Saturday, February 28, 2015

“A good half of writing consists of being sufficiently sensitive to the moment to reach for the next promise which is usually hidden in some word or phrase just a shift to the side of one’s conscious intent.”

- Norman Mailer

Understanding what makes up the creative DNA of a screenplay is what enables a screenwriter to be “sufficiently sensitive to the moment” where great things can happen. The goal of the 21 E&EE Scene Checklist is to help set the stage for creative level jumps and breakthroughs in the work. 

- From "21 Essential & Elevating Elements in a Professional Screenplay."

Friday, February 20, 2015

Why Screenwriters should think about "Shelf Life" when Writing

Modern culture moves fast. 
Every professional screenwriter should ask themselves this vital question – 
Does your style of writing include words, references, phrases; that are specifically chosen because they are -- cool, hip, the bomb (Feel free to insert your own phrase for “cool, hip, the bomb.”)? 
If this is the case, I have two words for you -- Shelf Life

Nothing ages faster than pop culture. 
And with that in mind, I advise the Professional Screenwriter approaches their work in in a way that doesn’t invite the content to suffer from rapid aging. 

Many writers convince themselves that the power of their work is their “cutting edge” insight and sensibility to what is happening in modern society. They firmly believe that what makes their work sing is when they incorporate references to the latest in style and trends. 
Hopefully their skill set has a wider range of creative weapons to draw upon. Those who feel compelled to employ the latest pop culture reference, or draw on what is happening this minute, will discover their work is headed for a short shelf life.   
Play the long game. 
Go deeper with your content. 
Work for a creative payoff that you've setup. 
Don’t settle for easy pop culture references for a laugh. 
Don't be lured into the easy score of writing homages to past movies or TV shows as an excuse for failing to come up with something original. 
What may be cutting edge now, I promise you will have a very good chance of being considered quaint and obscure just a few years on. 
Write with the goal of creating material that is "timeless."

If the goal is to seem relevant to the latest generation of movie lovers, I believe writing in a timeless way is still the way to go. 
In a recent movie poll, young people, ages 20-29, list “The Shining”  (Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson, based on the book by Stephen King) as one of their top five favorite horror movies. 
The original theatrical release of "The Shining" was 1980.  

Yesterday’s Madonna is today’s Lady Gaga. 
And Tomorrow’s Lady Gaga will be here before we know it… She’s probably already here and somehow I missed her arrival being announced in US magazine because I was too busy writing these words. 
When it does happen, how much you wanna bet much of media world will immediately rush to write their Dead-Artist-Walking obituaries of Lady Gaga. And when they do, don't look away. Pay attention because that is what the end of the road looks like for the cutting edge screenwriter trading on the latest hip phrase as a substitute for real content in their screenplays.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

You Lost Me when you wrote... "The End of the Three Act Structure"

The End of the Three Act Structure????

I was trying to finish my work on two projects when I came across an email with the headline -- The End of the Three-Act Structure

I couldn’t resist following the link where I discovered the article was posted on a website run by Write Brothers Inc, a company that specializes in selling software products to screenwriters. I applaud WBI for supporting their sales effort by featuring posts written about different subjects related to the craft of screenwriting. 

With that said, the content of this particular post was so objectionable I decided to break away from what I should be doing and write a response. 

The End of the Three-Act Structure, was written by James Hull and can be found hereHull modestly describes himself as “an animator by trade.” Actually he has many impressive credits as an animator including the big studio movies, "The Crood" and "How to Train a Dragon." Unfortunately, the subject of his post is not on the craft of an animator.  He chose to write about an important, fundamental area in the craft of screenwriting.

The main point of his argument is –

“The time has come to obliterate Aristotle's stranglehold on narrative fiction. With the amount of information and different perspectives available to Audiences today, a simplified beginning-middle-end approach simply doesn't cut it anymore. Complete stories consist of four major movements, not three.” 

A few sentences later, he attempts to support his opening statement – 

“The standard in modern screenwriting paradigm calls for splitting up the Second Act into two halves, labeling them 2A and 2B. For all intents and purposes, as long as everyone on the production agrees with this naming convention, there isn't anything about this approach that could prevent the successful conclusion of a film. The question becomes if the final product finishes with a glorious and well-celebrated run or peters out over the first weekend, adding weight to the already great discarded landfill of pointless stories.”

Perhaps Hull’s motives in writing his post was to be provocative and/or to come off as creatively progressive. Regardless of his motivation, his words, (not only the ones I’ve included, but other passages throughout his post) and ideas are flat out wrong. For starters, what he specifically perceives as the three-act structure seems to be written in almost complete ignorance to the way professional screenwriters use the three-act structure in approaching their craft. 
For example, I have no idea where he gets the notion, “the standard in modern screenwriting paradigm calls for splitting up the Second Act into two halves.” 
I am a professional screenwriter, and I have worked with dozens of professional screenwriters on studio projects as well as independent movies. I’ve also been involved with over fifty different film projects as a producer, working to develop the screenplay with the writers. And with all that experience, not once have I ever come across any professional screenwriter or any industry professional who believes “the standard in modern screenwriting is to split the second act into two halves.” 

There are several different approaches to the three act structure, but anyone who has experience in professional writing is aware that the second act, like the first act has different creative markers along the way that are used to signify creative shifts in the storyline or plot. These markers are usually perceived as guides to the screenwriter as he makes his creative choices. I use such terms as “First Act Spin” and “Second Act Tent Pole” to define these creative markers or guideposts. And nothing I’ve come across creatively resembles “splitting the second act into halves.” 

In his post, Hull goes on to write –

“Don't assume that both halves are dealing with the same thematic stuff. Don't assume that this "Special World” somehow carries with it some intrinsic meaning because of its position between the beginning and the end.”

His reference to thematic stuff and a special world clearly reveals that Hull has completely mixed up story structure with other aspects of storytelling. Both creative areas he cites have almost no meaningful bearing on the rhyme or reason associated with the approach to story structure. 

As well as being an animator by trade, Hull apparently also teaches classes on "story" at Calfornia Institute of the Arts (CalArts). So I presume his writing on this subject is being taught to fledging or beginning writers who are attempting to take up the craft of professional screenwriting. Despite what Hull writes online, the three-act structure in writing professional screenplays has not been retired. In fact the creative standard for a storyline/plot continues to be the three-act structure. 

Even when one examines screenwriting rebels who have been produced, and whose work has been celebrated as ground breaking in the area of storyline/plot structure, close scrutiny reveals a rebel with a deep understanding of the traditional three-act structure, not a rebellion borne from ignorance.

One example of truly a different approach to the three-act structure would be Stanley Kubrick, and the film “Full Metal Jacket.” Kubrick was one of the screenwriters, as well as the director of “Full Metal Jacket,” (the other screenwriter was Michael Herr; and the screenplay was  based on the book, “The Short Timers,” authored by Gustav Hasford). 

I can’t comment on the structure of the screenplay developed prior to production, but the final version of the movie released to audiences has a storyline/plot which unfolds in a way that is very much a different, atypical approach to the traditional three-act structure of modern professional screenwriting. 

That’s not to say that “Full Metal Jacket” can be used by Hull as an example of a movie with “Four Acts.” In fact, the uncommon approach on display in “Full Metal Jacket” is a storyline that still falls under the traditional three-act structure, but is creatively distinctive by the elongated duration and creative conclusiveness to the film’s first act. It was Kubrick’s unique approach to unfolding the storyline in “Full Metal Jacket” that was at least partially responsible for the lukewarm, critical response to the film upon its initial release in 1987. Of course, the critical standing of the film has risen in ensuing years, which has been the typical pattern of almost all of Kubrick’s films. 

Professional Screenwriting continues to push the boundaries of narrative structure and there is no reason to believe the three-act structure is on the endangered species list. Nor should the three-act approach be threatened out of existence by the notion that it is out of date or no longer is the best approach to constructing a screenplay for a commercial audience. What Hull apparently is not aware of is that the three-act structure embraces many creative elements that push a storyline forward, not just what he sums up as the “beginning, middle, and end.” 

****For the record, I would have responded to Hull’s post on the site of his posting, but it did not allow comments.****

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I've now a member of HWA -- the HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION!

I’m proud to announce I've become an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association

My membership comes at the perfect time -- 
I get to vote for the Bram Stoker Awards.
There's some really talented writers competing.
I'm thrilled I get to cast my vote!

I’m so excited to be part of this organization!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015


In Celebration of the first three Professional Screenwriter Books landing on the Best Sellers List,  I'm posting an excerpt from an upcoming PS Book:

Write your screenplay like a snake eats its own tail…
Eventually winding up where you first began…
Leaving the audience sensitive to the circular space devoured between head and tail.

Resist the temptation to compare your accomplishment with other writers.
Such an effort is similar to tracking the maturation of two babies born on the same day. 
One may end up speaking at an early age, while the other may talk years later. 
What is important is to observe if either baby ends up with something meaningful to say. 

A screenplay is not a house. 
A script is similar to blueprints one designs to build a house.
Remember this when you interact with those who wish to help you build your house. 
You cannot eat, drink, and sleep, in the blueprints of a house.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Fog of war when Media Titans do Battle...

When trying to figure out the future for content providers, I strongly suggest you read more than just what's reported in the daily media. 
Below is an article, reprinted in its entirety, where the writer completely missed what is ESSENTIAL INFORMATION for EVERYONE WHO CREATES CONTENT as a PROFESSIONAL WRITER for FILM or TV. 

Big Media Shot Itself In The Foot By Selling Shows To Netflix: Analyst

By David Lieberman (on Oct 31, 2014)

Major studio and network owners’ decision to sell shows to Netflix might go down as one of the biggest strategic blunders they’ve ever made, if Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger’s compelling report today is correct. Like a lot of analysts, he’s alarmed by what he calls the “unprecedented” drop in C3 ratings across ad-supported TV,  especially among 18 to 49-year-olds. He figures that the 4% decline in total day TV viewing vs the same period last year equals about 13 minutes per day. And he concludes it’s not a blip: They’ve gone to subscription video-on-demand services led by Netflix and its shrewd CEO Reed Hastings. Its viewing has increased about 12 minutes a day, to 95 minutes, as its audience has grown and each subscriber spends more time with it.
So — contrary to the party line in media — Netflix viewing is a substitute for traditional TV, not a supplement. And “we don’t think those viewers are coming back. The trend is more likely to accelerate than decline,” Juenger says. That means Big Media companies are screwed. They can “stop licensing to SVOD, or face years of declining audiences.” But if they stop licensing, then that “would cause a material drop in immediate earnings” — which investors won’t accept. That’s why Juenger believes they’ll continue to play a short term game and “increase the amount of content they license to SVOD, to make up for the lost advertising revenue. Which will only make the problem worse.”
But wait: Wasn’t the recent drop in TV ratings mostly due to Nielsen’s slowness to count people who still watch mainstream TV but on tablets and smartphones? Juenger says no. “Nobody’s going to sit on their couch and watch video on their cell phone while keeping their TV set turned off. Most of this viewing is very likely to have come from ‘found time’when the main TV screen is not accessible or is already on.”
How about the growing use of DVRs or VOD? Again, no. Although DVR penetration is growing, that’s been “offset by declining usage.” (Early adopters are usually most enthusiastic about a technology.) And VOD still accounts for less than 1% of total viewing. “So even huge increases would not have a significant impact on total viewing.”
Juenger says that Disney, Fox, Time Warner, and Discovery are probably OK for now. He’s less confident about AMC Networks, Viacom, CBS, and Scripps Networks. The last three “have the most exposure to U.S. advertising revenue, and therefore are most exposed to the SVOD risk.”

Everyone reading the above article should be aware of what the writer misses. And its hard to give David Lieberman the benefit of doubt when it seems like he can’t even connect his own dots. This is the part of the article where he lays out the facts, but misses the essential underlying issue –

Juenger says that Disney, Fox, Time Warner, and Discovery are probably OK for now. He’s less confident about AMC Networks, Viacom, CBS, and Scripps Networks.

Could it be the companies mentioned as "OK" are not only owners of networks, but more meaningfully -- CONTENT PROVIDERS.  
The list of corporations (who may be in trouble) are predominately made up of advertised-based-networks. 
Viacom, is the only corporation on the second list that some might see as inconsistent with my point. But Viacom belongs there because it is indeed vulnerable. Yes, Viacom owns Paramount (a film studio, not advertiser based) but the other companies underneath the corporation umbrella are pretty much in the advertiser reliant Network Business. Meaning their cash revenue relies on the content provided by third party companies that they do not have a financial stake in. 

The connection of the dots becomes complete only when you look at the rise of Netflix as nothing too different than what occurs as part of an historically proven flow of economic marketplace dynamics taught in Econ-101 at any major university. 
In the marketplace there will always be upstart companies exploiting a niche in the hope they will become a viable entity. If this upstart company also possesses other elements such as at least competent/or visionary leadership; forward thinking/original intellectual property; and marketplace good timing/luck -- the upstart might very well completely overturn the apple cart. 

In our ever changing times – driven by technological innovation and the shrinking of the world into one huge marketplace – a loaded upstart company has the capability of not only upturning the apple cart, but completely re-inventing it.

But no one should mistake these turn of events regarding Netflix to believe for a moment that the major media corporations were completely caught by surprise. 
That would be na├»ve. 

If you were, let’s say, running Disney, wouldn’t it be just fine to let a Netflix spend all the money doing the R & D & Marketing costs to establish themselves in the brave new world of Internet streaming? Of course you don’t remain completely on the sidelines, you try here and there to establish your own beach head in this undiscovered country, but your main strategy is to allow for the inevitable play – there’s probably a smaller, hungrier company willing to do what it takes to blaze the new frontier. 
You know that when it all plays out, your company, Disney, will be able to make their play and seize control of the real estate after the thick foliage obscuring the path through the jungle has been cleared away by someone else.
And your strategy makes sense when you ask yourself -- what’s the worse that can happen?
Disney is still getting money on their content used by a netflix or amazon. Sure, shareholders carp about how Disney isn’t doing enough about “the future.” But when you have a ton of money, and a huge library, the carping is something that becomes more of an annoyance rather than a real existential corporation  challenge.  
Best case scenario is you watch as another company must endure all the pitfalls of streaming to a new generation of viewers. You avoid all the speed bumps of incorporating new technology in a transitional way, and just wait as the lay of the land becomes more clear because the dust has settled, the initial fighting is over, and the lay of the land can now be seen clearly. 
Let the upstart companies like Netflix go through the turbulence because that’s the only way they can prove themselves in the long run on the media spectrum. As long as we get cash for our content, how are we hurt? Content doesn’t grow over night. It takes decades to build library of content. Technology is the part of the equation that seemingly grows… overnight. 
I know I’m right about the above because people smarter than me have already made their moves. Netflix and amazon are in their second cycle of creating original programing. They know that after blazing the trail, the studios will now rush past them like prospectors looking to strike it rich after the original founders drew the map. 
This is an important story, and I wanted to offer my take on what’s happening so if the writer of the article above is clueless about what’s really going on, the rest of us know what is happening. It may come off as a game of musical chairs, where someone must leave the contest because they no longer have a chair to sit in. But trust me, the corporations with the content have seat-fillers holding their chair until they return from the restroom. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

"DRAWING BLOOD" ends up going for Readers' Jugular!

LAST UPDATE 10-26-14 
Now that the dust has cleared...
The giveaway of Drawing Blood was a huge success! 
 Best ranking in 48 hours came late last night --
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273 !
#1 in Kindle Store - Lit Fiction - Genre Fiction - War

#6 in Kindle Store - Lit Fiction - Horror - Occult

UPDATED 10-25-14 / 2:15 pm

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415 !
#2 in Kindle Store - Lit Fiction - Genre Fiction - War

#6 in Kindle Store - Lit Fiction - Horror - Occult


UPDATED 10-25-14 / 10:30 am

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #719!

#2 in Kindle Store - Lit Fiction - Genre Fiction - War

#6 in Kindle Store - Lit Fiction - Horror - Occult

The first book in the Relict Book Series - 

Is striking at the jugular of a lot of Readers!

#19 in Kindle Store - Lit Fiction - Genre Fiction - War
#64 in Kindle Store - Lit Fiction - Horror - Occult

Thank you for all of your support!

I know you'll be blown away --

With the Second Book in the Series: SHADOWS IN THE LIGHT

Coming soon!! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Say goodbye to DEMON DAYS because at the end of this month, the book is going STRAIGHT TO HELL!

This is the END DAYS for the kindle version of  Demon Days

It's your LAST CHANCE to get the kindle e-book and paperback before it goes away forever

And in the last few days of the book's existence, you can get the book for FREE! 

On October 31st, this kindle version of Demon Days will be no more.

Never to be resurrected! 

Keeping with the theme of Near Death Experiences 
(a major theme of the entire DEMON DAYS Book Series)…
Demon Days - Book One will reappear in the future...
But will be different than its former self.
Just like many people who have legitimate NDEs!

After Oct. 31st, all that will be left...
Of the original kindle Demon Days’ text...
Is the audio book of Demon Days on audible
Available now and for the foreseeable future

But what does the phrase, foreseeable future, even mean anymore?
No one... Not even Nostradamus’ great, great, great [continue to repeat “great” for several minutes] nephew ended up predicting --
Apple’s new iPhone 6 would actually be larger than the iPhone5.

And full disclosure -- 
It’s not just the Demon Days kindle e-book joining the afterlife… 
We’ll also be sending the Demon Days print book there too. 

Yes, we are aware ending the kindle e-book Demon Days...
Is not eliminating the existence of pirated versions online.
But we believe once the rumors of a curse goes viral...
Readers won't download these versions
These were rumors which we initially tried to dismiss...
But ended up admitting there was enough substance to take seriously…

Pirated e-copies of the book, DEMON DAYS, downloaded by readers appears to cause the downloading party to become part of Satan's email list. And after the reader is on Lucifer's monthly newsletter, no matter what one does, it appears to be impossible to unsubscribe...

October 31st is the deadline for your final chance to get the kindle version of the original book…


Here’s where you can get it right now – 

Then say goodbye to the original text…
As we hit the button on the elevator that is marked -- Parking Level 666

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Yorker TV Critic backtracks on her earlier assessment of "The Knick"

I was thrilled to read this week that New Yorker magazine TV critic, Emily Nussbuam, admitted to being wrong in her original assessment of The Knick, the amazing series completing its first season run this month under the Cinemax banner. Nussbuam's original review of the series is here.  I’m glad to read she wasn't too proud to backtrack on her original assessment and change her mind here
However, there really was no excuse for her flawed original review if she was looking at the show objectively. Often times TV reviewers have only a pilot and one or two more episodes to view before writing their opinion, so any initial assessment by a reviewer might be flawed as if the TV series improves throughout its run. 
But Nussbuam had seven episodes of The Knick to evaluate, more than enough hours to come up with an informed opinion.  
One of her problems appears to be in the form of mental second guessing where the series was headed before it actually got there, expecting it all to end up being just another formula drama. This is just one of the common afflictions of any TV reviewer who sees tons of TV shows in the course of performing their job. I strongly believe it’s almost impossible not to end up cynical and glib when reviewing TV after just a few years. The unavoidable hazard for a reviewer of thousands of hours of TV shows is the critic inevitably ends up somehow missing what everyone else watching can plainly see -- The Knick is wonderfully produced, daring in style/content, and far from being formula. Whatever Nussbaum was watching, she felt it was necessary to title her original review of The Knick -- “Surgical Strikeout.” Maybe what Nussbaum really doesn't understand is baseball. When a player strikes out, he doesn't get a homerun, a hit, or even a walk. He doesn't get on base at all. Is that what she really was telling readers about The Knick, that the series doesn't even manage to get out of the batter's box?

The reality is that the The Knick could be the best TV series this year.

I admit that I had a few doubts myself after initially seeing the series promoted prior to being broadcast. It appeared by the trailers as if the show had creatively invested big time on the visual shock value of revealing the horrific reality of early surgical procedures. 
But after watching the pilot episode, I felt like a fool for not trusting the talent of Stephen Soderbergh, who is an executive producer of the series, and the director of all of the episodes in the first season.
When Soderbergh retired from film directing it should have been obvious his plan B was moving to another medium that had the promise of being at least as rewarding as making independent films once was a decade ago. 
(I don’t want to bring up Soderbergh and fail to mention the creators of The Knick – Jack Ameil & Michael Begler. Both have also written many of the first season episodes).
I’m thrilled that Clive Owen has finally found the role that will end up defining him as an actor. So many actors run away from hearing that kind of compliment because their desire is to have a career playing many roles and not be locked into just what audiences find memorable -- Spock, Hannibal Lector, the father in the Brady Bunch.
But prior to The Knick, Owen had a different problem than most actors -- he actually needed to lock into a role that would allow his talent to connect with mainstream audiences. He has been acting in major studio and indie films for over ten years, and though his performances have been strong, his persona/screen presence has failed to meaningfully resonate. The Knick finally gives him that perfect role, as the chief surgeon, Dr. Thackery.
There is another actor on the show that brings up a whole new set of discussion points, but I’ll leave that for another time...
Right now I would just like to formally welcome Emily Nussbaum to The Knick fan club. So sorry you ended up taking the circuitous route before joining the rest of us.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BLACK MARIAH meets the newest candidate for his job in an EXCERPT from BMBK2!

“So this is the guy?”
The muted illumination in the containment suite was supposed to have a calming effect on the prime asset after he returned from a mission. But as Black Mariah stood inches away from the Plexiglas barrier, staring ominously at Rick McNeill, it was apparent the lighting design had failed to achieve the desired results.
“This is who you want to bring in to replace me?” 
The audio system between the containment suite and the viewing lounge had a way of turning Black Mariah’s voice into something tinny and distant. And rather than the flaw in the acoustics rendering the creature less intimidating, it made the cadence in his speech even more ominous sounding to the four people standing on the other side of the Plexiglas. 
“Are you serious? Tell me you aren’t serious…” 
Dr. Ann Wolcott, the prime asset’s psych handler, tapped a button on a control panel embedded in the wall, allowing the prime asset to hear their response from the viewing lounge. 
“I’m completely shocked to hear your words, Quen. I’ll accept the blame for getting it wrong, but we’re all here because I agreed to the meeting. And I only agreed to this meeting because you agreed. Did I get what we discussed wrong?” 
She waited, but the prime asset behaved as if he did not hear a word his handler had spoken. “What about it, Quen, did I get it wrong?”
Black Mariah still didn’t respond as he continued to glare at Rick McNeill.
Wolcott moved away from the control panel and planted herself in front of the candidate to become the next Black Mariah.

Friday, September 19, 2014


No need to panic…
Just grab your headphones...

The DEMON DAYS Audio Book is HERE!
Check out the book on AUDIBLE
Even if you’re one of the thousands...
Who have already read the book...
Hearing the text read aloud…

the story 

While on vacation...
Sandy Travis and her fiance Tom are in a helicopter accident. 
The crash causes Tom to have an Near-Death Experience.
Tom is revived by Sandy.
Afterwards, he tells her about seeing...
An Angel of Light... who sent him back...
So he could achieve more among the living.
But Tom is wrong about what he saw during his N.D.E.
Horribly wrong.

Tom's N.D.E. plunges Sandy into a dangerous race...
Against malevolent forces who want to trigger Armageddon
She must save Tom from dark forces controlling his life. 
Follow a bloody trail of coded secrets...
And targeted assassinations
Sandy's plight will pit her against an otherworldly cabal...
Using the process of N.D.E. to usher in.... 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Check out a piece I wrote featured on FRESH VOICES, a screenwriting website.

The subject of pelicula veritas is addressed in my latest screenwritng e-book -- "16 Secrets Revealed by Professional Screenwriters" -- but the piece featured on the website is very different than what is in the book... 

In many ways the piece highlights a concept that will be a running theme as I progress in the Professional Screenwriting Book Series.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Inspiration for my Short Story Dies...

Kenny Kingston -- psychic to the stars died. I was in Santa Barbara, speaking to a screenwriting group and meeting with investors on a project when I heard the news.

I met Kenny only once, but he ended up having an impact on my life that I never expected. 
And to this day, I’m still not sure whether it was a good thing I met him, or the worse.

My meeting with him inspired a short story, Life Lines (which was included in my short story collection -- The Cake is a Lie). 

I have to admit that there was a time I definitely bought into the world of the paranormal.
I had graduated from college two years before and my first marriage had already ended.
I was lost.
I needed guidance.
And along came Kenny Kingston.
It was 1980 something, and I was working at a local Television station in Southern California, writing screenplays in my spare time.
One of the programs at the TV station was a daily talk show shot live.
Kenny was booked as one of the guests. His reputation as a genuine pscyhic had everyone connected with the show excited about his first appearance.
He didn’t disappoint when it came time to broadcast the program. On air, Kenny was energetic, charming and straight forward with his “readings.”
But truth be told, even the viewers at home the day of the broadcast would not have known exactly how impressive Kenny actually was.
Part of the show was to take live phone calls from viewers who would ask Kenny something, and he would give the caller a reading on the air. Because the producers could never be sure if anyone would actually call in, they often pre-arranged to have a few employees call in first as if they were real viewers. This was the operating plan on Kenny’s first visit on the show because no one knew how he would come off. As it turns out, the phone lines lit up a few minutes after the show began, which was impressive (remember this was all happening pre-Internet).
Despite the phone lines being stacked with real callers, the producer of the show inadvertently went to our employee-ringer as one of the first calls.
Kenny’s response to the employee-ringer’s query was very specific, citing details of his personal life, how he had been recently behaving and what he could expect to have happen in the future as a result of his actions.
I was astounded by Kenny’s response. There was no way he could have known the person he was talking to was an employee at the TV station. And what Kenny spoke about was so detailed and spot on about this employee’s private life that it was chilling to hear the words come from his mouth on live TV. After the phone call, I watched as the employee rushed from where he had made the call… to the station’s restrooms… where he threw up in the toilet.
Yeah, I’m not kidding you, it was that eerie how close Kenny came to nailing this guy’s life.  

After the show was broadcast, I met with Kenny.
I was working on a paranormal script and wanted to get some background info on his personality, his way of going about his business, etc.
But there was no doubt I was extremely curious about what he could “see” concerning my own life.
We talked for an hour. I learned a ton of things about his experiences, growing up, interacting with movie stars, and living the life of a psychic.
Only as I stood up to leave did the conversation eventually turn to me.
“Don’t you want to ask anything about yourself?”
I sat back down and admitted that I did want to know what he had to say about my life.
So how did he do?
Not too bad.
Two very important aspects of my past he was able to read with specific and accurate details. And when it came time to predicting my future, he ended up getting one thing right, but one thing wrong.
At the time, his reading was really impressive.
But as the years have gone by, the one thing he got wrong… ended up profoundly changing my life. 
Which is the reason I don’t believe in psychics.

Of course, if Kenny had known about how he had inspired a short story and the way it ended... he would have had something to say while he was alive. 
Now that he’s on the other side, I bet I’ll someday hear him whispering in my sleep -- “You’ll see. I’m going to end up being right.”



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Can Live Sports Coverage Change The Way You Write Your Next Screenplay?

I'm proud to have an excerpt from 16 Secrets Revealed by Professional Screenwriters at FRESH VOICES SCREENWRITER'S SOURCE. 

It's definitely a different take on how creating a screenplay story can be affected by the structure of something most of us enjoy all the time -- SPORTS

Check it out!!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My latest Professional Screenwriter e-book is available now!!!


#99,569 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#34 in Kindle Store Screenwriting
#52 in Kindle Store Performing Arts
#94 in Kindle Store Authorship

Those who can’t do teach. And those who can’t write professionally somehow end up writing books about screenwriting.
This book is DIFFERENT. Written by a PROFESSIONAL currently working in Hollywood—
The author was able to use his connections to get Successful Professional Screenwriters/and Television Writers to –
REVEAL A SECRET about what led to their SUCCESS.
What he discovered will help other screenwriters!
This e-book has 34,000 words…
Internet links throughout the content
An “Appendix” section summarizing each chapter, which can be used as a checklist 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Several months ago, I commented on a post which received so many favorable responses that I've decided to post it on my blog for my regular readers to take in and think about. 
Here's the original blog post from Ted Farrar, Writer, Batrachologist, nature lover, granddad -- 

For the sake of writers everywhere, please STOP this!

Please, please, please - for the sake of all established and newbie authors alike - PLEASE stop giving away your e-books for free or at ridiculously low prices!
You might think you’re giving your books an advantage by promoting your name, but all you are doing is undervaluing your work and making it impossible for authors to make a decent living. At the present time there are so many free e-books available that e-book readers have no need to pay a reasonable price to read anything. I know of people who NEVER buy an e-book – they just surf the freebies. They’re not that discerning: if it’s rubbish they’ll go on to the next freebie. The thing is, they don’t have to be discerning. People get a finite amount of leisure time and as long as they’re spending that time reading free books they aren’t going to be buying yours.
To compete in this giveaway market means that to sell any books at all we have to reduce the price way below what our books are worth. Now, I don’t know about you folks, but I worked and sweated my arse off to write my novel. The idea that ‘Okay’ or ‘Now’ magazine is worth more than 18 months of hard work sticks in my craw.
Although this might sound hilariously naive, attempting to level the playing field with this being a free market and all, I’m proposing we should introduce a minimum price range. I suggest we should price novellas at no less than £0.99, short novels at £1.99 and larger novels at £2.99. This still gives us scope to value our work at more than this, but safeguards us against slitting our own throats to attract a readership, and then we can let our books speak for themselves.


Here's what I believe Ted might be overlooking... 

When a reader gets something for free (because you offered it for free or because they took it for free, pirated, it doesn't really matter so far), in that territory, the odds are, when they liked it, the chances of the author SELLING SOMETHING just increased.
The key phrase is WHEN THEY LIKED IT...
This is especially true with books... 
Meaning that people like to test something...
Whatever happens after they like it... 
Usually bodes well for the author... financially.
I have theories as to why that that is true, and so do a lot of other people, people way smarter than me, who have staked their reputation on this -- People will pay if it is worth while to them to get what they want.
Trust that if you create something that is worth paying for... people will pay for it.
If Free gets you noticed... do it. 
If a discount gets you noticed... do it. 
There's only so much time... and books take time to read... 
There will never ever be "overnight" successes. 
It takes time... free... discount... whatever... 
If you are unknown... and you wrote something... didn't do something infamous... 
YOU WROTE SOMETHING... it takes time...
Whenever you hear someone talking about a plan to MAKE PEOPLE PAY FOR SOMETHING... 
I believe its those people who are not trusting the quality of their writing. 
And these same people will be asking for something else if they achieve their aims.
I hope I'm right. 
And if I'm wrong, I grant Ted his point, and that by granting his point, it might be too late to change courses.
I'm still going to take that chance because... 
I know I'm right... 
I believe in my writing!!!
And all you writers who feel the same way (and if you don't feel that way, why are you still in the game?)... 
This is one of those moments... where you may not have sighted land yet...
And you're getting itchy because you fear there may never be...
A point where you reach the promised land.
I tell you it's out there... 

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Influential R&R (Reader & Reviewer) Terry Price loves the first book in The Wind Raider book series!

Here are some quotes from her review --

Wow. I've read Post-Apocalyptic novels before, but never one like this one. Think of the best ones you've read, combine your favorite elements from them all into one, and you have "The Wind Raider - Book One".

Richard Finney is a master of his craft and a true professional. There are characters you love, ones you hate, and non-stop action. His sleight of hand is powerful, because characters and situations are not always who or what they appear to be in his novels.

Check out the entire review at her facebook page -- TerrysReviewsandAuthorInterviews

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"I’m so RIGHT, I’m afraid I’m being NAIVE about my ADVICE to screenwriters..."

The website FRESH VOICES posted today a recent  INTERVIEW  I did with one of their staff.

"An idea must go through a series of creative tests before I consider it worth writing as a screenplay or book."

I answered questions about my take on the industry... 
Where the screenwriting trade was headed...
And my approach to the craft of screenwriting...  

"We’re at the cusp of another seismic shakeup of filmmaking, possibly similar to what happened in the late sixties that led to so many great films produced in the 70s."
I was excited to talk with the site because their outreach is geared to the next generation of screenwriters trying to make an impact in movies, TV, and media.  

Check it out... and let me know what you think about what I say... Even if you disagree... I'd love to hear your FRESH VOICE!