I came to Los Angeles and the Film Business by way of St. Louis, Missouri. It was a bit of a journey. It took me awhile to find my place.
I grew up in St. Louis and went to College at the University of Missouri-Columbia where I received a Bachelor of Journalism. At the time, Missouri was the top rated journalism school in the world and while I loved to write, I loved movies more, so I moved to California and went to Graduate Film School at San Francisco State University part-time at night while managing a fleet of service trucks for a construction service company. I didn’t complete my Masters, and bounced around for awhile.
Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri in the 1970s and 1980s, making movies seemed like it was something only special, seriously talented people did. I didn’t realize that anybody could get into making movies if they wanted to enough. And that talent was something you developed. It took me a few years but I finally figured it out (sort of — I’m still figuring it out.) I didn’t think I belonged anywhere for a long time to be honest.
But I couldn’t kick the love of movies and the dreams of making them, so I made my way to Hollywood in 1997 (actually Van Nuys) and got an internship with Blue Rider Pictures answering phones, making copies, doing runs in my pick-up truck and reading scripts. They let me intern on a real production — “Children of the Corn V” and I was hooked. I stayed in touch with the production team and kept networking, getting a few days here and there.
Eventually I was working as an Office P.A./runner (for pay) and then a Set Production Assistant (for pay, most of the time) and non-union Assistant Director. Along the way I did everything else, art department, props, grip, craft service, location assistant, some camera P.A. work, you name it, on all sorts of projects, Movies, Commercials, Promos, Music Videos, Industrials, Print, Documentary and Television.
I wrote, directed and produced short films on the side and have optioned some scripts and been hired for rewrites as a screenwriter. I currently have a couple of projects in development, and still love helping other people make theirs. I just love the process, the teamwork, the camaraderie, and doing creative work with passionate, driven people.
I joined the Directors Guild of America as a 1st Assistant Director in 2007.
I’ve since upgraded to a Unit Production Manager (UPM) on the Southern California Qualification List.
I now Produce, Line Produce and UPM, but still do a lot of work as a 1st Assistant Director. I enjoy the planning and logistics and making it happen. Developing projects and executing them. Forgive the sports analogy, but it’s like being a quarterback leading a team, constantly driving to score. You’re a team leader and a team player. So I guess maybe I found my place after all.
It’s crazy but here I am, living the dream.