healthy lifestyle and fitness concept with mount bike man outdoor


Part One: Writing with a Bat

(Part one of a two-part series about writing and publishing FITNESS CONFIDENTIAL — the new, hit book by Vinnie Tortorich and Dean Lorey.)

Firing Vinnie Tortorich was the best thing that ever happened to me.

I was not a healthy guy. ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT had been cancelled and I was traveling the country, visiting schools, happily promoting my NIGHTMARE ACADEMY series, but my diet and lifestyle had caught up with me. I was a good thirty pounds heavier, felt terrible — slow, lethargic — and wanted to stop feeling that way. So, on the recommendation of friends, I hired Vinnie as a personal trainer and was ready to do anything necessary to get in shape, as long as “anything necessary” didn’t involve changing my diet or having to exercise. I guess I thought that the very act of hiring someone would just “miracle” the weight off. Didn’t happen. It wasn’t Vinnie’s fault. My mind wasn’t right. I didn’t lose a single pound or get any fitter. I wanted to quit.

Which is when Vinnie discovered he had leukemia.

THE WRITER’S ROOM: The Center Of Crazy

First in a behind-the-scenes series on writing for TV.

There’s something insane at the heart of every TV show.  I’ve worked on a lot of them.  Some were commercial hits (MY WIFE AND KIDS), some were critical hits (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT), some were admired but died an early death (413 HOPE STREET) and some were not admired and survived longer than anyone thought possible (‘TIL DEATH).

I recently was talking with a fellow writer in the TV salt mines, bitching about how impossibly difficult a show was (which is something all TV writers are great at, by the way — bitching) and I realized that I’ve never worked on a show that didn’t have something loony about it.  I call it the center of crazy.

healthy lifestyle and fitness concept with mount bike man outdoor


The question I get asked most often (right after “where do you get your ideas?”) is “how did you break into the business?” For me, it started with a little zombie named Johnny Dingle.

I went to NYU film school from 1985 to 1989. While I was there, I wrote a comedy about a high school kid who’s so in love with a girl that, even after getting shot and killed in a convenience store robbery, he comes back from the dead to take her to the prom. Unfortunately, being a zombie, he now has a terrible craving to eat the flesh of the living (which he finds morally and ethically reprehensible). To make matters worse, he’s beginning to decay — in fact, body parts that might otherwise have come in handy on prom night are starting to fall off. On top of all this, everyone in town hates him — he is, after all, one of the undead.

healthy lifestyle and fitness concept with mount bike man outdoor


I ended up writing FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 9: JASON GOES TO HELL (hereafter referred to as JGTH) because I was friends with the friend of the son of the guy who directed the first one.  Yeah, I know.  But you have to believe me when I tell you that those kinds of loopy coincidences are how most people end up getting their start in the movie business.

My friend was Adam Marcus and I knew him from New York University where we were both film majors.

His friend was Noel Cunningham, the son of Sean Cunningham, the director and producer of the original FRIDAY THE 13TH (and many other horror movies.)  Adam brought Sean a script I had written in college called JOHNNY ZOMBIE (later made into the movie MY BOYFRIEND’S BACK, which you can read about HERE.)

Adam was hoping to get a job directing MY BOYFRIEND’S BACK.  He didn’t.  What he got instead was a job directing JGTH — sort of a consolation prize.  Didn’t matter, he was just as excited to be working on it.