on my own as an independent Writer, Producer, and Director. My productions included live and taped talk shows, variety programs, holiday specials, sports broadcasts, interstitial segments, concerts, conventions, commercials, and industrials. Minneapolis is a major market area, which Nielson ranks as 15th largest.
I became friends with Prince and helped open his Paisley Park Studios. I marketed PPS around the world for productions and rehearsals, and produced some of Prince’s video projects, including his “ALPHABET STREET” music video and his “BENEFIT CONCERT FOR THE HOMELESS.” I also wrote, produced, and directed my own projects, including “THE BERENGUER BOOGIE” which celebrated the Minnesota Twins’ first World Series win.
I wrote a spec script for the hot number one mid-‘80s ABC TV show “MOONLIGHTING.” I sent my script for an episode called “WE DON’T DO NO GHOSTS” to Jeff Reno, then head writer. He loved it and sent it over to William Morris Agency, where I was back-pocketed by Adam Isaacs, then new, and that’s what brought me out to Hollywood when Prince left on his LOVESEXY tour. Isaacs sent me around Hollywood to meet movers-and-shakers, big names. Then, in an absurd move, Glenn Gordon Caron, Bruce Willis, and Sybil Shepard decided to self-cancel MOONLIGHTING. Once nothing happened with my script, I became instantly invisible, and being young had no clue how to handle that tragic drop from heading to the top to suddenly landing at the bottom.
I ended up on the seedy side of Hollywood, and this ignorant very dull white guy from a super-straight-laced wealthy suburb of Minneapolis encountered some new stuff that I decided to write about. In 1998, I wrote the feature film screenplay “EVERYBODY SAYS GOODBYE—The Story of a Father and Son.” It was about boys tossed to the streets by family who rejected them for being gay. It attracted a lot of attention at Paramount, Warner Bros., and Sony Pictures Entertainment, as well as some indie producers, and several times over a dozen years it almost got made. I tried the indie route, even crowdfunding. This passion project never got made, which was a huge, destructive setback for me.
I co-produced a feature film, the family comedy “COLLIER & CO.—HOT PURSUIT!” starring John Schneider of “Dukes of Hazzard” and “Smallville” fame. Creative and marketing differences kept that film from succeeding at the box office. However, I had contracts to produce three more movies; a Western, a comedy, and a drama.
Unfortunately, following the failure of COLLIER & CO.—HOT PURSUIT!, the Writer’s Strike hit Hollywood, immediately followed by the financial crisis of the Great Recession. Those contracts disappeared and I quickly hit bottom, as had so many others.
I wrote my novel “NATE AND KELLY,” an historical fiction romance set in 1915 with strong statements about racism in America.
With no money and few resources, I struggled to write, produce, and direct some short films, including “HOT CAR” (which has been viewed a quarter million times on YouTube) and “THE CAMERA” (which needs audio repair before being released). I have raw footage for a music video and a documentary that I shot and directed, both of which I am trying to focus on completing.
In order to get ‘back into the game,’ I enrolled in film school at Los Angeles City College Cinema/TV Department, expecting the knowledge will help me and the focus will help me.
My award-winning comedy short screenplay “THE MURDER OF JAMES DEAN” has the potential, if made with high production values instead of as another no-budget production, to get me back into the Hollywood biz. My goal is to find and hire quality cast and crew, and have decent equipment, so that we make an attractive production that will be a door-opener for everyone involved.
I finished my action comedy feature film screenplay “UNDERTAKINGS” (on spec) and am now shopping it throughout Hollywood, doing it OLD SCHOOL … contacting the high-profile industry people who have known me and offering it to them directly, rather than the new business of spending tons of money on script consultants, then spending tons of money on contests and festivals, and then spending tons of money on pitch festivals. This high-cost new business model for screenwriters doesn’t sit well with me. I want to make connections with known professionals who make connections with me.
But, that’s just me. If you’ve been following my series of My Bumpy Road Through “Hollywood” posts, you know how my experience with agents has been, um, unfortunate…
Now I am working on my new comedy feature screenplay “ON BROADWAY ON BROADWAY” (again “on spec”) about a dysfunctional elite family torn apart by college admissions scandals and then on the edge of total collapse when a prominent and flamboyantly gay Broadway impresario arrives in Los Angeles and seems to be making moves on the family’s college-age son.