Getting representation when you are novice screenwriter is almost impossible

Before I could ever pitched to any studio including Disney, I needed an agent or manager who would represent me.  My fist agent was from Ohio that was interested in my urban script, "Nothing is What it Seems" a romantic comedy.  It was 90 minutes which means it was a tight script, no car chases or special effects which means it was low-budget.

It was my first signed deal with an agent and I immediately ran out of the house and up the street screaming I was so happy.  I knew in my heart that my professional days of selling to Hollywood had come.  Though he had made deals with major studios including New Line my script didn't find a studio and within a few months I couldn't get him on the phone.

Selling to Disney Studio

My second script knocked a producer off his feet when I pitched it and when he read it.  His family was in the business and hooked up with a director who had done several major features with Disney.  Packaging is an important part of selling scripts to Hollywood.

Packaging is getting a known director, actor, maybe even a producer to pitch ideas to studio head.  The movie "Forrest Gump" was pitched with Tom Cruise but it took over 8 years to do and Tom Hanks would be the actor that completed the film.  The producer had to keep the script alive doing all that time within the studio system.

My script had at least a director and producer who got an interview with a studio head at Disney cable division.  When I heard about the interview I was running down the street again, knowing this was it.  Disney was going to snatch up my script and I would have a contract with the studio.

Disney rejected the script.  Though the feedback from the producers was nebulous I believe Disney turned down the script because the writer wasn't sitting there to answer questions about the script.  When the producer told me what some of feedback was I was shocked because that was never in the script.

I'm a micro-filmmaker now

Leaving Hollywood and returning to a smaller entertainment environment has been a pleasure for me.  I'm a film maker who writes one to ten minute films and having a great time producing, acting, editing and composing the music for my films.  I work with various actors, producers and writers as an independent filmmaker.  Recently my film has been featured at film cafe in Pittsburgh.  And maybe someday, Disney will want produce my next family film.  This time this writer will be sitting in the room pitching to the executive.
 
 
Working for a non-profit is hard work.  Enjoyable, but challenging.  While on vacation, I still had to deal with grants that needed more information, contractors not showing up to work and a host of other problems.  Mindful that most of the people who are helping us are also volunteering their time, so there is no real vacation for anyone.

The joy is watching a neighborhood come together.  Below is a letter I wrote to the local newspaper about volunteering.


http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20131221/OPINION02/131229867#.VE-q-ku4nFI
 
 
My film "How To Interview A Vampire" was selected this month for The Film Cafe at Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  I wrote the script in a day. Shoot the film within a day and thought it was a small micro-film that expressed a complete thought.  I wrote to make fun of the whole "Vampire" saga.  For your enjoyment.  It was directed by Matt Veltri who also starred in it.


 
 
Bloggers beware of blog-out burn out

Are you just running out of things to write about?  No one is really following your blogs and you have not made millions of dollars writing? Or has your friends started blogging and within a day have over 100,000 followers on Facebook?  Or everything you write is boring?  You are facing blog-out burn-out.

Write from a position of passion

Are you writing just to make money or is this something that you are passionate about?  I love to write.  I've been writing since I was around four years old.  Wrote my first song around six and poems would soon follow.  Published my first book at 22 while my first published poem was around 14.  Write from a point of passion.  No one gets there overnight.

Published over 100 articles for Yahoo.com but it took only 1 to get a million views

Writing, blogging is a process.  I have friends who are screenwriters, novelist, poets, musicians that have written books, several movies and have yet to have a hit.  Being a writer of various disciplines it can become frustrating when your precious literary or musical work is not received in huge numbers.  Having over 2 million readers view my material at Yahoo didn't make me an overnight successful blogger or writer. 

Are you burning out take a break

Maybe it's time to stop blogging for awhile.  Read a novel or see a play rent a movie get out of your head space.  Being a micro-blogger as I like to call myself, means taking some time off to refresh, rekindle those brain cells.  You are so interesting and people who visit your blog love reading about what you have say.  

Read other writers.  Relax in the knowing that you can always return to your blog.  Get together with friends, take your love one out to dinner or to a ball game in other words allow yourself to live your life.  That's what make your blog unique.  It's more than words or sentences that creates followers. It's how your readers relate to you.  

Promoting your work is writing

My Canadian friend a professional illustrator told me once that promoting my work was my writing time.  I spend a lot of time looking to write for other outlets and I became frustrated because I thought this was not really writing.  She informed me that being a professional artist part of your job is to promote yourself.  It's part of your creative time and should be evaluated as such.

As a screenwriter I've learned that promotion is just as important as the material itself.  Having my own musical band doing the late 70's, I realized this.  My band was extremely busy, but I was on the phone calling agents, managers, club owners booking my band.  As a writer I continue to work on promotion.  It's one way to take a break away from the writing and look at the marketplace and how you stand up.

Learn from other writers

I'm still learning.  When I was writing for Yahoo.com I studied how material appeared on their pages.  I asked questions at first and followed successful writers.  The writers that were on the million viewer list I studied their style, subjects and presentation.  Soon I improved my own prose, eliminated unwanted text and increased my publishing stripes.  

Turn your frustration into motivation

As an artist you will become frustrated from time to time.  Instead of allowing this negative energy to consume you turn it around and make it motivate you.  When I become frustrated, I understand I'm looking for a deeper meaning to push myself.  I'm working on conquering some obstacle that stands in front of me.  Most people I know wallow in their frustration.  They make it a badge that they carry around to show off to others.  If you want to expel frustration use it to motivate you.  Determine what you frand attack it head on.



 
 
IBM is down  and why


I purchased my IBM stock early this year and I was proud that each quarter my stock grew in equity.  I checked the stock today and for the first time I'm loosing money with IBM.  IBM is performing below the market for the quarter.  According Ashraf Eases who writes for Motley Fool wrote:

"For its third quarter, IBM reported earnings-per-share of $3.68, which missed consensus by $0.64. Revenue came in at $22.4 billion, down 4% year-over-year, and missing consensus of $23.37 billion. Bloomberg reports that the company expects earnings-per-share for the year to be "down 2%-4% from $16.64 in 2013," implying a range of $15.97 to $16.31, badly missing consensus of $17.87 ."

Sell IBM or is it a bargain


Currently IBM is around $162 a share it's a bargain.  This is the lowest for the stock in about 52 weeks which has reached over $192.  I keep IBM in my portfolio because it is a steady as you go stock.  Dividends at 2.7% or around $4.40 a share IBM continues to bring value.


 
 
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When we started being a foster parents for Ashlyn we knew it was temporary, but that didn't make it any easier when it was time to let her go.   She was the most playful cat we ever fostered and loved to be around us.  She would crawl up into the window when we were outside and rub her face across it when I put my hand on the seal.  She enjoyed climbing into our bed and sleeping in between us.

If we were in the kitchen, she had to be in the kitchen.  When we decided to go into the bathroom she had to go in there to do her business as well.  And when I would scurry off to the "Man Cave" in the attic, guess who slowly climbed the stairs to be by my side.  Ashlyn was a dear so why would we ever return her to shelter for adoption?

This was not an easy decision and it never is.  We have foster several kittens and adult cats now and the pain is always the knowing that they can't stay with you.  The reason we have a hard time adopting any pet is that we travel a lot and out of the country.  We spend months and the transporting of pets through an airport into a foreign country can be a nightmare.  

When we left to go to Panama for a few weeks, we sent out foster cat Raisin back to the shelter until we returned.  She was an old cat not extremely healthy.  When we returned we found that she got so depressed that the shelter felt they had to put her down.  She wasn't eating.  We felt so bad and guilty that we vowed that we were never foster another.  Then we saw Ashlyn.

This time the same scenario exist.  We had to leave the country to visit family in Korea. We returned Ashlyn to the shelter after months a taking care of her.  We wanted to her be adopted by some family that would love her like we do.  Our decision rest on the fact that as long as she stays with us no one can adopt her and is it fair to her that we travel so much.  We have friends that have volunteered to take care of her, but is it fair?  We didn't think so.

It's hard being a foster parent because you get attach, you fall in love and you don't want to put them up for adoption.  You wonder if they will get a great home, some pets in the shelter  have already been abused.  You worry if someone when they are tired of them will put them back on the street because some shelter animals have been abandon and have adjustment issues.  You wonder and you worry but that's the emotional elements of being a caring individual.  And for my wife and I it's a condition we have no desire in abandoning.


 
 
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Walking with our 80 year old aunt into the mountains

Seasons are changing and there is no better place than to observe this as to hike into the mountains of Korea.  Getting away from the crowded city and the concrete pavement we found extremely refreshing after about a few weeks in the city. Residents seem to vacate the city on weekends and make a mad dash to the countryside.

Our 80 year old aunt loves to walk.  Even though her knees are aching a little and she doesn't hike into the mountains as she did a few years ago but she can still out walks my wife and me.

Clean air and quietude where very few cars travel the road we traveled.  The family property we went to visit can't be developed and considered by Korea's government as "Clean Space".  The family property is located on a mountain which they have owned for over 300 years.  As I walked with my wife and our aunt to this mountain top, I stopped to sit by a river.  The water was cold but pure.  I washed my hands and continued on.

Korea Mountains

Pacing my steps along the narrow streets allowed me to collect my thoughts.  There was a several minutes of mediative pauses in conversation as we walked through farms lands, flowers spreading planted along the sidewalks and sound of the small river running through the rocks.

Korea mountains are mountains.  Not hills located in a citywide landscape these are mountains.  Populated with tons of trees thick.  

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Rice fields stand out

There were rice fields where farmers were busy loading up bicycle style tractors that passed by us.  These three wheeler vehicles served the purpose by functional application and transportation. 

These mountains have served Korea's well.  Temples were built on them along with fortresses to guard against invasions.  While now they serve as farming villages only a few houses are on these mountains. Years have past since there were no houses on these mountains and only dirt road.

We walked for several miles.  Taking in the silence, observing Budda style protectors on one side of the street and a few barking dogs tied to their dog houses.  There were CCTV cameras.  A modern day convenience for farmers to protect their property.

Rice is the food of Korea.  These yellow fields are spread throughout Korea's landscape. We eat rice with everything and I enjoy it.  Since I've married a Korean, I eat more rice in the last 14 years than anytime in my life.

Mountains have many mysteries and many adventures for hikers.  Though we only spent a few hours on this adventure, Any hiker dedicated enough can find more precious landscape to explore.

 
 
When my wife and I were dating the last thing we talked about was money.  This was not a concern in the dating process.  We had separate funds and expenses.  However, when we tied the knot, we had to  develop different coping skills.  Money discussion became the elephant in the room and we had to deal with it.

I was single man for many years in control of my own expenses.  I had thirteen credit cards with about $10,000 credit limit on each. I had to adjust.

Money fights can tear a couple apart

Couples fight about money.  Couples fight about how the bills need to be paid.  It can tear a couple apart when when money becomes the basis for every disagreement.  Couples must discuss how they are going to manage their funds.  Before I was married, I was a little loose with my money.  I memorized every happy hour bar within a few mile radius from my apartment.  Los Angeles was my haven for entertainment.  

When I got married I was complaining to my wife that I was having a hard time saving money.  The first thing she noticed was how often I was visiting the "happy hour" bars.  She lovely suggested that maybe I should watch how I was spending my money.  

We have been married for over 14 years, we developed a healthy way to discuss on how we should budget and spend our cash.  I get to purchase all the books I want usually at bargain book stores and my wife gets to plan vacations on a budget.  She also budgets for tools at Home Depot which she can use for repairing things around our home and rental property.  

Share a common goal

How to avoid fighting over money?  Share a common goal.  Quit using your own agenda for justifying how the money is spent.  I like books so instead of arguing over it, I find a way to save money by purchasing books through my Kindle, borrowing books from library, buying used books on Amazon and keeping to a budget.  My wife looks for bargains everywhere.  She discusses with me her purchases and I have a chance to disagree if I think we are going over our budget.

Discuss paying off your bills together

We pay off our credit card debt every month. We use our credit card to pay for everything.  This way we can keep an eye on our expenditures throughout the month.  I can check online to see where we are at and if we are getting a little high, we calm down.  

Honest communication about 

Communication and mutual respect for dealing with money issues is the most important characteristic of a mature relationship.  Couples who fight about money usually are not in agreement about how money should be spent.  Once, my father decided he wanted to purchase a new piece of rental property but mom didn't approve.  He needed to have her signature on the papers and mom refused to sign anything.

I learned from his mishap, no matter what expense or investment I get ready to make confirm the decision with my wife first.  Communication is imperative and thus avoid arguments in the future.






 
 
Since President Obama has taken the office the economy has improved.  The GOP painted the worst picture possible, but the numbers don't always work in their favor.  

  1. Unemployment numbers are down during Obama administration.  When President Obama took office there were months that were double digits.
  2. Debt is the lowest in 40 years.  According to financial reports during President Obama the national debt is lowest we have seen in awhile.
  3. Stock market doubled.  When the crisis hit the stock market lost 40%.  Those of us who invest in the market know this to be true just looking at our own portfolios.  The stock market has come back and then some.
  4. Health Care didn't destroy the economy.  Affordable Health Care Act didn't collapse the market, businesses didn't foil and people like me got access to healthcare they couldn't afford before.
  5. Housing market is up.
  6. We are producing again and under Obama he has done better than Ronald Reagan's administration on the economy.

 So whey isn't President Obama getting any credit for this even from his own party.  Because GOP is spending billions of dollars to win an election.  However, they are struggling in key states which might turn the Congress into winning more seats for the Democrats.  Most elections are too close to call and the papers not calling any winners.  This is giving voters a chance to go to the post and vote.


 
 
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Invitation to walk Korea's walk paths and their community parks

My wife and I love all the walk paths in Korea and we are getting up early and walking 4 miles before breakfast.  I enjoy walking.  It's has less impact on your knees than running and something you practice for the rest of your life.

Our 80 year old Aunt walks everywhere

Korea is a country of walkers and hikers.  There are bicycle paths and walking paths within the condo units.  According to our family informed me that developers have to follow certain permit rules.  When building the condo units they have to reserve spaces for parks and walk paths.

Parks are equipped  with strength training machines

After several years of weight training I find that aerobic exercises are paying off for me.  Interval training as we aged is important for total health.  This concept is mixing weight training intervals with aerobic training.  While I enjoy jumping on the stationary bike and pumping hard for thirty I continue to be mindful not overdo anything.

Most parks are equipped with stretching machines, body building machines.  Some of badminton course, basketball course and rest rooms.  The walking courses are made with sponge material that allows your walking to have less pounding for your feet and take some pressure off your knees.

A city designs for hikers and walker and bikers stimulates health consciousness

Through the city and suburbs there are walking and biking paths along the rivers beds, along the streets and underneath the bridges.  Korea stimulates the idea of health by offering various opportunities throughout the city to participate in the healthy routine.  My wife and I made an effort to walk over 27 miles in two days.  Taking several photos along the way.  To admire large groups of people exercising.  Except for places like California I have seen very few places that take special care to make areas dedicated to practicing exercising.