PHILIP DAAY

Award-Winning writer / Editor / Screenwriter


Recommended Reading

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

by Joseph Campbell


This book is a true classic.  If you love certain stories, this book will explain to you why you love them. Joseph Campbell continues to influence many of the greatest storytellers of the modern era.  Be warned, his writing can feel a bit dense, but it's oh so worth it.

Being on this page, you're probably wondering what's my story?  My story is a bit complicated, but I'll give you some highlights.

My mother immigrated to the United States from Thailand.  My father immigrated from Iraq.  They divorced when I was quite young, so I grew up without any male mentorship.  I taught myself most subjects...including piano, guitar, calculus and physics.

Eventually, I attended USC as an Electrical Engineering major.  For 2 years, I worked as the Assistant Lab Manager for the Keck Foundation Photonics Research Laboratory under their work-study program.  I managed a clean air lab.  I helped set up and maintained critical research stations.  I also hauled around massive scientific machinery worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.  These devices could've crushed me if they slid the wrong way.  My superiors certainly placed a lot of trust into this freshman.

After completing 3rd year Calculus and my 2nd year Physics and Engineering courses, I decided that Engineering wasn't for me.  I was good at the subjects.  I just didn't love them.

This is where piano and guitar come in.  I auditioned for the USC - School of Music and received acceptance into their program.  Since I was no longer an engineer, I resigned my position at the lab.  I took on a fateful job as a movie projectionist.  I worked in this capacity for about 3 years. 

This is how I caught the "movie bug".  I got infected by my constant association with the students from the USC - School of Cinematic Arts.  Eventually, we formed friendships and partnerships.  I scored music for various film projects.

To learn more about my movie friends, I tried my hand at screenwriting.  I was trained by Malvin Wald, the Oscar-nominated writer of the noir classic The Naked City.

This is how I fell in love with stories...and the rest, as we say, is history.

Many visitors to this site might be wondering, "How does a person promote their stories?  It seems like so much work and energy."

A fair question.  The answer is...when you grow to love your stories, you'll never truly lack energy to promote them.  You might feel low on some days, but you'll always bounce back because you just can't help yourself.  

If you're here on this website, you probably already love your stories on some deep level.  I'm just here to help you love them even more. 

For more information on how I might serve you, feel free to start a discussion through my Contact Form.

my name is Phil and I seek to rescue storytelling in the 21st century one project at a time.  By storytelling, I'm referring to movies, games, books, articles and advertisements.  Deep down, everyone is a storyteller.  Through our stories, we sell our products and services.  Whether through a job interview or a humble Facebook blog post, we're all primarily selling ourselves and our talents.  If we're not specifically selling in our day-to-day jobs, then our employers are selling. 

Either way, everyone lives and dies by the stories they tell...or rather, by the stories they're CAPABLE of telling

This distinction is important.  Careers rise and fall on this issue.  Every soul on Earth has at least one fascinating story to tell.  Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to tell their story.  They live, but they're not heard.

This is a tragedy.  And this is exactly where I come in.

Should we partner together, your stories will be told with force and verve.  Make no mistake, I don't possess a magic wand for overnight success.  I can't show anyone how to become rich and famous through their stories.  I don't make promises that are too good to be true.  Massive success in our world requires more hands than just mine.

My experience and insights will give your stories the fighting chance that they deserve.  This is my pledge to you.

The Power of Myth

by Joseph Campbell


Based on the PBS documentary Joseph Campbell & the Power of Myth, consider this work to be a companion to The Hero with a Thousand Faces​.  This book is also a fine introduction to Joseph Campbell and his work in general. 

How Not to Write a Screenplay

​by Denny Martin Flinn


If you wish to begin your journey as a cinematic storyteller, you can do far worse than reading this book.  In fact, new writers should avoid more theoretical authors like Vogler and McKee.  Their lessons are best absorbed after you get some writing experience under your belt.  In the meantime, this book concisely summarizes mistakes you MUST avoid to even get past your first studio reader.


Story

by Robert McKee


No screenwriting list would be complete without this book.  However, I don't recommend Story for beginning writers.  Robert McKee's own writing style isn't concise.  He's more diffuse and intellectual.  Get some experience under your belt first.  You may not agree with everything this book presents, but the film industry is full of McKee acolytes.  You'll find it highly useful to know what everyone else is talking about.


The Writer's Journey

by Chris Vogler


This book draws heavily on the philosophy of Joseph Campbell, but it's more practical. Whereas Joseph Campbell explored story as an academic topic, Chris Vogler applies the principles of myth and archetype to modern writers and their struggles to create a story that will resonate with mainstream society.

My Biography

My Philosophy

​​​The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing & Design 

by Flint Dille


Wish to write for games instead?  No problem. While this book is a tad dated, the material still represents a solid introduction to writing for games.  However, a foundation in screenwriting is still very helpful here.  Most other books on this subject are more expensive.  This manual also contains highly useful "Action Items" that get you in the proper head space for creation.