So that’s what I did.
Even though, deep down, I loved the fiction of “Star Trek” more than the reality of the aerospace business.
But sitting in my new hire office that day, surrounded by other recent graduates opening up about their own dreams, I looked around and thought, “Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life? If I could become CEO of this company, is that what I want to work the next 40-50 years to achieve?”
And the answer -- much to my shock even though it could also be labeled “of course” -- was “No.”
So, really for the first time, I started thinking seriously about “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”
Thus, within 2 weeks of graduating college, moving to Los Angeles, and starting my “dream” job in the aerospace business, I began creating scripts after work, setting my sights on the entertainment biz and Hollywood.
Which is the long way of saying
That’s when I started writing.
Have you written anything we might have heard of?
Okay, since that last story was a lengthy one, we’ll skip the tangled process of actually getting paid to write scripts and
Success. Preparation finally met Opportunity, and I experienced some Luck, including being involved with two projects you might have actually heard of, one in television, one in movies
Television: I was a writer on “THE WONDER YEARS” for a couple of the early seasons. This time, it was, quite literally, the dream job for me. If anyone remembers, here are the two episodes I wrote (out of half a dozen or so) that are probably best known
- “Coda”: Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage, our 13-year-old protagonist) takes piano lessons. Then quits piano lessons. And wonders, like so many of us looking back, what might have been...
- “Square Dance”: The annual torture of square dancing instruction in gym class is amplified for Kevin when he is partnered with the oddest girl in school, “the flagship for seventh-grade weirdness,” Margaret Farquhar. But appearances can be deceiving...
Movies: I wrote the original “TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES” (and its first sequel, which we’ll confine to the parentheses here). Actually, it was a rewrite. The producers came to me after failing to find a distributor to finance the film. The clock was ticking, and the movie was going to be shelved. I ended up writing a screenplay in exactly 10 days, for exactly as much money as they probably spent on bagels during production. Still, unlike any other picture in Hollywood history, there turned out to be actual “net profits.” Cowabunga!
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Okay, but some of you are not going to like it.
I’m one of those guys who believes that the best way to learn how to write is to write.
- Not attend seminars.
- Not take endless notes from friends, colleagues, or mentors.
- Not do endless rewrites “polishing” the same work over and over and over and --
William Blake said: “Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.”
You’ve just gotta write. Remember that “CUT TO: Success” thing I did above? That was years of “just writing.”
You’ll be not-so-good at first, but you’ll get better.
And you’ll know when it’s good.
Do you have a website?
Made it myself. [See William Blake quote above!]
How can we order this book?
Or you can go to my website and link from there.
Any last words?
“Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”
Wait a minute, those were the actor Edmund Kean’s last words!
Oh, you meant last words from me.
Okay, yeah, I’ve got one
Read the book. You’ll get it.