Before The Story: An Introduction
Over the past decade, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the idea of being an artist. As a kid, I wanted to be a comic book penciler. As a teen, I wanted to be a writer. In my twenties, I’ve relentlessly pursued doing anything and everything relating to art that interests me from writing to stand up comedy and production. I’ve stopped trying to define myself (the business card tag-lines were getting obnoxious) and instead settled on the catch-all “storyteller.” I’ve realized in recent years, with more art that I’ve immersed myself in, (whether read, watched, listened to, written, shown or told,) the stories I enjoy most are the ones about storytellers.
As a storyteller, I’m consumed with the question of what people WANT in a story. Often, if I write something that I assume I’m the only person that is interested in, I’ll call it a diary entry and put it away. I probably have over 10,000 pages of unpublished or spoken work. That’s including three books, over four plays and two screenplays. I want to start a new series of stories that ignore that part of my brain that edits for public consumption. I want to tell stories that feature artists and their journey and I’m calling it Before The Story.
Herein, you’ll find personal stories about why I enjoy telling stories, how I started and the challenges of doing what I love while still being able to eat and pay rent, (and those times that I haven’t.) I’ll also share interviews between myself and some of my amazing friends from nationally televised comedians, novelists, rockstars and award winning stage and screen actors to the behind-the-scenes movers and shakers from the producers, bookers, editors and movie makers. One of the most interesting concepts to me with any artist success story is that these people who have “made it” had no idea that they were going to be successful. The sacrifices they made weren’t based on some divine vision or assurance. They did it anyway. Why?
I’ve written about being an artist before. I’ve spoken about how I got started in interviews more times than I can count. I’ve produced artist networking events. I’ve even written a full length musical about a cafe in New York starring a young lady, new to the city and hell-bent on being a Broadway star, surrounded by co-workers with varying levels of success, talent and support. This won’t be like any of those. This is about about the heroic tales of talented people risking it all for the pursuit of doing what they love. If you’re anything like me, these stories will be as engrossing as any song, character, joke or production any artist has brought to life.