I am a graduate in drama, have acted and directed for over fifty years, and began playwriting in 1988 and mystery/novels writing in 2003. I recently worked on the film “Life Fine Tuned” in the featured role of DOC. The movie was shot entirely in the Commonwealth of Virginia and was recently given a private screening hosted by the First Lady at the Executive Mansion in Richmond to celebrate its uniqueness. It is scheduled for release in the fall of 2011.
Along the way in my life, to pay the bills, I worked in network broadcasting production at NBC radio and television for over 17 years, first in New York City and later in Washington, DC. Subsequently, I moved into sales as a radio account executive for four years, and then moved over to an advertising agency as a copy writer and production director. I later became the artistic director working directly with clients and developing advertising campaigns. When that agency lost its leader, I took my account base and started my own advertising agency in Washington on March 1, 1977 as KMD Media that I later renamed Keith M. Donaldson Advertising in Arlington, VA. It ran for 11 years.
In January 1979, because I had no time to be in or direct plays, I convinced a former NBC compatriot now the General Manager of WEAM ‘Big Band Radio’, to let me be his station’s theatre reviewer as aka Keith Montgomery that lasted five years until the station was sold and the format changed. However, I continued covering theater for seven more years as a freelancer for three different magazines, writing commentaries and interviewing stars, directors and playwrights of productions opening in Washington.
In March 1984, I founded The Washington Flyer a monthly magazine distributed at Dulles International and the Washington National Airport servicing Washington, DC. Unfortunately, it was underfunded and although it began to break even in late 1986, the initial debt became too much of an anchor and I ceased publihsing it in December of 1987. It was resurrected a couple of times after that and I believe the current version may be found in the baggage areas of both airports and on the Washington Flyer busses.
Since I made no money from the magazine, I continued earning a living writing advertising copy and supplemented that with marketing projects. I had written for the WF and afterwards became a freelance magazine columnist. I also turned to studying the art of playwriting in 1988, thinking that would be a breeze; it wasn’t. When I no longer worked in advertising, and took up a non-artistic line of work (a story for another day), I returned to my first love, theatre, and became an active participant as an actor, director, and writer in 1989.
Recently, in eastern North Carolina, a thirteen year old two act play of mine, Road Rage was performed. I had the extra thrill of rewriting it to fit the locale and directing it. Most of my short plays, though, had been produced in and around Washington, A scene from my one act; A Touch of Spring, was published in the anthology - Best Stage Scenes of 1996. This play has been performed several times, including in a one act festival in New York City.
I have been a member of the Playwrights Forum of Washington since 1990 and also served on the Alexandria Performing Arts Association (Virginia) Board of Directors from 1997 until June 30, 2010 and variously served as its Vice Chair for seven years and Chair for one. We put on free performances in Alexandria and developed new talent in music, playwriting, and sponsored newly formed dance and avant-garde theatre troops.
When I fully retired from business at the end of 2002, I turned my writing efforts to fiction and trying to improve my golf game; neither an easy task. I have occasionally worked as an actor and directed a production or two, but my major efforts been in becoming an author. By the end of 2007, I had written and self-published two novels: Death of an Intern, a mystery, and The Hill People, a mystery/political thriller. Hill won finalist awards in ‘Politics’ and ‘Multicultural Fiction’ at the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Intern has never been entered in an award competition. Both books star my fictitious Washington, DC newspaper reporter Laura Wolfe, who one reviewer tabbed as being, “…a modern, complex heroine to cheer for.”
I am a life-long proponent of the performing arts and am also involved in my community. In 1990, I was a cofounder of the northern Virginia Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and as Chairman of Building supervised the construction of its first house in 1992. I have volunteered with Meals on Wheels, emergency shelters, community aid for the indigent, elderly, and youth in education, vocational training for what some term ‘the unemployable’ but are really only people who have never been given an opportunity, and personal care programs - helping up, not handing out. Post Katrina; I made two trips to New Orleans and one to Biloxi, contributing what I could to their rebuilding efforts. I enjoy golf, reading, travel, theater, the arts and spending time with my five grandchildren.
The well balanced life
The good folks over at Renaissance Women Productions, really know how to craft a good story. This tale balances fast-paced contemporary living with good old-fashioned values and pure heart.
They approached me about playing the role of Doc, and after I read the script - well, I simply couldn't refuse. So check this out!
...I'm in it. [Life Fine Tuned]