Go Away With … Salvador Paskowitz

Salvador PaskowitzFINALa Photo Credit Michelle A Affronti

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
April 14, 2015

Salvador Paskowitz is the screenwriter for new film “The Age of Adaline,” which stars Blake Lively and Harrison Ford. If he were to script his own past, he couldn’t have made up his fascinating family background, he says. Raised by bohemian parents, Salvador and his siblings were raised in a camper on a beach in Southern California. His father — the late Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz — had given up his career as a physician to become a surfer. All the children grew up surfing. The family’s story is being developed both for the big screen and a television series. Paskowitz, 43, resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Kristin, and their two daughters.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. We are huge Disney heads! Our favorite destination is just 30 miles away as we visit Disneyland at least twice a month. It’s the perfect place for my Haunted Mansion-fan daughter, Halo, 22, and my princess-loving daughter Emma, 3, to visit. Yes, my wife and I had them (that far) apart! The place immediately re-plugs you into a childlike inspirational zone and is a reminder of how big creative ideas can blossom.

Q. To someone who was going to Disneyland for the first time, what would you recommend?

A. Wait till it rains! And go between January and May, but skip spring break.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Growing up traveling — and surfing — the world, one of our home-base spots was San Onofre, California. But most people forget that if you continue to drive south, still inside the State Park, you can visit trails. There are many, I think 10 in all, that are just a few miles away, but can be incredibly remote. A long cliffside walk down to bright skies, blue water and hot sandy beach.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. My childhood was unique. With my father as a secular missionary doctor, we were constantly traveling. Life was a constant trip. The jungles of Mexico’ the frozen plains of Montana, I traveled through every state in the union, except for Alaska and Maine. But I must say I fell in love with the Carolinas in early childhood. Sand migrating through small towns, sandy reeds in dunes and the sun rising over the steaming Atlantic — I was hooked.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. After I left the camper — the vehicle in which we used in our constant road travels — I was a young man and eager to root somewhere. I actually wanted to not travel. But now, having kids of my own, I feel a call of the road again and a wanderlust to rediscover the America I saw with my own family. And I am!

Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?

A. Almost every script I write involves being around, near, or in, the Pacific Ocean. It’s like the world’s biggest, ever-changing yet-always-pristine prop. Writing the sea into your work tends to elevate it in a way. It’s a powerful symbol, a backdrop and a character in itself, all at the same time.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Living in Southern California we are blessed to have such extremes in climate within close driving distance. Surfing and stand-up paddling in Malibu is absolutely soul cleansing! Point Dume is still a frontier, full of whale sightings, barking sea lions and kelp beds, and a quick jaunt to Laguna Beach, Orange County, is small-beach town feel with top quality restaurants and shops. Oh, and don’t forget Ruby’s on Pacific Coast Highway in Crystal Cove and sharing chocolate, peanut butter and date shakes.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. Alaska! Seriously! Not just because it’s one of the only states I’ve never visited, but my wife grew up in Anchorage. The way she describes Glacier Bay, Earthquake Park, Kenai Peninsula, Cook Inlet and especially the broadly spaced, paper-like bark, of birch trees in deep snow. I just wanna go!

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. My wife Kristin is all I need to have because she remembers everything! Laptop, plug-in, water, etc., but she also reminds me to put the writing aside for a while and just enjoy the place!

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. McDonald’s Big Breakfast. Hey, no time to cook! Also beef jerky and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. My father would not approve.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. Worst: Waiting overnight for a ferry out of Louisiana. Mosquitoes descended on us like a buzzing cloud. Ate us alive. All night. Best: This summer we’re renting an Airstream trailer to travel to some of the best beach spots that I visited in my youth, all across America. I am 100 percent sure that the best vacation is yet to come!

Q. What would be your dream/fantasy trip?
A. As I prepare to direct my first feature, “The Shore” – a fantastical reality, autobiographically-slanted tale of growing up with a sea bound, eccentric, but loving father – I want to try to incorporate my love of the open ocean with the narrative of film. In other words, I would love to write films that take me to unique places to tell them! Whether born from dreams or from travels long ago. Hey, gotta go big, right?

Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Breakfast: Molly’s – San Juan Capistrano. Omelettes are incredible. Lunch: Gen Kai, Dana Point, Calif. Sushi boxlunch. Dinner: The Olamendi’s Mexican Restaurant, San Clemente, Calif. Anything on the menu! Best organic margaritas, using their own tequila!

Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. The is a very difficult question for me. As I’ve traveled so many places in my youth I almost feel bits of home, but in many places. For instance, the little library in Waikiki (and the near-to-beach zoo/art walk) totally feel like home, but also 57th street in New York (Lee’s Art Shop on 7th where I bought some of my first art supplies for comic book writing). The pier of Lantana Beach Florida. And, of course, Main Street U.S.A. — in Disneyland!

Q. What are your favorite cities?
A. Waikiki, Hawaii; Laguna Beach, California; Tel Aviv, Israel; the Aran Islands, Ireland.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. You might say I like the classics. And the new classical. The Plaza, New York City. The Fairmont, San Fran. The Orchid, Hawaii (on the Big Island) and The Montage at Laguna Beach.

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. It’s really hard to top the epic drive up California Highway One from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Wind in hair, Kristin and I used to do the drive when we first met and we’re still doing it today. Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, even the names are romantic!

Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. We just went to Maui over the holidays and stayed in the Wailea Beach Villas. Watching a rare giant sea storm, pilot whale plumes and big beach breakers from our lanai was absolutely wonderful!

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. Again, I defer to my wife Kristin! My head is in the clouds (“I wonder if my main character is likable enough?”, I think as we wait to board) but Kristin has already Googled and Yelped the gold from the mine. By the time we depart she could give guided tours at the destination point!

© 2015 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (1)

  1. Jane Miller says:

    I loved this article. I had no idea who he was, but had been looking forward to seeing this film. Thanks!

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