How long have you been writing and what made you want to write in the first place?
I went to NYU Film thinking I would end up as a Director of Photography but during freshman year, there was a compulsory screenwriting class. My teacher Lamar Sanders (who was the sitting chair at that time), asked us to write a 3-5 page short for homework. One evening I sat down to write, and to my surprise, two days later, I came back to class with a 120-page feature. I had no clue I was a writer until that moment. Writing gave me a level of freedom and joy that I had never experienced before. I always loved pushing boundaries and challenging accepted norms. I found writing to be my perfect platform.
After reading my script, Lamar put me into Senior screenwriting, and I wrote 5 completed features over the next year. I then had a few unfortunate things happen in my life that spurred me to look for greater depth in this world, beyond the surface I grew up knowing as a kid raised in Hollywood. I left a budding career to become a celibate yogi-monk for close to a decade. After which, I wrote a well-received mystic poetry book called French Kissing God: A Journey to Enlightenment.
Below are some reactions to my book:
“These are startling poems—bold and unafraid... This is the Song of Solomon sung to a modern melody and it deserves your attention.” ~Bill Prady, Executive Producer of CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, ABC’s The Muppets, and Dharma and Greg
My life as a monk may seem like a bit of a detour, but it was an important one. A writer has to know themself, as well as the full spectrum of the human condition, to be able to effectively draw an audience in. Each character in a good film is so layered and complex. I feel I understand the wide range of human suffering and joy from my many experiences. Though times were hard periodically, and continue to be in some cases, these decades have helped shape me as a person and a writer. For that I am very grateful.
What genre do you prefer to write in? What draws you to that genre?
I love all genres. What's important to me is that the screenplay touches the heart of its audience and catalyzes internal growth in them.
Right now, I’m focused on a historical drama based in the US. I’m loving this niche because history provides us with incredible material. So many events have been excluded from mainstream history books and are just waiting to be told. It’s an incredible way to bring much-needed light and awareness into our modern society.
Tell us three things you're currently digging
I’m a mom of two adorably adventurous kiddos. Kingsley is 4 and Aurora is 2. I love being outside in nature with them. We live in Santa Fe, NM, and the natural world provides my family with a much-welcomed balance in this incredibly unpredictable time. I also just love being and working with my husband, Asher, who is the most supportive and caring human being on the planet. I couldn’t have started writing again without his help, always watching the babies after dinner and on weekends.
I also have fun singing, writing poetry, and listening to music... meditating, and finding time for self-care whenever I can. Which, as a mom of young ones, can at times be challenging.
What interested you about the Roadmap Diversity Initiative?
Now that my kids are old enough, I’m focused on working hard to improve my craft wherever I can. I left screenwriting for many years and now feel my journey is coming full circle. I was drawn to this fellowship because of the diversity aspect. My current script deals with these issues head-on, and I genuinely appreciated that the program was created to foster growth in underrepresented voices. I’m also excited to work on the pitching aspect. It’s not something I was taught and I am eager to improve and grow in this way.
Where can we find you?
The best place to find me is via this website: www.AsherandLyric.com