“I was at my lowest point. I was so broke and just beat up from all the closed doors. My friends took me out to a Chinese restaurant just to get me off the sofa. After dinner, my friends cracked open their fortune cookies and read their respective fortunes out loud. It was my turn to share. I cracked the cookie open and found nothing. There was no fortune there. No future to be shared. I laughed at the irony. We all laughed. My laughter was interrupted by the sobering reality of what just happened. I HAVE NO FUTURE. I have NO future. I burst into tears. I cried those loud, hard tears that only pain and disappointment can propel. I knew I was at rock bottom and that this was the last time I would ever be here.”
Moore’s journey from “rock bottom” was driven by a dream that he chased from Houston to Atlanta and finally to California. If you’ve ever had to relocate for dreams that were too large to be contained in the city you call home, then you understand his journey. His journey may have required about 2,000 miles to reach LA from Atlanta, but in speaking to Moore, he shares that it came with about an equal number of challenges. It came with small two-bedroom apartments complete with seven roommates, fears of homelessness and a healthy share of “thanks for your application BUT…”
“When you’re trying to break into the TV business, and you’re constantly getting told ‘no,’ you start to question everything. Should I really be doing this writing thing? Is this the right move? How many more broke nights and hungry mornings can I take?”
The pressure, fear, and doubt were heavy. The weight of it caused him to pause, stop and reflect. Moore notes, “When I arrived in L.A. I applied for so many writing fellowships and opportunities. I got denied so many times I was like, man listen, this is just too much.”
Rejection has a way of filling your thoughts, snatching your creativity and in some cases killing your dream before it’s even birthed. Langston Hughes wondered if a dream deferred shrivels up and dies, but I wonder if a dream killed by rejection ever comes back to haunt you. Does the ghost of a murdered dream show up in the middle of a celebration for a friend’s accomplishments? Does it relentlessly whisper to you as you’re clocking out of a job you hate but are too afraid to leave?
These are questions Moore’s ambition would never force him to answer.
“I had my moments where I contemplated quitting, but I just couldn’t stop. I knew I wanted to write since I was in high school. It was this or bust. I also knew it all had to be for something. So, when I was at my lowest point, crying my eyes out about what appeared to be a bleak future I started the REAL work. The thing I learned about this journey is that you have to STAY ready. You can’t GET ready. So that’s exactly what I did. I wrote and hustled hard.”
I pushed myself out of that slump by preparing for the level of success I knew I wanted.
“I worked with singer Faith Evans by helping her develop some pitches for a reality show. She helped me to meet a lot of people, and my work started to speak for itself. I also perfected my craft. I wrote at night. I worked on scripts. I used this time to really study this TV industry. I wanted to see what types of scripts were being purchased. I wanted to know the writers, producers…I wanted to know TV. You can’t be in the TV industry and not understand the business aspect. I pushed myself out of that slump by preparing for the level of success I knew I wanted. I hate to sound cliché but I prepped like my next big break was around the corner. Soon as I fully became prepared (in confidence, business and in writing itself), the opportunities began to pour in. It’s almost as if they were delayed until I was ready.”
These opportunities include accomplishments like becoming a 2014-2015 NBC Writers on the Verge Fellow and writing for the successful show “ 13 Reasons Why” which has just been picked up for a second season by Netflix, and the beloved American Crime Drama on ABC. With his eyes on larger writing projects and the success of his current shows, it’s fair to say that his fortuneless cookie was not a premonition of things to come, but rather the fuel he needed to prepare him for the delays, glitches, layovers, and takeoffs on the road to success.