Writing

Screenplays

These days I'm usually writing screenplays. Apart from the ones I've directed, I've written five feature films.

One of those is MY FRIEND DMITRI, a comedy crime thriller about the discovery of an unpublished Anon Chekhov play in Chicago. Russian mobsters, French thieves, and assorted Chicago theater types come out of the woodwork to steal the precious work of art.

That screenplay went to the 2nd round of the Sundance Screenwriting Lab in 2015 and the 2nd round of the Austin Film Festival in 2018.

A reader on the Blakc List wrote:

The complex plot and various intersecting storylines in this screenplay are the material’s biggest strength and the writer should be commended for engineering a complicated story and executing it with simplicity and clarity. The reader is never confused by the interwoven love triangles and multiple agendas. This is no mean feat considering the number of characters in this cast. While the screenplay boasts a relatively low concept, the reader can’t help but get caught up in the humor and fun of this light romp. It should also be said that this piece ends with a lot of satisfaction and the twist is brought off with a lot of subtlety and surprise, thereby ending the movie on a promising note.”

Prose & other weird stuff

Occassionally I write some satirical fiction. My favorite is An Email Chain Between 4 People Depicted in Billy Joel's "Piano Man".

And there's this thing, it's called Weird Hemingway, and it's short weird stories by Ernest Hemingway. For about a month in 2017, these stories would just pop into brain, fully formed, and I had to write them down.

And there's The Historical Wire, where famous people from history quote The Wire.

Plays

For a while, I was writing plays, as I moved from writing sketch to longer-form narrative dramatic writing. I probably wrote ten or fifteen one-act plays, but these two were actually staged:

A Big Whore in a Small Town. A blue comedy about an itinerant preacher who tries to kidnap a prostitute in 1870s Texas. Performed January 2015 at The Annoyance Theatre.

Date Night. A one-act comedy about an uptight philosophy professor that gets entangled in his neighbor’s domestic dispute. Performed at The Artistic Home in January 2014.

Sketch Comedy

Sketch was the best training as a writer because with sketch you could never lie to yourself and pretend that your writing was better than it was. Most people are afraid to give honest feedback, but with comedy they can't help it. People either laughed or they didn't, and you knew right away.

The Radio Television Theater Hour, a monthly comedic talk show that ran in 2014 for six shows at The Public House Theatre. Every month we wrote a new show that took place in a fictionalized version of small-town Chicago.

Cleanest Best Pleasure, a sketch group based in Chicago.

The Clean Show. An occasionally-occurring comedy variety show at the Upstairs Gallery.

Soothing Sounds for Baby, 2011, Donny’s Skybox.

Pandermonium, July 2010, Donny’s Skybox.