I moved to LA to become a screenwriter.

It was romantic, but hardly glamorous. Most days I’d shuffle between coffee shops & working retail on Melrose. I fell into culture & music journalism, but did it gonzo. People seemed to dig that. My words found their way into SPIN, Skinnie Mag, LA RecordCampus Circle, Brightest Young Things, & LA Weekly. This is that story:

M.M. Zonoozy in a red beanie, looking weird.

It was a Monday night & it was just shitting rain in LA. A friend asked me to a comedy show, “We never do that.” Fuck it - two seats in the front row at The Comedy Store.

Back then, Dave Chappelle hadn’t been seen or heard from in years. So when he made a surprise 4+ hour visit to The Comedy Store, it was a pretty big deal, & I got it in print:

Lede article breaking Dave Chappelle’s return for LA Weekly.

Watching the self-ostracized Chappelle rediscover the stage allows for a strangely candid look at a brilliant, yet jaded, man.

‘This is weird, right?’ Chappelle asks the front row. ‘You feel it too, right?’

Yeah, Dave, we all feel it. The same man who brought us Tyrone Biggums & ran out on a $50 million paycheck stopped by just to hang - a little out of the ordinary.

Dave Chappelle saying something funny, probably.

^ That article really got my name out. But, looking back, I wouldn’t have expected it to play out that way. See, my story started when I shipped out to tinseltown to slang TV scripts - not articles:

A young M.M. trying to eat.

In fact, I moved to LA with Re:LAX’s script in hand.

Re:LAX was my first original TV pilot. The logline was “The Office meets Airplane.” It was a dry, character-driven sitcom based on the staff at LAX.

The pilot kicks off with the news: LAX was ranked  the third worst airport in the country. We follow our protagonist - a timid, Prozac-popping, fear-of-flying General Manager - into his office, where he receives an email putting him on notice:

The season arch continues with 10 episodes - each improving one aspect of the airport, from moving walkways to security:

Selection from M.M. original pilot, Re:LAX.
Fortunately, mockumentaries were hot at the time, & Re:LAX earned me some street cred:

‘This show has legs!’ 
- everyone in ‘the biz  

I used that momentum to write and spec for other shows, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia & Curb Your Enthusiasm:

Selection from M.M. original spec script for Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Between screenwriting stints, I moonlit as a culture & arts journalist. As the story goes, that’s where I started gaining notoriety. 

My first artist interview was with indie lo-fi revivalists, The Cribs.  I showed up to The Standard Hotel, met their tour manager, & opted to interview the band by the pool. I felt like William Miller:

Dorky kid from Almost Famous.

‘We had a big stretch of time off,’ recounts Ross. ‘We were all together because we were friends, & we’d been hanging out. So, why don’t we get together & write some music, because that’s what you do when you’re friends, you know, people just jam.’

^ That’s Cribs drummer Ross Jarman talking about how Johnny Marr from The Smith’s joined his band. It’s one of the more stoney-baloney quotes I’ve ever put in print.

The Cribs looking indie.

I guess I had a knack for those type of artist profiles because the assignments quickly multiplied. I covered Dane Cook, Penguin Prison, Girl Talk, Johnny Knoxville - you name it. I even interviewed OK Go once at a coffee shop across from Amoeba Music:

Amoeba Music record store in Hollywood.

‘What’s been so great about the explosion of possibilities on the Internet is that you really don’t need to stick to a form,’ explains [frontman Damian] Kulash. ‘We didn’t really even think of the backyard dancing video as a music video at first. It was just some crazy shit we made.’

^ Props to me for capitalizing ‘Internet.’ Get it, gurl.

Still from Here It Goes Again music video by OK Go.

That sort of artist engagement was cool, & led to a lot of new friends. One time I spent  an hour chatting about potty training a puppy with Lil Jon (his, not mine).

Keeping it fun helped me write well, & writing well helped me earn a dozen or so print & online cover stories:

Lil Jon cover story written by M.M.

Pile the most serendipitious rainy day trip to The Comedy Store on top of those stats, and all of a sudden ‘M.M. Zonoozy’ was somebody.’

Now, when you’re somebody, people actually pay you to attend huge parties & music festivals, with all-access no less:

M.M.’s Coachella Music Festival coverage.

We met on the first day of Coachella. It was your average wayfarer boy meets sun-kissed beach babe. She was wearing hot pink shorts, & so was I. For us, it was a total duh.

^ Turning my Coachella review into a gonzo love-story added fuel to the post-Chappelle blogosphere fire, & earned me trips to Sasquatch, Ultra, Governor’s Ball, etc. 

Hype escalated into a podcast, and later into a ‘docuseries’ TV concept. The series revolved around my coverage of artists & local music culture.  The logline was ‘Anthony Bourdain meets Rolling Stone’- in other words,  Noisey before Noisey.

The show was called On Tour:

Still from On Tour: The Series feat. M.M. & Zion I.

On Tour was optioned, & promptly shelved.  That’s life, right? However, that didn’t discourage me from continuing to write, nor from producing video independently & as a part of Range Productions.

If you know me now, you know that my love for media eventually translated into building video-centric tech products, like Bubbl:

Product shot from Bubbl software.

Bubbl was  my greatest roller coaster, but after being funded by Warner Bros. Studio, Disney, MediaLink and others, it ended on an upswing - being acquired by Cricket.

After Cricket, I spent a few years designing new ventures with some of the world’s coolest companies as Partner at BCG Digital Ventures.  That office has a dope view.

Nowadays, I’m living 10-years in the future + leading moonshots for my dream company: Spotify.

Nights + weekends, I’m still creating, + more recently obsessing over all things web3...

I guess that’s the short of it all.

Now, I typically like wrapping up my stories with a cheeky little bow, but this one isn’t over. Sure, I’ve been around, but I’m still around - always looking for what’s next.

Who knows, maybe it’s working with you.


Writing Samples