Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of screening Jujitsu-ing Reality for the students at Beverly Hills High School. It was a great experience. They asked me the following questions, which my wife answered for me, but I thought I’d take a swing at them myself. If you’d like to see Jujitsu-ing Reality, a short documentary about my writing process with ALS that amazingly has been put on the list of possible nominees for this years Oscars, click this link: http://vimeo.com/49352654
- How did you get past the initial shock and sadness of being diagnosed with ALS to be able to move on?
I had no choice. It was a reality I had to deal with. It is like getting hit by a sucker punch. You can get up or stay down. By far, it’s harder for my wife, parents and friends to deal with. They have ALS with me. But they have it by choice. They weren’t diagnosed.
- Aside from the negative effects this has had on your life, have any positive things come out of it?
I appreciate each day as if it could be my last. Every moment is an opportunity to experience something beautiful. I didn’t appreciate that as much before I had ALS.
- What motivates you to keep pushing forward, despite your physical and emotional hardships?
Above all, I’m motivated by my 3 year old twins, Rocky & Roman. They make me want to get up and face the day. I love seeing the world through their fresh eyes.
- How has ALS affected how other people treat you?
Great question. The biggest thing is that it is very hard to communicate with me. That makes even simple conversation impossible sometimes. The funny thing is that people often talk to me really loudly like I’m deaf, but my ears are one of the few things on my body that work.
5. When did you know that you wanted to be a screenwriter?
When I was about 18. I just got the writing bug and never stopped.
- How has ALS affected your style of writing?
Stylistically, I haven’t changed. I’m still the same guy, deep down. I guess.
- How has ALS changed your attitude in life?
It has reinforced my natural tendency to be ridiculously optimistic.
- What one piece of advice would you like to give to our students?
Be aware. Explore. Listen to your heart. Work relentlessly to pursue your dreams. And, don’t forget to have fun.