This picture is from June of 2007, the summer before
I turned 30 and saw my life change quite dramatically.
I was working at a job I loved, and it was a job that loved me back. That's Rian, Connor, and Eduardo, with little Jack on my lap. (And then some rando stranger kid who kept barking at the marine life. It was so uncomfortable.) My hands gripping the fence in view of the camera is a textbook example of how to hold children who are not your own. It is used in Social Work textbooks everywhere.
In college, my frat bros played sports.
I was lured in by a HS buddy on the
volleyball team, and the first guy I met
is now Tom Brady's agent. Forgive me. Another kid had me carry his b-ball bag around while pledging, so people would encroach upon my personal space, only
to be disappointed with their findings.
By contrast, another peer had me wear anything with "Smithtown" emblazoned
on it, figuring people from Long Island
would stop me on the street to chit-chat. From there, connections would develop and blossom. Now, I didn't need the help,
but 9/10 recommend. The 90s were wild.
The manuscript I wrote at age five was about an Indian-American boy from Long Island. The current manuscript is about an Indian-American man from Queens. In terms of spirit and joyfulness, I haven't strayed far from the kid I was in 1983. So with considerable editing and dogged revisions, I expect to have something well-crafted and heart-warming to put forth in the world.
If you need my writing help, or would like to help with the draft, do reach out. It may take several days to respond, but I'm here.
Also, the button-down should be white, and the V-neck is absurd. Thankfully, I'm cuter now, and able to dress myself in kind.
UPDATE: I finished the manuscript (for now).
UPDATE 2: I finalized a screenplay. Some smart folks in Hollywood liked the story back in 2015, and the Uppercut title as well.
That said, I don't know whether to go with Uppercut or Shiva the Destroyer. Both have their merits. I prefer Uppercut.
As expected, the manuscript is better than the screenplay, for all the obvious reasons. The book is better than the script.
UPDATE 3: I submitted the script to The Black List under a pseudonym. Here are some of their thoughts.
This is a boxing movie unlike any we’ve seen. It's packed with laughs and heart, and has broad appeal and a modern feel. It evades the overly-earnest machismo of traditional movies about fighters. It refuses to treat women as prizes or victims of male aggression. It also refuses to turn its Hindu protagonist into an over-Americanized rebel against his family’s culture. It’s funny at many points throughout. Welterweight Shiva fights with his heart, his wisdom, and his keen sense of humor in real life just as hard as he fights physically in the ring. He’s Indian-American. His widower father, precocious younger sister, and lawyer older sister duck all the stereotypes. Characters are extraordinarily well-voiced and as diverse as the true population of the well-evoked setting. Even their longer speeches are engaging and readable. The action is clear and cinematic without being “voicey”. It seems impossible that Shiva could win until shortly before the last-minute climax, which is delivered as a memorable high-stakes nail-biter. The denouement will leave audiences smiling through tears.
SHIVA THE DESTROYER is the kind of cinematic, subtle, powerful film that breaks marketing departments because it's so many things. Audiences ranging from art movie fans who hate sports movies to action addicts of all genders who roll their eyes at indie dramas and comedies will enjoy it equally and it's a strong candidate for theatrical stardom. It’s hard to compare it to existing boxing movies because it knocks them all out cold. However, it has the groundbreaking underdog-hero power of the original ROCKY or MILLION DOLLAR BABY mixed with the multi-cultural authenticity of BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM or the teen series NEVER HAVE I EVER (more for the comedy than the cultural setting). While the street and crowd scenes and action make it a medium-budget rather than a low-budget project, the potential audience reach makes it viable. The brilliantly-written supporting parts could attract A-list talent, while the role of Shiva is the perfect breakout role for an up-and-coming Indian star. The writer is gifted; a new star.
That was certainly nice to read. Again, however, the manuscript is better than the screenplay. The book is better than the script.