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.

4 comments:

  1. Janelle Middleton7:23 PM

    Hey, you ought to write your autobiography...everyone would read it and be inspired, like they read about Brooke Ellison, and then you could make it into a movie and star in it!

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  2. You are an amazing man, Jim! I think we all need to stop now and then and take count of our blessings. If you can do it, so can we! Hang in there! You Rock!

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  3. The Fools Cap
    My site is better than yours! LOL. J/K
    Seriously check it out though, ranger ii electric wheelchair

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jim,

    You inspire me as a disabled person in the entertainment industry.

    My name is Rescue Rick the Grass Cut Man. A few years ago, I had a severe lawn mower accident that resulted in the partial amputation of my left foot. Consequently, I advocate yard safety. I created a character named Rescue Rick the Grass Cut Man who is a renaissance yardman who utilizes various artforms to communicate my yard safety message. Actually, I am the first yard safety super hero in the history of the world.

    Please visit http://www.rescuerick.com and http://rescuerick.blogspot.com for additional information. Take care!

    Richard T. Mudrinich
    Rescue Rick the Grass Cut Man

    ReplyDelete