John Grammatico

From the author's website:
John Grammatico studied writing and advertising at MSU and served over a decade as an award-winning agency writer and creative director, producing work for clients such as Coke, Blockbuster, Progressive Insurance, La-Z-Boy, Del Taco, Cox Cable, HGTV, Mazda and many more.

From his first shoot, John found himself drawn toward the camera until inevitably he ended up in the director’s chair, where he’s most at home.

John works with LA-based Company Films and is represented in Canada by Spy Films and in the U.K. by Johnny Foreigner.

Most recently, John’s breast cancer PSA, “Your Man Reminder” won TED’S Ideas Worth Spreading and a 2012 Webby Award.



Today, author and commercial film director John Grammatico joins LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author! John is the author of Julian Rigby and the Keepers of Time.

How did you get started in writing?

It's difficult to say when the actual "start" was because it was always part of me. I remember in 4th grade sharing stories with my classmates that I had written at home the night before. Even at that age, I enjoyed getting some sort of reaction out of people. That's what storytelling is, for me. I think even as a child it made me feel that I mattered because I was able to elicit emotions from people. In many ways, that part has never changed for me. That feeling of relevancy through story.

Who influenced you?

I don't believe it was one, or even several, specific people. Instead, I was an admirer of humanity as a whole. This was a powerful influence. When you're fascinated by humans, you tend to study them more. I think that's what I did, and eventually it led to me carrying around a notebook and jotting down these observations. This is what influenced me most as a writer, I think. The study of humanity. But there have been, of course, stories which affected me as a young man and inspired me to want to write. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was pivotal for me, as a child. It was so fantastical. As I grew older, it was stories like The Princess Bride by William Goldman that really made me want to put pen to paper, so to speak.

Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?

My favorite book/character/story/setting has to be the Harry Potter series. The story is woven so expertly across the entire series and the characters are so incredibly rich and interesting. My favorite of them all is the tragic Snape. He's like a sad song that plays over and over in my mind. I just adore how complex and interesting he is.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?

My advice for anyone who wants to be an author is to just write. There was so often that I was afraid to flesh out a story because I didn't think it was good enough. It's too difficult to work that way. Sometimes you just have to write and write until it's good. Otherwise you may never get started. A dream deferred, as they say.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I'm old-fashioned in this regard. I like the quiet and anonymity of a city library. Even further, I like to write my main outlines first on paper. Then, I'll turn to the laptop when it's time to color in the beats and get down to the details of dialogue and prose.

What else would you like to tell us?

I'm no expert. I'm just a guy who wanted very badly to tell a story. I think I wake up every day with that urge. I get to satisfy those feelings often in my day job as a commercial film director. But that's only at 30 seconds at a time. It often brings me back to my fascination with humanity. Find the character you can love, despite whether they are a hero or villain, and put them in a situation that tests everything they think they know about themselves. Do that and someone will want to hear that story.

John, thank you for joining LitPick for six minutes! We’ve enjoyed the chance to get to know you better!