It's been an up week! Lots of good news in my life and in the lives of close friends. I just got off the phone with my son Jon, mild mannered grocery delivery man by day, shredding heavy metal guitarist by night with his latest fortuitous break, a chance to back up and coming vocalist/writer/ and accordionist, Corn Mo.
Having already made an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, Corn Mo's star is just beginning to rise. Corn Mo had heard Jonathan play guitar at a gig earlier and one day Jon got face booked by Mr. Mo and asked if he would like to be a part of his band (.357 Lover) for a gig in Washington D.C. at The Red Palace.
Fortunately Jon had a couple days off and decided he would learn and have down cold all of the 15 song set that they would be performing that night.
They played D.C. last night. The gig went extremely well! They had a great crowd and the band cooked!
So Jon is back in the delivery truck again today. but I don't think for long. I see bigger things for this man who's paid his dues big time on the streets of New York City, Austin, Texas and back to NY.
If you would like to learn more about young Mr. Corn Mo go to his web site at cornmo.com.
I have known Wil Denson all of my adult life. We fist met doing summer theatre at the Green Ram in Wisconsin Dells. He has really been a great friend who took me in when I was separated and mentored me not only on acting but on life.
What follows is a news release on Wil that makes me extremely happy:
Professor Emeritus Wil Denson signs with Hollywood literary agent
RELEASED: Feb. 3, 2011
Dr. Wil Denson
EAU CLAIRE — Lucky for Dr. Wil Denson, Hollywood loves guys with beards and Ph.D.s.
That's what literary agent Caren Bohrman, a prominent figure in the Hollywood film industry, jokingly told the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire professor emeritus of theatre arts when he recently signed with her agency.
Joking aside, Denson caught the agent's attention — and that of about 35 other agencies, producers and managers — when his screenplay "Feral" in January was named the overall winner in trackingb.com's 2010 international Feature Script Contest. Denson's work was selected for the top honor from a field of about 1,000 competing entries by a panel of 15 film industry literary judges.
Denson's hopes after "Feral" won the tracking.com contest were that he'd "be signed by an 'effective' literary agent, that 'Feral' will be produced and that I'll be made one of the film production team," he said shortly before signing with Bohrman.
"The odds of production are daunting, but I have hopes," he said.
Denson went with Bohrman based on what he'd learned about her from others in the industry. Bohrman has sold numerous screenplays that have subsequently gotten produced, including the scripts for the films "The Fugitive," "Warlock," "Crazy/Beautiful," "Buckaroo Banzai" and "The United States of Leland."
"Ms. Bohrman was my first choice to represent me," Denson said. "She's generally known as a 'boutique' agent specializing in working intensely with a small number of writers. From what I've learned she is one of the best/better LA industry people/human beings. The organizer of [the trackingb.com contest] advised me from the very beginning that she was the one to hope for, the perfect match for me."
Denson retired in 1999 from UW-Eau Claire after 30 years on the university's theatre arts faculty. He taught acting, stage directing, theater literature and criticism, musical comedy, performance for the camera, playwriting and theater management. For years he was the director of University Theatre and Summer Theatre. During his time at UW-Eau Claire, many of his play scripts were published and produced.
Denson's writing continued following his retirement and expanded to include screenplays.
"Feral," about a man "beyond psychotic," can accurately be categorized as a thriller, Denson said.
"Some agents have also labeled it 'thriller/horror,'" Denson said. "I'm not clear on the distinction. I do want to make it clear that it is not a 'slasher film.'"
Denson, who said he constantly changes and rewrites his works that have not yet been published, estimated he began writing "Feral" about five years ago.
His "dream cast" would include Chris Cooper or Tommy Lee Jones in the lead, a county sheriff, with John Malcovich as Ray, the psychotic villain.
"It's very unusual for first-time screenwriters to score A-team actors, but I can dream," Denson said.
The trackingb.com honor is not the first screenwriting contest success for Denson. Earlier versions of "Feral" were a top-10 finisher in the 2007 Script Savvy competition and a semi-finalist in the Hollywood Nexus Screenwriting Contest. Another of Denson's screenplays, "Brantner," was a finalist several years ago in the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Competition, a prestigious contest sponsored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
As he waits to see whether his new agent will be the key to getting "Feral" produced for the big screen, Denson directs his attention to doing what he loves. While "Brantner" had success in the Nicholl Competition, it's never been produced, and he continues to refine it. He's also recently returned to playwriting. His one-act play, "It Ate Houston," was awarded second place in the Lourdes College Drama Society's 2010 One-Act Playwriting Competition and will premiere in Lourdes College's Festival of One Acts this spring.
A new piece, called "Going Long," also is in the works. Whether it's a play or a film script and what it's about, however, Denson is not yet willing to share.
"I hesitate to say more about it at this point except I think it's a good idea," Denson said.
Early this week I received news that my close friend Robert One Man Johnson who is overseas with wife Marge, was having serious health problems.
I say was because again, HAPPILY it all worked out. Robert went into the hospital with a lung infection. In the process of dealing with that, doctors discovered a small spot on his lung, about the size of a dime.
He then was subjected to a fairly easy procedure through which they obtained a small piece for biopsy and the results were malignant.
without hestitation, he went through surgerey and the lowere lobe of his lung was removed, capturing the entire cancer. They then biopsied the lymph nodes and found them to be clear!
Both Robert's dad and one of his brothers both died of cancer. As one of Robert's friends remarked in a shared e mail, Guess it was really lucky you got that lung infection and they found it early!
So Yippee for Robert. Now I hope he stays healthy and clean for another 50 years. I love that guy.
And while I'm at it, I want to share with everybody the fact that I am really a lucky guy because I have a really good friend and agent that I call my "marketeer".
I first met her when she was working as a marketing agent for WAXX Radio and TV. She got me involved in doing a TV spot for Asher Enterprises. Truth be told, I cannot even remember what the commercial was about, but I do remember it was the first day of a new friendship as she and I hit it off immediately.
We both share the same philosophy on life - think positively, work hard, and all good things will come to pass in due time. I just re-read that -- and believe me, she is much more positive about herself than I - and nobody works harder at her craft than she does!
She has helped get my wages up as a performer because she has a really good head for business and knows how to sell! She always wants the best for me. The other day she left a message - very excited for me - that she had landed a booking for me on September 16.
I could tell just from her voice how much she really cares about this old man.
Still, like the rest of us, she is not perfect - sometimes she forgets just how wonderful she is and gets her feelings hurt through misinterpretation.
I'm very familiar with that. I am the king of misinterpretation.
Neither one of us is too crazy about organized religion or politics but we are both great lovers of people. She has a great sense of what is just.
Another great attribute - she doesn't have a selfish bone in her body
I love my marketeer!
There I said it!