jakevanderark

“What I really want to do is direct.”

Yeah, I was that kid.

I spent my high-school career as the ghost of the art room, passionately constructing a portfolio that would provide the first step toward a creative occupation. Luckily, “The School of the Art Institute of Chicago” didn’t consider GPA when selecting applicants, so I was immediately accepted into one of the most prestigious art programs in the country.

Unfortunately, the only thing I learned in art school was how much I hated art.

But I found myself! And that’s important, right?

I graduated with a BFA in 2006 and moved to Los Angeles to harness my dream of becoming the next Ingmar Bergman (thanks a lot, art school.)

In LA, I began writing screenplays as a means to direct. I found a job reading screenplays for the same reason. I read a lot of crap. I wrote a lot of crap. But little did I know... I was learning.

In the three-year process of creating short films and pursuing funding for features, I learned that directing came naturally to me, but producing did not.

I wasn’t able to get a project off the ground. When my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, I moved back to my hometown of Grand Haven, MI with nothing to show but three screenplays.

One day, while working as a stage manager for a national dance competition, I had an epiphany that only a repressed, depressed, living-with-his-parents artist could have: what if I wrote books? Unlike screenplays, a book is finished when it’s finished. When the final draft is complete, a book becomes a marketable product. If I work my butt off, maybe I could actually make money doing what I love.

I’m not a millionaire yet... but I did write four novels in three years and I’m proud of the accomplishment. Currently, I’m engaged to my soul-mate, self-publishing all four books, and developing a sequel to "The Accidental Siren."

Dreams, here I come.

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