Like so many writers in Hollywood, I've sold scripts and had lot of things "optioned" by movie companies that don't show up on the IMDb.com. For example, my three young adult "You Solve It" mystery novels were optioned for a TV series on the late Nashville Network. Selling two screenplays within a couple of months of each other, with money in the bank to make both, and then the movies not getting made, caused me to turn to writing books, which I still prefer. I'm still a working screenwriter. I repeatedly get paid to rewrite scripts; often, no one knows. That's Hollywood. I've had a lot more stories and books published than scripts made but some of my credits are on the Internet Movie Database. They call it "Tinseltown" because it looks pretty, but lately I've enjoyed doing books more than Hollywood.
I'm obligated on this bio page to tell you of my youth, so let me be brief... there were 13 people in my graduating high school class, 753 people in the town where I lived, and you couldn't sneeze without someone offering you a handkerchief.
And that's all right, it keeps you in line...and I've written about it and will one of these days rewrite my novel about those times. Despite some pretty extreme hardships due to my father's mental troubles, growing up in Texas was idyllic in many ways, and certainly brain food for an aspiring young writer. I know this - from there, I was inspired to see the rest of the world, and because of my dad's oddness, I set off on a lifelong path to learn the truth about mental illness, philosophy and religion and how to make things better for everyone.
It's been an amazing journey. I've been homeless as a kid and more than once as an adult, and all I can say is, God pulled me through because He has a plan for me. The older I get, the more I'm committed to helping others, because some times I feel like legions of angels helped me make it through it all and continue today.
I've loved seeing America. On a visit to the Washington D.C. in 2002, we took in a number of sites including the Jefferson Memorial. My kids thought I looked "just like" our nation's third President, which is interesting because at one point I planned to do a one-man show about him.
I have a large library of Jefferson books, have visited Monticello, and think his thoughts are ever more applicable today. Would you watch such a show? Let me know.
I spend a lot of time commenting on politics these days, particularly on Facebook, where I've accumulated almost 5,000 like-minded friends. Maybe I'll see you there.
Meanwhile, as I work on finishing commitments on books for others, I'm developing a "quest" book that explains human behavior as I've observed it, tying into quantum physics and things I talked about in lectures at Pepperdine University (you can see one on my Events page). I'll have a lot of new books out in 2011.
My daughter Holly Olivia Press, taken when she was a freshman at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas in the fall of 2010. It's a great school whose last football team was coached by none other than future President Dwight David Eisenhower. Holly found the school and got accepted all on her own.
I'm very proud of her 3.6 average the first semester, her straight As the second semester, and the fact that she speaks French and is learning Chinese. She made it just fine through the first semester even though she broke her foot the first week there!
Summer of 2011 she's gotten both YMCA and Red Cross certified as a lifeguard and swimming instructor, and will be doing that part time in San Antonio in her sophomore year. Go, Holly!
Both my kids picked up guitar without any help from me and are accomplished musicians in only a year or two of effort, so maybe she'll get better on the guitar during the next semester, when she isn't trying to catch up on sleep.
Holly also plays piano and is now writing songs. She amazed me one day by playing "Blackbird" on my guitar - she said she just figured it out. Having seen Paul McCartney play it from only a few feet away, I can tell you she would have made him smile.
Holly Olivia Press, future doctor, psychologist, writer, musician, lawyer, President? Everything is possible and she's proven she has what it takes to accomplish whatever she sets her mind to do.
Future Oscar winner Haley Press with Oscar winner Tom Hanks and Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 at the L.A. shooting range where Haley was a firearms instructor, line officer, and the go-to guy to handle celebrities on the private range. This picture was taken when Hanks and Bigelow came there with three Delta Force members to practice some things for a movie they were planning called "Triple Frontier."
Early in 2011, Haley moved on to research and production for B.A.S.E. Productions, the company that makes the #1 series on SyFy Channel - "Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files"! He saved a day's reshoot the first time he worked with them, and has gained a reputation as the make-it-happen guy on the show. One time when he was a kid we drove by Warner Bros. in Burbank and he said, "Dad, I look over there and I just think I belong there." Haley, you sure do.
While moving up in film and TV, Haley got his first IMDb.com credits on two other TV shows in 2010 thanks to his firearms expertise and people he met at the range. He not only has an encyclopedic knowledge of weapons, he's a sharpshooter so good that SWAT team members and FBI agents often approached him at the range, asking about his future plans. Now he just repairs guns for friends, and can fix just about anything.
He's also an aspiring comedian and actor, a very funny guy who made his onscreen debut with me in a small bit for a showbiz crowd of over 1,200 people in June of 2010, at an event where he got half an hour of comedy advice from none other than comedy genius Dennis Miller.
When I hear my daughter play a song she wrote, or see my son play Led Zeppelin songs like Jimmy Page and slide guitar like one of the Allman brothers, I'm thankful to God for giving me such loving, personable, and talented kids. If I've done nothing else worthwhile in life, I'm very happy to have contributed whatever I could to how well they've turned out.
Resuming my bio... I've won awards you've probably never heard of, had plays produced you never attended (although the L.A. Times did, and liked them). I've written for TV shows you probably never saw, had optioned and sold feature screenplays you've never seen on the screen. I even wrote about pink river dolphins for Reader's Digest. I'm a nobody to most and a highly successful somebody to many (particularly aspiring writers).
The electronic version of my "How to Write What You Want & Sell What You Write" was a non-fiction finalist in the first Epic Awards for ebooks in the United States. But you never heard of those awards, right? Well, you can now get an ebook of the 2011 revised version - send me an email! That's one way to find out more.
Back to our story... Three editions of my "Writer's Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors and Screenwriters' Agents" became Hollywood how-to bibles for aspiring screenwriters all over the world and then I did a similar "Ultimate Guide" for Barnes & Noble.
My "Complete Idiot’s Guide to Screenwriting" was reviewed as best of its kind by the Writers Guild of Canada and translated into Russian and published by Triumph Publishing of Moscow. You don't read Russian? Me neither, but they actually paid for the rights. I'm still stunned, but I was happy to host a beautiful Russian screenwriter and her beautiful Russian actress friend one summer as a result of that book!
My "Your Screenwriting Career” course was available in over 1,500 schools. I taught the course for eight years before giving it up because of a politically correct idiot administrator I got tired of dealing with. Then started it again in 2010 because I like teaching online.
But hey, let's talk about something you'll like - I have a FREE writing discussion group on Yahoo! called "Skip's Hollywood Hangout." NOW I have your attention, right? Check it out - find the button on this site!
Meanwhile, I live in beautiful almost downtown Burbank, California with my son. I'm single, which I wouldn't mind changing. Until then, I try to write something brilliant every single day, because I'm too dumb to quit and no one will hire me at a real job, anyway. I'm not complaining, and I wish you all the best. Get in touch if you think we could do something together.