When I was only 15 years old I realized I wanted to be a part of the film industry though I wasn't sure to what degree. I was a talented illustrator, and at first, I considered going the route of a Walt Disney Studios animator. However, when I was told I wouldn't be hired directly out of high school, I decided to attend Art Center College of Design to study filmmaking. It was there, after several unsuccessful attempts at writing feature scripts, I was introduced to the world of television writing. This was my medium. I took to it so naturally that within only a couple months I had churned out three television specs, one of which would get me an agent and land me my first job in television on the Showtime series The L Word. Now dozens of years later, I wouldn't change a thing!
I’m excited to share the next TV series I’m working on for 2020 with the incredible folks at Pilgrim Studios. It’s an adaptation of the best selling novel by Tara Conklin called The Last Romantics. Fiona, Renee, Joe, and Caroline Skinner are young adults haunted by the death of their father, a traumatic event from their childhood that still overshadows their present. From aimless sex, to unrealistic love, to obsession with work, and the inability to simply enjoy living, The Last Romantics is drama that explores the painful truth about family: that sometimes, the only way to fix what’s broken in our present is to face the awful truth about our past.
I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the amazing film, The Thing About Harry. So much of the two main characters, Harry and Sam, was drawn from my own life experience. The character of Sam is similar to who I was as a young gay man growing up in Missouri, wildly self-conscious and full of deeply held romantic beliefs. And the character of Harry is a reflection of who I’ve become after living in LA for so long, much more relaxed and realistic about life and love. Being one of the writers of this particularly groundbreaking movie was an opportunity to reconcile both of these sides of myself and tell a story in a location that couldn’t be closer to my heart — the Midwest.
Over the last couple years, instead of staffing on a series, I’ve been developing TV pilots in hopes of finally landing my own show. In 2017, I was fortunate enough to sell a great project to the wonderful folks at FOX, and in 2018, I was beyond excited to have sold a pilot to NBC based on the fiction novel, The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty. The Fifth Letter is a dramatic and thrilling look into the lives of four best friends since high school who go on a girl's weekend getaway to rekindle their friendships. While there, as a game, they each type out a letter that allows them to anonymously get certain secrets off their chests. However, when a fifth, much more sinister letter is discovered half-burnt in a fireplace, they’re all stunned to realize one of them is harboring a grudge against another one of them, and it's so dark it seems to teeter on the brink of turning her into, well… a murderer! Suddenly, this tight knit group of women is on the verge of being ripped apart by a massive secret. But as we dive deep into all their everyday lives as wives, mothers, and friends, we soon realize they’re all hiding something!
Of all the shows I have worked on, Finding Carter, may be the one I'm most proud of. I love the genuine drama and complex arcs of each the characters. It is truly a pleasure to write on a show where the simplest storyline can be explored with a subtlety that has been lost in most television nowadays.
With my job on Chasing Life came my first opportunity to really produce an episode of television I had written. That meant being on set and helping the director interpret the intentions of my script. Days on set are long but they are also some of the most memorable for me. There's nothing quite like experiencing the collective excitement of the cast and crew watching quietly as an actor takes a piece of dialogue or action and brings it to life right in front of your eyes. In particular, Chasing Life gave me an opportunity to grow as a television writer. It forced me to find my voice and realize my strengths, and it taught me to believe in myself in ways I never had before.
Desperate Housewives was without a doubt a game changer not just for me but for episodic television. I was hired as a staff writer on the first season of the show and watched astounded as it became a worldwide phenomenon. Over the course of my three seasons on the show I would have the privilege of writing for some of the most talented actors and biggest names on the planet including legends like Carol Burnett, Warren Buffett, and Oprah Winfrey. While the show was nominated for and won multiple awards, I was personally nominated for a WGA award for best episodic comedy script for my second season episode, "Don't Look at Me." I lost to Steve Carell who was wearing the same Dolce & Gabbana tux that I was, and I guess my consolation prize was that he said I wore the tux better. While I appreciated the sentiment, I still would have preferred the award.
I was hired on The L Word as a staff writer for season one, and I penned episode 5, "Lies, Lies, Lies." Aside from knowing how to format a television script and write pretty decent dialogue, I had absolutely no idea the politics of a writer's room or how exactly to pitch storylines. Luckily, the show runner and creator, Ilene Chaiken, took a chance on me, and for that I am eternally grateful, because The L Word will always be the show where my writing career really began.