After four days of driving alone 3,000 miles across the country, I arrived at South Street Deli in Burbank, Calif., on March 1, 2006. A friend and fellow thespian managed the deli, which was my first stop in my new stomping grounds of Los Angeles. Finally, I had made it! Well, the trip across the country anyway…now it was time for the real test: put everything I had learned and dreamed to work and play my cards in the entertainment industry.
I came to Hollywood to become an actor. But after being here for only a short time, I realized that I had better find something else to bring to the plate, because if you’re only a one-trick acting pony, making a living in Hollywood is a tough row to hoe.
After numerous meetings with successful Hollywood producers and directors, they all gave me the same advice: “If you want to work in this business, you better write something for yourself, then go out and produce it and then, if you have to, direct it!”
Well, I’m not a writer. I hate to write. If you don’t believe me, just ask Elon professor Fred Rubek. He’ll assure you that I always wrote the minimum amount required for every paper I was assigned. Actors don’t write, we perform! That’s what I told myself anyway.
After sitting around my Glendale apartment for a month or so with no opportunities to “perform” and wondering why the phone was not ringing when I was sending out headshots and resumes left and right, I decided I had better find a creative outlet or I was going to explode. So, like any other slightly depressed optimistic artist who has seen The Secret, I set a goal and made a plan: I was going to write my first feature film!
At first, it was slow. I didn’t even know what the film was going to be about, only that it took place in my home state of North Carolina. The more I wrote, the more the story of a small-town Southern boy with a dream found its way onto the page. Six months later, I had a first draft. Now what?