Third Time’s Almost a Charm

This was part of Daniel’s application for an internship in 2002. He applied in March. He was chosen as a finalist and recorded a tape explaining why he had to write and why he wanted the internship as a writer for television so much. He died on May 13, 2002 in a car crash. I had to call the internship office that week, they told me they were in the meeting right then deciding between Dan and someone else. I told them that the decision was made then. I made several copies of the tape he sent, I gave them to many people. We played part of it at his memorial service at NYU.

This is the written autobiography he included as part of the application:

DANIEL FOGG, 16, in a motorized wheelchair. He’s a writer. He writes. Staring at a keyboard as words fill a screen. A story of war, of hope, of good versus evil. This is his life.

He has a tough life, all creative types have a tough life, but not as tough as some others. He’s a drop-out, but not by choice. Parents divorced. Brother and sister trying to survive, like him. He survives by writing. And watching General Hospital, weekdays at 3 on ABC.

Inciting incident – he’s watching TV. GH’s 35th Anniversary Special. A realization – he must be a part of that show. He writes a character, writes a scene, two scenes, more scenes. Prose scenes. He sends them to ABC. Brick wall. He doesn’t give up.

Now 18, he goes to community college. Gets his equivalency. Studies journalism. Parallel goals, day job and dream.

Fighting a deadline, he writes in class, longhand. Stares at the paper, writes. Writes. Comes to the end, final sentence. A gathering of books. Students leaving. But the professor stops them, fifteen minutes left in class. He looks around. The atmosphere feels like an ending. Feels like power, like control. Like he controls the air.

Another class. An actor as a professor. Otis Young. He shows Otis his scenes, Otis shows him how to script. He reads a book, takes a class, scripts his scenes and is hooked. And he writes. And he writes. Like a madman he writes.

A screenplay over the summer, he enters a contest. Third place. Affirmation. Confidence. He applies for an internship at the ATAS. He’s a finalist. People like his writing.

Graduation. Transfer to four-year. Hofstra. For journalism. Day job, security, and still writing. Scripts in his spare time, a contest called Greenlight, a community, a group that accepts him. Respects him. Focuses him on screenwriting.

He starts a production company with people on Greenlight. He starts to lose interest in journalism. Form writing, boring, his brain quickly stagnating. An application to an ATAS internship. Rejected.

His brother auditions for NYU acting, and he realizes, finally, he can follow his dream. Two goals become one, his brain becomes focused.

Now 20, he applies and gets in to NYU.

What will happen? Will he succeed? Without journalism to fall back on, what if he fails? Act three isn’t written, it’s up in the air. It starts with an application to an ATAS internship.