Next Step or Completely Delusional?

Well maybe I am not the person who I always thought I was or
was going to become. Nah, I do know that I am an artist, struggling yet full of
life and wanting to express it through my writing and directing. I have written
screenplays, both short and feature length, short stories in various levels of
development and ideas that are always swimming around in my head. I don’t know
if merely out of necessity or if there really is another part of me that is the
business minded person. I have had to form the business entity, documents, create
and write a complete business plan with financial projections, marketing and
distribution strategies, statistics, market research for the motion picture
industry and the segment of disabled consumer market, product distinction,
product placement (both new companies looking for the opportunities and
established ones that want to compete for the disabled consumer market), and
how all of this can be a commercial success. I created a website, learned about
html, Dreamweaver and Photoshop so I could make a site that because I couldn’t
afford to pay someone I would make it look like it was done professionally to
project the image of, well being professional. And then comes the part of
marketing all of this and myself to the industry and business world. I have
taken this marketing in every direction and covered every angle from
traditional business loans, to government SBA Guarantees and programs, to
individual investors, to Angel and Venture Capital groups, and when all of this
failed to generate professional and financial support (as is described in
detail in other blog entries and the website) I turned to the one place I knew
would understand this mission and would have the best chance of support, to the
motion picture and television industry. I have approached and attempted to get
in contact with both the traditional studio and independent avenues contacting
studio executives, from CEO’s to presidents and vice-presidents in charge of
production and/or their publicity departments, independent production companies
and individual producers, talent agents and agencies, and for the support of
celebrities including those that for obvious reasons would have a personal
interest in what I have created, all in an effort to get the financial and professional
business support that this cause and mission deserve and I need to make all of
this come to life.


Hope & Faith

There it is – the
past 12 years of my life
and my motivations to remain positive despite
being paralyzed, the reasons why I wake up and get out of bed – which in itself
is a miracle compared to my life as an able bodied person – all wrapped up in
one cute little paragraph that I seem to be the only one who cares about it!


The backbone of all of this is hope and faith. What is it and why do some have
more of it then others? I remember 18 years ago when I was merely one out of a
hundred or so employees answering the phone to qualify our clients’ new
employees for their company to receive a tax credit and presenting to the
founder and CEO of the company a business plan for a secondary service that I
knew would fit for the company. He didn’t bite but he took a moment and pushed
away from his desk to look me in the eye and tell me how impressed he was with
my initiative, the entrepreneurial spirit, the drive to put it all together in
a very well constructed presentation, and the balls to come forth and present
it to him. He said very few people have that and I thought to myself, why? It
comes so naturally to me, something I just do because I believe in doing and not just talking or dreaming. Make it happen. This wasn’t the first
time and neither was the time I made a complete business plan for my
independent record label while I was in school at the Art Institute, and of our
first album that would launch the company, a battle of the bands competition
with a winning band in each of the major cities of the state of Texas to be
featured on our “Best of Texas” hard rock album that I banked it all on and
presented to a major corporation and first satellite music radio company who
had stations all over the state and the country – who was just bought by ABC,
only to have them tell me they loved the idea and would get back to me. When
they didn’t and while I was following up I suddenly heard on their local radio
station that they were doing it themselves – they claimed that one of their
DJ’s presented them the idea before I came in! What was I suppose to do? Take
them to court and face the team of corporate lawyers of ABC? Devastating but no
matter it wasn’t the first time my dreams were crushed, I was disappointed at
being rejected and my ideas that would rocket my company and my career were
basically stolen and wouldn’t be the last. Besides I already discovered I had
more passion for storytelling and expressed that by making music videos – which
I began to make music video demos for unsigned bands to use instead of merely
an audio cassette demo – this was an innovating concept in 1989. But unsigned
rock bands do not have any money and when that idea didn’t pay the bills, and
the freelancing as a video camera operator, grip, gaffer, and production
assistant for other music videos and projects had dried up a couple of years
into the next decade I had to get another job!

 

Ever Feel Like Something’s Missing?

Already knowing that film was the only place I could tell my
stories that were a lot longer than the 4 minutes of a typical song I kept the
hope that I would make it. But my job got more and more of my time as I moved
from low on the totem pole up into management spending 14-16 hours days over
two offices. Success was nice but I was missing something. This was in 1994 and
I finally got some time on a Saturday to see a matinee that I found out later
was from a new filmmaker and titled, “Pulp Fiction”! It blew me away and
reminded me of what it was that despite the success I had a major void in my
life. So I ended up quitting that job and began writing a short film I wanted
to produce. I got a job with another company but as a regular hourly employee
so after my 8 were done I had the energy and time to pursue what I really
wanted to do in life! And as I was about to go into production on April 1, 1995
I fell down the staircase outside my brother’s apartment broke my back, crushed
three vertebras, completely severed my spinal cord and left me as a paraplegic
survivor. The new job I accepted in place of my salaried management position –
had no insurance and I had no independent medical, disability or life
insurance. I immediately lost everything – my condo in the Arts District of
east Dallas,
all my savings and money before I was even released out of the hospital.  

 

Fortunately, I remembered what gave me life just before this
life changing accident and it is what gave me the strength, hope and faith to
continue to live life to the fullest despite this new reality and perspective
from a wheelchair. When I went looking for some representation of people like
myself in movies and television, I found very little and all of it was
stereotypical and nearly all written, directed and acted by able bodied the
same majority of the population who often cried in unison that they would
rather die then to live as I do, paralyzed. But no matter they could still understand
what it is like to be a paraplegic and authentically represent me in movies and
television I say with all the sarcasm of a Don Rickles stand up routine! And
since then I knew what I had to do and I dedicated my everything – which as I
explained wasn’t much left – but my hope and faith in being a storyteller on
film and since then, well see the first paragraph!
      

 

Deep Concern

Hope and faith have waivered from time to time in the past
but now here in 2008, I wonder if it is wavering or fading. I have never given
up hope that I was going to be what it was that I wanted to be! In the past I
would spend months on an idea or dream and develop it to where I could present
it and if it didn’t work out then I moved on to the next. It culminated into what
it is that I really am all about and even if I never get the recognition,
support or acceptance from Hollywood,
I AM AND WILL DIE a filmmaker, a storyteller on film and an entrepreneurial
business man. All of this I have committed to for the past 12+ years. Every
time I got to where it seemed like it wouldn’t work out, I found the reasons
for it and then developed an answer so it would work out. This has gone on and
on to where I am now – I have the answers to everything, every objection, every
question about making a commercially viable film from an authentic voice and
representation of those who like myself are paralyzed or have a disAbility of
some kind that would break the stereotypes and help end the discrimination of
those with a disAbility in Hollywood. Wow, when I think about it that is a lot
all in one package, huh?

 

  • Commercially
    viable
  • Authentic
    Voice
  • Authentic
    Representation
  • Non-stereotypical
  • And help
    end the blatant industry wide discrimination of those with a disAbility!

 

Whew! There is dreaming and there pie in the sky dreaming.
Yeah, but you give me 5 minutes and I will hook you into the next 25 to explain
exactly how I can do it and it will make complete sense when I am through! Ask
any questions and if it wasn’t already answered in the presentation – well,
hell it was covered I would just restate it or rephrase it to be understood!
Don’t worry I won’t make you feel like a dumb shit for asking – in fact I
welcome questions and objections because I love sharing what I have silently
uncovered, created and overcome through personal trials over the past several
years and now give an answer that is not only reasonable but makes such good
sense that you will feel like a light just went on and wonder why nobody
thought of that before! Fact is somebody probably has but because the industry
of motion pictures and television is so difficult to get into – to get their
attention to even be able to present it – they have either quit trying or
feared it too much to start it. I haven’t but I am running out of options.

 

The Establishment

Sometimes I wonder what makes me think I could do something
so big as it would change Hollywood,
change American Cinema forever – hell I cannot even get you to comment in my
blog or my new guest book. And that, along with not a single glimpse from
anyone in Hollywood after all these years and attempts is why I am wondering
for the first time – worrying really – that my hope and faith of this dream
that would affect millions and millions of people would become a reality, is actually
fading instead of wavering. Almost 13 years since becoming paralyzed and seeing
the void and wanting to provide a solution that everyone from the making of to
audience would be happy to see in movies and television representing those who
were like me and dealing with a disAbility every day, every single moment of
every day, of every week, of every month, of every year, of every decade, of
every life that has been affected by a disAbility.

Yet despite all that I have been through, endured, and overcome
and just when I thought I have finally gotten over all the obstacles to make
this happen – my last obstacle is by far the biggest challenge so far has been
Hollywood itself. I cannot seem to get anyone to look past my wheelchair and
into the person. Into the work I have done to do what they hate to admit have
not been able to do – provide an authentic voice and representation of a
non-stereotypical film that features a character with a disAbility in a
commercially viable movie or television program. Hell most do not even think
about it – and when they do they don’t think it is a problem – or if it is that
there are diversity programs that handle that so they don’t have to. Yet as I
have proven – most in the industry do not
think a disAbility is a minority
and those that do, still do not provide a substantial program to
help. If they did – I ask one question – where are the Hollywood supported authentic voiced and
represented, non-stereotypical movies that either are or are not commercially
successful?

 

Yeah, I know – they don’t exist. I have spent 12+ years
looking for them and while some of them have some of the elements or partial
elements, none have all three as detailed on the website and is required to be
commercially viable. Instead of waiting on someone else I have created them
myself and I can prove it if I could just get past the damn receptionists,
assistants, and staff members to a real producer in Hollywood.

 

Fear of the Unknown and Unproven?

Is there something here – something anywhere on my website
or blog that you do not believe is the truth. Why don’t you ask me? Challenge
me? What are you afraid of? The truth? Oh, I would so love to discuss it with
you, to the have the opportunity to prove it you – to anyone – to everyone! But
maybe nobody cares that those with a disAbility does not have a voice, and
honest and authentic voice – hell we barely have any representation and what
little we do have is nearly all represented by able bodied writers, directors,
and actors whose perspective of what it must be like to be paralyzed or have a
disAbility of any kind is based and influenced by previous films and television
programs of those with a disAbility that were also written, directed and
performed by able bodied individuals. Able bodied teaching able bodied what it
is like to be paralyzed or have a disAbility! Even when the material is based
on the real life of a person with a disAbility, or they producers pay to have a
consultant who has the same or similar disAbility on the set, it is still up for
interpretation of the able bodied artist. Regardless of how good they were, or
how well intended they were – they are still not my voice or my representatives
in today’s entertainment. And motion pictures and television are often the
face, the cultural representatives of a people, a profession, a subgroup, a
minority. When do we get the opportunity to represent ourselves?

 

So what is the next step?

Just like all the previous obstacles that I encountered and
found a way to get over it, under it, around it, or in some cases I have
demolished them, created the answers to make them disappear. But most of them I
have done silently and unnoticed because despite my efforts the industry has
not seen any of my work, my screenplays, or my business plan. As I mentioned
before, just getting Hollywood’s
attention to what the problem is, let alone what I have to solve it, is by far
the largest obstacle and most difficult challenge I have been faced with. If my
countless phone calls, letters, faxes, and emails have gone unnoticed, ignored
and dismissed what the hell can I do to just get their attention?

 

Hope & Faith Revisited

What would a person who has spent years and become desperate
or nearing desperation because despite overcoming objections and obstacles he
has not gotten any results, any attention, any consideration? Well if I cannot
get Hollywood’s attention, I will have to bring
the attention to Hollywood!
Sounds a little frightening, huh? Especially when you hear – “oh, he was the
most mild tempered person on our street”, or “he was always optimistic,
positive, a real inspiration to everyone.” All of that is true and yet I can
assure you that I am the most scared. I have banked everything, this past year
on this happening. I thought for sure I would get someone’s attention now that
I have a polished plan that includes the material necessary to be a brighter
future for an entire segment of the population. But as the months passed one
after the other, I now find myself in debt without a job and my only income is meager
$679 a month form Social Security Disability Insurance.

 

I have awakened every morning with the hope that this would
be the day I would get someone’s attention. That this would be the day that:

 

  • Michael Barker and/or Tom Bernard will take my
    call despite the numerous previous attempts when the receptionist would come
    back with –“I’m sorry they are both in a meeting. Would you like to leave a
    message?” or maybe that this will be the day that they will call me back after
    I have left the countless messages that included the recommendation from a
    previous COO and CFO of another Sony Entertainment division.

  • That the next person on my list to contact or
    re-attempt to contact will take my call, read my letter, fax, email, or accept
    my invite to visit my website


  • Consider what I have to add to American Cinema



  • Hope they would care about the stereotypes and
    the blatant discrimination of those that make up the largest and fastest
    growing minority, the 56 million Americans with a disAbility

·       
and

  • Care enough to act and not just acknowledge this
    is a terrible injustice and then wish me good luck

 

Everyday I wake up and hope it will be the day that will be
the first real step in a door that could help launch this dream that is much
bigger then me and as I mentioned affects millions of Americans, the 25% of all
American households that have a person with a disAbility including all of their
family members and friends who would want to see themselves and their loved
ones with a disAbility being recognized as meaningfully participants of our
culture, our society instead of being pitied and brushed off as insignificant
people.

 

Nearly 100 and Counting

I have a database of 93 people I have contacted in Hollywood and that I have
awakened every morning to put my hope and faith in that they will give me just
a minute of their time to honestly consider any part of what I have created. To
consider supporting in ways that can be as little as writing a mere sentence of
their support – to say that they believe this is a good cause – to sending what
they have discovered on my website or in my letter or my email, voice mail, or
fax to someone they think might be able to help – to the producer or executive
who would provide me a fair and equal opportunity with an invite to present what
I have and is something that can be a permanent solution to the Hollywood
history of a common practice of ignoring, dismissing, repressing the authentic
voices and representation, the stereotypes and discrimination imposed by the
industry. Whomever it is that does give me a chance and look at what I offer, I
will be so pleased that they will be
known as ones that played a significant part in what American Cinema history
will record as a “turning point” for those with a disAbility on both sides of
the camera.

 

Everyday hoping and believing that it would be the day I
could get the slightest bit of a glance from someone within the Hollywood club. Do you know what it is like to hope for
something so hard and for so long that you do not know how or what else to hope
for? To do it for a dozen years and every night be disappointed and yet keep
the faith – tomorrow will be the day – and tomorrow comes and you continue to
go without any recognition from those you are trying to merely get the
attention of. Feel like it might all be useless especially when it seems like
you are just being ignored – dismissed as not important – not even have the
decency to have James Cameron or one of his staff members say that he has looked at it and doesn’t think
it will fly! Maybe they are so afraid to find out that there is no reason why
it would not work – or why it would not at least be a worthy risk to try – and
then because of the traditional practices of Hollywood, say they will not take the chance!
“Oh, but good luck with that, it sounds like a great idea.”

 

I don’t care what the reason is anymore. I am tired of going
through this every day. I will have to bring the attention to Hollywood and
they will be forced to pay attention then to this issue, admit it is important,
and needs to be more then just addressed by a committee or given some PC
gesture of an outreach program that only accepts the application and resume of
those with a disAbility with an out stretched hand and given the all to common
Hollywood lie, “We’ll call you!”

Last Hope

ATTENTION HOLLYWOOD
– Attention is my last hope of making my dream come alive. I am very much out
of time and out of money. Just like the position I was in after my accident and
while in the hospital, hope and faith is all I have left. I have given this my
all and after nearly 13 years of work, creation, sacrificing, disappointment,
rejection and keeping a smile on my face while staying positive every day that
this would be the day and as I mentioned above I cannot be sure that this hope
and faith that has been something I have had on occasion to dig deep to find
every morning, and after a day of disappointments keep every night, I am very
concerned that it isn’t merely wavering again and instead is quickly fading. Getting
Hollywood’s
attention is all I can do after completing all that I have and showcase on my
website. If nobody in the industry will
give me 5 minutes of attention, I will have to bring a lot of attention to Hollywood.
As I
mentioned before including the blog entry titled, “What’s Up Doc..umentary?” that it would include a documentary film of my journey and naming
the names of who I am calling, who I have already called and attempted to
contact from my database of nearly 100 members of the Hollywood club while
pointing the camera at Hollywood and it would also include organizing protests
with disAbility rights and advocates, mobilizing the actors, performers,
artists with a disAbility currently trying to work and dream in Hollywood, and
make sure the entertainment news media is very aware of all of our activities!
I have to get their attention to a permanent solution and groundbreaking
inclusion of our authentic voices and representation that will change American
Cinema forever. One step at a time and I can assure you, you will not be
disappointed. If you worked this hard and this long, to the point where I am
now, what would you do?

 

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