Stuff you can look at...and some Mr. Creepy news!

And now, a bit of silliness...

About five years ago I was visiting my old pal Taunia (pronounced “Tanya”) for the weekend at her home in Arizona. One of the things I’ve always really liked about Taunia—and we’ve known each other for 30 years—is her never-ending well of creativity. She’s game for just about anything. afternoon during my visit, we decided to get out the ol’ digital camera and shoot something. This is what I refer to as a “Spontaneous Film”—something made at the spur of the moment. No planning, no real thought other than to do something fun and creative for a few hours.

(Please hold your critiques about how the lighting sucks, or how the camera work could’ve been better. None of that is really important. This is merely a matter of coming up with an idea, a bit of goofy wardrobe, a prop or two, shooting it, then cutting it all together. What ya get is what ya get.)

This particular short is entitled “Home for Lunch.” In it, I play a rather high-spirited, rotund little man who has an appetite for mid-day snacks and a penchant for...well, you’ll just have to see for yourself.

What’s funny, at least to me, is that I haven’t really thought about this project since we shot it. It was just another bit of silliness I got involved in. Lo and behold, Taunia sent me this edited/scored version just last week. (Five years—what took her so long?)

I’ll tell ya, I actually got a kick out of it. I found it to be alternately silly and, um, oddly disturbing. So I figured I’d share it with all of you WS readers...and I hope you find it at least somewhat entertaining. If not, please forward your letters of hostility to Taunia. I’m sure she’d love to hear from you.

To watch “Home for Lunch," click here! (PS: For the record, no, that’s not my real stomach you’ll be seeing.)

"Mr. Creepy" news!

For those of you following my long saga with “Mr. Creepy” (see January 12, 2009 blog entry): Well, ol’ Mr. C finally realized he was wrong about me trying to destroy him. It seems somebody was passing himself off as me and wreaking havoc upon poor Mr. C’s already damaged psyche. But I’m pleased to announce that Mr. C has done the right thing and pulled all his let’s-bash-Jim-Vines videos from his YouTube account. So there.

A thought for the day...

OK, so I’ve got a question for all of you. Here it is:

Why do we create?

Is it for the FAME? Is it for the GLORY? Is it for the MONEY?

Fame? Quick, name five “famous” screenwriters. Let’s see, William Goldman...Shane wait, don’t tell me...

Glory? OK, so who won Best Screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards?

Money? Hmm, what’s the statistic from the Writers Guild? I think the average screenwriter make about $60,000 a year.

So if you’re looking for “fame,” “glory,” or big bucks, the life of a screenwriter probably isn’t for you.

For me, it’s about the creative process. Just the notion that I can come up with the germ of an idea...cultivate that idea...nurture it, hone it...slowly transform it into 100 pages of marketable screenplay...well, that’s pretty darn exciting. And if we’re lucky enough to have those 100 pages turned into a movie, and even luckier that a modicum of fame, glory, and money’s all icing on the cake.

Another exciting phase to the creative process is what happens to your work once it’s set forth into the world.

I had an experience just the other experience that pretty much sums it all up for me. It clarified my own personal reason why I love to create the things I create.

I was chatting on the phone with a friend/business associate. She was telling me how much she enjoyed a couple of my recently-completed screenplays. Being the fairly modest fellow I am (no, really, I am), I downplayed it with the usual, “Yeah, I think they’re pretty good.” But no, she insisted that they were really quite excellent. She was, apparently, very entertained by both scripts. (I should point out that she is currently trying to get these scripts to the next level: a producer who will actually buy them.) Then she mentioned a short film that I made a few years back. She said she really loved this little film. In fact, she loved it enough to send it to several of her friends. Apparently they loved it too. In fact, one friend told her something like, “The day you sent me the link to Jim’s film, I was really feeling low. Pretty miserable. But I watched the film. I have to tell you, I laughed and laughed. It really cheered me up.” (Click here to see my short film.)

Wow, that’s a pretty terrific feeling. It’s nice to know that this little movie I made...this goofy little project my childhood friend and I did simply to do it, to have a little fun and work our creative muscles a bit...had the ability to transform a person’s day from gloomy to, well, just a little bit sunnier. Yup, a pretty terrific feeling, all right.

This, friends, is why I create.

So think of that the next time to sit down to write your screenplay, or shoot that funny little YouTube video, or paint that picture, or shoot a photograph suitable for framing, realize that you’re creating something that will more than likely touch other people in same way. You will created something that says, I was here.

A New Screenwriting Site: A Review...

Fellow screenwriter Ashley Scott Meyers contacted me recently, asking if I’d do a review of his new screenwriting website He said I could give the site a positive or negative review...just as long as I helped him get the word out that the site is up and running. Sure, I’m always happy to help a fellow scribe...

So I gave the website a whirl.

Now, as we all know (or should know), there aren’t necessarily any easy answers in the screenwriting arena. There is no true “best” way to do any of it. So I’m always a bit dubious of any book or website that even vaguely proclaims, "This is how you sell your script." I’m not saying that Mr. Meyers’ website is proclaiming any easy pathways or any surefire methods to selling a screenplay, but with a site name such as "Selling Your Screenplay,” well...

OK, so just who is this Ashley Scott Meyers?

Well, he’s the author of—yup, you guessed it— Selling Your Screenplay (which I have not read), and the writer or co-writer of three movies: Man Overboard (2008), Reunion (2005), and Dish Dog (2000). It seems only the latter is available via Netflix and Amazon.

But honestly, do we really need another screenwriting website regurgitating all the usual information? How many times can we read topics such as, “How to Write a Query Letter,” or ““Who Do You Address Your Query Letter To?” or “Should I Put My WGA Registration Number on My Screenplay?” or “How to Get an Agent”? Um, come to think of it, with the endless stream of people diving into the screenwriting pool on a daily basis, people looking for any crumb of information (and face it, most do tend to ask the same monotonous questions over and over again), perhaps one more “how-to” site can’t hurt. With that in mind, if happens to be one of the first screenwriting website you land on, you could probably do far worse.

You’ll find a modicum of solid advice on the site. Mr. Meyers comes across as earnest, likeable, and truly seems to have a sincere desire to help the neophyte screenwriter. I found no trace of an over-inflated ego or “DO-IT-THIS-WAY” dogma. Though a handful of topics/subjects are “the same ol’, same ol,” I found at least one entry, “How I Optioned and Sold My First Screenplay,” particularly valuable.

My chief complaint: aside from the aforementioned entry (and a few others), there’s nothing truly unique being imparted on the site. Virtually all the information can be found on a hundred or so other screenwriting sites, my own included. (I should point out that has only been in existence a relatively short time. As of this moment, June 2009, there isn’t what I’d call a wealth of information posted. I’m confident it will be far more comprehensive six months or a year from now. At least we can hope so.)

Another complaint—a minor one, really—is the plethora of Google ads positioned throughout. I noticed one or two for a notorious “scam” lit agency. I know this isn’t the fault of Mr. Meyers (those ads are automatically placed by Google)...I just think that sort of thing tends to drop a site’s legitimacy a notch or two.

So, do I think this site is a waste of time? No, absolutely not. If you’ve been around the block once or twice in the ol’ screenwriting game, you probably won’t discover too much that’s new and exciting. However...I’m confident that novice and intermediate scribes alike will find a few valuable nuggets that will aid them in their journey through the Hollywood maze. That, along with Mr. Meyers’ seemingly genuine desire to aid the budding screenwriter, certainly makes a visit to worthy of your time.


APRIL 2015 ANNOUNCEMENT: My debut novel, Luigi's Chinese Delicatessen, is now available in paperback from and Kindle e-book! (You're gonna love it cuz it's all about Hollywood and screenwriting!)