"There's always room for a story that can transport people to another place..."
- J.K. Rowling
Imagine a young boy. He's sitting at his desk, with only the light of a small reading lamp to illuminate the sketchbook in front of him. The fact its the middle of the night (and that he was supposed to be in bed hours ago) never enters his mind; his focus is solely dedicated to the figure that his pencil has begun to manifest on the page. The character is of his own design, though admittedly it could have been inspired by the latest X-Men comic or newest Mega Man game, or both. If you move closer, you can hear him talking to himself, mumbling what you realize is the dialogue and exposition of this new character, in whatever situation the boy has mentally placed him in. Suddenly, his head shoots up from the drawing... footsteps. In one swift motion, he turns off the light, lunges for his bed nearby, covers his head completely with his blanket, and waits. He senses one of his parents peeking in on him, to make sure he's sleeping soundly for the school day that is only a few hours away. Satisfied their little man is asleep, the footsteps begin again, this time eventually fading away. The boy peeks his head out of the blankets. Safe. He sneaks out of his bed, turns on his light, picks up his pencil, and continues the epic adventure once more.
Ever since I can remember, I have always been fascinated by stories. Be it Saving Private Ryan or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance with my dad, Alien or Die Hard with my mom, old radio broadcasts of the Shadow or the Lone Ranger with my grandfather, Zoids or Justice League with my best friend, or just sitting in my room and mentally journeying through Hogwarts or Middle Earth, stories of all kinds have always been absolutely priceless to me. To be able to get lost in a world completely separate from our own, with fantastic and unique characters that are so different and yet, so similar to us, is unlike anything else in the world. I discovered at a young age however, I don't just like being told the stories, I also love telling them.
That passion quickly turned the young artist into a young writer as well. As I became a teenager, I knew I wanted to be a storyteller somehow, but picking a medium was a tough decision. Which is why when I first announced to my parents that I had chosen video game development, I was met with confused gasps and jaws hitting the floor. Soon however, my painter/film-maker father and art gallery manager mother began to really look into the medium, and the support I soon received was overwhelming. This was a way I could not only tell a story, not only visually present a story... this was a way I could put someone into a story. I could make them breath it; I could make them live it. That's not to say I've boxed myself into the corner of only telling stories through video games, I will tackle a movie script or a novel if the inspiration strikes me without blinking an eye, but I focused on games because of that unique ability to truly allow someone to leave our world and travel somewhere new. Soon the tables turned, and my dad would watch, fascinated as I sneaked through the grungy halls of Batman: Arkham Asylum, and my mom would sit in my room and read the latest Assassin's Creed novel as Ezio lept from rooftop to rooftop on my screen.
As time went on, life only picked up speed. I graduated high school. I went to community college for three years, walking out with two degrees and locking in a guaranteed transfer to my targeted university. I graduated with top honors from George Mason University (go Patriots woo woo!) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Game Design. I married my girlfriend of 6 years. I worked as a Gamification Expert for one of the bigger corporations in the country. I've worked on my own games on the indie side. In three years I've moved four times, one of them half way across the country from Washington D.C. to the DFW area.
Yet throughout all of it though, I have never stopped writing. Be it a script, the beginnings of a novel, blog posts, a narrative for a small mobile game... whatever the case may be. I have never stopped telling stories, and though I don't have to sneak around for fear of getting in trouble with my parents, you can still find me in the middle of the night, illuminated by only a laptop, keys clicking away, and mumbling the dialogue or exposition of whatever characters are in my head at that moment. If you need to get my attention, I just ask that you lightly tap me on the shoulder, otherwise I can almost guarantee I won't be able to hear you. Because I'll be in another world. But if you ask me... I will be more than happy to bring you along for the ride.I