Remember that shadowy monster peeking at you from behind the crack in your closet door at night—the one you were certain was laying in wait until the increasing heft of your eyelids could be resisted no longer? The only merciful diversion I had from the horror of that infinitely patient predator was wonder: What was it? A ghost? A mute, blade-wielding masked murderer? The Headless Horseman? Whatever it was that had staked its malignant claim on me, I knew enough to know that monsters, like superheroes, weren’t born—they were made. The spirits in Poltergeist, after all, were the vengeful victims of grave desecration in the name of suburban sprawl. Jason Voorhees was a disabled child left to drown by negligent camp counselors. The Horseman was a Hessian mercenary beheaded on a battlefield a mere twenty miles up the Hudson River from my hometown. In the grip of terror, it was easy to forget that monsters had origins—reasons for being. Surely the villain in my closet had a story, too? I sensed even then, under the protective veil of my bedsheets, that the metaphysical force that had staked its claim on me was, in fact, a calling—to exercise a writer’s command over the horrors hiding in closets and living in popular folklore.
A Los Angeles–based scribe of supernatural fiction and “secret histories,” I am the author of the forthcoming novel Escape from Rikers Island, a “Richard Price–meets–Stephen King” thriller about a lone, unarmed police detective forced to team with a group of violent gangbangers—that he put behind bars—when they find themselves under lockdown at New York City’s infamous detention center during a zombie-like outbreak among the inmates. As a screenwriter, I have pitched to production companies all over Hollywood, including Legendary Pictures (of Dark Knight trilogy fame) and Virgin Produced (Limitless), and recently developed an undersea sci-fi thriller in the vein of The Abyss with Grey Matter Productions (producer of the in-development feature Section 6).
The early cinematic delights of Spielberg and Lucas carried me away to worlds that seemed so distant from the streets of the Bronx, conspiring with the four-color fantasies of DC and Marvel (when comic books were still blessedly “cheap entertainment” consigned to the racks of corner candy stores) to instill in me a dreamer’s devotion to the imaginary and otherworldly. At a science-fiction convention I’d attended while still in high school, I came across an unproduced screenplay for a sequel to The Lost Boys—I’d never seen a movie script before, as the Internet was still a few short years away from making them available for free en masse—and spent three long winter months ignoring my schoolwork in favor of rewriting the material to make it suitable for shooting on location in New York with a VHS-C camcorder! The movie never got finished—my first lesson in the pragmatics of filmmaking—but I was hooked: I had inadvertently schooled myself in the rudimentals of screenwriting, igniting a lifelong passion for the discipline.
My formal (and informal) education included studying comic-book illustration under the late, great Carmine Infantino at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, degrees in English and film production from CUNY, and an internship on Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead. A move to L.A. followed shortly thereafter, where I became a devotee of the screenwriting methods of Blake Snyder and particularly David Freeman, the latter of whom demystified the process of storytelling for me and opened my eyes to the wonder of making magic via the artful application of tools and technique. My blog serves to formalize an ongoing practice that started in the dark of my childhood bedroom: analyzing why characters and stories seize our imagination. To that end, I’ll be “cracking open the closet door,” as it were—i.e., examining the masterful application of advanced storytelling methods in all manner of fiction: cinema, television, novels, and comic books—as well as illustrating how those tools were put to use in the development of my own upcoming novels, novellas, short stories, and screenplays; I welcome your feedback and participation!
I am repped by UTA.