Ward Shrake grew up in the housing projects of Cleveland, Ohio. He was the oldest of four working-class children. He worked part-time from age 13 to support his hobbies, and to help with the family's bills. Moved to California at age 15. Worked full time from age 18, while taking college classes on the side. Joined the U.S. Air Force at age 22. While he did very well as a Data Systems Analyst Specialist at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas (1985-1989) he found that military life wasn't a good match for him. After returning to civilian life in California he completed an A.S. degree in Electronics; then an A.A. degree in Fine Arts: both with Honors.Ward dearly loved the arts since early childhood. For decades, however, he allowed himself to be talked out of pursuing them as a career. (Nothing specific: just the general well-meaning-but-very-flawed advice given to anyone who wants such a life: that it's hard for anyone to pay their bills as an artist.) Various ill-fitting, standard-issue, unfulfilling day jobs made Ward reevaluate the inherent risks and rewards involved. Being a big fan of Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" book helped him to decide to reinvent his life: consciously making much more room for the arts; for nature's beauty; and for serenity as a way of life.January 2000: Ward and a buddy decide to see what it's like to work as professional "movie extras". They found work the first day they went to Central Casting (Burbank, California) to apply for it. Over the next three years Ward discovers what it's like to be on many movie and TV sets for pay, with varying degrees of story-telling responsibility. The initial attraction? He loved the idea of being able to potentially affect the emotions of an audience. (As he was affected, as a viewer.) On a practical day-to-day level, Ward loved the opportunity to study how movies, TV shows and other projects are actually made.January 2003: Ward earns his 3rd through 6th "Extra Work" vouchers in one week: making him doubly eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild. This is "right on schedule" for someone who's very serious about studying the craft of filmmaking.February 2003: Ward trades California, acting, and a big-city lifestyle for New Mexico, writing, and small town serenity. He writes his first few "spec" (unpaid) screenplays during 2003: one full-length feature film effort, plus several short films. Over the next few years Ward studies the art and craft of screenwriting. He enjoys reading and carefully studying scripts by other writers, and doing various self-assigned writing exercises. Ward finds screenwriting to be as fascinating as acting, if not more so.