"It was astonishing at PMS, the things I heard," said Gold, 27. Middle school kids are now faced with drinking, drugs and sex - bad choices that he didn't face until high school.
"It kind of scared me," he said. "Things appeared to have gotten worse. It feels like things are kind of spiraling."
"I saw my students at First Wednesday - they were drunk and on drugs," he added. "When I was in school, there was a small group of people binge drinking. Now that is mainstream."
Gold has written a 117-page script for a movie titled "Clandestine," which takes place in Pleasanton and will be filmed here. He plans to produce it himself in association with other production companies, using the contacts he made as an actor in Los Angeles after graduating from San Diego State University in 2004.
"It's based on real life," he said. "It's real. It's relatable."
"There are a lot of things that are going on under the radar," he explained. "People assume, 'I'm in this great town.' But kids are bored, and they have access to a lot of trouble."
Sports can help kids keep busy, Gold said, but he played varsity football, tennis and baseball and still found plenty of time to act irresponsibly. Now he wants to help today's young people avoid the mistakes he made.
Gold attended Fairlands Elementary, Harvest Park Middle School and Amador Valley High.
"I love Pleasanton. I think it's the perfect place to raise a family," he said. "I knew I was living the life. I have a great family. So why was I selling and using drugs? Nothing mattered to me."
He noted that "Every 15 Minutes," the anti-drinking and driving program, should be presented to middle schoolers, not juniors and seniors in high school.
"It's too late - they're already drinking and driving," he said.
Despite the "seedy underbelly" of Pleasanton that he sees, Gold thinks kids can be saved from his mistakes.
"We do have the ability to make change," he said. "Solutions come from awareness."
"I didn't want to make a scare tactic film," he added. "I want to bring awareness to the problem."
He said studios have contacted him about buying the script for "Clandestine," but he doesn't want to lose control of it. He wants the movie to be made in Pleasanton, using local talent, although its lessons will apply to upper-class suburbs everywhere. The project will provide internships for kids to work on the movie, using anyone who submits a resume and is serious about the work. He hopes it will help teens to get involved.
Gold is holding a series of investor parties starting May 16 at the Karma Fusion Lounge in Grafton Station in Dublin. He has budgeted the film at roughly $250,000.
"I have a really great cast of up-and-coming Hollywood actors," he said.
Brittany Snow is set to play the lead female, he said, and he is close to getting a commitment from a director.
"I've been putting it out there and good things happen every day," he said. "Everyone is onboard because they love the project."
He's in contact with the school district and Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and has given her the script to read.
"Adam wants to illuminate and share with us his story of what he sees regarding youth and their struggles," said Hosterman. "I think he's got every opportunity to produce something that will really be meaningful that not only the community of Pleasanton will embrace."
Gold describes "Clandestine" as a "featurementary," a feature film based on real events. Visit www.ClandestineFilm.com to learn more about it. Gold said he was inspired by "Requiem for a Dream," which highlights four individuals and their addiction to drugs.
"I've made multiple mistakes in my life that, looking back, I regret," said Gold. "I feel like this is my repayment to society."
He would like kids to enjoy being kids - to enjoy the ride.
"I'm happy helping kids," Gold added. "They need to find their passion - and stay out of trouble."
"'Clandestine' provides an intimate snapshot of the shocking lifestyle of contemporary suburban adolescents. 'Clandestine' is set in an Alpha Dog environment, combining a 'Goodfellas' mentality, the irony of 'Blow,' and the careless fun and camaraderie of 'Entourage.'"
Learn more at ClandestineFilm.com