Call Joyce


Joyce (left). June 2017.

(I reserve this blog for work updates. But occasionally there is some crossover between work and not work. This is one such occasion.)

A couple months back, I finished directing my 20th episode of television. For each of those episodes, I had a routine I consistently followed, usually by the third or fourth day of prep.

I called Joyce.

I would call her at her home near New Haven while I’d be driving to the studio or about to have dinner. She’d always pick up and say “Oh darlin’ I’ve just been thinking about you!” I’d then tell her the storyline of that episode – tell it to her from my memory as if I was telling someone about a movie I had just seen. It would help me immensely. I figured, if I can tell someone the story of the episode as if it’s already aired, then that means I can see it clearly in my mind and will better be able to bring it to life on the screen.

We started this routine on my first episode back in October 2014 and the episode turned out so well we both figured we should do this every time. I would call this woman who was probably 25 years older than me who had no TV service, no social media presence, no experience in the film or television industry and barely understood how the internet worked – yes, that’s who I’d call. She was my secret weapon.

Because Joyce was, quite simply, one of the greatest storytellers I have known.

She could weave a metaphoric tale or relate a true story from her incredible life – she grew up in a dozen different countries around the world – in a way that made you feel as though you were there, as if you could taste the fruit from Libya or hear the sounds of South Korea in the morning.

She observed the world as a writer-poet-philosopher might and would sit down with us at our table in New Haven and wonder and marvel and explore with us. She fearlessly approached strangers and would strike up conversation, discovering new stories and worlds through them. She guided us through moments of joy and pain, elation and grief and everything in between.

If only we could be guided by her now.

Joyce died Wednesday night with Valarie and Valarie’s mother by her side.


Balinese angel we gave Joyce five years ago – now flying above Joyce’s hospital bed as it had in her home.

Five years ago, a terrible disease that had been silently eating away at her without any of us knowing nearly consumed her entirely. From her recovery bed, she promised us she would live so she could throw our future babies in the air. Incredible doctors and her relentless spirit allowed her to keep that promise and more. We all hoped – more than hoped, practically begged – that she would emerge from it and share more of her life with us.

It was a gift, these last five years. But still, not enough. Future plans unfulfilled. Future trips together never taken.

It’s difficult and nearly impossible to describe our relationship with Joyce. Too old to be a sister, though she was perpetually youthful – so not quite an aunt or a mother. But she did fill us with sage like wisdom in ways I can’t describe, in a manner that cannot be replicated. She was truly one of the most unique and indescribable people I have ever met. And I still have no idea how old she was. But it didn’t matter – it never mattered.

She was timeless. And now eternal.

In a couple weeks, I’m going to get a new script for a new show. In the back of my mind I’m going to say to myself – call Joyce. But then I’ll catch myself and remember. And remember.


Designated Survivor Redux Airs Tonight!

In November I directed my second Designated Survivor entitled “Final Frontier” and it airs tonight on ABC. Tune in!

Here’s a promo – not just of my episode, though, but for the entire rest of the season.



This photo has nothing to do with my post. I took it while shooting on location in Atlanta. I guess I feel a little like that alligator if we really wanted to analyze this deeply.

TV directing season has ended for me for the time being so I’m back in front of the computer writing. And by “writing” I mean updating my blog and website and cleaning up my workspace and occasionally watching Netflix or Amazon and then and then and then … writing.

But really, I’m excited about having a few months in front of me clear so I can resuscitate my various writing projects and/or conceive of new ones. I also have a new agent (Sean Freidin) and agency (ICM) – so it’s a very exciting time of beginning anew and afresh.

I suspect more frequent and uninteresting blog posts are on the way in the next few months.

MacGyver 219 Shoot Days 5-9

Finished up the MacGyver shoot with a lot of fun stuff. Action, shootouts, and a crazy opening to the show that I wish I could spoil for you all but it’s going to be a lot of fun when it airs. Grateful to have played in this world for a couple of weeks. Now to LA for a handful of meetings, then a few weeks off before starting Quantico.

MacGyver 219 Shoot Days 1-4

Finished the first half of production on this episode of MacGyver with a rare Saturday night shoot. Much of this show shoots on location so we already did some of our bigger scenes, including a stunt where we did things to a car, part of a house, and another where we did things with squibs and gunfire. I can’t say more for fear of spoilers.

But it’s a fun show to direct with another great crew. We’ve got about four and a half more days of shooting, including a big one on Monday on location and a VFX heavy sequence later in the week.

DIY or Die

Been in prep on MacGyver here in Atlanta and I’m super glad my New Year’s Resolution didn’t include updating the blog more consistently. One more day of prep tomorrow and then I start shooting on Wednesday.

The title of this blogpost is a great tagline I saw on a MacGyver poster that I thought was clever. Lots of fun action and home-made devices/explosives/solutions to problems, as you might imagine. I will try get better with my Haiku-like production updates from after I start shooting.

Good Girls 107 Shoot

Happy New Year, nine followers!

I realize that I did not do my usual haiku-like daily recaps of this episode of Good GirlsI have no excuse other than post-holiday malaise and general production fatigue.

I just wrapped shooting. It was a lot of fun – I have three more scenes I have to finish that I’ll pick up in the following weeks. But I move on from this family to the next. Lots of wonderful people, including crew members I have worked with in the past on other shows and with some really incredible cast.

It’s the first time I’ve worked on a first-year show this early – only the seventh ever episode – and the first time I’ve had the chance to work on a show with a lot of humor in it. It was a blast and hopefully it’ll come together nicely.

On Monday I start prep on MacGyver also here in Atlanta. Hopefully a few more substantive updates will come. My blog resolution is to update more faithfully. (More of a hope than a resolution.) Will try my best – the show rolls on!