My life has been a patchwork of projects. For all my work life minus the two years of corporate I did at the turn of the century, I’ve been hustling. Always trying to find a way to make the skills pay the bills. As far as paid gigs, I’ve been an actor, teacher, writer, stage director, film director, video director, producer, location manager, PM, PC, PA, & AD. Except for the customer service gigs, telephone soliciting and yogurt serving in my youth, the rest was just using my natural instincts for surviving in the City of Angels. My network of old school friends and new school associates have helped me live a life of merriment and joy in the process of being a creative.
My first love was acting. My sisters were my first audience. I’d do all kinds of goofy impersonations as a kid. Their favorite was my Sunday night sermon, when my grandma would be listening to a church sermon on her radio full blast in her bedroom, and I’d be in the living room doing my version. My sisters would crack up!
But writing is such a big part of my life, because before I knew I was a writer I was writing. I started a journal in seventh grade on some notebook paper. Here’s a page from it:
In high school, the choir teacher told me that I was a natural writer by the way I was able to come up with a lot of improvisational bits that added flavor to the scripts in the musicals we performed every winter and spring. Those skills helped pave the way for me to get into the UCLA School of Theater, and a yearlong stint with a theater company after graduation, but L.A. isn’t an easy market to make a living as an actor in theater. TV and film were the cash cows from which to milk. I never considered myself the Hollywood type: the glossy version in front of the cameras that sells people on the idea that the glamorous life is the best life. I wound up writing for an underground hip hop magazine that went national at its peak, then I wrote for the most well-known underground free zine on hip hop and skate culture at the time.
Twelve years being behind the scenes and in the face of some of the best known hip hop and R&B artists of the 90’s gave me memories that shielded me from the pain of recent personal tragedies that I was subconsciously suppressing. Hip hop was the tool to shake the blues out of my life, and it gave me a chance to get down to earth with these celebrities. My writer’s point of view saw them not as celebrities, but as people doing a job, just like I was. The only difference between us was the limelight… and the paycheck. Yet and still, I admire them for their perseverance in their art, working from the ground up through all types of obstacles to succeed.
Those years I consider far behind me, and sixteen years in the film industry are recently in the can as well. I finally caved into the idea of working in The Industry after retiring from journalism, but behind the scenes rather than as an actor. I started at the bottom and worked my way to the top…my top at least. I was beginning to burn out from all the long hours and the frequent travel. Like I should complain, but travel for work is a lot different than travel for pleasure. You would have to sneak in the pleasure part after the job was done.
And then a miracle happened, and his name is Evan. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ve certainly seen him and me in a post or two. My son was diagnosed with ASD at age three, and since then it has been a full time job seeing that he gets the therapies and attention he needs to help him navigate the world. The love and passion for what I do supersedes any other position that I’ve had in my short life. It’s a blessing to be a full time dad and a writer, and even better to be able to combine the two. In an effort to force myself to write and publish, I’ll be introducing a new section on my blog called Metro Chronicles. It’s about Evan and me and our adventures on the MTA in Los Angeles.
So just in case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been since the year’s end, here I am. I have some other things that I’ve been working on that will be coming out soon, and then I might be gone again, to work on some more. I’m so thankful to be doing everyday what I love.