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My friend Tim Casey and I love a screenplay called "Strayhorn" - the last one written by Oscar winner Bill Kelly. He wrote "Witness" and many other great things. "Strayhorn" is a great story we hope makes it to the screen and Jay Fernandez (then with the L.A. Times, now with the Hollywood Reporter) agreed. Go see why. (You might have to pay to read the whole article but it's a great story.) We working on it with a director and almost got it to Clint Eastwood, then he did another movie with Matt Damon instead of reading our script. If you want to produce a great (and funny) Western, get in touch.
Think about it, one of the best writers of early television's "Gunsmoke" wrote a fabulous Western after winning an Oscar, and you could be involved in making the movie. Well...?
One great project to start 2010 was the signing of a contract for a then friend to direct his first feature, a horror movie set in Louisiana. He's doing it with a Hollywood legend who has financed the picture. I read the script several times, gave him notes, made a phone call, and my "friend" took it from there, completely screwing me out of any money, credit, or compensation after promising EVERYTHING repeatedly. That's Hollywood, a swamp full of slimy horny ripoff alligators! Even I can get fooled.
But that's not the point. The project happened with a little bit of luck. I had another supposed friend who was going to do a remake of a classic horror film, then the writer's lawyer wanted more money, and the production company said no, we had a deal, now we're insulted, and they pulled the plug.
Enter my slimy "best friend" with a great model of a monster and a script he was willing to rewrite. So the disappointed producer "friend" got a new project, and everybody won, which really made me happy. Then they BOTH screwed me out of anything. That's all too often Hollywood. I'll just wait until the movie's going into distribution, then I'll sue them. :-)
The way the movie got made, however, is the kind of scenario I've seen over and over in this town. Opportunity is met by preparedness and talent, and something that seems only a dream to some becomes a hard-won reality that millions can enjoy. That's why I work so hard to make sure people I refer to so-called professionals are truly prepared! Even I continue to learn in this often creepy town.
My daughter Holly and I at the Reagan Library in early 2009 for an event honoring Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
What an honor it was to meet some of these people and hear their stories of heroism, and to see Nancy Reagan and General Petraeus in person.
At the annual event in 2010 I met people like Robert Duvall and Powers Boothe and thoroughly enjoyed seeing a guy who thrilled me as "Boo Radley" as a kid accept an award and talk about his love for his country.
I was a big fan of Ronald Reagan and still am. I know a lot of like-minded people in Hollywood that attend events like this one. If I get to know you and you're interested, I'll tell you about it. I post about things like this on my Facebook page so if you're on Facebook come say hello.
Check out my articles about writing at the link on the left. They're only about 350 words long. You can browse through the list or search by topic. Over time, I plan to upload tons of things that are no longer available unless you have one of my older books. These are very specific pieces that I think you'll find very helpful. I might go a long time between posts but I like providing the information and always go back. If you want to be an Examiner, let me know.
I helped Yvonne Isaacs shape her book about her experiences as a nursing instructor and nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of hospitals. Raised in England, she ended up in Arkansas and made her mark quickly, including having friends in the Clinton White House.
We put together a book proposal and shopped it, and got an agent and some publishing interest, then Yvonne got tired of waiting, wrote this book, and got it published. Her initiative and persistence is admirable; I wish more beginning writers had as much.
There are some very touching stories in this book about families who have a "preemie" birth and I highly recommend reading it.
I loved the year I taught at UCLA Extension Writers Program. I had a student who was a gondolier in Venice, a psychiatrist in charge of the juvenile programs in L.A. County, and a somewhat irritated poet/actress who went on to become a star of the Aspen writing scene.
When Janna Plant became my student, she was still in high school and her mother brought her to class. I found her very bright and eager to get somewhere with her writing. I never forgot her, as I never forget memorable students and people.
17 years later I got an email from her telling me a little about where she'd been, what she'd done, and announcing that she'd "finally" written her book. I got a big smile, and a bigger one when she sent me a copy. Janna never gave up, which is the mark of a true writer.
If you want an autographed copy of any of my books, contact me for details. I send them via Priority Mail and like being paid via Paypal.com because I can print out a label directly from that site. Meanwhile, did you come to my site looking for the free newsletter I promised in some books? I used to send out newsletters, until it got to be simply too time-consuming. So I started the Yahoo group instead.
I'm working on my own scripts and projects these days and doing well. I'm not looking for projects from anyone else or to help with marketing to Hollywood or publishing unless someone's willing to pay my fees (see the Services page for those).