I was born in Washington, D.C., one of three Army brats who traveled in Europe and some of the States from a very young age. A long and checkered career has included working in a variety of jobs, including janitor, fast-food worker, stadium peanut vendor, movie theater cashier and occasional projectionist, copy editor, reporter, music-magazine associate editor, marketing writer, Web site producer and editor at The New York Times.
A graduate of the University of Colorado with a degree in journalism, I was a reporter, editor and critic at several high-profile news sources, including The Times, The Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle; an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; and a copy editor at an early iteration of Wired News. My reporting, reviews, essays and criticism on books, politics, film, television, media and other topics have appeared at NBCNews.com, The New York Times Book Review, PopMatters, Entertainment Weekly, Medium and other publications.
I'm a long-time fan and student of the movies, television and our visual culture. My love affair with the visual medium began at age 11, as a precocious kid watching the TV Movies of the Week. Sometime after that I went to see "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and (between bouts of laughter) was mesmerized by how that crazy story went together. how the disparate strands of a madcap ensemble train wreck coalesced into a movie. A few years later, I saw "Sounder" and discovered the power of the small-scale historical drama. Then I witnessed "2001: A Space Odyssey" in Cinerama, at a theater in Denver. Nothing on the screen looked the same to me after that. My perception of the narrative architecture of movies changed from then on. That film revealed to me what was truly possible in the medium with the right mind and the right vision.
I wrote my first screenplay at 19. The horror. But a passion that might be a profession has to start somewhere. From that humble beginning, I've moved on to expanding my knowledge base about modern film: consuming the work of Godard, Truffaut, Kubrick, Coppola, Scorsese, Spike Lee, Ryan Coogler; reading screenplays, and generally working to grasp the complexities of the form. Professionally, I moved into various journalistic roles at the San Francisco Chronicle and The New York Times, and roles as movies editor for BET Weekend Magazine; indie theater marketing director; senior web editor for Current TV; and a reporter and news editor for NBCNews.com. And I kept writing movies, a slave to the keyboard and the vision that only I could make out at a distance.
I'm the author of the novel "Flagpole Days" (2003), the essay collection "Interesting Times" (2004), and "American Bandwidth" (2009), a collection of essays bridging the 2004 election and the first 100 days of the Obama administration. I blog frequently on politics, culture and national affairs at Short Sharp Shock. And I'm at work on a historical drama, a futuristic thriller and the pilot for a TV series set in Seattle — where I lived, as a resident of the city’s proud, diverse, rapidly gentrifying Columbia City neighborhood since 2002.
But that was then. As of January 2015, I live in Los Angeles. Change is good.
Prove Me Innocent
Film (short) Detective
Film (short) Mr. Watts
A Change Is Gonna Come
Film (short) Producer