We had the good fortune of connecting with Franky Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Franky, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was the age of five. However, until around the age of 21, I treated my art and my career passively. Almost as if I expected someone to discover my work and hand me success. It wasn’t until I had a bout with an illness–which thankfully I recovered from–that I was given a reality check. Facing my own mortality and seeing that nobody would know who I was, or that I ever wrote a single word pushed me to start trying to get my work out there. I self-produced my own plays, I would handle my own advertising, and my own administrative tasks like getting insurance and budgeting. In pursuing the arts I’m pursuing the life that I almost didn’t get the chance to live. As I see it, we’re all going toward the same ending. So, if the result is all the same, why not have fun doing what I love instead of toiling away doing something else? I refuse to meet my end with any regrets. Life is too short and too precious for me to do anything else except pursue the arts I love so dearly.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was born to a single Latina mother raising two children in Queens, NY. From those beginnings I’ve gone onto going to college, seeing my plays developed with some of this country’s premier organizations and theatres, and wrote on the fourth season of the hit television series 13 Reasons Why. The journey was often difficult and I didn’t understand what was happening half the time, but I trusted that things would work out. I’ve learned that nothing is easy, nothing is given, and nothing works out unless you try. Don’t wait for someone to discover you. People are waiting for you, but they’re not looking for you. It’s your job to find them. Pursue your dreams and see things through, and always remember that even in the darkest night there’s a dawn waiting on the horizon. The most important lesson of all, however, has to be this: be kind to others. Celebrate the success of others. Promote the work of others, not just yourself and soon you’ll see that they’ll be celebrating and promoting you. Be available, be ready, be joyful. To pursue the arts is to pursue the passion of the soul. Nothing can be more humbling and gratifying. You don’t need a fancy degree. You don’t need to have experience or connections in the business. Certainly, they help, but I didn’t have that starting out. What I did have was the determination to keep going and to be available in anyway I could be in service to my art. You can be scared, but be relentless. You can be disappointed, but don’t be bitter. And have fun. For goodness sake. Have fun.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d spend our Monday going to the museums. The Meadows, the Dallas Museum of Art, The Perot Museum, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Holocaust Museum, the Sixth Floor Museum, the Crow Collection, but before that we’d start at the Commissary for breakfast. We’d take all day at the museums stopping off at Velvet Taco for lunch and wander around Thanks-Giving Square and Klyde Warren Park. For dinner we’d eat at Pecan Lodge and catch a late movie at the Angelika on Mockingbird. Tuesday would have our mornings in the Botanical Garden and the Aquarium through the early afternoon and go to the Sweet Tooth Hotel till evening and eat Campisi’s. On Wednesday we’d get on the Green Line north and go to Carrolton and eat at Babe’s before heading up to Denton to explore the Square and the charm in the north most part of the DFW area, and stick around for the bars across Fry Street. On Thursday we’d wander Fair Park. Visit all the museums there and get the immersive experience at Rainbow Vomit. We’d get some Whataburger, because, it’s not Texas without Whataburger, right? On Friday we’d go to the Dallas Zoo and after get lost in the stores at NorthPark Center and the Galeria, before going to see a melodrama with dinner at Pocket Sandwich Theater. On Saturday, we’d start at Fiction Coffee ride all the train lines and talk about life before catching a show at Dallas Theater Center, then partying the night away at Lizard Lounge after the play, then ending up, somehow, at Metro Diner till dawn. On Sunday we’d catch a matinee at Bishop Arts Theater Center…or Kitchen Dog…or Undermain…there’s just so many to choose from. But we’d end up at Pioneer Plaza. Take some pictures with the statues and go up to Reunion Tower. We’d take a pic of the skyline together and promise we’ll meet here again someday.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My love and thanks always to my foundation, and the reason I can do anything at all: my mother, Diana, and my wife, Soukaina. My eternal gratitude to my brother for being the best editor and accountability partner in writing that I could have ever asked for. To my teachers who helped me pursue this parth; Andy Harris, Nassim Soleimanpour, Doug Wright, Jonathan Norton, Kat Ramsburg, and Brian Yorkey. To my collaborators Logan Vaughn, Mathieu Myrick, Cooper Mitchell, Joe Payne, John Chakour, Albeto Pandya and Adam Adolfo for pushing my work to new heights. Special shoutouts to my artistic homes, the Latinx Playwrights Circle, the Lark, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Bishop Arts Theater Center, the Antaeus Playwrights Lab, the LAByrinth Theater Company, the HBMG Foundation, and the Dallas Aviary. Most of all, my son, Joseph. My eternal muse and the source of my joy.