(The Long Version)
Growing up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I immersed myself in tales of ghost pirates & lost colonists, acting them out with my friends out in the woods & on the sandbars. Fact & fantasy were never too far apart. Storytelling was all around me. After all, on the Outer Banks, everyone knows that Blackbeard’s headless body swam ’round his ship three…no, five… no… seven times before it sank away into the depths. My love of stories followed me right into adulthood, & even as I pursued a degree in Civil Engineering, I hiked across campus to take Creative Writing classes on the side, just for fun.
Back then, I still thought of writing as a hobby, so I spent my twenties on a different path: After undergrad, I worked for four years as a field engineer building bridges, then two years earning an MBA, & another two years advising Fortune 500 company CEOs as a management consultant. Neither engineering nor business consulting turned out to be my passion or calling, but they both taught me an incredible amount about working with others, managing complex projects, building a vision & strategy, & executing a plan. In both roles, I learned how to “see all the way to the end” then make the tough choices needed to get from here to there, one small step at a time.
Eventually, I decided to make my love of stories & storytelling more than just a side gig, & so I moved to Los Angeles to burrow my way into the entertainment industry. For three years, I cobbled together my own “film school” curriculum from practical experience & classroom instruction. During my first year in LA, I studied Producing for Film, TV, & New Media at UCLA’s Extension program. Then, I spent the next two years working on film productions of all sizes, from features to web series to music videos. I also worked throughout as a freelance script reader for well-known, busy clients like Amazon Studios & Resolution Talent Agency. Overall, it was a wonderful mix of theory & practice & allowed me to explore filmmaking from idea to execution all the way through distribution while meeting & working with a bevy of amazingly talented makers & doers.
After several years in Hollywood, I decided it was time to get back to my roots on the Outer Banks’ serene beaches to focus on building my own ideas in fiction & drama from the ground up. In 2017, I made the big move back east, & while I still enjoy visiting the west coast from time to time to catch up with friends & do business, I have been happy to call North Carolina my home these past few years—I have found the history & culture of the region & my own personal experiences here have been a gold mine for story ideas & inspiration. That said, every now & then, I still get itchy feet… & when that happens, I like to go wandering with my notebooks & my camera in hand to search of new views, ideas & experiences. Whether my wandering is far or near, long or short, I always find what I’m looking for… there are so many stories out there just waiting to be told.