|The one sheet for the book.|
My memoir, "The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God," was released July 28, 2014 by TouchPoint Press.
I can't believe I am only blogging about the event now, but a dizzying series of social, professional and familial events have kept me away from the keyboard. In a way I am glad. The time has given me the opportunity to absorb the events.
I have somehow successfully worked freelance in the highly competitive and somewhat ruthless film business for nearly twenty-four years. I have edited commercials, music videos, television shows and motion pictures. I have written fourteen produced films. I have won a wide variety of awards. I have hobnobbed with celebrities. I was blessed with the opportunity to live my dream, but the publication of this book surpassed them all.
|Seeing the finished book for the first time.|
I started out as a journalism major in college. Journalists actually got paid for writing. One even lived across the street from me, and he seemed to enjoy his work. He was a sportswriter, and I got to go to the press box at old Memorial Stadium while one of his sons did the box scores for the AP at an Orioles game. That was cool. Plus, I discovered that reporters got free food and drink. Sweet! However, I soon became disillusioned with journalism in college and switched over to film. Still, I never imagined that I could become a screenwriter. I never even took a screenwriting course. I really had no idea why I was majoring in film -- other than the fact that I loved movies. I never pictured myself working in the film business. I was also taking computer courses. I always assumed I would end up as a computer programmer at the Social Security Administration after college. But it didn't work out that way. I ended up in advertising instead.
At Smith Burke & Azzam, I learned the nuts and bolts of film production -- although the films tended to be a mere thirty seconds long. It was a great apprenticeship, and my eventual position as a broadcast producer let me observe and participate in every step of the process: From script to casting to production to post-production. The only drawback to the advertising business were the inevitable layoffs when we'd lose accounts. I was laid off six times in five years (and almost always hired back within a couple of weeks.) During one of my brief semi-retirements, I wrote my first complete feature film script in less than a week. I found it surprisingly easy. My third script got me serious Hollywood attention. My fifth script got me a well-known agent.
|Yours truly at the book release party.|
|My mother with a copy of the book. She didn't kill for|
spilling all of the family secrets in the book.
The fact that the book was autobiographical would have validated my writing and my life itself -- if I was interested in that kind of validation anymore. This book was essentially the product of a near death experience that left me uninterested in any sort of external, earthly validation. I wasn't telling my story to justify my life, but rather because I felt my experiences might help others. But, whether I intended it or not, the book did validate me in a way. It provided outside proof my story was worth telling, and therefore worth living. The emotional climax of the entire experience came at the book release party held at my church. People from every stage of my life showed up -- my family and my friends from kindergarten, grade school, high school, college and throughout my whole professional life. It was a great summation. And I am grateful to have experienced it. The older I get, the more I believe what you do is less important than who you do it with, and I have been surrounded by a lot of wonderful people.
So what's next? I think most writers work through the same deeply personal themes over and over again throughout their career. I think that was definitely true of me. In a sense, most of my work tried to disprove F. Scott Fitzgerald's contention that "American lives have no second acts." Most of the scripts that won me Hollywood's attention dealt with characters beginning the second acts of their lives, living in the shadow of some momentous decision that shook their sense of self. That was definitely true of me. I spent many long years contemplating a decision I made in my own life that irrevocably changed my destiny. Now that I have dealt with those demons directly in my book, I no longer feel the need to deal with them obliquely in my scripts.
|With my grandmother. I gave her a free copy,|
but I told her she'd have to pay me to sign it.
Speaking of stories, you really should buy my book. It's pretty good, if I have to say so myself. (You can read the first couple chapters for free on Amazon.)
Amazon: The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God
Barnes & Noble: The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God
The publisher: TouchPoint Press Bookstore
(Feel free to print a review online if you liked it. Even if you didn't.)
|With my lovely wife and two of my siblings.|