When I was 16, I had the idiotic idea of wanting to be a screenwriter.
I moved to LA in 2000 for college, went to USC film school. I had odd jobs everywhere for years after that. I worked on commercials, little documentaries, I tutored kids for the SAT, I worked in a book store. I made things online with talented, lifelong friends. Had thoughts about grad school. Almost joined the Coast Guard. By 2010 I was already few years in at Disney, working in marketing (a story for another time). I was in a great job, but I had nearly given up writing. I was heavily thinking about staying where I was.
Then I got to know another guy at the office. It turned out he was a writer, too. We wrote a pilot together, just a story we wanted to tell. It’s set in the Dallas that I’m most fond of—the Dallas of when I was just a little kid, the Dallas that sometimes seems like a dream it was so long ago. The story is inspired by my dad’s career in computers.
We never thought anything would happen with it. It was a sample. Maybe we could staff on something. Then other things happened. I got married. I decided to leave Disney and try to really do this. Life was terrifying and somewhat awful for a while. My new wife and I didn’t know how we’d pay rent, how we’d eat. We borrowed money from parents. We hoped. We got depressed. We rallied. It was hard.
Then AMC acquired the pilot script in December of 2011. It was the first thing we’d ever done as professional writers. We developed it for a year, working with people that humbled me in their abilities to shape story. We started working as writers on other great projects, but we kept at this one. We wanted it to be a show.
Now we’re going to make the first episode. I have no words. I only hope that I can help make it as good as it can possibly be, and if it becomes a series, help make that as good as it can possibly be.
And I hope you’ll watch it.