David Gerrold turned 70 this week. And because I couldn't be there in person to shower him with praise and chocolates, I want to take a moment here to honor him. He's been a part of my life for 30 years, even when he didn't know it.
I've discussed before how David's columns in Starlog and his "Making of" books, particularly "The Making of the Trouble with Tribbles," taught me everything I knew about the realities of TV production before I got behind the curtain myself. I learned about script formatting and timing and production rewrites long before I ever set foot in a writer's room or a production meeting -- thanks to David. I didn't go to Film School, I learned on the job, and he gave me a head start.
Then, in 1993, when I was a very junior writer -- I'd sold 2 scripts and was still working full time as a script coordinator -- I sat on a panel at WorldCon with David Gerrold. It was my first panel on the pro side of the podium. He mentioned that he was teaching Screenwriting at Pepperdine, and I tracked him down after the panel and asked if I could take the course. With his permission, I was able to enroll as an auditor. I made arrangements with my boss on Highlander to leave a little early on class nights to make the commute out to Pepperdine. The same David Gerrold whose work I'd been following for years was now my teacher in a class of only 20 or students. It was like having tickets to see Springsteen play the pub on the corner. Every Tuesday.
When David asked us to introduce ourselves in class and say why were there, I told the story of how he'd already been my teacher for years, through his writings. I remember him telling the class, "See, that's why she'll do well; she acknowledges her debts."
Which is what I'm doing again today. For the record.