Every character has a backstory right?
To be honest, there’s little more, if anything, about me that might be helpful to know than what’s on the "Resources" page.
At the same time, I know I personally like learning about who’s behind a site like this. So on the chance that someone like me has clicked here, I’ll offer this much:
I originally got hooked on films through special effects. (That’s what visual effects were still called then, because they truly were special.) King Kong, Superman, Star Wars, Raiders—I read everything I could about how that movie magic was done. The first magazine I subscribed to with my own money was Cinefex (which was not cheap then), and when I bought my first movie camera and projector, it was for trying to recreate that magic myself, not telling stories. I was an upcoming Edlund or Muren, not Spielberg or Lucas. (I knew everyone at ILM like other kids knew the Cowboys and Steelers.)
As I got older, though, the overall effect of film began elbowing in on my attention. I'd say Raiders was the first to make me love "The Movies," and to make me start noticing the different elements of a film: the image, the music, the story, the characters. It took only a little Australian film two years later, The Man from Snowy River, to suck me all the way in. It was no longer just about special effects—it was about cinema.
Creative writing assignments in school awakened me to the fun of prose fiction, but in my own head I was already seeing and imagining in scenes on a screen. And mostly that’s all it was, short stories in a film-ish format (since I had no idea what that looked like at that point).
By 20, though, I knew I wanted to write, and for film. I don’t actually recall how I thought, in 1988-89, that that was something that could even be done outside of shooting a film yourself, but in any case, that’s where my head was. My story ideas were all film ideas, not novel ideas. And then my dad sent me the unknown story of the most highly decorated air crew in American history, a B-17 bomber crew in the Southwest Pacific in WWII. That, as it turned out, was history, in more than one sense.
Since then I’ve written four feature scripts for three stories (the latest is a page-one rewrite of that first based on a better understanding of the story and story in general), written a treatment for another and have two ideas I'm serious about developing. It's not the output one might expect for when I got started, thanks partly to the WWII project taking on a life of its own, with almost-30 years now of continuing research into the crew and their war, spawning a website I created dedicated to the crew and a novel now on hiatus while I push the limited series the time seemed too ripe not to develop and push. It does also turn out that marriage, kids, homeschooling,, and starting now a third business take a statistically significant amount of time. Who knew?
Not so much time, though, that I couldn't begin creating these breakdowns of movies I love and admire, and spare a thought or two about story and writing based on what I've come to know about them. It's all of a piece. I hope you enjoy a slice.
Some research is more fun than others. Me in the left seat of a B-17 Flying Fortress as part of the research for my WWII script.