I was a shy kid. I listened a lot. I read a lot. I played with my He-Man action figures a lot.
I was not much of a talker. I was not much of a go-getter. I was not an in-your-face, out-there, have-wild-fun type of kid. Not that I wasn't any fun. I don't mean to imply that I was a boring kid, or anything. I'm sure I was really cute and charming. Hell, adorable even. But I wasn't very bold--I think that's what I'm trying to get at.
Until I saw Back to the Future.
Back to the Future came out in 1985. I was eight-years-old. I saw it at the Big Newport Theater in Newport Beach. After the movie, I turned to my mother and said, "I want to drive a flying, time-traveling car when I grow up."
And then I'm sure my mom was supportive of that idea, but she was also probably realistic, and she might have told me something along the lines of "flying, time-traveling cars don't actually exist--that was movie magic," and then I decided that I wanted to be just like Michael J. Fox and become an actor so that even though I might not ever be able to drive in an actual honest-to-goodness flying, time-traveling car, then at least, maybe, one day, I might be able to pretend that I was driving a flying, time-traveling car.
That was the second I decided I wanted to become an actor. Now, I'm not an actor anymore, but if I hadn't decided I wanted to become an actor when I was eight-years-old, then I never would have enrolled in acting classes at South Coast Repertory when I was ten, and I never would have become obsessed with theater, and I never would have gone to the school I went to, and I never would have gotten tired of acting, and I never would have taken Laural Meade's playwriting class, and I never would have started writing plays, and I never would have quit acting so that I could focus entirely on writing, and I never would have realized that the first crush I ever had was on Michael J. Fox and that I'm totally gay, and I never would have met all of the people I've ever met in my entire life, and I would probably be working at Kinko's right now and completely uncertain about what I wanted to do with the rest of my days on Earth.
In 2001, I had the good fortune of working on a show on the backlots of Universal. I was working on the same lot where they filmed Back to the Future. It was like working in Heaven. One afternoon, we hung out on the lawn in front of the clock tower and I have a couple of pictures to prove it. The pictures aren't great--they're really shadowy--but they're proof and they make me believe in magic.
In this photo, I'm pretending to be that lady in the first act of the movie who comes up to Marty urging him to help her "SAVE THE CLOCK TOWER!"