So, more and more nowadays, I know my time on this planet is limited. I’m not getting younger….only older!
Optimistically, I most likely have at least another 20-30 years of life in me. Yet, family health history and current health issues could shorten that. Now, I’m not trying to cause a panic and say I’m looking at Death’s door. I feel great and have plans for many many years to come. I got some things to do before then.
Yet, hearing reports of a celebrity dying at only 52 opens up those concerns. Especially, when I know the celebrity isn’t much older than me and I remember growing up with the actor. This was the actor Luke Perry.
I was in high school as 90210 premiered. I graduated a year later but continued to watch it in early days of college. I will say I was fixated on the story and the young characters. As a young man, I grew my sideburns. I just happened to get a eyebrow scar in 1989 from a hunting accident. And, my one (or few claims of fame) is I did have a few girls think I looked like Jason Priestly and a 90210 guy! Heck, if I’m not sporting a beard, I still keep the Luke Perry sideburns.
The show influenced me so much that I immediately cast the actors into my own stories. I saw these guys and gals as part of my early visions of favorite IPs and my own creations. Nerd Alert: I cast Luke Perry to play Maximillian Sterling in a big live action screenplay I wrote in 1992 for the ROBOTECH franchise (disclaimer: it was a fan script as I was only 19 at the time.) My limited casting creativity also cast Jason Priestly as Rick Hunter and Jennie Garth was Lisa Hayes. When I look back on that, it just sounds ridiculous! (sidebar: I cast Brett Michaels to play Lancer aka Yellow Dancer in a Robotech Next Generation script I was writing back then too).
So, hearing about Luke’s death kinda hits home. I never met him. But I felt I knew him in some weird way. I’ll be sad for a while. I wish his family well. And remember: Time is limited…. take every day to enjoy it!!
As a young aspiring writer back in the 90s, I constantly looked up to other successful writers for direction.
Back then, I was mostly looking to write for stage and screen. I may have dreamed about writing a novel or something but my true dream was to be produced as a playwright or screenwriter. I was in Film School when I realized that to succeed in writing films I must mimic those great film makers and screen writers. I went so far as to write the exact same way as George Lucas wrote his movies. When, I learned that George writes only on yellow legal pads, I immediately went to Office Depot and bought a case of yellow legal pads. I wrote my next 2 plays on nothing but yellow legal pads and then transcribed them into a Word-processor in the computer lab.
I took a seminar with John Patrick Shanely – the screen writer of Moonstruck and Joe Vs. The Volcano – at CU and couldn’t believe I could be so lucky. It was open to Film Makers and Creative Writing majors and I called the reserve line before I could finish reading the flyer. Sitting there with him for a few days, I wanted to know how he wrote. Call me funny, but my questions weren’t philosophical. I wasn’t asking him what made him a better writer. But how he physically wrote. Did he plot things via an online? Did he block it out with index cards? Does he handwrite his writing on paper first or just type it directly it into the typewriter or computer? I do recall him giving me a weird look each time I asked him a question. Not the: what-are-you-smoking-weird look, but that of a curious mind. Almost as he was trying to understand my intent.
So, that’s how I wrote in the 90s. I’m not sure if that was successful as I didn’t get anywhere. But I don’t regret it. Yet, I’ve learned since, just write. Write. It doesn’t matter if you use a pencil. It’s not important if you write everything with a pen. Some just sit at the keyboard and let it flow out.
I will admit. I still like to use pen and paper to throw down ideas and outlines. Yet, I’m also trying to be more electronic and do it all digital. That’s why I bought a iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. But I think I may just be too analog and old school….