Aspiring screenwriter on Skid Row gets big break

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- Many people come to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. Reginald Nelson wanted to be a screenwriter.

In 2004, Nelson took a leap of faith and moved here from Chicago to develop his career in show business.

It didn't go exactly as planned.

"I was deteriorating mentally because of the stress. There was no outlet for me," Nelson said.

After a few years and a series of personal and professional setbacks, Nelson's life was falling apart.

"I was clinically depressed. I was bombing in interviews, and my memory and my mood swings (were) out of whack. I was like, 'What's wrong with me?,'" he said.

Nelson put his stuff in storage and lived with a friend for awhile a bit, but he didn't want to impose on his friends, so he ended sleeping on a park bench.

"I was still kind of in denial that this is happening to me. I'm just going to pull myself up," he said.

One day, he decided to get help at Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row, where one doctor's visit changed his life.

"She said, 'I'm going to give you some medications that's going to reboot you and get you back online.' That's exactly what happened," he said.

Nelson said after he started taking medication, he regained his confidence and focus.

"Not only was I able to get one job - I was able to get two jobs," he said.

Feeling back on track, he also re-launched an audio drama project out of the shelter.

"When I was promoting the audio drama and doing that and saving money, that's when I got the phone call," Nelson said.

That call came from a former classmate from Howard University, saying that BET wanted to buy a scripted podcast they had worked on in 2010 for a possible TV series. According to the New York Times, the audio project told the story of African deities living in contemporary New Orleans.

Nelson is no longer homeless, and he's scheduled to move into a new apartment Saturday. He says he never lost hope and that his ambitions are stronger than ever.

You can also check out Nelson's audio drama podcasts at
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