When I click on a filmmaker’s website, usually the first thing I go to is the “About Me.”
Who is this person? Is he or she unique? What is “the voice.”
It’s difficult to talk about yourself with confidence without becoming pretentious. I am, fortunately, distinguished by my MASSIVE HUMILITY.
I grew up on Martha’s Vineyard which was defining in many ways.
My dad spent his career as a doctor there. If you needed a fish hook pulled out of your ass between 1977 and 2017 on the Island, chances are he did it.
People think of the Vineyard as this hoity toity place—and it has become more that way—but in the off-seasons of the late 1970s and 1980s, it was just another frigid New England town full of working-class folks.
I was a small child, from one of the only Jewish families with kids in the school system. I was tormented by bullies, NOT because I was Jewish—they didn’t know what that was—but because I was shy, sensitive, and also annoying.
I became conscious of the divisions of society. We lived in a beautiful place, and were very lucky to do so, but in the summer it was overrun by tourists. When we went off-Island, there was culture shock. But also McDonald’s, which my brother and I loved (the forbidden fruit).
When I was a teenager my parents divorced, and that was a huge blow that sent me even deeper into my childhood obsessions of movies, comics, Star Trek and soundtrack albums—things proudly “Geek” now, but at the time, you kept them secret!
I went to Amherst College from 1992–96, where I learned it didn’t matter how smart anybody was, those kids sure could drink!
The summer after I graduated, my mom said, “You’re leaving soon, right?”
I moved to Los Angeles in October 1996 and operated my film music-fandom business professionally in my twenties and thirties. We produced hundreds of soundtrack CDs, it was great fun.
Around that time I was invited by a friend to a party at Shane Black’s house, and holy crap, if I wrote about some of the stuff I saw there circa 1997–2003, neither of us would ever work again.
I was, at this time, a lonely, stressed-out workaholic. I played on a rec-league baseball (wood bat) team with a porn star for a first baseman (famous for his graphic catchphrase), which is like the most L.A. thing ever.
In 2010 I met my wife, and in 2014 we had identical twin girls. They are the best ever! I am so lucky!
Around 2000 I realized I didn’t want to be a “professional fan” all my life, so I started writing screenplays.
I spent, no lie, 15 years writing the world’s most terrible screenplays…and then 5 years writing average amateur screenplays…and then the last five months writing awesome professional screenplays.
And I thought I was smart! What a difficult skill.
I made a crazy indie film and a pretty cool sci-fi short. Again, see projects.
About My Work
I am a producer at heart. I write so I have something to produce, and I direct so it comes out the way I want it.
I write “upscale” genre: often, sci-fi concepts (robots, superpowers, time travel, whatever) in a reality-based, character-driven way.
The story I tell over and over again is Faust—the choice between power and humanity.
I LOVE the Breaking Bad approach to storytelling, where it’s all drawn from the real world: nothing ever goes away.
I don’t mind violence in movies, but I could never make a movie that is just 400 different ways to kill people. Honestly, I find those disturbing.
I LOATHE storytelling that is stupid and frivolous.
My humor runs to the dry and odd. And often sad, even better!
My all-time favorite movie is Chinatown. Polanski is my idol as a thriller writer–director. (Not his personal life, eeek.)
I have only directed one 15-minute short, but I loved it (although I was a nervous wreck at the time).
I can do cinematic ideation, and I can communicate, what else do you need?
I am freakishly methodical, decisive and efficient.
And I know when to stop.