And now a few words from TVWriter™ hero – and former Advanced Workshop student – Curtis J. Gwinn:
From Curtis’ FB Page
i’m very excited to announce that i began working as a writer/producer on AMC’s, the walking dead this week.
zombies have been a major horror-obsession of mine for 30 years, starting with romero, (i first saw dawn of the dead when i was 7!) and fulci, up through modern fare like 28 days later and sean of the dead (a comedy, yes, but also a TOP notch zombie flick!). not to mention the entire resident evil video game series, which i’m unashamed to love!
appropriately enough, the very first TV project i sold (with former comedy partner and good friend, John Gemberling ) was an odd couple meets living dead sitcom called, “doc & chains,” about a scientist and a biker gang leader who get trapped in a farmhouse during a zombie apocalypse and are forced to (hilariously!) survive together. it was never shot, but i still thank then comedy central execs Lou Wallach, Jessi Klein and Dan Powell for buying the concept! this was pre-sean of the dead, so i like to think we were all zom-com visionaries!
although i love comedy dearly, i have, for the past couple of years been trying to break into drama writing…with very little success. When your last network credit is, “the monkey show” on NBC, it’s hard to get drama showrunners to take you seriously. writing and producing for the amazing Pual Sneers on NTSF:SD:SUV:: certainly brought me a great deal of indie comedy credibility (not to mention being the best creative experience of my life!), but it isn’t exactly the pedigree one would expect for someone aspiring to drama. thankfully, Brian Bockrath at AMC and new walking dead showrunner scott gimple were able to look past the credits, read my original drama script, and give me a shot.
and even though everyone assures me that my writing is what got me the job, i can’t help but think i really got away with one here. the walking dead is a comic and show that i love, in a genre i’ve been obsessed with since i was knee high to a biter. to get the opportunity to work on the series is more than i could have hoped for as a TV writer, and i’ll be eternally thankful for it.
i’m not exactly sure what i’m trying to say in this rambling post…maybe it’s just a thank you note. or just a journal entry for future me to look back and take stock on. but also, maybe a bit of writerly advice: keep the things you loved as a kid alive in your creative heart. jobs come and go, but when you synchronize the energy and passion of decades of love with craft, there is no greater, more fulfilling work you can get.
oh…except volunteering to help people in need…that’s probably more fulfilling. and animals. save animals, y’all. and environmental protect…AHH, you get it!
As i walked in to the writing offices on monday, walking dead creator robert kirkman (a hero of mine!) welcomed me aboard and said, “now…don’t fuck it up, man.”
gonna try not to!
I loved reading this yesterday…because I know how much this gig means to Curtis. Not that he needs it. Check this out, courtesy of our beloved IMDB:
Nice going, dood. Don’t fuck it up.
Oh, and for all you People’s Pilot and Spec Scriptacular Entrants, or those who are thinking of entering, Curtis has done that too, using it as an early step toward learning about dramatic writing. He didn’t win. My point: The creative life is as much about attitude as it is about talent and intelligence. The way to get ahead is to go for it.
And laugh at the outcome, whatever it is.
EDITED BY MUNCHMAN TO ADD: Our Oh-So-Modest LB wouldn’t include this personal note Curtis asked him to append to the post above, so we’re doing it instead.
From Curtis James Gwinn to Our Feckless Leader:
special thanks to pal and mentor, my own personal Lester bangs, Larry Brody!
Cuz that’s really the kinda guy LB is.