I've been writing creative scripts with interesting characters since my mother bought me an Emerson tape recorder when I was eight. I learned to imitate the Muppet characters and record myself doing it. Rich Little was my idol, but close behind was Casey Casem. My tape recorder had a wired mic, so I could record music and also record myself introducing the records like he did.
I started my radio career in a basement radio station at OSU-Lima in the fall of 1985, and it lasted until fall of 2013, 18 years, during which I also founded a video production company, Allen Film & Video. Ltd. (founded 9/12/2001, the day after the terrorist attacks). I continued my writing doing commercials for radio and television, as well as for corporate clientele. I was also a musician, and I wrote songs for several bands I was in. My bandmates' homework would be to come to practice with a riff. They'd play it and I'd kick everyone out and take 5 minutes to write a new song. They'd come back in and we'd work out the arrangements and smooth out the kinks.
In 2006 I was the 1st AD on a feature film and had no idea what I was doing, and thus, had a terrible experience with it. I wasn't sure I wanted to make movies. But in 2007 I took part in the 48 Hour Film Project in both Cincinnati (as editor) and in Cleveland (as DP/Camera Op), and enjoyed myself. Appreciating the 48HFP as I did, I contacted their HQ in late 2007 to see if they'd be interested in started another Ohio leg of the tour in Columbus, and they made me Columbus' first City Producer. I ran the 48HFP in Columbus for 6 years, but had to step down due to the failing health of my father, who had moved in with us.
My Dad had Lewy Body Dementia, which has a Parkinson's component, and a dementia component, and is different from other dementias in that the sufferer is aware of what's happening to them (unlike Alzheimer's) and the disease often brings with it terrible hallucinations. He lived with us for 18 months and passed away in December, 2013. My Dad and his home health care aides were the loose inspiration for my story, "Melting Pot".
I love heartfelt or quirky comedies that can only take place in the space inhabited by real people. Paul Giamatti in "Sideways", Ellen Page in "Juno", Jack Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets", Henry Fonda in "On Golden Pond", Diane Keaton in "Something's Gotta Give", Jon Favreau in "Chef", and also, Jack Lemmon in "Grumpy Old Men", which was the inspiration for the tone of my script and my film.
I like my entertainment to come in more than two dimensions. I like it do be deeper than most people expect. My favorite cartoons were the original Looney Tunes because sometimes the background action was as telling as the foreground action. Sure, the Road Runner is eating grain in the foreground, but behind him the coyote is hoisting a huge ACME safe up over his head, hoping to drop it on him. To this day when I direct a film and I want a busy but purposeful background, I tell my crew I want to "Bugs Bunny" the shot. The music I enjoy is also multi-dimensional. The progressive rock bands of Toto, Yes, ELO, Pink Floyd, Kansas and Rush all harnessed a deep level of musicianship, structure and vocal harmonies that carried an audiophile farther than their headphones. Those bands created a visual experience with their music... theatre of the mind.
So, today I'm a writer/director. I wrote my first screenplay in 2006/07, and didn't really pick it up again until I started taking part in the NYC Midnight screenwriting contests. I wrote a short horror script for a team in a filmmaking contest, but the team fell apart and the script was never produced. The next year I was asked to write a script for a Winterfilm entry and was asked to be a part of the production, where I produced and, to a lesser extent, did some assistant directing. "Wildcat" won 5 awards and 8 nominations at Winterfilm III, and it finally launched what I'm currently working to get off the ground, 10 Ring Films.