A desire for self-improvement is one theme that plays heavily in Colick's work. His first produced TV-movie "Crossing the Mob" (NBC, 1988) focused on a young man who thought the only way to better himself was to hook up with local gangsters. Another predominant motif in the writer's work hinges on menace, often in the form of a single man. Colick first explored that idea in "Unlawful Entry" (1992) with Ray Liotta cast as a cop who insinuates his way into the complacent life of a married couple. Similarly, "Judgment Night" (1993) revolved around a group of four young men who accidentally strike a shooting victim and then are terrorized by thugs. "Bulletproof" (1996, which he co-wrote with Joe Gayton) opted for a comedic take on the material (with James Caan as the heavy)."Ghosts of Mississippi" (1996), Rob Reiner's earnest take on the slaying of Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers, ostensibly focused on the lawyer who was out to bring his assassin to justice. Colick spent a year researching the case, travelling to Mississippi to conduct interviews and amassing a dossier that uncovered previously unknown or overlooked material. His screenplay also featured a man of menace--Byron De La Beckwith--and partly due to the forceful performance of James Woods in the role, the ambitious film was thrown somewhat off-kilter.Returning to the theme of self-improvement and desiring to move away from home, Colick collaborated with NASA engineer Homer Hickham Jr. on the script for "October Sky" (1999). Initially based on an article by Hickham that appeared in SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE in which the West Virginian told of his youth as a "rocket boy" in a coal mining town. Hickham wanted to be an astronaut but his father expected him to join in working the mines. Colick helped to shape the film, which earned positive reviews and garnered its writer several awards, including a Humanitas Prize and a nomination from the Writers Guild.