ABOUT BRAD

Brad lives in New York City where he writes and makes films. He is currently developing  projects for film, television, and publication. He’s directed several shorts and has appeared as an actor in commercials, web series, and indie films. His script Boy in a Backpack won The Big Script Competition and was optioned by Indigenous Media. In the past he’s been a Nicholl Fellowship Semi-finalist, an Austin Second Rounder, and a Finalist in the Script Pipeline First Look Project. His degree is in Mechanical Engineering and he does his best to never use it.

 

A Little Back Story

I was born in a little town near Dammam in Saudi Arabia. My father, the first person to attend college in his working class family, had left Long Island shortly after he graduated to take a job as an engineer on the offshore oil platforms in the Persian Gulf. More impressively, he convinced my social worker mother to marry him and start a family overseas where we would live between the years of 1980 and 1988, and then again between 1993 and 1998 — Leapfrogging Operation Desert Storm but not the Khobar Bombings in 1996, after which cement barriers were erected around the perimeter of my school.

After spending nearly half my life living in the middle east, my family returned to the United States permanently. I was dumped into the American school system and left scrambling for the prerequisite knowledge of pop culture, the Yankee roster, Puff Daddy and Notorious B.I.G. I had no idea why any of this would be relevant to a thirteen year old boy but it quickly became clear this was a social currency, without which one would be flung out of the teenage world of suburbia and labeled a SUBHUMAN WEIRDO.

To be honest, part of me had been hoping to find myself a novelty, a young WHITE BOY WHO GREW UP IN THE DESERT. Perhaps my new peers would think me exotic. Perhaps they would be impressed…

They were not. Nor were they interested in the wild stories of my family’s middle eastern adventures—DISCOVERING ANCIENT CHRISTIAN RUINS DEEP IN THE RUB’ AL KHALI desert, digging bullets out of abandoned military vehicles on the border of Kuwait with Desert Storm Veteran Colonel J.C. Lilly, being turned back by a Yemenis tactical when our convoy ventured beyond the border, and many others. Disappointingly, when I attempted to relate my stories, the light in their eyes would dim or they would aggressively insist I was a liar.

So I wrote instead… 

The stumbling teenage transition to the United States would turn out to be the greatest storytelling gift my parents could have provided. It awakened the analytical part of my brain with an ever-present compare and contrast between my lives, one filled with vast deserts, tall minarets and echoing prayer calls, and the other, an American suburbia filled with strangely important pop culture.

Inhabiting my new world was a litany of idiosyncratic characters, a prickly pubescent hierarchy of personalities whose motivations and desires needed to be understood so as to make friends and thus establish my own tribe within the middle school jungle. It was in this effort that I BECAME MORE INTERESTED IN UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE THAN JUDGING THEM. As a new kid, it didn’t matter if I didn’t like someone, it was more important that I understood them so I could navigate the path toward my goal of not being deemed the SCHOOL’S BIGGEST FREAK. Strange as it seems, I think this approach led to a familiarity in constructing the flawed three dimensional characters I enjoy writing today.”

 

Brad as a boy sledding down a dune in Rub’ Al Khali Desert