We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshua Katz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshua, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
These are really the only two options. But, I think for most people, the question to keep going is about how much time and effort to put into your craft. Life offers its challenges; there is an ebb and flow to the process of creativity. You’re not always going to be able to go full speed. It’s okay (and healthy) to slow down or pause from time to time. It’s natural to get discouraged, but that feeling that drives you to continue should still be there. If it isn’t still there… quitting is usually not an easy choice. If quitting becomes an easy choice, there’s probably a good reason why it’s easy and you should definitely quit.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I grew up on sets and in sound booths. My parents were both creatives who worked in news and radio. As a child, I acted in local productions, commercials, and a few films. While getting a college degree in film I was involved with three Regional Emmy-nominated projects, one of which won the award. After graduating I travelled to Los Angeles where I again was cast to act in various productions. I also used my experiences from serving on active duty during 9/11 and two wars to help film and TV productions with military tactical scenes. When I first moved to LA, before I was working on sets, I had my day job as a bouncer at a bar. It was there that a regular would chat me up. He was not a patron; he was an unhoused person. When I mentioned I was dabbling in screenwriting, he urged me enter into competitions. At first, I was obstinate, but I eventually relented, and I ended up placing. So, I switched my creative focus from acting to screenwriting. Soon, I was accepted into the Veterans Writing Project, The Writers Guild Foundation’s year-long screenwriting mentorship taught by WGA members at the world headquarters for screenwriting. I took it very seriously and even founded the alumni association for the program. During this time I grew as a writer while meeting some amazing people who became mentors and friends. Through those relationships, I got into the WGA and became a mentor for the program. It was during this time that I was diagnosed with severe combat-related PTSD. I noticed, in my writing before my diagnosis, I told stories about characters afflicted with PTSD. It must have been my subconscious knowing that something was wrong and trying to find a way to get out. Now very aware of my disability, I’ve fully-embraced writing about it and am currently tackling a personal story that I hope will be as strong of a story on the page as it is in my heart.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For art: the Getty (and Getty Malibu), The Huntington, Norton Simon, LACMA, Natural History Museum, La Brea Tar Pits. During Halloween a friend has an amazing exhibit of costumes, props, and models from film and tv called Icons of Darkness.
For entertainment: my wife and I love amusement parks, so definitely Disneyland, Six Flags, Knotts Berry Farm, and Universal. I proposed to her in front of Hogwarts at Universal, so it’s a very special spot for us. I also work at Warner Bros. and always wanted to go on their tour. In LA, there’s always a new exhibit or attraction popping up. It really depends on the month, but there will certainly be options for any visitors.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d really like to spotlight the organization No One Left Behind. They are one of the best organizations helping save refugees lives.
For blue shirt headshot: photographer Rob Flate For tactical headshot against white garage: photographer Devin Mitchell