David Anaxagoras

David Anaxagoras

David Anaxagoras is the creator and co-executive producer of GORTIMER GIBBON'S LIFE ON NORMAL STREET, an Amazon Studios TV series. Dave is a graduate of UCLA's world-renowned MFA screenwriting program.

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DAVID ANAXAGORAS

Writing Adventures

Gortimer Gibbon

Watch on Amazon Prime now

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Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street NOW PLAYING on Amazon Prime!

11/21/2014

On May 6, 2012 (I know because I still have the email) I sent a note to a friend of mine and wanted to know what he thought of my idea for a TV show about a boy who lived in a slightly off-kilter world full of quirky characters. I worried it would be a hard sell. He wrote back:

NORMAL STREET sounds like it could be awesome. You should totally try to develop this one — I can really see the potential. 

And the rest is, as they say, history. Two and a half years later, that idea has become Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street which debuts with six episodes on Amazon Prime today. You can go watch Gortimer right now!

If you have kids or have ever been a kid, this show is for you. Besides, who doesn’t love competitive robots?

But how exactly can you watch this show? 

Chances are, whatever device you are reading this blog post on can stream an episode of Gortimer right now. The first episode is free! You’ll need an Amazon Prime membership to see the rest but you can sign up for a free trial on the spot.

Here’s a very handy, step-by-step guide to setting up whatever device you might want to use to access Amazon Prime video — TVs, tablets, Blu-ray players, game consoles, and more.

I watch most of my Prime videos via my web browser on my iMac and sometimes via the Amazon Instant Video app on my iPad.

Now go watch Gortimer and have fun. You can follow the conversation with #GortimerGibbon and follow me on Twitter @davidanaxagoras.

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One More Day

11/20/2014

One more day to go, and then Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street bows on Amazon Prime. And if you don’t have Amazon Prime, get yourself a free trial — it’s easy.

Reviews are coming in and they are extremely positive.

The New York Post calls the series “smart, a little zany and never pandering“.

SFGate says “there’s an unabashed quaintness about “Normal Street,” reminiscent of a time when kids TV was all about fun and homemade adventure“.

From Time: “Amazon says it’s aimed at children 6 to 11…but this adult found himself gobbling the four episodes Amazon sent as if I were raiding my kids’ Halloween candy“.

And Variety says “in terms of kids’ TV, this sort of genuinely clever alternative is anything but normal“. 

update: Here’s another thoughtful review, this from Channel Guide Magazine:The show is mysterious, and whimsical and fun; like Pushing Daisies for tweens.”

Seeing so many of my Amazon family at the red-carpet premiere the other night was the best thing I could ever ask for. But now I miss everyone even more. So I’m thinking back on good times as we wait.

Some of my fondest memories from the production:

  • After months of writing before production began, the day for our first table read arrived. That meant finally being reunited with the cast. I’ll never forget the three smiling, beaming faces of our young stars as they raced into the soundstage to greet me. One of the best days, just for that reason.

  • And speaking of the first table reading — it was a blast. Those first two scripts were proof that our writers could pick up the ball and run with it and that we had a show. They weren’t just good, they were great.

  • Not a single memory but I’ll always have a fondness for the days — some of them very late days — in the writers room. You just can’t put that many intelligent and incredibly funny people in such close quarters and not have the time of your life. So much laughter.

  • Collaborating with Luke on the season finale script. We spent a lot of time cooped up together making that script shine, and somehow still came out of it friends and not wanting to kill each other. And the script turned out pretty good too.

  • I remember walking onto the soundstage for the first time — our first day of shooting interiors, and Luke took me into the observatory set, which is Mel and the gang’s hangout. It was stunning. So much detail. This wasn’t your typical sitcom kid’s bedroom. The observatory had layers of history built up, it felt alive and had a real sense of identity. I wanted to move in and live there. No single shot will ever capture its entire glory.

  • By the time a rough cut is assembled, I’ve seen many versions of the script, I’ve seen a lot of the footage as it was being shot on set, I’ve seen all the dailies, and so it’s hard sometimes to look at things with fresh eyes and not be numb to the jokes or the drama. Also, first cuts can be clunky. But I was absolutely moved to tears when I saw the first cut of the season finale in the editing room.

  • The wrap party was bittersweet and I was in a lot of pain because it was so hard to say goodbye. But there was a moment when I unexpectedly received a standing ovation and I was incredibly touched and so very humbled.

These and so many other moments I will never forget. I hope the series brings you as much pleasure as it has brought me.

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Gortimer at the ArcLight

11/18/2014

As I write this it’s a little after one in the morning. I’m in the quiet and dark of my apartment. It’s just me and the gecko that lives in a terrarium on a nearby stand. It’s so quiet now I can hear Cherry Coke bubbles softly fizzing inside the can on my desk.

Monday night was the big screen premiere of my TV show, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, and I’m still trying to process everything. It was a bit like being blown into a tornado. Lots of whirling about, people whizzing by, lights flashing. I really didn’t know what to expect. I’d never been blown into a tornado before.

It’s not unheard of these days for a TV show to premiere in a theater, of course, but of all the fantasizing about my success that I’ve done — the Oscar speeches, the sprawling beach house, the robot monkey butler — the possibility of a Hollywood-style premiere just never occurred to me. And I have to say, Amazon Studios went all out. All. Out.

There was a red carpet that no one warned me about. But I wasn’t the only one intimidated by it and that was a huge relief. It’s always best, if you have to get blown into a tornado, to hold on to someone as it happens. So the red carpet became a group shot with the three kids who were there from the start, the ones that mean all the world to me. I believe I could brave any force of nature with them at my side.

The really good thing about the premiere of course was seeing my Amazon family again. The night was really a celebration of everyone’s talent and hard work, and it’s humbling to stand among so many amazing people.

There were unexpected pleasures and surprises — seeing old friends, bumping into former professors, having people — strangers even — come up to me and praise the show, hearing my story told to the audience and feeling grateful, again, for the unlikely chain of events that lead to me sitting among an audience of 400 or so people in the ArcLight Hollywood auditorium number 3 about to watch two episodes of the TV show I created.

It was also a special night for my family, and I was lucky to have my mom, step-dad, sister and niece there and to be able to share this with them.

Maybe I’ll get better at premieres if I have more practice. It seemed like every time I started a conversation with someone I got swept away, or they got swept away. Sometimes the only moment I had with someone was when they were saying goodbye. I’m not good with the high-speed social interaction things. I’m not good with social interaction to begin with. I hope people can forgive me for being a little mixed up and overwhelmed and befuddled and maybe starting conversations I never finished. Hopefully I’ll get better.

Once I got home from the screening and the afterparty, once I noticed just how quiet it was, once some of the goodbyes hit home I think everything hit me, emotionally, all at once. It’s still a lot to process. I know a few things with certainty at this point. Monday’s premiere was the high-water mark so far of my writing career. I’m very fortunate that Amazon Studios picked up Gortimer because they believe in it so fiercely and everyone I talk to at the studio is as proud of the show as I am. I’m still a writer first and foremost, but there is nothing so satisfying as being part of a creative team and working alongside incredibly talented people to make something awesome.

Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street debuts on Amazon Prime this Friday, November 21st and you can watch the first episode right now. I hope you enjoy.

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Counting Down to Gortimer on November 21st

11/16/2014

I am counting the days — we are down to days! — until the show premieres. Trying to keep myself occupied. I’ve been unpacking things I should have unpacked seven months ago but was too busy making a TV show to get to. And now, like some kind of sisyphian nightmare, no matter how many boxes I unpack, there always seem to be the same number of boxes still left to unpack.

Another paradox — it both feels like a long, long time since we wrapped production on Gortimer and also like it was only yesterday.

If you somehow missed the trailer, have a look:

 

I’m eager for Friday’s launch for many reasons, as you can imagine. Certainly this is another huge milestone in an amazing dream-fulfiling couple of years. The series is really what the last few years have been about — the option sale, pilot production and everything else has been leading up to this. And now I get to share the product of all our hard work with you. You know that feeling when you find the perfect gift for someone and you can’t wait to give it to them? That’s how I feel.

The week in Gortimer

That’s one big prop frog! #Latergram #TBT #GortimerAmazon

A photo posted by Gortimer Gibbon (@gortimeramazon) on

Amazon has been busy dropping bits of awesome on social media. It’s like getting a little present every day. I hope you’re following us so you don’t miss out on the fun.

There are two brief behind-the-scenes interviews with me posted on the Amazon Studios Facebook page. Here’s one in which I tell how Gortimer landed at Amazon:

 

How did I ever get away with that square peg analogy? And then there’s this, in which I describe my experience on the pilot:

 

And here’s a great tease on the Gortimer Facebook page from an upcoming episode, “Gortimer Gets Shushed”:

 

And finally, Amazon’s offical blog, Hollywonk, has posted a writing advice Q&A from me. The short version is: write the thing only you can write.

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Go to Amazon’s official blog for my Q&A on writing advice.

I’m usually pretty good about staying on an even keel but Friday’s launch has got me over the moon. It’s like some sort of mythical superholiday — Halloween, Birthdays and Christmas all wrapped into one. I may burst into song. I promise not to YouTube that.

See you on Normal Street.

Help us find The Frog of Ultimate Doom! #Gortimer #NormalStreet

A photo posted by Gortimer Gibbon (@gortimeramazon) on

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Going Normal

10/28/2014

The entire first season of Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street will be available for viewing on Amazon Prime beginning November 21st.

You can read a bit about it in Entertainment Weekly and view the smashing new trailer there. I’m very fond of the trailer — it manages to communicate a sense of fun and adventure and friendship that encapsulates the whole show.

Some of you may be visiting here for the first time, following links from the various announcements around the web concerning the show. I’m trying to think of a quick and clever way to introduce myself, but it’s probably best to just check out the About Me page. Also, you can read more about me and how Gortimer was discovered at Amazon’s official blog.

Below you can find some links to the series launch announcement and other items from around the web today. I’ll update as needed. Please feel free to use the contact form or leave a comment if you want to say hi. I like hearing from people. Don’t be shy.

Entertainment Weekly — Watch the trailer for Amazon kids’ series ‘Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street’.  Be sure to “enlarge” the top graphic to see the full series poster.

Hollywonk (Official blog of Amazon Studios) — featuring a blog post with the new key art and a new write-up about me and how I was discovered by Amazon.

Business Wire has the Amazon Official press release with a few more choice quotes.

Remember folks, the first episode (pilot) is already up on Amazon Prime if you haven’t seen it yet.

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46

09/01/2014

Probably, if you read this blog, you’ve heard the story of how I had quit screenwriting and that my pilot script for “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street” was the last script I had ever intended to write. You probably don’t know that about five or six years before that, I quit having birthdays.

Well, I had stopped celebrating birthdays, anyway. And I tried to get others to stop celebrating for me. I didn’t go out for drinks after work, didn’t invite friends over, didn’t let anyone at my job pass a card around or buy me a cake. It’s harder than you think to get people to leave you alone on your birthday — I’ve tried, I know. But slowly, gradually, I summoned the strength of ten curmudgeons and mostly stopped my birthday from happening.

Why? Turning 40 when your dreams are still just dreams is hard. Really hard. And every year, my birthday became a way to mark failure. Every year, I was reminded that my dreams of being a professional writer were just as far away as ever, maybe even farther with each passing year. Who wants to be reminded of that? On a day to day basis, I could manage. I could just lose myself in a routine. I could be a day-job zombie — wake-work-sleep and repeat. I could be numb. But birthdays? Too out of the routine. It invites you take stock of your year, your life. And sometimes it makes you think you are undeserving of a birthday in the first place. So I stopped having them.

And then I sold a pilot, and then the pilot got picked up to series, and I literally watched all my dreams coming true in front of me in the space of a year, and in the process, I gained a whole new family.

And they wanted to celebrate my birthday.

I emailed a friend in a panic. I needed Emergency Birthday Support. The condensed version of the conversation went like this:

“My friends want to throw me a birthday party.”
“Yeah, Dave, friends do that.”
“Well, I don’t know how to have a birthday. I’ve forgotten. I don’t even deserve one.”
“You deserve one. Keep telling yourself that.”

First, I recommend everyone have a friend that, no matter how crazy you are, will talk to you as if you were a sane person.

Second, and this is really important, no matter how underserving you feel of something — I beg you not to wall yourself off from it. Because it is so damned difficult to tear down that wall after you realize what an ass you are, and of course you deserve it. Of course you do.

So I had a birthday this year. The family of one of our fine young actors opened their home to us and hosted the party. Many of my Amazon Studios family gave up part of their Sunday to come and sing Happy Birthday to me. It was all overwhelming and humbling and I was grateful because, not only did my Amazon Studios Family make my dreams come true, they gave me back my birthdays.

 

Henry

08/02/2014

I don’t know if you realize when you are 12 that friendships end.

When I was a boy my best friend was Henry. In my mind, every summer we spent together over the years has melded into one long endless mythical season. Henry had neat black hair. My hair was blah-brown and poorly behaved. Henry was fit and trim. I . . . was not. Henry was at ease with other people, even girls. I was at ease with a very short list of people — namely, Henry. We shared an imagination and sense of adventure. I loved Henry. He was my brother. I would never have said this when I was 12.

I don’t know how, but Henry and I filled every second of long, hot southern California summers with never-ending childhood adventures that involved Marvel comics, Missile Command, the 7-11, Battlestar Galactica, Cherry Slurpees, swimming, make-your-own-rules baseball, Kool-Aid, bologna sandwiches, army men, Stratego, Oingo Boingo, recording ourselves on cassette tapes, vibrating electric football, Otter Pops, James Bond, fireworks, tree-climbing, MPC Star Wars model kits, KROQ, Starlog, and endless games of pretend in which we raced across the galaxy, or fought every WWII battle, or triumphed over KGB agents with clever gadgets disguised as ordinary pens or watches.

The nights were made for Odyssey2 marathons. There is no better feeling in the world than lying on your belly next to your shadow-twin, shoulders leaned together, elbows dug into the shag carpet, eyes dry and itching from staring at the TV screen all night, fingers cramped around the joystick of your favorite video game, and knowing — knowing — that the boy next you will be there forever and the games will never end.

I did the worse thing a boy can ever do to his friend.

I moved away.

Not my choice, of course. In the days before texting, twittering, facebooking, facetiming and skyping, it wasn’t easy to stay in touch. He came to visit my new house once. We tried to call each other. In a surprisingly short amount of time, we were no longer a part of each other’s lives.

It’s a long road to adulthood. Sometimes when you look back down the road, you no longer can see the place where you started.

And neither can you see the face of the friend you left behind.

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