I wasn’t a child prodigy, I can tell you that much. As a kid, I had really wanted to be a stuntman; that, or a school bus driver. But when parents see a child paint grass blue and trees purple they think they’ve got a genius on their hands. They do what they can to expose that child to big ideas and nurture creative thought. And I think they’re right to do that.
My parents used to take me to museums in every city we visited. Roy Lichtenstein’s work was my favorite. There was all this drama, stories in each one, told in an instant, but frozen safely behind the sterile, bullet-proof glass of his expressive, machined technique. Each picture left plenty of space for you to guess what had happened before or what was going to happen next.
Lifting moments from a larger narrative became my storytelling style. I focused more on details that indicated something outside of that moment. I was into forensic evidence and the detective story. When I tried writing in 3-act structure, I was too hung up on setting the scene and making things feel authentic to get through the arc. In my head, the character’s journey was obvious, or moot or artificial and it didn’t need more attention from me. I wanted to enjoy why he opens his holster that way.
Growing up in Texas and moving to L.A. gave me a comprehensive education in faŤade and posturing. But living in New York, or at least that time in my life, helped me identify nuance, motive and habit. Those are the things I try to identify when telling somebody’s story. Whether it comes across literally or not, it’s important for me to have it embedded in the dialogue. We see ourselves in other people because we want to, and sometimes even in spite of ourselves. It makes us feel comfortable and familiar. And it’s how we can relate to a character who does something we might not do. It’s why we love movies. And it’s why I love my job.
I love my life. I love meeting new people and hearing new stories. And I love what I do.
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