1. What was your first paying job doing what you love?
My first real, grown-up writer job was for Pop Up Video on VH1, which was exactly as fun as you would imagine it to be. But the first time I remember getting paid to be creative was when I was in fourth grade. I got to leave school early (no way!) to sing a song in a real recording studio… and from that moment on I was so eager to get out in the real world and learn by doing. I quickly became the kid who was always writing and self-publishing zines, making music and putting it out on cassettes, or putting on plays with my friends. Do-it-yourself all the way.
2. What inspires you in your work?
Language itself, I think. Writing is like problem-solving; rearranging words, and with every word you add or subtract you can completely change the meaning or the feeling of a thing.
3. What are your favorite types of projects?
My favorite types of projects are things that haven’t been done before, or things that have only been done in a way that I want to turn on its head. I’ve been writing a lot for the stage lately (see links below), but I also like writing web content and am working on a feature-length screenplay.
4. What is your ideal working environment?
I do my best writing on trains and public buses. Coffee shops can be nice too, because it feels like a co-work space where a bunch of us are all writing together. I’m very excited to finally — this weekend! — get benches for the little breakfast nook in my new apartment. It’s going to be such a good workspace for me; a nice rectangular table, tons of light, but it’s very claustrophobic and womb-like. Haha.
5. What artists inspire you?
Artists and playwrights whose work I’ve been returning to a lot recently include Keith Haring, Tom of Finland, Frida Kahlo, Caryl Churchill, Maria Irene Fornes, Anna Deavere Smith… I’m also very inspired by the work of Los Angeles choreographer Ryan Heffington. I had the pleasure of producing a recent dance concert at his studio and look forward to doing the next one in February 2014.
6. What companies do you like to work for?
The best companies are the ones that are open to new ideas and to change, that embrace social media and that do everything in a spirit of collaboration. And of course, the closer as I can be to the arts/film/TV, the better.
7. How do you like to work? As a freelancer? Alone? In an office environment?
I prefer to work alone, but I also love collaboration. I’m a freelancer by nature because I need new stimulation every day. Some of the best days of my life were when I was traveling or touring; I love falling asleep in one city and waking up in the next. I’m not a huge fan of routine, although I do value discipline and long hours.
8. What kind of mentoring do you find most helpful to you?
I wish I had more mentoring in my life! I think the best mentor is one who listens to your goals and doesn’t impose their will on you, but can still be super real about where they think you should be focusing your energies, and what steps you should or shouldn’t take.