Writer / Producer / Actor/ Director
Cultural Artists Spotlight: May 2 – May 14, 2019
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I jump around. A lot. Primarily these days I work as a producer and writer, though I am also an actor and director and have worn many other hats as well. I’m currently in post-production on a scotch whisky documentary as a producer and am writing a biopic Western and two books. I’m also directing a highly experimental passion-project short completely rendered in After Effects that’s almost through its first cut.
While filmmaking and writing are my first loves, I do dabble in other areas, mostly photography but occasionally watercolor painting and even woodworking. When I served as a new media exec I even created many pieces of digital art for use inside of an online game.
How did you first become interested in art?
I grew up in a family with two musicians for parents…so naturally I started in computer engineering! My parents strongly believed in allowing my sister and me to discover our own paths in life, beliefs stemming from my mother having been forced into music by her mother and my father’s parents disapproving of his own switch from engineering to music in college. And, honestly, music was so omnipresent in my life that my own interests always drew elsewhere—I always loved acting and writing. One of my earliest memories is playing the lead role of Achilles in a school play about the Trojan War when I lived in East Africa. I also had the great good fortune of attending the university at which my father taught (Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT) which has an amazing Film Studies Program, through which my dad took me to countless screenings of classic movies on the big screen.
I don’t think I was emotionally ready to pursue the challenging course of a career in art when I entered college. Engineering was safer. But what drew me to engineering was actually that same creative drive of an artist—I wanted to invent! The inherent actor and filmmaker inside me refused to go away, however, and even during school I knew I was going to switch careers. So while every one of my classmates filled his or her electives with other engineering classes, I took the bare minimum to graduate and instead took Acting for Non-Majors, Filmmaking, and Creative Writing. I then worked at an engineering job for a mere fifteen months while I saved up money to move to Los Angeles.
How can art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can become engaged with art in Burbank?
Art is universal. At its simplest, art brings joy to those who experience it. But the power of art can be far more profound, inspirational, not just creatively, but as an impetus for social change. Art is a reflection of the world through the artist’s self-expression. As such, art allows us to view ourselves with an honesty that mere discussion often blunts due to the inherent human tendency of building walls. At whichever level art works, the community gains as a whole.
There is no shortage of art in Burbank with which to engage, it’s just a matter of seeking it out or even just keeping one’s eyes open. After all, we bear the moniker “Media Capital of the World,” and we’ve earned it. Patronize those establishments featuring live music. Attend the arts & crafts festivals in our parks and at private businesses. Let the City know how much you appreciate the public art displays, go to the installations at the Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center. Volunteer! With the City, at our public schools…despite budget cuts art still receive emphasis in our schools thanks to PTA and Booster organizations. Public support and appreciation will keep the existing art flowing and new art growing.
If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Children are the greatest artists, because they inherently understand that art is self-expression regardless of skill or training. Adult artists could really learn something from watching children create, because children grasp that the beauty of art is that anyone can create anything, anywhere, anytime. They always speak their souls with complete abandon. Art can and should do that for everyone. And since art does speak for the soul, one should always create for oneself, never others. If in being true to oneself one just happens to move others, all the better.