- Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I first got into storytelling through the medium of film. I have an undying love for cinema that informs everything I do. I’ve written a dozen or so feature-film screenplays and I’ve had the pleasure of directing a handful of short films. I would like to think that my prose has a cinematic flair from my experiences in screenwriting that readers will enjoy. These days, I actively write in both mediums. When I come up with a new story idea, one of the first questions I need to answer is whether this story is a novel or a film.
- What are some of your pet peeves?
Bad plot twists, formulaic story arcs, author-insert characters, lazy sentence structure, pulled punches, easy plot choices, overt exposition, the “male gaze” in describing characters, baddies letting protagonists live for no reason, a murdered wife being pregnant because it isn’t sad enough if she’s not pregnant? (bonus points if the pregnancy is revealed after the fact as a twist), an item in a breast pocket stopping a bullet, “crazy” characters being able to somehow see through one-way mirrors, and wrapping up a story with a suicide.
- What do you do to unwind and relax?
I actually have a pretty difficult time relaxing. I try really hard to be as productive as possible, which can often lead to attempts at relaxing making me feel awful like I’m wasting time that could be spent writing, researching, or planning. I really enjoy video games, for example, but find I usually can’t play them for longer than an hour or two without feeling like I should be writing instead. One way I sort of cheat a relaxing activity is by turning it into something more productive. That’s partially why I often write reviews or essays about the things I watch or read. I can justify spending the time to rewatch The Wire for the fifth time if I can consider it research for a new essay I’m writing.
- When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I would say it was a gradual process for me. I considered myself a filmmaker before considering myself a writer. In fact, I began making awful home movies without having ever written anything, and it was specifically in order to have stories to film that I began learning how to write. Eventually, that priority switched, and I now consider myself a writer first and foremost.
- Do you have a favorite movie?
As I’m sure any cinephile would probably tell you, that’s a damn-near impossible question to answer. I have so many favorite movies and favorite filmmakers and even my top 20 favorite movies are liable to change depending on which day of the week you ask me. A few of my favorite filmmakers include David Lynch, The Coen Brothers, Mike Leigh, S. Craig Zahler, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, Martin McDonagh, Steve McQueen, Gareth Evans, John Carpenter, David Fincher, Denis Villeneuve, Joon-ho Bong, Chan-wook Park, John Woo, Noah Baumbach, and so many others.