When I was an undergrad, fiction professor Nikky Finney, now a National Book Award winner, informed me that I wasn't actually writing short stories, but something more akin to screenplays. Today, I am a proud member of the Writer's Guild of America with four produced feature films to my credit — several of which may have partially corrupted at least one generation of the world's youth. When asked about my work, Nikky said: "Writing is like having babies. You're responsible for what you put into the world." To this day, I'm still trying to make her proud. But I am really good making up acronyms.
AMERICAN PIE: BAND CAMP
When Universal acquired my USC thesis script, I was asked to mutate it into a new installment of the infamous AMERICAN PIE series. The story was inspired by growing up as the tuba-playing son of a football coach, four years of sleep-away band camp, and another four years living in a fraternity house. Staring Eugene Levy, (BEST IN SHOW, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN), the film is one of the highest-grossing DVD releases in history, and it has been syndicated on TBS. Highlights for me included being asked to write the script R, then PG, then R again, receiving a mandate to "come up with a gross-out bigger than when Stifler ate dog poop," and working with a great director, fantastic cast, and fabulous crew. The final scene was shot across the street from USC two years after I graduated.
ROAD TRIP: BEER PONG
In this inspiring coming-of-age comedy about four young men and their transformational journey to a Beer Pong tournament, Danny Pudi (COMMUNITY) demonstrates the comedy chops that have since made him famous. A sequel to Todd Phillip's ROAD TRIP, the film was shot in Atlanta, and has aired on cable television since its DVD release. Conan O'Brien once used ROAD TRIP II in an "American Cinema Classics" sketch that spoofs Masterpiece Theater. Any press you can get, right?
SLAP SHOT: THE JUNIOR LEAGUE
I swear on "Old Time Hockey" it was not my idea to make this movie PG, but Universal wanted a family-friendly homage to the original SLAP SHOT, so this version parallels the original film, focusing on a group of spunky, unsupervised orphans who fight to save their small town, as opposed to Paul Newman's team of rowdy miscreants. Shot in Vancouver, the Hansons return to teach our kids "to put on the foil" while the late great Leslie Nielson cameos, along with hockey legends Mark Messier and Doug Gilmour.
I was hired to rewrite a script that ultimately became the first narrative lacrosse feature ever released to theaters. CROOKED ARROWS tells the story of an estranged Native American man who must help the boys on his childhood reservation reclaim lacrosse for themselves. Professional and collegiate Native American players from across the northeast were cast in order to deliver authentic game action. The film stars Brandon Routh (SUPERMAN RETURNS, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD), and Gil Birmingham (TWILIGHT, HELL OR HIGH WATER) It was shot in the Boston area, as well as in Los Angeles. I love to watch the game, and am proud as hell of this movie, but I still can't catch with a stick.
Gone Into The Clearing
I was introduced to director Meredith Veach by a mutual friend who said we should talk. The result was a short film that I wrote and she directed about a young man who escapes the chaos of the city only to find the the wilderness is far less forgiving. Shot in New York City and the Shenandoah River Valley, GONE INTO THE CLEARING has screened across the country in a number of film festivals.
Empower: Mind Over Matter
This anthology of short stories by working screenwriters saw all of its proceeds benefit the UCLA Brain Tumor Program. I contributed the story, "We Provide the Bucket," which takes place in an anechoic chamber, and is based on my own personal experience with a brain injury.