‘JOKER’ is the Most Important Film about Mental Illness in Post-Modern Cinema

There is a term for the fear of, and subsequent feeling of superiority to, other races: racism. There is a term for the fear of, and subsequent feeling of superiority to, others who are attracted to the same gender: homophobia. There is a term for the fear of, and subsequent feeling of superiority to, foreigners: […]

Caution Moviemakers: Directing Movies with Sensitive Subject Matter

[This piece was previously published in MovieMaker Magazine] There was an evolution from the Hays Code established in the 1930s, which lead a filmmaker like Howard Hawks to bury sexually suggestive dialogue into a conversation about horse racing in The Big Sleep, to the Golden Age of Hollywood in the late ’60s and early ’70s, which […]

The Midpoint: Life and its Mirrored Reflection

It’s been five years since my sister passed away. It was July the first. After several days in a coma on life support, her procumbent physical form awaiting its final goodbyes from family and friends, what was remaining of her corporeal self lifted away from itself. Every year on this date I write something in […]

NO ALTERNATIVE: The Novel

I am pleased to announce that the novel on which my film No Alternative is based has been rereleased by Kettle of Letters Press. This special edition features a foreword by actor Harry Hamlin, who plays the role of Judge William Harrison in the film, and an afterword in which I delve into the behind-the-scenes […]

#MentalHealthChallenge

Despite our achievements in science and technology, and our willingness as a society to revise our social norms, the stigma surrounding mental illness still looms and it looms large. May is “Mental Health Awareness Month” and the reason behind it could not be more important. People forget the brain is a part of the physical […]

Kurt Cobain and the Ghosts of the Nineties

We are surrounded by the ghosts of the nineties. Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Dolores O’Riordan, Scott Weiland, Adam Yauch, Tupac Shakur, Shannon Hoon, Bradley Nowell, The Notorious B.I.G., and of course, Kurt Cobain. The reason I picked up an instrument was because Kurt Cobain killed himself. There was something inside me that wanted to keep […]

The Guitar: Kurt Cobain’s Fender Jaguar

But not any Jaguar, a scratch-specific replica of Kurt Cobain’s one-of-a-kind Fender Jaguar electric guitar he bought in a pawnshop in Los Angeles in 1991. A few years ago, Fender set about recreating Kurt’s guitar to the ding in their custom shop and rolling the product out on the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s seminal and […]

Mental Illness In Movies: An Exploration into the Dark Side Hollywood Doesn’t Show You

We are not as open about mental illnesses as we are about broken legs. If we were, can you imagine how much more understanding there would be? People often forget that the brain is a part of the physical body; suffering from a mental illness—whether temporary or chronic—should be as normal to the outside observer, or family member, or employer, as the common cold. The severity differs, but the stigma—or lack thereof—should not. In order to empathize with the mentally ill, we need to have a better understanding of what they’re suffering from, and that understanding requires a proactive effort on everyone else’s part.

Bringing an Indie Film into the World

No Alternative is a personal film that, these days, is near impossible to get made in Hollywood. I’ve written a great deal about how the decline of the middle space of filmmaking has essentially mirrored the decline of the middle class in this country—the chasm between the one percent of filmmaking—tent-pole blockbusters—and the ninety-nine percent—indie films, which […]

The Eulogy of Justice Thomas A. Dickerson

In the latter half of my life thus far, I’ve become somewhat of an expert at writing eulogies. While part of me would like to boast that I’ve become quite good at it, I wish the opportunities to practice such a skill were fewer and farther between. Over the years, I had thought numerous times […]