Party Like It’s Your Birthday

I’m feeling pretty good right about now.

This also happened a few years ago in something I called "The Weekend Of Jim."  It was one specific weekend that culminated in my birthday (which, for twenty years I have never failed to take a vacation day with today breaking that tradition), the Martin Luther King holiday (with my birthday giving me a four day weekend), getting my tax return, receiving my bonus check, paying my truck off and every single other debt I had.

Hard act to follow.

Well yesterday was another series of layoffs at work, the third in the eighteen months I have been here.  Luckily I wasn’t one of them.  Then I came home to find an email from a man I’ll refer to as Johnny T (mostly because his last name starts with "Tch" and I’ll just butcher it if I go any further).  I met him a few months ago in Seattle at a wedding and found out he’s a TV writer.  I told him I dabble in some writing and if he’d be interested in looking at something and giving me some advice and he said he’d be glad to.  Now I think people in film, much like people in music, doctors and lawyers have occupations where total strangers are always asking them for something.

Hey counselor, is it considered grand theft is you’re stealing your own car back from an impound lot?

Hey doc, my kids get chest colds so I give them a teaspoon of Vicks Vapor rub with sugar and have them eat it.  Is that going to be a problem? *

Hey Simon Cowell, my sixteen year old son and his friends have band and they’re really, really good.  A cross between Maroon 5 and Color Me Badd.  Will you listen to their demo tape?

And then there’s me.

Hey John.  I know you’re at your friends wedding and getting your drink on and you’ve known me for (looks at watch) six minutes but will you read my screenplay?

I’m sure that happens to people a lot and I always feel awkward asking favors of people I don’t know.  What’s worse, I’ve seen American Idol and I am sure there are a lot of shitty demo tapes and screenplays out there (I once wrote my only piece of fan fiction was a Superman screenplay when I had writers block and someone pitched me a sequel that involved Superman meeting Jesus Christ).  I hate to be one of those people.  So when the email came back I cringed a little and then I saw this sentence:

"It’s great!  I had no idea what to expect, and I was honestly really impressed.  It’s a fun read and it’s got great dialogue and very cool action."

I’ve heard that before but honestly, sometimes trusting your friends, even the honest ones, is like trusting your mom.  She’s never going to tell you you’re short and fat and that’s why Amy Hunt won’t go out with you.  And they’re are people I trust more than others.  The point here being this came from a professional writer.  Let me reiterate, someone who gets paid to write words said this.

And I am feeling pretty good right about now.

He made some suggestions and all of them valid.  Yuri (one of my springboards) and I talked about it and Tony (my co-writer) and I will be a conversation as soon as I am back from DC.

Oh wait.  Did I not mention that?  Yeah, Natalie and I leaving for Orlando tonight.  Having a dinner with her folks and then heading to Washington DC for the Presidential Inauguration.  Expect photos of me and history.  Hopefully we’ll get into one of the many free concerts from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Alicia Keys, U2, LL Cool J, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Jay Z and Mary J Blige.  And Spike Lee is hosting a day long symposium at Howard University.  And Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Colin Powell and Steven Fucking Spielberg will be in town.

And Natalie, just so you know, I’ll be in the same city with Anne Hathaway, Beyonce Knowles and Jessica Alba… I bet you wish we didn’t make those "freebie lists" now.


And my eleven year-old nephew called last night to take me to lunch and the movie of my choosing because today is my birthday and this weekend I’m a rock star.

* My father actually used to do this to us.  When I was old enough to read I found the words "Do Not Ingest" and seriously started to question my father’s methods.


One thought on “Party Like It’s Your Birthday

  1. Happy B-day Jim, and as always a good read.

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