Category Archives: Family Stories

Preserving our family history, one story at a time.

My resume from the early 1980s

Found my resume as a Writer/Director/Editor from the early 1980s. Had some pretty solid credits, and quite few of them. In those days, had a lot of hope I would eventually break into studio feature films, but about 5 years after I made this resume I had to admit that my career had plateaued and I wasn’t really getting any close to my goal.

Besides, I had a young family to support, so I focused on my small video tape duplication service, taking the occasional freelance film job when one came up. But after a couple bad experiences, I ended up leaving the industry to work on a new theory of story structure called Dramatica along with my partner, Chris Huntley at his motion picture industry software company.

Turned out to be a good move. I’m still making money from our Dramatica software today, and the theory is being used by literally hundreds of thousands of people around the world including Academy award winning writers, producers, and directors, and best-selling novelists, including one Pulitzer-price-winning author that I know of. Back to cases, this resume captures me at the peak of my feelings of success and absolute belief in a shining future in film production.

The Beautiful Downtown Burbank Olympics

Back in the early 1970s, my high school buddy Bill Krasner and I decided to have our own Olympic games with things we could actually do.

We got the whole family involved, and made sure there were events that played into everyone’s skills, so each of us was sure to get a medal or two.

I think this medal is from our second Burbank Olympic games because the first time, the medals were just aluminum foil covering Super 8 movie film reels. Yeah, I know. This medal is mylar self stick paper on some pre-cut wooden shapes I found in a craft store.I

think Bill won the gold medal for Chess that year (which is why you see the silver medal here, recently unearthed from one of my memento boxes). My grandfather always won the gold medal for Pool, as he had a pool table back in his patio.

Strangely, T and me are now living in that patio, and the pool table (with 3/4″ genuine slate bed – from Sears!) is stored on its side back in T’s workshop – which is the 2 1/2 garage my grandfather built in the back yard when he turned the original one-car garage into a car port.

He also built two enclosed patios – the first one was smaller, flimsier, and not as elegant. So maybe it was that first patio we had some of the Olympics in, not the second patio (built on the same space) that we are in now.

Either way, we all played and had fun striving for the medals as Mickey Mouse as they were. So, just seeing this silly little item among the thousands of other items of recollection, made me smile, as it always does, with fond memories of great times with many who no longer remain, and those few of us who were there and still are now.

P.S. The words on the “medal” say “Beautiful Downtown Burbank Olympics.” Back in the day, a “cool” and “with it” variety show called Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, began to refer to the location here as Beautiful Downtown Burbank, which was an inside joke since downtown hadn’t gotten a face lift since the 1930s and wasn’t very impressive at all.

Of course, all us residents latched on to it when the phrase went national, and people from around the country came here to see the place. I’m sure they were underwhelmed. Nevertheless, it was our claim to fame, and so we named our Olympics after it and proudly put it right out there for everyone to see on our medals, where it remains to this day.

Eye of the Beholder

True story:

I was about 3 or 4 years old. Went to my mom with a picture I had drawn in crayon.

Me: Mommy, does this look like a cow?

Mom: Why yes, honey. It looks exactly like a cow.

Me – Screaming and crying as I ran from the room: “It’s an airplane!!!!”

Back story – I had been drawing the other room and my grandfather came by, looked at the picture and said, “Nice picture of a cow.”

Belaboring the Big Picture

From my archives:

It’s 10:30 in the morning on Sunday, February 5, 1995. And a phrase just occurred while I was attempting to reupholster two chairs that have gotten really ratty in the living room. “Necessity is the mother of frustration.”

I think I finally got a handle of why people get frustrated with me or upset with me when I’m trying to explain something in great detail.

To me, every little detail is important to understanding all the nuances of what’s going on, but other people get frustrated because they see the big picture before I finish filling in the details, and that’s all they care to know about it.

Of course I know this from our Dramatica theory of story structure. We talk about how, as an author, you should just put an outline around a story and eventually the audience gets it without having to fill in all the details. But I keep going trying to fill in the details that are so important to me personally, just like now.

I told all this to my daughter and I could see she was getting frustrated by it as she looked at me blankly. So I said, “I just went through all these details and explained how it all worked. Doesn’t that make sense?” And she said, “Sure it makes sense, just shut up.

A poem written by my daughter when she was 10

The Earthworm

Mindi Dawn

I had, I had an earthworm
To squirm, squirm, squirm
It was for my plant
It’s name was Ant
It dimmed the light
It died that night
It was doomed
There was a boom
It had nieces
We picked up the pieces
We put them in a box
We used a lot of locks
I had, I had an earthworm
To squirm, squirm, squirm

Squirrel Candy

Each evening I feed peanuts to the squirrel we rescued and raised two winters ago. Last night, I gave him a dried cob of corn from our garden that was too short to use in a meal. He sniffed it, not having seen one before, then took it in his sharp little hands, tried a tentative bite, then looked up at me in shock at what a spectacular treat this was and said to me (in my mind) in a voice of one of the South Park kids, “Holy F***, Dude! He gnawed like his life depended on it, then ran off for the woodpile to hoard the treasure all for himself. Best squirrel candy ever!