What are you all about? (Artistic Medium, Hobbies, Goals, Passions)
I think if I had to define what part of the creative process that really gets me going, it would be world building. Not just the art of storytelling, but the act of creating an environment, populating it with ideas, and then making it accessible and believable to your audience. I've always been a storyteller, ever since I was a kid. I'm a bit of a well-intentioned narcissist, and I learned at an early age that the more striking and defined a story is in its presentation, the bigger a reaction you will get from those listening. When the characters and world around a story are crafted correctly, it doesn't matter how outlandish that story itself actually is. Giant, radioactive ant monsters fighting detectives in the middle of the desert is a totally feasible situation if the world around those ants is crafted right, and I love the challenge of making those worlds come to life.
When or how did you know that this work/art form was for you? I've been a comic book fan all my life, though I never really understood its power as a storytelling medium until after college. I went to film school and wanted to be a writer/director like everyone else in my class. Eventually I got turned on to editing and realized that I enjoyed that process far more than directing (and was much better at it) so I pursued that.
My focus had been more on film as the premier storytelling medium, but then I started discovering writers like Alan Moore, Mark Waid, Brian K. Vaughn and Brian Michael Bendis. These guys were telling amazing stories, and they had none of the confines of budget, space, or time that film did. The more I studied comics instead of just read them, the more I realized that it is a TRULY collaborative medium. One where the colorist has as much impact as the writer or penciler. One where a great letterer or inker can elevate the work of everyone else involved.
As I worked more and more in film and television I realized that while that is genuinely collaborative work, at the end of the day it's typically the director's and producer's project that remains as the final product. In comics the entire creative team has a powerful and real impact on the final outcome, and I absolutely love that. Don't get me wrong, I still love movies and TV, and I very much enjoy working as an editor. But for me, right now, comics is my creative medium of choice.
Where did you go to school? (if applicable)
I went to the University of Colorado, Boulder and studied production in their film program. Eventually I made my way to LA to become an editor, and completed the Avid Professional Program at Video Symphony in Burbank.
How did your education/training/schooling get you to where you are now?
As far as the editing, I wouldn't be where I am without the foundation I learned at Video Symphony. Editing is a combination of art and technology. If you don't know how to use your tools (IE: the technology side) you'll never be able to properly develop the artistic side. As far as writing comic books go, I developed my sense of pacing and style through editing. Learning editing on a functional level gave me a deeper understanding of not just how stories work, but how to effectively tell them. I owe my voice as a writer to my time as an editor. Also, it pays my bills.
What advice would you tell someone just starting out?
It's cliche and you've heard it a million times, but it's true. It is also, for all its simplicity, one of the hardest pieces of advice to follow. Just get out there and to it. Write it. Shoot it. Cut it. Build it. No excuses. Writers write. Editors edit. Dancers dance. Chefs... chef. If you aren't doing what you want to do right now, you can't expect to get to do it later.
Who or What is your biggest inspiration?
I have been lucky enough to surround myself with an amazingly talented and diverse group of creative people, and I harvest an incredible amount of inspiration from them. People like Joshua Hale Fialkov, Tony Fleecs, Jerry Pyle, James Renfroe, Melanie Burgess, Jim McCann, Chris Moreno, Heather Ryder, Nick Brandt, Andy Suriano, and Heidi Ryder (to name a few). You probably haven't heard of most of these people, but they are all young creators who are on top of their game, and I strive to match their awesomeness.
On a more mainstream level, I am heavily influenced by Jeffrey Brown, Mark Waid, Phil Hester, Brian K Vaughn, Brian Michael Bendis, Robert Langridge, Sonny Liew, Skottie Young, Sam Keith, Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon, Brandon Bird, Wayne White, Magrite, Truman Capote, Charles Bukowski, Bret Easton Ellis, Spike Jonze, David Fincher, Alfred Hitchcock, Justin Vernon, Paul Simon, and Steve Martin.
What great secrets have you gleaned through your craft that you can share with us?
1: Devour anything that catches your attention. Inspiration comes from everywhere.
2: It's ok to have a day job. Seriously. Paying the rent is awesome, and often times the day job will fuel your need to be creative outside of work.
3 (and most importantly): Fill your creative circle with people you trust and admire. I've found that that circle of friends is often time my most valuable creative tool.
What projects are you currently working on and what's up next?
My first graphic novel DAMES IN THE ATOMIC AGE was just released in March, so I've been spending a ton of time traveling and promoting that online and at comic book conventions across the country. You can check it out at www.damesintheatomicage.com if you are so inclined. I'm also in the process of writing an all-ages graphic novel, an ongoing series with lots of inappropriate humor, and the second volume of DAMES.