In the Spotlight: James Moorer
Updated: Feb 28, 2019
Photo by Kris Garfield
James Moorer made his dream a reality. Success comes from sacrifice. James knows this. Many writers aren’t willing to risk it all. Not James, he didn’t balk or retreat at the challenge. No, James leaned in, uprooted his life, and made his way across the country to bring his dreams to fruition. Now he basks in the rays of his success. This is why I am honored to introduce you to a writer who has an unshakeable core. This is James Moorer…
I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and from a very early age I loved books and fantastic stories. I wrote my first play in elementary school and performed it along with some of my fellow students. My desire to write went crazy after reading a Truman Capote story in Esquire magazine. I’ve since, had two books published and moved to LA to become a working screenwriter. I am also notoriously known for my love of pancakes and the go to authority on where the best places are in town to find them.
Q: How did you stumble upon screenwriting? I was working as a music producer, composing routines for fitness competitors and bodybuilders, when one of my clients brought her trainer to a session and we started talking about comic books and sci-fi movies. Next thing I knew I was working on my first screenplay that we shot three months later.
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Q: Who/what inspired you into taking this path? After my first jaunt at making a film ended in disaster, I decided I needed to learn more about screenwriting and flew to UNLV to attend Robert McKee’s Story seminar. Those three days changed everything for me.
Q: Who was the first person who believed in you?
If I’m being honest, my fifth-grade teacher, Janet Witbeck, really pushed me to write. She was a no non-sense kind of teacher, but she saw something in my love for story she tried to cultivate. She encouraged me to write my first play in elementary school back in the 70’s. Later on -- I’d have to say my wife. Lord knows what I’ve put that woman through in getting to where I am today.
Q: When was the moment you knew you wanted to be a screenwriter?
I remember this vividly. It was after the third day of the McKee’s seminar and I was in my hotel room reading, THE WAR OF ART. I remember coming across a page that told of who you’d let down if you didn’t write, and that was it. I remember standing up and saying out loud, “I am a screenwriter”.
Q: How do you define success for yourself?
In this regard I try to remain humble. In a business that is constantly changing and evolving, I count myself successful by the fact that I can get up everyday and do what I love without needing to do anything else. It’s not just about the money for me. It’s about having the chance to give the world a story that will inspire someone the way I was many years ago. That’s a win I’ll take every day. Q: Give us a typical day in your life
Are you an Early Bird or a Night Owl? Typically, I’m an early bird as I get up at 4:30am (what is wrong with me?)
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Pray and be grateful
Do you have a morning routine or ritual? My morning ritual consists of gratitude affirmations, black coffee and my power playlist I play at full volume. Then off to my favorite café for breakfast.
What’s for lunch? Lunch is hit or miss depending on what I’m working on or if I’m taking a meeting.
What do you do during the day? Write. Hustle. Repeat.
What do you do at night? Watch stuff that makes me laugh
Do you have a pre-bed ritual? Kiss my wife, be thankful I have her.
How do you define a successful day? If I make it back to bed and I’ve gotten a dozen pages written, I won. Q: What’s been the most important skill
you've developed on your path to screenwriting? I’d have to say that the most important skill I’ve developed is being able to think like a producer or a director. It’s really helped me move away from being a novice to actually being able to deliver highly marketable material both producers and directors say yes to. I can’t tell you how many times this saved a project I was working on.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in your writing so far? Understanding that it’s not always a bad thing if the project wasn’t a fit for a producer or production company. I try not to take a rejection personal and I always beat myself up over whether or not I need one more rewrite before sending out material. Q: What’s been the greatest reward in the choices you've made? I attended a Warner’s Workshop and asked the woman running the program what was the one thing I needed to do to be taken seriously as a writer. Her advice: move to LA. Fast forward three years later, I moved and was back at the same event and the same woman recognized me and gave me a huge hug and said, “I’m so happy you didn’t quit on your dream”. You never know who’s cheering for you. Q: What do you want to learn from a community of your peers? More than simply how to continually improve on my craft, I want to learn how to always be a good steward to those who help me and those I am fortunate enough to pass on any wisdom I have gained. And of course, I’m always looking for friends with pancakes.