I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan and am the product of a single, working-class mom. I credit my midwest upbringing for giving me the ability to keep my head on straight throughout my long exposure to Hollywood.
I had originally intended on becoming a homicide detective and was set to get a degree in police administration when I happened to hear Lawrence Kasdan speak at the University of Michigan. Kasdan’s stories inspired me and I decided to ditch police work in favor of Hollywood.
With the help of some hefty grants, I was able to attend the USC School of Cinema and graduated in 1988 with a degree in screenwriting. I became a gopher for the now defunct MTM Studios and suffered heaps of indignity at the hands of callous and capricious executives. (I once had bagels thrown at me for being foolhardy enough to include raisin-cinnamon ones in the mix.)
A few months later, I sold my first screenplay, Death Warrant, to MGM. A few months after that, the script was turned into a vehicle for Jean-Claude Van Damme and I was on the set of my first film. Not a masterpiece, but profitable and enough to get my career going.
I got a tattoo to celebrate never getting a nine-to-five job. The tattoo was writerly and involved text that the artist managed to misspell. So I actually have a grammatical error tattooed on my body. In order to cover that up, I decided to get full sleeves.
More work followed, most of it uninspired. Then I lucked upon an open writing assignment at New Line called Blade. Shortly after that, Alex Proyas contacted me about rewriting Dark City.
After Blade, I segued into directing, adapting the novel ZigZag for my feature debut.
Christopher Nolan tapped me to write Batman Begins on the strength of my scripts for Blade and ZigZag. Batman Begins begat the Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and the upcoming Superman film, Man of Steel.
That work lead Activision to contact me about coming aboard the Call of Duty: Black Ops video game franchise. I did and had an absolute blast working on it. Incredibly, the game managed to be the most successful entertainment release of all time.
I continued directing, helming the pilots for both Threshold and Flashforward, as well as a number of other features and music videos. In-between, I had a couple of other features made. I had cold spells and hot streaks.
I traveled extensively from Botswana to Tibet and various other locales. I got married and divorced twice. I got therapized. I had a son, which I cite as my greatest achievement. (That, and having my film Kickboxer 2 be the subject of a Letterman Top Ten list.)
Recently, I have been developing a number of shows for cable. I also co-wrote my first novel, Heavens Shadow, with Michael Cassutt, and am currently adapting it into a film at Warner Brothers.
I still feel insecure about my work, at times. I still wonder if I’ve done enough. I suppose that feeling will never really go away.
– David S. Goyer (2012)