I grew up in Chicago where the weather can sometimes feel like science fiction. The skies can be clear and bright blue in the morning, only to turn bottle green and black at noon. It can snow in June. It can snow upward instead of downward. I am not making this up.
A Chicago kid had to have ways to stay occupied indoors. Luckily, my childhood just happened to coincide with the space race. I couldn’t read enough about John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and Chuck Yeager. TV had new episodes of Lost in Space and Star Trek. There were models of rockets that would take weeks to build. And there was Ray Bradbury. For a nerd, crappy weather wasn’t the worst thing in the world.
And then came Star Wars. I saw A New Hope thirty-two times that summer. Yes, it was hot and sticky out and the air-conditioned theaters were a relief. But by then, weather had nothing to do with it. I had simply become that person. Someone who would read Ender’s Game six times in two weeks. Someone who would wait in lines for hours to see Shatner take the Enterprise to the big screen.
The new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue or the new Greg Bear novel? It wasn’t as slam dunk as you’d think.
All this time with books and movies and TV made me want to tell stories too. But another part of me also wanted to eat. And have reasonable shelter from Chicago’s crazy fits of rain and upside-down snow. So, I’ve spent much of my career in advertising, telling stories about McDonald’s and Corona Beer and Porsche cars. It’s been loads of fun. And I’ve been lucky to have written and creative-directed some pretty famous campaigns. You can see a few at c-k.com if you’d like.
But if you’re that person, well, you have to be that person. And since I’ve yet to convince a single client that what the next commercial needs is a story of alien colonization or first contact along with an epic battle for the soul of humanity, or even just a cool starship, I decided to take matters into my own hands.