Windows smashed as rioters and looters broke into the ground floor of the LA Times office, searching for valuables to steal. This was the beginning of the journey that led Steve Moore and his reporting teams to winning a Pulitzer Prize for covering the Rodney King riots of L.A. in 1992.
“I was on the third floor and they broke into the first floor,” Moore said.
But one of the editors and news writers were on the ground floor to greet the rioters.
“They (the writers) stood their ground and one guy had a fire extinguisher in his hands and our editor had a large pair of scissors in his hand,” Moore said.
With rambunctious rioters spread throughout the downtown, Moore couldn’t leave the office.
“It was a little too dangerous to drive home that night,” Moore said. “Plus I was preparing our coverage so I just stayed there and worked.”
The looters didn’t stay around in their building for long.
“I think one of the reasons they backed off, first of all, they came face to face with an angry editor with a pair of scissors,” Moore said.
Ten years later, Moore moved to Boise where he was introduced to Boise State. On April 2, 2014 Moore received the honorary title of Professor of the Practice. In October 2013 Boise State named their very first Professor of the Practice, Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb. Now, seven months later, this title is shared by four other individuals.
The first time Moore taught at Boise State was two years ago when he offered a class called Media Studies: Writing Stories for Animated Films.
“I thought it’d be something unique for Boise State students,” Moore said. “It takes you from a concept to a complete treatment.”
Moore didn’t begin his career with writing screenplays; rather, he began as a journalist. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Moore traveled to Maui, HI to work at a weekly paper, before transferring to the L.A Times and working his way up to executive news editor.
“Actually, way back when I was in high school and college, I wanted to go into acting, but that wasn’t the right fit for me,” Moore said.
Being a big fan of animated films, Moore began a syndicated cartoon series called In the Bleachers, which he continues to write today.
As the cartoon grew, Moore decided it was time to leave the Times entirely.
“We’re dealing with facts every day, everything has to be factual, nonfiction,” Moore said. “I kept thinking, ‘boy it would be fun to just make stuff up.’”
So that is what he did. His first animated TV show, “Metalheads,” ended up airing in places like the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia.
Eventually, Moore began writing feature-length films, like “Open Season” which he created and produced along with his producing partner John Carls, the creator and producer of Oscar
“I’ve always been a writer. It was just an urge to move from nonfiction to fiction,” Moore said.
In Fall 2014 Moore will begin teaching the Writing Stories for Animated Films course again. Moore hopes he can continue to teach the class every fall semester.
“It’s a very subtle difference,” Moore said on writing for animated films versus live action films.
Advents in technology have changed the possibilities.
“Ten years ago, there was a big, big difference, but now with special effects you can do anything in live action with animation effects and it’s probably about the same cost,” Moore said.
When Moore moved to Boise in 2002 and became involved with the local literary crowd, he ended up meeting people like assistant professor Mac Test of the English department and former Boise State professor Clay Morgan.
Morgan left Boise State in January 2014 to pursue writing full time. Currently, Morgan is working on his first screenplay, a process during which he’ll be receiving feedback from Moore.
“Steve tells me what works,” Morgan said.
Morgan nominated Moore for the professor of the practice title.
“My idea is that a professor of the practice is given to people who have demonstrated excellence in a field outside of the academy, but who also represent the best aspects of someone in the faculty,” Morgan said.
Test also feels that Moore is the right choice for the title.
“I think it’s phenomenal. I’m glad to see that Kustra recognizes the importance of people like Steve to bring their knowledge and creativity to the students on campus,” Test said.
Moore is looking forward to being able to be a mentor for Boise State students. Throughout his life, Moore has always had a mentor around to guide him in his pursuits.
“It’s all been incoming and then, about ten years ago, I finally realized that I had some knowledge to turn around and start passing it the other direction,” Moore said. “I really benefited from mentors and so I want to do the same thing.”
Moore will be attending the sixth annual CommCon on Thursday May 1, put on by the Communication Department. He’ll be available for any students who wish to learn more about journalism, animated movies and comics.