July 14, 2024

Portfolio

I am a writer and director with over 20 years’ experience in everything from indie feature production to writing for mainstream production companies for film and TV. I am a published author, as well, with three books currently available and several in development.

We’re Not Worthy

My latest book covers the history of ’90s TV sketch comedy, featuring 150 interviews with everyone from Carol Burnett to Mike Myers. It was released by 1984 Publishing, home to high-quality pop culture books that go beyond the normal oral histories you find in this genre. I’m very proud of this book, and the fact that the foreword was written by one of my heroes, The State‘s David Wain. I was also very excited to write and direct a number of style parody ads for the book, including the following style parody of a pharma ad.

Here is a free preview of the book, as well:

Screenplays

I’ve written screenplays for independent companies such as Jamie Kennedy Entertainment, as well as numerous screenplays and teleplays on spec. These include comedy, horror, biopic, action, and more.

Family Albums: Finding Dick Davy

In 11 years of hosting the Comedy on Vinyl podcast, I was never more happy with an episode than I was with this one, in which I searched for the identity of long-lost 1960s comic Dick Davy, a pioneer in anti-racist comedy whose star faded as fast as it had appeared. This was the first episode of the show to be fully-written (with the exception of interview segments, of course) and one that has changed my life, since. One of the proudest moments was finding out I’d be producing (and writing the 6,000-plus-word liner notes for) an upcoming vinyl release of his unreleased recordings, his first release of any kind (vinyl or otherwise) in nearly 60 years. The YouTube post of the episode is below, though it is almost entirely audio.

Dinosaurs: They Certainly Were Big

2004’s Dinosaurs They Certainly Were Big was a landmark for me in terms of creation of viral videos. Not only was it my second such video (info on my first can be found here: Tunak Tunak Tun), but it was my first time winning a film festival. It also had an actual impact on the science community, when famed paleontologist Sue Hendrickson said, “He made science palatable to the public, which is the mission of scientists that they seem to fail at and he succeeds. I hope to shake his hand someday.” For this, I was interviewed in the New York Times and the Chicago Sun-Times. This short still contains my favorite opening line I’ve ever written.

Vice-Precedence: Being Number Two in the White House

Following the success of Dinosaurs, I wrote a mini-series entitled Inform Nation, expanding on my desire to write more comedic informational pieces. In 2007, I started developing a documentary with my co-producer Matt Saxe about the history of the Vice Presidency. This is still a passion project for us both, the highlight being historian Gore Vidal calling us “better interviewers than Ken Burns.”

Looking Forward

Scripted in a similar manner to which Christopher Guest’s films are, Looking Forward is an entirely improvised mockumentary based off of a loose scene-by-scene outline, often changing on the day. To make matters more difficult, over the course of eight years my first film lost some key cast members, which had to be written and shot around. At the end of the day, I’m still very proud of finishing my first film which, as it happens, ended up thematically being about the main character finishing his campaign to say he’d finished something.

Inside the Archive: The Firesign Theatre

When the Library of Congress contacted legendary comedy group The Firesign Theatre to buy their entire archive, I jumped at the chance to document the process. What resulted was the story of their archivist, Taylor Jessen, and his work to preserve and distribute pop culture works the world over. As is typical with any documentary project, the writing process can be nebulous, but begins with a presumptive outline, which slowly changes as interviews and research make the narrative go elsewhere.

Other Work

I can be contacted for links to my feature documentary Lords of Soaptown, full PDFs of my books, and samples of my screenplays (which can’t legally be posted here, otherwise I’d be happy to).