Origin Story: I grew up in Orange County, CA with my Muslim immigrant father from Egypt and my Catholic, alcoholic mother from the American South. In my teen years, I swam competitively and played water polo until I realized going to the Olympics wasn't in the cards. Instead, I bounced between schools and landed in L.A., focusing on becoming a writer and doing a LOT of improv and sketch comedy in the process through UCBTLA. The complexities of humans dealing with mental health, addiction, and relational dysfunction—and the hope of redemption, forgiveness, and love—are where I tend to always start my stories.
Pipeline Accolades: Script Pipeline Screenwriting Finalist (The Chicken Murders)
Accolades: Black List Features Lab (The Chicken Murders); Sundance Labs, AFF Second Round (Depressed); Slamdance, Finalist (Nora & Sam); Screencraft Animation Semi-Finalist (Genius High)
On Being an Artist: Trust the process. There is no end goal to reach. There is no mountaintop to climb and then you've "made it"—there are just more mountains. So, if there's no actual goal to reach, can you enjoy the sweeping vistas in front of you? Another way I try to think of this is, "What if Hollywood burned down tomorrow? What would I do?" The answer is, I'd make stuff. Sounds cheesy, but it's true. Real artists steal, make stuff, keep going, and show off their work without the expectation or demand of reward. Easier said than done, I know! Focus on the work and focus on yourself. That's the reward—the process of creation itself.
Fueled by: The world. Oh God, that sounds pretentious. Let me explain. You need fuel for the fire, whether that's an old book, a new film, a walk along the beach, a talk with your grandparents, a trip to Mexico—whatever you can afford, whatever you appreciate, whatever it is you enjoy doing that is not writing. This is how you fill your coffers and prepare to work. It's that random article or side story at the bar or weird interaction at the airport or time at your best friend's wedding that inspires ideas.
Currently: I'm directing my first short film, as well as writing more features and pilots to go into development.
Someday: I will be in charge of my own production company.