Richard Oshen

Evolving passions - from lighting to writing

Hello, my name is Richard Oshen. I’m a screenwriter and children’s book author who writes engaging and inspiring stories for young readers.

Drawing on the many varied experiences that I have been blessed with in life, I’ve developed an unusual wisdom. As a result of my transformation, it is my deepest desire to pay it forward any way I can. The idea of this website seems like a good place to start. Thank you for stopping by. Make yourself at home.

I live in a small cabin in the middle of God’s country – the San Bernadino National Forest. This forest wasn’t always my home. I lived in a different type of forest most of my life – the kind where I couldn’t see it for the trees – Los Angeles. You may be wondering how I got here. Let me tell you a story.

Growing  up in the suburbs of New York City, I was fortunate to see a lot of Broadway Shows. My grandmother Ann loved the theatre; her sister Francis was a Zigfield Girl, back in those early halcyon days of vaudeville. Grandma Ann would often take my brother Jeff and I to Saturday Matinees. We saw incredible original cast productions, like Peter Pan starring Julie Andrews, The King and I starring Yul Brenner, Man of La Mancha with Richard Kiley, South Pacific, Oklahoma, The Nutcracker and numerous Easter and Christmas pageants at Radio City Music Hall. What a magical time it was!

Mesmerized by Light

Want to know something funny? While everyone else’s eyes were glued to the stage, I was looking around awe-struck by the ever-changing lights high up in the theatre. For half the show, I watched the performance and for the other half I watched the lights. The performances were great, but I was mesmerized by the lighting.

That fascination led me to study theatrical design and stage lighting at Boston University. I had a choice between Yale and BU but chose Boston for another reason – It had an awesome music scene.

As part of the design curriculum, I was required to work on productions for course credit. As luck would have it, I was assigned as a spotlight operator at a theatre where a local band was performing in concert. The local band was Aerosmith. This auspicious event was my first introduction to the band. A short time later I became their first lighting designer. I redesigned the band’s backdrop and in the process created their art nouveau logo. I was also kinda balancing school and regional New England gigs.

A Wild Ride

But I couldn’t tour nationally with Aerosmith and go to college at the same time, so I did the only sensible thing I could think of at the time – I dropped out of college. To alleviate my parents’ dismay, I reasoned that if the purpose of college was to find work in one’s chosen field, I was ahead of the curve.

After my stint with Aerosmith, I went on to design lighting for some notorious rock acts: Ted Nugent, Boston, Sammy Hagar, The Sweet, Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament Funkadelic, the rock opera Tommy and others. After years of touring, I developed a strong urge to stay in one place for more than a couple of days.

Hollywood was on the verge of the Video Revolution when I landed in the heart of the film and television industry in the early 80’s. I worked as a lighting Designer on films like Spinal Tap, Blue Chips and Seven Days and lit major television and cable shows as a director of photography for MTV, VH-1, Nickelodeon, HBO, Showtime and broadcast networks.

I had an epiphany one day. While I was busy making other people’s dreams come true, I was neglecting my own. For my dreams to manifest, I needed to change one thing – everything.

A Second Act

The phrase “Write what you know” is a commonly used advice for writers. In my case, it meant focusing on animals since I had grown up around them. I attended a class on animal communication where I met my future animal rescue partner, and we created a local animal rescue that served the Westside of LA. As we rescued animals, I also took online writing courses and continued to write. Life was going well until a major change came unexpectedly.

I was renting a garage conversion from a landlord who suddenly sold the property. Rents in LA skyrocketed. I had to move a considerable distance out of town, but I believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes, just when it seems like we have no options left, a miracle occurs. Miracles not only happen but are often better than anything we could have imagined.

Thank you for visiting my writing website. I hope you enjoy your stay and return soon. Please consider filling out the contact form so we can keep in touch!

Best regards,