Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hollywood Quad - Landon Tribute (episode 3)

Episode 3 - Michael Landon Tribute - Jim Troesh, who acted for three years as the quadriplegic attorney on Highway to Heaven, talks candidly about TV icon Michael Landon.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Last weekend I released Episode 2 "The Hollywood Quad - The Q Word." (just click to check it out) It's about navigating in Hollywood as a quadriplegic guy and how executive producers react to me. This weekend I will release the third webisode "The Hollywood Quad - Michael Landon Tribute." I'm sure you can guess what it's about, but it's a side to him I'm sure you never heard about. I haven't done any publicity on the series yet but so far I have gotten close to two thousand downloads. I'll be doing a big publicity push right after the first of the year when I have about four episodes floating around out there on the Internet highway.

I really enjoy doing these and I get a terrific reaction from my industry friends who have seen them, but it takes two days and sometimes three to get them produced and distributed throughout the Internet. I am getting the speed down, but I wish I had more time to work on my screenplays. Oh well, the best I can do is the best I can to.

My Christmas Day was uneventful. I spent the day with my family back on December 9th. We do Christmas early. That way we avoid the Christmas rush. If you are interested, check back to this blog in a couple weeks and there should be a Link to a video I'm editing that I will mail out to my family who couldn't make it.

Its always rough around holidays for me because my caregivers want to spend time with their families. We do the best we can to work through the holidays but I am usually stuck with people I don't know well a lot at this time of year. I hesitate to complain because there are a lot of people out there with no care givers. I'm not really complaining anyway, I thank God for these people. If it wasn't for them and people who gone before them, there would be no "The Hollywood Quad", or career for me.

Future podcasts will focus on my struggle to move from playing hospital patients to playing doctors. I will also talk about how being quadriplegic helps me to overcome certain obstacles that able-bodied people struggle with. and, yes, there will even be a podcast about my sex life. I've heard for years it's something everybody wants to know, but no one wants to ask.

Sorry it's such a short blog this week, I'm really backed up with work (it's a good thing). Until next time ... thanks for checking in!

Friday, December 08, 2006

"The Hollywood Quad"

That's right, I am "The Hollywood Quad." I went to a seminar about the future of television at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences a few weeks ago. Among other things, I learned all about podcasts, how to create them and how to distribute them on the Internet.

I came up with the title and the concept of the show pretty quickly. The pilot is a little over seven minutes, but future episodes will probably be three to four minutes. Each one will have some insight into me or my journey toward success in the entertainment business. There may also be interviews with celebrities. The difference between my interviews and the interviews you can see everywhere else is that on the "The Hollywood Quad" the celebrities will be interviewing me.

I really love doing the show because I get to be the producer, director, writer, performer, editor, and distributor. I control all the content and it comes out exactly the way I want it to. I look forward to hearing what you think of my vision.

I did it mainly to promote Jim Troesh, but during the process of the pilot episode I realized it was an excellent way of addressing the elephant in the room. The biggest obstacle I face is the attitude, and the preconceived notions that are in the minds of the people who hire me. If I can put my persona out there in a place where they can see what I'm about without actually having to meet me, I am one step ahead. It's almost as if they get to know me before they meet me.

I purposely shot it so you see all the moving parts of me and none of the things I can't move. That way, they focused on me and not my disability. I don't try to hide it, there are several shots of me in my wheelchair, but it's not a focal point in most of the episode. I also joke around and deliver my message with humor so hopefully people are enlightened rather than be co-head with an idea.

I released it last week and it has had about 1500 Hits at the time of this writing. In about two weeks when I have more episodes I'm going to put it up on iTunes where people can subscribe to it for free and it will automatically go on to your computer every time you open iTunes.

I encourage you to take a look at and share it with as many of your friends says would be interested and when it gets on iTunes or one of the other places you can subscribe to it, please do. The more downloads it gets the higher it moves on YouTube and thereby generates even more downloads.

Other than that, I've just been writing. Thanks for reading this ...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Movie Premiere/Star Trek/Other Stuff

It has been an exciting week, I was excited to be on the set of the newest Star Trek episode, and the movie I wrote "Color of the Cross" premiered Saturday night at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills.

If you haven't heard, there are new episodes of the original Star Trek series, with Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and all the characters you love available online as free downloads from the Star Trek New Voyages website at These are brand new, skillfully produced episodes with great music and outstanding graphics, some of them starring members of the original Star Star Trek cast! The most recent is still in production and stars George Takei, the original Mr. Sulu. It is directed and co-written by my friend and mentor Marc Zicree.

On the left, I'm on the actual Star Trek set with one of the production crew actress/writer/producer Cali Ross. In the photo above you can see the huge "green screen" where, during the post-production they can insert the landscape of some strange new world. A crowd of special effects people, hairdressers, make-up artists, costume designers and others swarm around the set. In the photo on the right, director Marc Zicree discusses an upcoming scene with some of the crew.

This is me outside the WGA Theater taking a photo with my first feature film credit! Lots of well-dressed men and very attractive women packed the theater. My problem was that I thought it was a screening, and dressed like I was just going to a movie rather than dressing for a premier which is why I'm dressed the way I am in the picture. Other than that, it was very exciting although I was waiting in the lobby to talk to the producer and missed the beginning of the movie so I didn't get to see my credit as co-writer on the screen!

It was pretty cool to watch people on the big screen saying words I had written. I have a different take on why Judas betrayed Jesus and I created a relationship between Mary and Mary Magdalene that I hope you find interesting when you see it when it is released across the country on November 10th.

Other than that, I have been busy rewriting my script Area 52 after getting some terrific notes on it from two excellent script consultants. Writing is rewriting and it's never finished until you're watching it at home on TV.

Things are about to start heating up for me again. Periodically, I take a super mentor class with Marc and Elaine Zicree that super motivates me into getting the most out of every day. Marc And Elaine are former show runners (executive producers) and have written over a hundred scripts for television. Their list of credits is astounding. In addition, they are well-connected within the industry and point me in the direction of the right people and give terrific career advice. Every time I take a class with them my career kicks into hyper drive.

I just finished building a website for my good friend, actress/comedienne Geri Jewell. Deadwood fans know her as Jewell, the disabled girl who works in the whore house, and millions know her as Cousin Geri on the classic 80's sitcom "Facts of Life". You might want to check out her website at

That's about it for now, thanks for reading

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Upside of Writing Entertainment Magazine Articles

Not long ago, I pitched Emmy Magazine, an entertainment industry trade magazine, on the idea of writing a story about three TV actors and their moves into other areas such as writing, directing, or producing. The actors I chose were Laura Innes, Dr. Kerry Weaver from ER, Bryan Cranston, the dad from Malcolm in the Middle, and Michael Chiklis, Detective Vic Mackey from The Shield. All three of them are very nice people.

The upside of interviewing them, in addition to getting to meet them, is that I get to ask things I want to know because I'm transitioning from acting to writing myself. I also get access to them that I can't get by going through their agents or managers. For example, I talked with Bryan Cranston about the mockumentary I'm writing about the first quadriplegic mime. He thought it was a very funny concept and offered to read it when I finish writing it in December. (I'm really hoping he likes it because there is an excellent part for him in it.) The other upside is that I get to write for a prestigious trade magazine and get a blurb about myself in it, and of course, they pay me.

All I seem to do lately is write, it's a good thing I love doing it. I met twice with a terrific script consultant, Julie Marsh Nelson about "Hip-Hop Zombies". The writing is coming along very well and I hope to have the first draft done before the end of October. I want to write an excellent script that will draw big-name talent. I could probably make a cheesy version of it to release on DVD, but I wouldn't be happy with what I had created. I always strive to make everything I write the best it can possibly be.

I'm currently having my dramady pilot "Area 52" read by top script consultants, Marc and Elaine Zicree, and I will probably rewrite based on their input and start shopping it around production companies within ABC/Disney. (Because I wrote "Area 52" while in the ABC/Disney Scholarship Program, ABC/Disney has an option on it for a year so I can only show it to production companies who have a deal with ABC/Disney. I learned a lot in that program and its totally worth it.)

Having a successful writing career looks easy from the outside, but it's a very tough business. It's tough to get the job, tough doing the job, and tough to keep the job. But, it's my dream and I intend to persevere. In truth, the fact that it's tough motivates me to work that much harder.

The pilot for Comedy Central that I appeared in and creative consulted on "Special Unit" is still in play according to Bryan Cranston who directed it, but that's about as much as I know.

My acting career is also moving along fairly well. I'm going to a callback (a second audition) on Thursday for a part in a very exciting project that I will talk more about when I land the role. (notice I said when and not if).

Don't forget to mark your calendars for October 27th! Color of the Cross the feature film I co-wrote is coming to theaters. (if you look real close at this poster you'll see my name on the bottom line as co-writer ... BOOYAH!) It is the story of Jesus' last forty-eight hours and Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and several of the disciples will be played by African Americans. Please check out the trailer at

Thanks for reading, that's all until next time

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Blast From the Past

My mom had her 80th birthday celebration a few weeks back. My entire family was up at her home in Reno, all except me, because, for various reasons I was unable to attend.

Anyway, one of the projects my family was doing while they were there was to separate the pictures. I thought this one was particularly poignant. I was home from hospital that day on a visit to see if my family would be able to take of me. The girl to my right is Ida, my first girlfriend. There is a long story there (which will be a chapter in my autobiography) about how having her as a girlfriend while I was in hospital kept me from having a mental block about my wheelchair being a wall between me and the opposite sex. The girl in a miniskirt is Debbie, a neighbor from across the street. That was 1972. Although I'm smiling in that picture I was in a very, very bad place. My hands had been taken away from me and all I had aspired to do for most of my life was to work in electronics. I loved building stuff.

The reason I include that picture today, is because it's a hell of a lot easier to look back after thirty-five years, than it was looking forward from that skinny fifteen-year-old perspective I had. Believe me, I never thought in a million years I'd be where I am today. So, to all of those people out there reading this who are newly quadriplegic, or know someone who is, or even those who are trapped in a position that they don't want to be in, I hope that this picture will give you some hope. There is life after a spinal cord injury, there is life after tragedy. Wow, I don't usually get into that part of my past, it's not a good place for me for the most part. I much prefer living in the present and future.

Speaking of the present, I graduated from the Disney scholarship two weeks back and pitched my "Outsiders" script, which is now called "Area 52" and it was well received but no one as yet has asked to read it. That's pretty much how Hollywood works. Lots of smiles, encouragement, compliments, and other glad handling, but no sales. If they're interested in buying your work, you'll know it because they won't glad hand you most of the time. As with everything though, there are exceptions. Michael Landon told me how terrific my audition was then hired me three hours later. Larry David went on and on about how terrific my audition was, but have you ever seen me on "Curb Your Enthusiasm?"

I am mostly occupied with writing, it's about all I do. I got feedback from a script consultant on my zombie script last week which was very helpful. Most people write in a vacuum and if you don't have input from informed outside sources your script has a strong possibility of being jam packed with holes, two dimensional characters, and an ending that comes out of nowhere. I'm sure you've seen movies that are examples of all of those and more.

So, that's enough for me for today. Thank you all for reading and following my career. As for all of the other projects I have, other scripts, my autobiography, and others, they are all coming along well. Until next time ...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Things Are Picking Up

I haven't added anything new here in a while because I've been so busy writing. The good news is, I have a veritable cornucopia of new projects I'm anxious to talk about.

Before I tell you about all my new projects, I've got to tell you about a performance of "Jesus Christ Superstar" I saw a few nights back at the Ricardo Montalban Theater. It starred Ted Neely and many other stars from the original movie. It also starred Ben Vareen, and, in a very cool bit of casting, Jack Black as King Herod. I would say he stole the show except the other performances were so extraordinary that everyone stole the show. I ran into Jack Black out front, we spoke for a moment and he was nice enough to pose with me for this picture. (double-click the picture to view a larger version)

First, an update regarding "The Outsiders," my TV pilot about an alien from outer space who comes to earth and becomes immediately famous only to lose it all to a second Antonio Banderas of aliens who turns him into yesterday's news. It is all but done. I'm very happy with it, and I will be pitching it to ABC and promoting myself to them as a writer during the last week of August. If they turn it down, I will take it to the other networks including FX.

"Hip-Hop Zombies" has its own website now (, see the link on the right) and soon there will be a trailer for it up there as well as a promotional poster. It's moving along quite well when it's done I think it will be a movie that several types of people will enjoy. In addition to zombies, it is laugh out loud funny and has strong characters and strong relationships.

Keep an eye out for the movie I wrote, "Color Of The Cross," it's coming out in theaters October 13th. "Color Of The Cross" (see link on the right) is the story of Holy Thursday, the day before Jesus was crucified. He knew he was going to die the next day so it was important to him to say goodbye to his friends and his mother. The real twist in this story is that Jesus, Mary, and several of the disciples will be played by African American actors and the story is written to include the prejudice that was prevalent in those days and rarely talked about.

I have also embarked on three new projects I'm anxious to talk about. I'm resurrecting a script I wrote years ago called "In Their Own World," a futuristic story about a team of Space explorers who land on a planet inhabited only by people with Down syndrome. It's a touching, romantic tale, that if all goes right will be part of a trilogy of science fiction short films called "Strange Matter" that will be available on DVD. There will definitely be lots of notice here when that comes out.

I'm in the process of writing my memoirs titled, "Don't Make Me Get Out Of This Chair". Like me, my memoirs will be jam packed with irony, touching moments, and above all biting wit. Some of the chapter titles include; "A Husband and His Money are Soon Parted," "Oops! Or Was It Destiny?" and "God Bless Quadriphiles."

My third new project is an untitled half-hour comedy/drama written by and starring me about my life. I've been fortunate to have an adventurous life and I will be dramatizing, or should I say comedy-tizing various moments of my life with the goal of making people laugh so hard milk squirts out their nose.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Writing by the Light of My Fireplace

Well, not really. Especially since my apartment doesn't have a fireplace and the temperature will be in the hundreds today. But it's a nice image anyway.

But, that's about all I've been doing is writing. Industry-wise anyway. I have been doing a few normal things like shopping for clothes, getting new glasses, and getting my teeth fixed, but nobody wants to read about how many cavities I have or the new bifocals I am trying to get used to.

I have been meeting with my new mentor at ABC/Disney, Fernando A. Torres who is helping me get my script "The Outsiders" in shape to pitch to the ABC development executives at the end of August. Development executives are the people who make decisions about what new pilots to buy with the goal of turning them into a series. The best of all worlds would be that "The Outsiders" is picked up as a TV series. The more likely outcome is that it will be a terrific writing sample I can use to get a staff writing job on a show.

When I'm not working on "The Outsiders," I am writing my feature film, "Hip-Hop Zombies," a very tongue-in-cheek horror flick that is a cross between Napoleon Dynamite, Michael Jackson's Thriller, and Airplane. I'm hoping to have it completed in the next few months and my involvement with it will probably be as a writer/producer.

Also, during the last few weeks I have been busy with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. They're the people who give out the Emmy Awards. I have been a member of the TV Academy for nine years and have voted in the Emmys every year. It is a great honor that I don't take lightly. I especially enjoy judging on the Blue Ribbon panel that narrows the top vote-getters to the final five who receive the nomination. It is a terrific feeling sitting with other industry professionals to judge our fellow performers' work and its measure of excellence which is the standard of the Academy of Television Arts and Science. In the next few weeks I'll be viewing performances in two categories by the five nominees to vote for the ones I'd consider Emmy worthy.

Thought you might be interested to see a picture of me a few years back with my horse Teardrop. Actually she was not my horse, but my dad made deal with her owner who kept her on our property, that if I fed her and cleaned up after her, I could ride her and treat her like she was my own. And since the owner rarely came to see her, I was the only owner she ever knew. (trivia: I named an episode of "Without A Trace" I wrote as a spec script after her). I was just reminiscing with my sister last night about how we were blessed with terrific childhoods that I think back on often.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ups and Downs

Boy, talk about the ups and downs of life for a disabled guy in the entertainment business. Last night, I was at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, talking to Shawn Ryan, the executive producer of "The Shield", one of the stars of this season, Forest Whitaker, and I set up an interview with the star of the show Michael Chiklis (doing a hard-ass Vic Mackey face) that I'll be writing for Emmy Magazine. There were a lot of Hollywood celebrities around and the food was terrific. When I went to bed last night, I was looking forward to spending Memorial Day with my family at a reunion in Bakersfield. This morning, when I went to pick up the rental van that I would be using to get up there, I found out they no longer provide insurance.

It's up to the Insurance Company of whoever drives me. My friend who was going to drive me has insurance that doesn't cover a rental van if it's set up with a wheelchair ramp and other necessary adaptive devices. I called around to other insurance companies, to other van rental companies and everyone else I could think of. The fact that it's a holiday weekend makes finding an answer impossible. The bottom line is I'm out of luck. Rather than let it irritate me to the point of not being able to function, which it could have easily done, I've been focusing on working that much harder to finish scripts and make vital industry connections that will result with me working on a show and able to afford my own van.

I have an opening day now for "Color of the Cross;" October 13th, in four or five hundred theaters nationwide. If all goes well, I will be embarking on a publicity campaign for it in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I meet next week with ABC/Disney to decide the next step with my pilot script for "The Outsiders," and I am planning to attend the Fangoria convention, a horror convention next weekend to promote my script "Hip-Hop Zombies".

My advice to anyone thinking about getting into the entertainment business is, "Don't do it!" It is a suffering profession. I have been warned by several longtime entertainers that success comes at a very, very high price. If you're not willing to pay that price, to put aside everything else, often including a family, you may not ever make it. And, even if you do sacrifice all those things, chances are you still won't make it. But, if your belief in yourself is incredibly strong, and you will give up anything, within reason of course, then by all means do it. At least try it. The last thing you ever want is to look back ffrom the end of your life and wonder what if ...

It's weird. Here I am whining about how my plans for my weekend were dashed by an insurance company's policy when there are people out there, people with exactly the same disability I have, who are stuck in nursing homes, stuck inside homes with abusive relatives, or trapped in some similar situation. I understand what they are going through because at various times in my life I have been in exactly that same position. I had a physically and emotionally abusive wife, I spent a year and half in a rehabilitation hospital with nearly every aspect of my care out of my control. I lived with people who took advantage of me and stole from me on a daily basis. I can honestly say I have lived through a lot in my almost fifty years. I can only hope that what I have gone through floats around out there and maybe encourages somebody else to get themselves into a better situation. Believe me, when I was fifteen years old and the therapist told me that I would never walk again or be able to use my arms or hands again, I never in a million years thought I would be in the position I'm in today. A position where my biggest complaint is that I'm not going to be able to attend my family reunion. I thank God I'm in this position. It's funny how the sudden onset of a disability can completely change your perspective on life.

My ultimate goal is to dramatize some of the situations I've been in, and that others people are currently in. I want to let the world know the daily plight of a large number of our population. It is my hope that people with disabilities will become increasingly empowered in the very near future. We have lived at the whim of others for far too many years.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It Ain't Gonna Happen

That's Hollywood! As terrific an idea that "Special Unit" is, it is not going to be picked up. Unfortunately, a TV pilot is all it will ever be. The whys and wherefores don't really matter, the bottom line is, one of the coolest things that could have ever happened to bolster the image of people with disabilities isn't going to be. It has nothing to do with the fact that it's a show about people with disabilities. I just spoke with Christopher Titus and he is greatly disappointed, as am I. Suffice it to say, he did everything he could possibly do to make it happen. My hat's off to him for coming up with the concept and taking it as far as he did.

I could easily go into a tirade about a it, but, as Avery Schreiber once told me, the best four-letter word I can use in this situation is NEXT!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Writing. Writing. Writing.

That pretty aptly describes my life this past week. I finished "The Outsiders" and am now in the middle of writing "Hip-Hop Zombies". I will be shopping my skills around Hollywood this week and next using "The Outsiders" and an episode of WITHOUT A TRACE I wrote last year as my writing samples. It's a long process with the goal of getting a staff writing job on a TV series. I swear, this business beats the hell out of you sometimes. It demands a lot; discipline, salesmanship, networking, wit, charm, the ability to communicate well verbally, assertiveness, and, as I was reminded by a friend the other day, being bold. Many of these assets I've had to learn through trial and error. Up until about fifteen years ago, I was a devout wallflower. If I went to parties or any kind of a large social gathering I tended to stay on the side and hope that somebody would come over and talk to me. If I hadn't changed that behavior I wouldn't be anywhere near as successful.

For example, last night I was at a function at the TV Academy for the FX show "Rescue Me", starring Dennis Leery (left), written and produced by he and Peter Tolan (right). In the old days, the only way I would have talked to either of them would have been if they came up talk to me or if they had specifically wanted to meet me. Now, I have no problem going up and complimenting them on their show and then promoting myself in some way. Last night, I spoke with Dennis about interviewing him for Emmy Magazine, and he was very interested. My conversation with Peter was mostly about getting him to feel comfortable around me so that if and when I meet him or work with him in the future he will feel more at ease.

Speaking of interviews: I was interviewed last week for Backstage West Magazine, the text of which can be read by clicking the link in the right called interviews. It was one of the first interviews in a very long time where the writer actually quoted me correctly.

By the way, I am still waiting to hear if there is any news about "Special Unit", I am still hoping that no news is good news. When it goes to series though, you will definitely hear about it here as soon as I can put it up.

I was thinking again last night and this morning how blessed I am to be in this position. Believe me, a lot of God thanking goes on around here! I'm not only thankful him, I thank the thousands of people who have pointed me in this direction either directly or indirectly. Because I surely could not have made it by myself.

Monday, May 01, 2006

That's Hollywood (Revisited)

I guess that's something Hollywood and the military have in common, hurry up and wait. I told you last week that I would be finding out last Tuesday or Wednesday about "Special Unit". I have long since learned to stop losing hair waiting for something to happen that I have no control over. "Special Unit" is one of those things. I haven't heard a thing. I'm hoping that no news is good news. The other situation is that the head of the talent development program at ABC/Disney, Carmen Smith, the woman who I have been working with this whole session, and someone I have known for years, has moved onto another section of Disney. That leaves those of us in the program scrambling. I'm always one to look at a situation for the positive that can come out of it, so I concentrate on the new people I'll be working with, and the fact that they might be in a better position to put me into the staff writing job I'm looking for.

I tell you, if you're going to make it in Hollywood, you'd better have a thick skin because you will face a lot more rejection than in almost any other business. And you better believe wholeheartedly in yourself, and in your abilities. And you better be your own best cheerleader. In addition, if you're not in for the long-haul, forget it because success comes easily for only a chosen few. It is, in every sense of the word, a lottery. There are well over one hundred thousand actors in the Screen Actors Guild. At any one time, only about four thousand are working. And as for those who thinks that Hollywood actors make loads of money, the average actor makes five thousand a year or less, and in order to get benefits through the union you must learn close to twenty thousand.

I've been wanting to include this picture for while, but couldn't find it. This is me and one of my favorite actors, Joe Montagna. He was nice enough to take a picture with me at a function I was at about a year ago. That's one thing I have noticed, something that tabloids probably wouldn't have you believe. The majority of the big celebrities that I have met over the years, people like Michael Landon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Lucas, even politicians like Senator Robert Dole, have been very nice people. I know you will be able to cite instances when each of these people and others have been horrible, but imagine if you were in their position. Because I have been there on a somewhat smaller scale. I might be having a bad day when you come up to get an autograph and I might not be as cordial to you as you might like. From that point on, you tell everyone you know that Jim Troesh is an asshole. I remember being stopped by fans in the lobby of the hospital when I was on my way up to see my mother who just had a heart attack. These people insisted that I pose for pictures with them. I did, and I'm smiling in the picture, and my mother was OK, thank God, but imagine what you would do in that same situation. Then multiply that times a thousand if you are a big celebrity.

Thank-You to all of you who send me e-mails in support of what I'm doing. I may not have a chance to get back to all of you, but I assure you that your support means a great deal to me. Believe me, when something big pops for me, you will hear about it first right here!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Color of the Cross

A movie I wrote, you may remember me talking about it a few months back, "Color of the Cross" that depicted Jesus as a black Jew, will be coming to theaters in September or October. There is now a trailer for it that you can view by clicking the link on the right. I haven't seen the entire film yet, it's still in post-production, but the trailer looks terrific! I think it is something I will be very proud of. It is sure to be extremely controversial.

Say a prayer, we're down to crunch time with "Special Unit". Comedy Central is making their final decision in the next day or two. If it gets on the air, it will advance the disability movement significantly, and, bottom line, it's going to make a lot of people laugh. If I wasn't unable to laugh, I probably wouldn't still be alive. I really really hope and pray that my next blog will contain of lots of juicy info the show!

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Lonely Profession

Yes, writing can be a very lonely profession. Hour after hour by myself in front of my computer. Not that I never get out of the apartment as you have seen if you have been reading my blog for a while. But, as nice as it would be if they did, scripts just don't write themselves while they're sitting inside a computer! I made the decision about a week ago that I will focus all of my time on my career. Not that I didn't work hard previously, but I farted around a lot, surfed the Net, played videogames, and generally loafed around much more than I should. Then, I remembered the Number One rule of a disabled person trying to make it in the world. You have to work harder, be more reliable, have a stronger work ethic, have more experience, and have better social skills than your able-bodied competitors or you don't have a chance. I forget that rule every once and awhile, and then wonder why my career is stagnant.

This handsome guy, well, the one that's not sitting in a wheelchair is Yancy Arias, a guest star in the "Special Unit" pilot, and a regular on the new FX Series "Thief." This picture was taken late on the last night of the shoot which ran way into the early morning hours.

I previewed the pilot of the new Christopher Titus series for Comedy Central, "Special Unit" for several leaders of disability groups a few days back here in my apartment, and they found it hysterical. The project is still alive by the way, so say your prayers. I know I have been. The show getting on the air would not only mean a great deal to me and to the several people with disabilities involved in the show, but it will have a huge effect on how people with disabilities are perceived in general! It is everything that I've been pushing for years to see portrayed on television. Realistic portrayals of people with disabilities as we really are with all of our foibles, and humor which I think is vital to create a comfort zone for able-bodied people who are still a bit hinky about being around us.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


I went to an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences function last night honoring women in television. It was a panel of lead actresses of television shows, women executive producers, and Angela Lansbury. (A classier woman you will never meet!) They talked about the positive changes that have come about in the last two decades. They highlighted the increased number of women in the industry both in front of the camera and behind it. For example, during all the years of Murder She Wrote, Angela Lansbury's writers were all men. She tried very hard to get women into her writing staff, but the general feeling at the time was that women couldn't write about a woman detective as well as a man could. Things have changed a lot. Several of the executive producers had staffs of writers that were composed 50/50 of men and women. They also said the age of their writers is from thirty-four to fifty and up. Great news for me.

I also secured two women to write magazine articles about; Diane Burroughs, Executive Producer of "Still Standing, and Laura Innes, Dr. Kerry Weaver, from "ER," who is also a writer and director. I will be talking more about upcoming articles as soon as I secure them. Hint, I am setting up an interview with one of TV and movie's top male stars. I'll let you know his name as well as the names if the magazines as soon as I confirm everything.

I took pictures with a couple of my favorite actresses; CCH Pounder, currently starring on "The Shield", and Holland Taylor, currently starring on "Two and a Half Men." Both of them terrific, and they have done groundbreaking work during the course of their careers.

My demo reels are finally online where you can look at them. You can view them at

I have no news yet about "Special Unit," or any of my other projects. I have met with ABC again about my TV pilot "The Outsiders". Basically, it needs a great deal of rewriting before it is Network ready. I am fast discovering in my rewriting that it is vastly improved over its previous version. "I guess these network folks actually know what they're doing!" Sometimes it's hard to believe if you base your viewpoint on what you see on television.

Until Next time. By the way, I'll soon be making updates weekly, so be sure to check back often.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Yes, it's me. Sitting in the wide-open door of a twin-engine plane at twelve thousand five hundred feet seconds away from plummeting toward earth at one hundred eighty miles an hour! What was I thinking?! Actually it was very cool! Skydiving was one of the highlights of my life. I did it back in 1989 and as far as I know, I am the first quadriplegic skydiver. We jumped out at California city which is in the middle of the Mojave Desert. I do have a video of it which I recently edited and soon will be putting up on my website

I was completely fearless. I thought I would either live and have a terrific story, or die a terrific death. It never occurred to me that I might end up more injured. If I had thought of it I'm not sure if would have done it or not. Thank God I had the presence of mind to have it videotaped.

Monday, February 27, 2006

That's Hollywood

Its all part of the HOLLYWOOD machine. On the one hand there is the capacity to make you a huge mega star, on the other hand there's always a chance that you'll end up on the cutting room floor. Such is the way of my recent work on BOSTON LEGAL. I received word from my manager on Friday that the final editing on the show left its a few minutes too long so my scene was cut.

It's happened to me plenty before, but it was always on shows where I had plenty of other scenes, so if a seene or two of mine were cut for time I was still in plenty of the show to be seen. Not so this time. That is upsetting a couple of levels. First call of all, I told everybody I know that my episode would be on March 7th, now have to go back and tell them again ethanol not on. Intellectually I know my scene was cut for time and not because I did a crappy job and I will probably be called back for more workers playing another character, but I was looking forward to it! Finally, when the show reruns in a few months since my face won't be honest I won't get any residual checks.

As for "Special Unit," we are still waiting to hear from Comedy Central as to whether or not we will be a TV series. Christopher Titus told me recently that they were in the middle of last minute editing, and I should have a copy to look at in a week or so.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Special Unit

A pic from the new Comedy Central laugh-out-loud comedy, "Special Unit". Two bad-asses. Christopher Titus as Detective Garrett Fowler, me as Mick, a former "Dark Ops Special Forces" guy who doesn't care that he's severely disabled, he still thinks he's a commando. Titas plays a detective who pissed off everybody in the department and was put in charge of four disabled people who sued through the ACLU to get on the force. My part is a small in the pilot, but if Comedy Central makes it a series they will bring me in as a writer.

Say a prayer that Comedy Central decides to make it a series. It will be a terrific thing for the disabled community and will enlighten a lot of ablebodied people who fail to see the ability in the disabled community. It would help a lot if you send a letter of support to Comedy Central saying you heard about it and think it would be a great show. In fact, the more ablebodied people who write the better because CC is concerned about selling advertising time on a controversial show and they need to know it will appeal to a wide-spectrum of viewers

Comedy Central
1775 Broadway, 10th Fl.
New York, NY 10019

Monday, January 30, 2006

BOSTON LEGAL appearance

What a difference a week makes! Last Friday afternoon I was excited about the upcoming Christopher Titus pilot I'll be appearing in and technical advising and the next thing you know I get a call from my manager of saying that I've been booked on a BOSTON LEGAL. Hooyah!

The three people in the picture besides myself, are William Shatner, Currie Graham, (Desperate Housewives, NYPD Blue) and Julie Bowen who has appeared in several other series.

Despite what you might read in the tabloids, William Shatner is a very nice man. We chatted quite a bit throughout my day of shooting and he was more than happy to pose in this picture. Another example of schlock that gets published in those rags. Years ago was quoted in National Enquirer and I never said the words they said I did. My publicist told me that as long as it wasn't harmful or slanderous then I should just let it go. When you get to his level I'm sure you need to develop a very thick skin to keep from being hurt by the things that they say.

I play a prospective juror and appeared toward the end of the episode which will air on Tuesday March 7th on ABC at 10:00 p.m.

If you are of a mind to write to them, please do, there's a good possibility that if they get letters regarding my performance the show might bring me back in a larger role. They told me on the set that they do that all the time.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

What Defines My Success?

What is success for me? Above everything, when I feel I'm a success I will have a sufficient amount of F U money. What is F U money? For the last twenty years or more I have had to jump through hoop after hoop to keep myself in home health care providers and medical insurance so that I could survive and pursue a career. In details I will go into on this blog eventually I will explain the depths of despair I've been in at various times in my life when I was about to end up in a nursing home. To me, living in a nursing home would be a death sentence. Which brings me back to the F U money. I will feel successful when I have a sufficient amount of money that when I'm told to jump through certain hoops that I no longer want to jump through I can tell them F U.

In addition to the F U money, I will have a van that not only runs well, looks nice. The only other van I ever had I bought when I was in high school and drove up until about five years ago. My goal includes not only getting to a certain financial level, I also want to be pursuing my love of acting and writing.

If it sounds like I'm only out for money, it is because of the 24-hour nursing coverage I require. It's not like I'm going to drop dead any moment if someone isn't constantly at my side but as you probably know, I have a very limited amount of mobility. I can't eat, drink, get out of bed, go to bed, or " take care of nature " without somebody's help. As a lot of you who are in my boat know very well, nursing care is extremely expensive. I not only have to make enough to live in the outrageously expensive city of Los Angeles where I pursue my craft, I also have to pay for nursing care, and medical coverage.

By the way, I just got some more good news a few days ago. Christopher Titus contacted me and offered me the role of a prospective detective in his series pilot "Special Unit". It will be my first acting job in nearly twelve years. Hooyah!

Again I really appreciate the responses that I'm getting from readers of this blog. I hope people get more from this than the ravings of a self absorbed actor/writer. I actually have other goals that go along with achieving success for me, but they are more altruistic goals and if I talk about them I'll sound like a braggart. (yes, even more than I already do. )

There is some other cool stuff in the works that I will talk about in the near future. Thanks for reading ...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

The new year has been a happy one for me so far. Warning Films, the production company that hired me to write Harlem and the African American Jesus movie now called Color Of The Cross, called me early morning on New Year's Day. They asked me to write the book version of Color Of The Cross. Hoorah! It will be a novel based on the screen play I wrote a few months back. It will be controversial both because of the fact that Jesus will be dark skinned, and because of some interesting choices that I made in the screen play concerning Mary Magdalene, Judas, and Mary. I'm envisioning that it will take two or three months to write and there will be an early announcement about it here on my blog as well as where it can be obtained. It will be my first novel and I am very much looking forward to writing it.

I've completed my pilot for a TV series, The Outsiders, and turned it into ABC. My mentor, Adam Myman, a vice president of current programming at ABC was happy with what I had done with it and now it is with Carmen J. Smith, the head of new talent development to decide what will happen with it now. I'll find out more when she comes back from vacation at the end of the week.

In the meantime, they asked me to come up with three pitches for the NBC comedy, My name is Earl. I developed three that I'm pretty happy with and I'll pitch them to Carmen and Adam. Whichever one they choose I'll write into a comedy spec.

As a writer in search of a staff writing job on a television series, one needs a portfolio of several types of scripts. I have a police drama (Without A Trace) referred to as a procedural, a TV pilot (The Outsiders), and with My Name Is Earl, I'll have a comedy. The three scripts span the three networks ABC, NBC, and CBS.

I'm putting all this information here both for my own reference in the future and for people to see what writers have to go through to get a job on television. (I know what your thinking ... if TV writers have to go through all this, why is there such crap on television?) My answer is, there really isn't a lot of crap on television anymore. There used to be. But now, there are shows that can be enjoyed by almost any demographic group. The networks are too smart put crap on television, they can't make money that when. If you think a particular show is stupid or below your level of intelligence it probably is. But it's perfect for somebody else.

For example, I particularly like cutting edge shows like South Park, and Drawn Together that push the envelope on good taste and occasionally go beyond. A lot of people hate those kind of shows and prefer crime solving kind of shows like CSI. So to those people who say there isn't anything but crap on television, I say take another look, there's a lot more channels than there used to be and I can almost guarantee you will find something that you'll tune and time after time to watch.