When he was 12, T.R. asked his dad for a typewriter for his birthday. The first thing he typed was a letter from Paramount Studios requesting permission to audition students at his Junior High School for an upcoming film. The ruse convinced his principle to order the English teacher to schedule auditions immediately. T.R. has not stopped writing since that first thrill of taking people for a ride with his imagination.
T.R’s vast life experience has brought him in touch with gang leaders, corporate leaders, drug lords, special forces agents, FBI agents, national security intelligence agents, military leaders, car thieves, pimps, mega-pastors, spies, Air Force One pilots, billionaires, famous Hollywood actors, grammy-winning singers, Emmy and Oscar-winning producers, doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, real estate tycoons, mayors, murderers, cowboys, con artists, undercover cops, snipers, farmers, international peace negotiators, US senators, US representatives, US governors, the vice president of the United States and many others. He draws from his experiences to tell thought-provoking thrillers about everyday people involved with complex characters in outrageous circumstances. He is fascinated by politics, corruption, greed, systems of control, the plight of underdogs and justice.
T.R. is a critically acclaimed, best-selling author, publisher, screenwriter, humorist and former stage and commercial actor. He has ghostwritten more than twenty books. His new techno-thriller, Lunar Options, is his first fiction novel released under his own name.
He grew up in Cleveland, OH before moving to Chicago at the age of 21. He lived and worked in Chicago for 12 years. He now lives and writes in Los Angeles. He is the proud father of two daughters–one at USC and the other at UCLA. He shares his life with his wife of nearly 25 years, Lisa.
T.R. may be reached at: [email protected].com, or on Facebook or by filling out the form below. Members of the media and groups or workshops looking to book T.R. for interesting and exciting speaking engagements or interviews will find his media room here.
T.R’s first foray into entertainment came in seventh grade when a lie he told, claiming to be the son of a Hollywood director filming a movie in Cleveland, got out of hand and resulted in the school holding formal auditions for the imaginary film. His writing talent came to light in a ninth grade essay contest, which asked students to write on “Who Is Whitney Young?” (his school’s namesake). T.R.’s essay titled “I Don’t Know Whitney Young and Apparently No One Cares” made “the shit hit the fan at the Cleveland School Board,” according to his English teacher. That essay prompted the school board to mandate a black history curriculum and earned T.R. an honorary membership in student council.
In tenth grade, T.R. got talked into auditioning for Dracula and won his first of many lead acting roles. That summer, he won a scholarship to the College of Wooster Summer Writing Program. The following fall he began writing the comedy column in the school newspaper. In his senior year, he won a scholarship with the Cleveland Playhouse Curtain Pullers acting ensemble and became editor-in-chief of his high-school paper, helming it to a citywide excellence award. Although T.R. loved writing and acting and has kept a journal since that summer program, he did not pursue those professions, but did manage to pay for his college education through writing.
In college in Chicago T.R. began working with street gangs. Later, with the official job title of “Superfriend,” he often spoke at conferences, led seminars and wrote magazine articles on social/political issues. He advised the office of Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan during the Bush Sr. administration and lectured at the Northwestern Graduate School of Journalism. Though T.R. did not actively seek writing opportunities, they seemed to pursue him. He was asked to write a chapter on gang work in an Anthology on Urban Issues and outreach called “A Heart For The City” and he was offered a book deal to write about his work with Chicago street gangs.
At 27, T.R. realized he was ignoring his dreams, which started him on an ambitious plan to become financially independent so that he could pursue writing full-time. At age 33, he achieved that goal through real estate investing and promptly enrolled at Columbia College in Chicago to study screenwriting. Soon after, he placed in the semi-finals of the prestigious Chesterfield Film Co Writer’s Film Project started by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and later run by Paramount Pictures. While still at Columbia in Chicago, he had Hollywood producers vying to buy his first script and a highly-respected entertainment attorney in Century City referring him to lit agents. His script, “Disciples of K-Town” received the coveted (nearly extinct), “recommend” coverage from both William Morris Agency and CAA.
Writing led to great things for T.R. so after flying out for a meeting with producers in Burbank, he moved to Hollywood to follow his bliss as a screenwriter. Within two years T.R. had a manager and an agent. Soon he was in meetings at major studios pitching, rewriting draft after draft, reading screenplays, writing coverage, being interviewed for writing jobs and signing contracts relating to fees, percentages, buyouts, backend money and rights. At parties he hobnobbed with TV, movie and music stars. To top it all off, an acting agent noticed T.R. in the hot tub at his apartment building and offered to rep him for acting jobs even though she knew nothing of T.R’s acting background. He first refused the offer, due to his focus on writing, but later decided to give it a try and ended up booking numerous acting jobs.
What I Wish I Knew Before I Moved to Hollywood:
Seriously. As his mom would say, “It all went to hell in a hand-basket.” But it’s not just about how it went wrong, but why and what he learned from it all. It is what he wishes he knew before he moved to Hollywood. T.R. knew he wasn’t alone in this experience, so to make the book even more interesting and dimensional, he interviewed about a dozen very successful Hollywood players–writers, comedians, actors, singers, producers, directors, movie and TV stars and got them to share the hard lessons they learned on their road to success as well. They also share insights into what to do after you make it to make sure you don’t fall off.
It’s about who lies and why. It’s about where the pitfalls are hiding. It’s about how to protect yourself. It’s about life behind the Hollywood sign. It’s about what no one teaches you in film school or in any classroom. It’s about the day-to-day hustle and grind in a town that feeds on hope and dreams. It’s about the struggle left on the cutting room floor when people interview successful stars and filmmakers. It’s about why even successful people get on drugs and ruin their lives. It’s about the game of selling human artistic expression and how artists are the most vulnerable to getting hurt.
It’s a book about waking up and seeing Hollywood with your eyes wide open so you can better navigate your dreams and understand what’s really going on. It’s about adding reality to your hope. And ultimately, it’s about following dreams courageously and wisely.
And it happens to be pretty damn funny, too.
Lunar Options is T.R’s first fiction novel. The techno-thriller was originally written as a screenplay by the same title in 2000, one year before 9/11. It is the third part of a four part series which includes the upcoming books, MTULTRA (originally Mind Thieves), Banyo, and Lhasa. The story was originally three parts and conceived to run in reverse order–3, 2, and finally 1. Though not as novel and idea as it was when it was first conceived in 2000, the hope is that Lunar Options would produce the desire in readers to know the backstory of Laz and the CIA’s MTULTRA (Mind Theif ULTRA) program, which spawned him. T.R. hopes to put out 2 books per year, so that the entire series is completed by the end of 2017.