The entertainment arts and sciences have preoccupied me since age six when I decided I wanted to work for Bugs Bunny.
The first obstacle I ran into was typical: my family regarded my basic goal as nonsense, which explains why my occupational history began with medical school and then working as an actual doctor for a bit, which I did well, but there was a big problem: it turns out an ambition to work for Bugs Bunny isn’t a thing you can just switch off and forget. I led a double life, filling sketchbooks with drawings and notebooks with the raw material of fiction. It was all part of my secret plan, which was built around two facts, one of them being: I like to make things.
My arts and entertainment career began with a sideways entry — my favorite approach to any problem. After devoting about a thousand nights teaching myself computer graphics I transitioned into graphic design and video games. Then I went to Vancouver Film School to learn character animation.
I spent the next ten years as an artist, technical director, and computer graphics supervisor at animation studios, including one of Disney’s, where we made feature-length movies. Production is demanding work — much more difficult than being a doctor, but a lot more fun. It made me happy. But I continued to lead a double life because I wanted to build stories from the foundation. The second fact underlying my secret plan: I like to make things up, preferably out of nothing. Writing is one of the only ways to do that.
So I spent about a thousand nights writing three screenplays. This was practice. I love screenplays — they are compact and punchy. Screenplay number three was named Tanglewood. I was about to write its second draft to fix the usual problems in the telling of any story when a friend of mine advised, “If you want to find every weakness in your screenplay turn it into a novel.” And, boy, did that work. Plus I discovered I like to write novels.
I am writing more of those, in addition to building all the other components that are part of my secret plan, which I don’t keep so secret anymore. You can watch it evolve right here.