Writer-director Scott Silver began his career in the field directing and producing documentaries at a Boston CBS affiliate after earning a journalism degree from Boston University. In the early 1990s. he headed to the West Coast and eventually graduated from the American Film Institute. Silver made his feature film directorial debut with "johns" (1996), a bleak tale of friendship and love among street hustlers on Santa Monica Boulevard that unfolds over the holidays in late December. This poignant comic tragedy was written by Silver during his first Los Angeles Christmas, the disconnected screenwriter despairing over the strangeness of a hot and sunny winter holiday. His journalistic background led to his enlisting the help of real-life hustlers who told their stories for $20, helping to lend a layer of realism to the film. A favorite on the indie circuit, "johns" received positive reviews, with many critics praising Silver's ability to make the marginal story accessible and universal while still retaining its credibility. Visually interesting as well, the film had been overexposed one stop to underline the washed out feeling conveyed in the script.