T. R. Locke is a critically-acclaimed, bestselling author, screenwriter, humorist and former stage and commercial actor. He has ghostwritten over a dozen books. He writes an authoritative blog for artists about the entertainment business at TRLocke.com.
His work has been featured on TV, in national magazines and across the web. He has lectured at Northwestern University’s Graduate School of Journalism and other colleges and universities.
He ghostwrites at YourGhostwriterOnline.com for clients including professors, pastors, politicians, motivational speakers, foreign authors, celebrities and business professionals.
He divides his time between writing, his wife, Lisa, daughters Aja and Rachel and their dog, Lala. He lives in Burbank, CA.
T. R. may be reached at: TheWriter@TRLocke.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?” (the school’s namesake). T. R.’s essay titled “I Don’t Know Whitney 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 rag, 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 them professionally, 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 wrote 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.
T.R.’s book is about how it all went to shit. (click for a Sample Chapter)
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.
Click here for a Sample Chapter of the book.
Here’s some what people are saying about it:
Click the link to see the Amazon review page.
Click the link to see the Barnes and Noble Book Maven Review
Or just read the quotes I pulled from the reviews here:
“The book isn’t intended to stop people from following their bliss, but it is intended as a wake-up call. If you decide you can’t take the kind of treatment described in these pages, it’s probably better to stay away from Hollywood. On the other hand, if these stories don’t scare you off or even help you see a way to exploit the system, you may well have what it takes to survive and even prosper there.”
“The fact that Locke manages to teach deep, helpful truths on this emotional roller coaster while at times being laugh-out-loud funny is a testament to his skill as a writer….
It should be required reading for every performing arts program in the country. It is required reading for anyone looking to learn more about Hollywood before they go (or before they give up on their dreams and leave). For those with no Hollywood aspirations, this book satisfies on a literary level and reminds us that dreams of any kind are worth the struggle. 5 Stars”
—Barnes and Noble Book Maven Review
“Personally, I have absolutely no desire to go to Hollywood, but even so, I LOVED this book! T.R. Locke is an amazing observer of human behavior and psychology, including unpacking his own choices with phenomenal insight as well as a terrific sense of humor. Locke poignantly displays the more universal truth that when we are centered and wise, we can thrive even in the ego hurricane that is Hollywood. His insider views on the norms of the Hollywood culture are extremely helpful for those whose bliss leads them to Hollywood, but the information is packaged in such an intriguing and at times hysterically funny way, that it is a pleasure to read for anyone. I will be buying multiple copies to share with friends and with my therapy clients, as well as for donation to my school of the arts high school alma mater. Well done, Mr. Locke! Thank you so much for this entirely enjoyable and imminently practical work. “
–Tiffany L. Craig, MS, NCC, LCPC (Maryland)
“Mr. Locke definitely has valid insight into the entertainment capital. His testimonies reflecting on a dreamer’s journey are both honest and noteworthy. A few laugh out loud moments gave me several reasons to continue to turn the page. I am strongly suggesting that all artist who are thinking about relocating to the Los Angeles area consider reading this account of what it is truly like to move away from family and friends, follow your dreams and quickly discover that talent has nothing to do with being discovered in a town that has a plethora of amazing writers, actors, producers, musicians etc.”
–Tarsha L. Proctor (Los Angeles)
“Locke doesn’t come off as someone trying to elicit sympathy or to simply make money off his pain or his proximity to fame. Nor did he seem like a frustrated screenwriter trying to make a name for himself by writing a book about his frustration. Neither is Locke’s book a cynical warning to those who might be foolish enough to go after their dreams in Hollywood. Rather, Locke comes off as an artist who is still engaged in the battle and who wants to arm those like himself who might want to engage in their own battle. His message seems to be, “don’t be afraid to come – but here are the weapons you’ll need for more than just a battle – but for a long, drawn out war that will be fought on all fronts and with every ounce of your strength, patience, and wit…and these are the types of situations and people you will be at war with and against – just be ready….
The entertainment value of the stories alone were worth the price of this book. I laughed out loud several times when reading it and I read it in just two sittings over the course of two days. And whether or not I do as Mr. Locke and follow my bliss to Hollywood, this book was completely worth it.”
–J Truillo (N.Y, N.Y)
Click here for a Sample Chapter of the book.