The Editors: Who We Are
We thought today would be a good day just to write a few short (or not so short) blurbs on who we are and what makes us tick – we realized we don’t actually have any bios or profiles up on the site yet. That will soon change – but for now, read a bit more about Nick, Drew, and yours truly (Stoyan):
I always hate doing “about me’s”, because I’ve never been a good person at summarizing…well, anything really. Nonetheless, here’s my attempt:
I’m a writer currently bumming around New York City, who just moved to the Washington Heights area. I graduated from Hofstra University in May, and was lucky enough to get off the terrible land of Long Island (WAY too expensive). I obviously do work for the JDCA, but I also freelance for several other publications, and write all manner of fiction (short stories to scripts). My ultimate career goal when all is said and done is to write videogames, mainly because I love them and feel they are one of the most interesting mediums for new writers.
I’m a huge nerd. Huge. Not only games, but all things horror. I have a signed autograph from Robert Englund (the man who played Freddy Krueger) and all sorts of crazy memorabilia posted around my room. My other favorite form of entertainment is stand-up comedy, and I’m currently trying to line my money up to see a few comedians during the NYC comedy fest. I also play the bass guitar, though mainly funk and/or death metal (I’m generally a person who likes exact opposites).
I’m not sure what else to say about myself right now, so fire back and let me know a little bit about you.
For anyone that lives daily with an incurable disease, the hypothetical scenario of a sudden cure is a fleeting refuge. “No D-Day” is in the same vein of wishful thinking, a symbolic measure to prove you are more than the bad luck you deal with. My name’s Drew and I’m a 22 year old from Long Island, New York with a disease-not-to-be-named. The point of a day like this is for the online community for a disease-not-to-be-named to celebrate that we are unique with that specific trait, but defined in so many other ways apart from that unfortunate context.
With that being said, here are a few things about me—things I’ve loved and learned to love before and after my inheritance of that unmentioned little hiccup.
FILM: I’m an avid lover of film, from crappy B-horror flicks to French foreign arthouse. My love for film began as a child when my young eyes were dazzled by Walt Disney’s ambitious Fantasia. In 2001 I saw Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale, a twisted tale of adolescent ultra violence from Japan. From there I began watching film and writing on it constantly. By 2006 I was watching upwards of 350 movies a year and had a film blog that was featured on the front page of RottenTomates.com for several years. I graduated form NYU this past May with a degree in Cinema Studies and hope to one day publish a list of essays or write on directors like Sweden’s Lukas Moodysson or Denmark’s Lars von Trier.
MUSIC: In 1994 when Spike Jonze’s Happy Days-influenced video for Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” dominated the airwaves I was only 5 years old. Still, my brother bought me Weezer’s self-titled CD—along with a Jerry Stackhouse basketball card—and so began a lifelong love affair with all kinds of alternative rock, spanning across punk, hardcore and every other kind of derivative that ends in ‘rock’ or ‘core’. In my life I’ve been to over 115 concerts and have enjoyed the sense of camaraderie and awe that comes with every single one. Usually when people say they enjoy “everything” it’s really a misnomer that means they enjoy Top 40 radio. I can honestly say I enjoy just about everything, and my Last.fm—which has tracked almost every song I’ve listened to since June 2005—would back that up. I would say I’m most passionate about the Long Island music scene, one that in the early 2000’s was dubbed by some to be “the next Seattle.” Though it never got to be that substantial, people from Long Island are still proud of the musical heritage of the last 10-15 years, from ska (Edna’s Goldfish) to the emergence of “emo” and punk (Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Bayside and The Movielife) many like myself picking up a guitar and taking a hack at it along the way. Brand New would have to be far and away my favorite group, their four albums becoming the soundtrack of my entire life since 2001. Last year I got lyrics from the song “(Fork and Knife)” tattooed on my arm. The handwriting is my mother, father, two brothers and then my own, in age order:
SPORTS: Some of my earliest memories of pure bliss stem from the 1996 New York Yankees championship run. Perhaps it’s an indication of a great life so far, but some of my worst memories are of the Yankees loss in 2001 to the Arizona Diamondbacks in game 7 of the World Series, only 2 months removed from 9/11. Call me superstitious and disgusting but during the season I essentially refuse to wash my Mariano Rivera Yankees jersey or my Eli Manning Giants jersey. That’s the beauty of sports to me—the superstitions and emotions that make grown men scream and cry with all the unpredictability and the win-or-nothing reality. It’s totally exhilarating.
TRAVEL: Though my love for travel has only recently truly materialized, I believe it to be the ultimate representation of living to the fullest to spite the disease-to-not-be-named. To leave your comfort zone and live and explore without limitations is a reminder to yourself that you’re ultimately in control of what you can and can’t do. Be it a weekend retreat nearby or a few months abroad, when you have a strong sense of curiosity to live without self-induced boundaries, you’ll find that there’s so much you can learn about the world and yourself. Ultimately, this is what gives me the strength to tackle anything.
I am simply going to share my great passion in life. Might go on and on about it, but then again, that is why it excites me.
The art that I love is that of screenwriting. Even when I was a kid, I loved coming up with new stories, characters, places. I had an imagination, and I wanted to use it. The trouble is, I was not that great of a writer. I was and still am entirely unable to write pages upon pages about how “the flower trembles softly in the field”, or outline every mark on a cupboard (no offense to any of the authors of old I was required to read during my school years). I needed something impactful, something straight to the point, that was focused on the action and what you see, something that would spare me from the necessity of extensive descirptions.
That’s when screenwriting came in. It was in my late teens that I finally sat down to read a full script, as on first glance the format of it seemed too technical for my tastes. However, I couldn’t be more wrong. It only took that one script (I believe it was Spike Lee’s 25th Hour) to show me where I can redirect all my passion. While I can not call myself a film buff – I still have much to watch, my dream is to one day see my ideas, my stories and my characters up on the big screen. It may be ambitious – but that’s what dreams are for.
Over the last 4 years – my college years, I have read countless of scripts, and written about 6 feature-length screenplays of my own. They range from acceptable (possibly crossing over into the “good” category) to bad (as in hide them from all human eyes forever). As with most things, screenwriting is an art you get better with through practice. Many people call themselves a writer, but unless you really are writing and pushing yourself to continue no matter how exhaustive or mundane it might get, you will not reach anywhere. Talent without hard work is wasted.
Whether or not I ever find success (aka get a producer/production company willing to do my screenplay) will not determine whether I continue writing or not. I always will, regardless. It is a form of escape that I continue to find comfort in, no matter what else is going on. Many changes have happened in life since I typed my first “INT – DINING ROOM – NIGHT” in Final Draft, but whatever happens – I will keep writing.
PS: If anyone is interested in checking out some scripts, you don’t have to buy or pay a thing – many free online resources are available. One of my favorites is http://www.imsdb.com/