My career looks like a dartboard in an Irish pub—full of holes, hits, and misses, but still in play. I have a graduate degree in journalism, because that was as close as I could get to film production. I couldn’t afford USC (even if I had qualified!).
I was blown away by the story of scientist/inventor Nikola Tesla (recommended reading, Prodigal Genius, by John J. O’Neil), and built Tesla Coils of various sizes. These instruments spout miniature lightning bolts…everyone has seen them. They’re very cool. I wrote a screenplay, Night of the Electric Death, and filmed a trial scene in 16mm. The special effects I used were derived from Tesla Coils. You can see some photos if you visit my website: www.lloydritchey.com.
Producer Warren Skaaren (associate producer of Top Gun, scriptwriter for Batman, Beetlejuice, Fire With Fire, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre) purchased Electric Death and brought director Tobe Hooper up to my "studio" in Dallas for a demonstration. Although Hooper was impressed and started getting ideas of his own, Electric Death was never produced…as such. Some years later, Hooper directed a film called Life Force, which I believe was the final incarnation of Electric Death. Ahh, Hollywood.
I served as producer, director, special effects producer, production manager, and even talent…yadda, yadda, yadda…for a number of commercials and industrial films. In small-time show biz, you wear multiple hats, sometimes at the same time. A couple of commercials won Addys for best low budget productions.
Taking the special effects gig to an extreme, I built a couple of large Tesla Coils and toured for a few shows with rock bands Kansas and The Doobie Bros. The effects were neat, but were actually just another flashing light when seen from the rear of an auditorium crammed with 50,000 dope smokers (I jest, the shows were mostly attended by well-dressed, well-behaved young people---the dope happened behind the scenes. (It’s all true: drugs, sex, and rock n’ roll.) I could say more, but wish to keep an "R" rating and the attorneys at bay.
One of my big Tesla Coils is switched on daily before startled audiences at the Science Place, in Dallas. In a weak moment, I dove into complete nerd-dom and wrote, designed and built the big science show, called the Electric Theater. The show got terrific applause from the school districts and big audience from the general public. I don’t know what has survived of the original production, but it’s still running after more than 20 years.
I won’t bore you with tales of corporate technical writing jobs. I get claustrophobic just thinking about it. I get my biggest kicks from writing novels, especially during those rare moments when some really cool concept zaps through the mental fog and materializes as electric words on paper.
I have to plug my wife’s three books, which I helped write and edit: Woven Wire Jewelry, Getting Started Making Wire Jewelry, and Jewelry Studio : Wire Wrapping, all published by Interweave Press. The books have five-star ratings. Getting Started won the coveted Publisher’s Marketing Association award as "Best Craft Book, 2007."
Influenced by dramatic science and writers like Tolkien, King, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child, and by the constant shenanigans of corporate entities, politicians, and various "evil doers," I’m goaded to create stories of horror and "science gone wild".
My novel, StormDragon, is a technothriller that weaves new and ancient science, greed, and terror into what I sincerely believe is a fun page-turner.
My next book is a tecnho-horror number I think will scare your socks off.