Since we live in a world where we're most often defined by what we do, I figure this is the best place on the web for anyone to find out who I am in my own words. In other words, you're not really going to learn that much about me, per se, save for what you can determine by the things I've done.
This opening bio is just an overview. Feel free to click on any of the links to the right to get more description and detail on each of my interests and/or accomplishments.
I've put a lot of effort into screenwriting since selling my first one to Universal in 1983. Having written alone and in collaboration with a number of different co-writers, I find writing to be the single most varied and interesting pursuit that I have every enjoyed. Each project is different. Each writing relationship is different. And every one -- project and collaboration -- has taught me a number of interesting, vital and entertaining things about writing as a process, a medium and as a means of expressing myself.
Screenwriting is about movie and television scripts, but my writing interests wander far from those arenas. I've been a staff writer for the Fries On The Side sketch comedy group in LA for the past six years. Writing for the internet is a newish pursuit and I have been working on developing a number of projects for that emerging new medium. I also write comedy material and jokes, having done so with Dana Carvey for the past several years and having been a contributing freelancer for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno since the mid-90's. Most recently my writing antics have taken me into realm of books and I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the first book I've co-written with Jonathan Littman, "I Hate People!" The business book with a humorous edge is due to hit bookshelves and online stores on June 10th of 2009.
Another major course in my life has been the development of trademarks or brand names. 20 years ago I began doing work as a freelancer with a small branding company in Sausalito, Placek & Company, which changed its name in 1990 and has become the well-known Lexicon Branding, Inc. After working there in a variety of capacities and learning the excellent business practices of J. David Placek, the founder, I left to pursue my screenwriting career in earnest. At the same time, I began my own brand consultancy, where I helped some nice folks and companies get terrific new names off the ground. As of the end of 2009, I have returned to creating brands exclusively for Lexicon.
I've been cartooning since high school, when I collaborated (with now-film director Jonathan Parker) on "The Senior Quad", a four-panel comic strip for our school paper, The Redwood Bark. I kept my chops up in various ways, including hand-drawn greeting cards, for years until 1999, when I began providing the editorial cartoons for the Half Moon Bay Review, the award-winning weekly from the California coastside community of Half Moon Bay. My style morphed from pen-and-ink to "phodoodles", a style of photo manipulation I pioneered. In 2007, I added a second paper, Marin County's weekly Pacific Sun, for which I supply phodoodles for their UpFront column. This past year, I received an award from the California Newspaper Publishers Association for my work in the Review.
I've been a fan of comedy since I was a kid swiping Bob Newhart, Bill Cosby and Allan Sherman albums out of my parents' record cabinet but it wasn't until 1982 when I started performing with the Seattle TheatreSports group that I really set foot on the comedy stage. Since then I have directed and performed with a number of improvisational and sketch comedy groups. I like to think of both forms as "interactive comedy", since they involve audience participation to one degree or another. Starting in early 2009 I'll be helping to kick off classes for the Free Range Improv School & Company (FRISCO) through the San Francisco Comedy College.
I occasionally come up with humorous observations on current events, or phodoodles of figures in the news, without any specific place to put either. In that case I turn to my personal blog, The Daily Grill, the dumping ground for the spew that streams from my head.
Finally, and more weirdly, I am an ordained minister. Just because it's in the Universal Life Church and I received my ordination over the internet for free shouldn't color your view of my title. By the power vested in me by the state of California, I am able to perform weddings, and have done so on several occasions. So if you're looking to tie the knot and you've been excommunicated from your favorite neighborhood church, drop me a line.