First Draft Episode #202: D.C. Pierson
D.C. Pierson, comedian, writer, filmmaker and author of The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To and Crap Kingdom, and co-writer and star of indie comedy movie Mystery Team, talks about getting more vulnerable with age, using his fiction to explore the gap between what we expect of the world and what turns out to be true, and being sick of not finishing things.
Links and Topics Mentioned In This Episode
D.C. loved the cover of his dad’s copy of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Rubber Soul was the one Beatles album D.C.’s family had on cassette or CD
In conjunction with the documentary The Beatles Anthology, detailed compilations of Beatles ephemera were released in three double-CD sets: Anthology 1, Anthology 2, and Anthology 3. D.C. listened to these more than the regular Beatles albums, which means he listened to a lot of alternate versions of songs and random studio chatter. He credits that with jumpstarting much of his curiosity as a storyteller.
While D.C. attended the Rita and Burton Goldberg School of Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch Institute of Performing Arts, one of his teachers was Charlie Rubin, who wrote for Seinfeld and In Living Color, and was a showrunner for Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Mystery Team was a fully independently-made movie that the Derick Comedy group made, which had a screening at Sundance, and led the group to move to Los Angeles
Upright Citizens Brigade improv theater is where D.C. honed his comedy and performing chops during and after college
The concept for Mystery Team is basically: what if characters from Encyclopedia Brown never really grew out of their idealized, 1950s childhood, and kept trying to solve crimes?
A passing encouraging comment from comedian, actor, writer, and musician Eliza Skinner gave D.C. the boost he needed to start writing a book
Dianne McGunigle, manager and a producer of Atlanta, was D.C. agent at the time that he wrote a first draft of The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep… and she read it quickly, a favor for which D.C. is forever grateful
Gerry Howard, who edited David Foster Wallace’s The Broom of the System and Girl with Curious Hair, as well as Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, was the editor D.C. worked with for The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep… D.C. was starstruck to be going to the offices where Sloane Crosley—essayist and writer known for I Was Told There’d Be Cake, How Did You Get This Number and her newest, Look Alive Out There—also worked.
The Los Angeles Times gave The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep… a lovely review
D.C. was inspired by psychologist Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
One of D.C.’s favorite English teachers sent him Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham provided a quote that summed up what he likes to explore in all his writing
To me, Crap Kingdom is asking, “What if Lord of the Rings was deeply uncool?”
Stephen King’s On Writing is one of the writing books that has inspired D.C. in his fiction process
One of D.C.’s earliest imrpov teachers, Owen Burke, referred to the following passage from Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, on the endurance of human thought and creation: “We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew?”
For a time, D.C. was teaching at Writing Pad, a writing program offered online and in L.A./S.F.
I want to hear from you!
To leave a voicemail for a future episode, call 818-533-1998. Or you can email the show at email@example.com.
Subscribe To First Draft with Sarah Enni
Every Tuesday, I speak to storytellers like Veronica Roth, author of Divergent; Linda Holmes, author and host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast; Jonny Sun, internet superstar, illustrator of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Gmorning, Gnight! and author and illustrator of Everyone’s an Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too; Michael Dante DiMartino, co-creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender; John August, screenwriter of Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; or Rhett Miller, musician and frontman for The Old 97s. Together, we take deep dives on their careers and creative works.
Rate, Review, and Recommend
How do you like the show?
Please take a moment to rate and review First Draft with Sarah Enni in Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Your honest and positive review helps others discover the show -- so thank you!
Is there someone you think would love this podcast as much as you do? Please share this episode on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or via carrier pigeon (maybe try a text or e-mail, come to think of it). Just click the Share button at the bottom of this post!