Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!

There’s a word used among professional writers that describes those who refuse to write anything for which they do not feel a deeply emotional connection: unemployed.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to manage on occasion to make a living putting words to paper understand that writing is first and foremost a job, and not a form of personal expression. On occasion, you may be lucky enough to work on a project that you love, but it will almost invariably pay far fewer bills than the ones you loathe.

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Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!

There’s a word used among professional writers that describes those who refuse to write anything for which they do not feel a deeply emotional connection: unemployed.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to manage on occasion to make a living putting words to paper understand that writing is first and foremost a job, and not a form of personal expression. On occasion, you may be lucky enough to work on a project that you love, but it will almost invariably pay far fewer bills than the ones you loathe.

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Foxy: My Life in Three Acts

Here’s the thing everyone should know about Pam Grier’s autobiography, FOXY: MY LIFE IN THREE ACTS: It wasn’t written by a Pam Grier fan.

If it had been written by someone who was as obsessed with Grier’s film career as much as any other responsible B-movie buff, there would be whole long chapters about the making of COFFY, FOXY BROWN and SHEBA, BABY. There’d be anecdotes about working with William Marshall on the set of SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM, Jim Backus on FRIDAY FOSTER, and what it must have felt like co-starring as a slave in the studio-made DRUM, just a few years after playing such strong female lead characters in lower budgeted non-studio films.

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Evel: The High-Flying Life of Evel Knievel: American Showman, Daredevil, and Legend

I must admit that when I decided to read EVEL: THE HIGH-FLYING LIFE OF EVEL KNIEVEL: AMERICAN SHOWMAN, DAREDEVIL, AND LEGEND, I did so less out of any enthusiasm for its subject than my appreciation of author Leigh Montville’s excellent 2008 book, THE MYSTERIOUS MONTAGUE: A TRUE TALE OF HOLLYWOOD, GOLF, AND ARMED ROBBERY.

That nonfiction work detailed the fascinating tale of the rise and fall of John Montague, a large, boisterous golf hustler whose reputation as the best trick-shot artist in America was quickly undone by his inability to play in front of large crowds and — more significantly — his being arrested and tried for an armed robbery committed years earlier.

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Stories I Only Tell My Friends

I think it’s safe to say that Rob Lowe and I are about as different as two life forms can be and still be classified as belonging to the same species. It is equally safe to say that given the evolutionary choice, nature would definitely select him over me. This should make me resent him, and I do (I really, really do!), but not enough for me to not recommend his very entertaining new autobiography.

Beyond having a title guaranteed to encouraging legions of stalkers to show up at his house, STORIES I ONLY TELL MY FRIENDS also manages to pull off the nigh impossible trick of being extremely likable for a memoir detailing the supermodel-humping adventures of the prettiest of all pretty-boy Brat Packers.

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Jeannie Out of the Bottle

Although I am by no means a stranger to the genre of completely unnecessary autobiographies dedicated to aging actors whose relevance as celebrities ended before I was born, I can’t say that I picked up this latest entry out of any enthusiasm for its subject. As much as I love 7 FACES OF DR. LAO, if you were to ask me which gorgeous blond star from a classic ’60s sitcom about a magical beauty prone to creating comic situations whilst attempting to help the man she loved owned my heart, I’d say Elizabeth Montgomery without a second’s hesitation.

It wasn’t out of any interest in Barbara Eden’s life and career that compelled me to listen to the audiobook version of JEANNIE OUT OF THE BOTTLE, which is credited to her and (I presume) the actual author of the work, Wendy Leigh, but rather a personal interest in the subject of ghostwriting itself.

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Music on Film: Cabaret

As far as I’m concerned, the 1973 Academy Awards was the setting of what has to be the biggest upset in the event’s history. That year, the Oscar for Best Picture went to a film you might have heard of called THE GODFATHER, but instead of awarding the prize for Best Director to Francis Ford Coppola, the Academy’s voters instead gave it to Bob Fosse for his work on CABARET.

Can you friggin’ believe that? Have you heard anything so completely bug-nuts insane? There’s no way THE GODFATHER should have gotten Best Picture!

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The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines

When I was 5, I asked my mother to buy me a superhero poster, because I really liked superheroes and, even at that young of age, I abhorred an empty wall. I made my request with visions of Superman and Batman floating in my head, but I would have happily settled for a Spider-Man or a Hulk as well. Hell, I would have made do with a freakin’ Aquaman if it came down to that.

Instead, she returned home with a poster of Lynda Carter dressed as Wonder Woman and I was fucking devastated.

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Bossypants

Tina Fey is the funniest voice Generation X ever produced. Not the funniest female voice — the funniest voice period-full-stop-that-means-boys-are-totally-included. A controversial statement? Definitely, but I’m happy to make it. Why? Because she might someday Google herself, find this review and decide to reward my declaration with an awkward sexual favor. Far-fetched? Probably, but I know for a fact she has a thing for short guys, so — fuck it I’m swinging for the fences.

That said, as someone who considers himself to be a knowledgeable student of comedy history, Fey truly does deserves to be considered one of the greats of our time. Both her Mark Twain Prize and her first book, BOSSYPANTS, more then backs this up.

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Stuntman!: My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life

When I first picked up my brand-new copy of Hal Needham’s STUNTMAN!: MY CAR-CRASHING, PLANE-JUMPING, BONE-BREAKING, DEATH-DEFYING HOLLYWOOD LIFE, the first thought that flashed inside my mind was, “Oh, fuck, now I actually have to read this shit.” My second was the profound realization that the cliché was true: Those who ignore the lessons of the past are forever doomed to repeat them.

Our story begins six years ago (-ish), back when I was still a young, bright-eyed, Canadian writer working for a local company that specialized in publishing books you’ve never read. Having grown accustomed to my being the most obscure working author in North America, I was shocked when my fourth book, URBAN LEGENDS, ignited a firestorm of media interest.

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