Cartoon: ‘Running’

This TVWriter™ minion never thought  about it before, but the effects – as in “benefits” of running and writing have a hell of a lot in common. Leave it to our cartooning hero, Grant Snider, to teach us another multo-important lesson:


Grant Snider has a new sketchbook out from Abrams Noterie! The Shape of Ideas Sketchbook features new spot illustrations, some comics on drawing and creativity, and many blank pages for your own ideas, doodles, and observations. Order it from Abrams or wherever you get your books.

More of Grant’s extraordinary perception of human creativity at Incidental Comics, HERE

Buy Grant’s wonderful current book HERE

“4 Reasons I Never Gave Up As A Filmmaker”

Tenacity is the name of the showbiz game. For example:

John Ginty and the actors and crew on set of “12 Days With God”

by John Ginty

early five years ago I started the journey to becoming a filmmaker. At the time I had a great job with benefits, three weeks of vacation, a decent salary, and great co-workers…

…but I was miserable. I wasn’t doing the one thing that burned with an unquenchable fire within me. All I wanted to do was make movies.

Now mind you, I am a father of three awesome children and husband to an amazing wife. I have a mortgage, a car payment, and of course your standard American credit card debt. But despite all of these very major (and for good reason) would be “road blocks,” I quit my job to pursue my dream of becoming a filmmaker.

Did I have a plan?
Nope, not really.

Did I have money saved up?
Not even remotely.

But what I did have was four very important things and ideas on my side as I began my journey.

1) The Full Support of My Loved Ones

This is vital to your success. It’s one thing to say your going to jump off a bridge if it won’t affect anyone around you. It’s a completely different story if there are people in your life that will be directly touched by life altering decisions. Which is why I talked to my wife FIRST.

When I told my wife about how I was feeling and how miserable I was, even though I was providing for our family, she had my back. 100%. She never doubted me or my dream for a moment. Was she scared? YUP. And that is to be expected. Venturing into a new career is scary enough, but going for a career with the greatest rate of people abandoning the dream is insane!

Soooo  – what if you don’t have the full unadulterated support of your family or loved ones? Whelp, you have to make a choice. I recently got some great advice about making difficult choices. To paraphrase, he asked me would I rather live with the pain of regret for doing it and failing or the pain of “what if” and living with never knowing. (The choice I made in that instance was to do it and it turned out AMAZING…btw.)

But once I made the decision, what then?

2) Decision Means Nothing Without Action

After I experienced the euphoric sensation of leaving a job that I knew wasn’t tied to my future destiny, there was a numbness of “what now?” What was I supposed to do? I knew nothing about the film industry apart from what I had read in books. So every day I tried to learn something new….

Read it all at Stage 32

Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself!

Here we go with a message all writers need: 10 Steps to stop feeling sorry for yourself. What? You’re a writer and don’t feel sorry for yourself? How can such an anomaly be? Anyway:

by Henrik Edberg

When you fail, make a mistake or things simply don’t go as well as you had hoped then how do you feel?

Do you feel sorry for yourself? Well, that’s natural in some situations and too an extent.

But do you get stuck in that mental state too often and for far too long?

If that’s the case then this guide is for you.

Because in it I’d like to share 10 steps that have helped me to stop feeling sorry for myself.

Simple habits and techniques that have helped me to reduce and overcome this issue in my life and to stop spending so much time and energy on it.

Now, let’s get started.

1. Breathe.

First, calm your mind and body down a bit to think more level-headedly and clearly.

This simplest way to do that?

Just sit down. Close your eyes.

And then breathe through your nose and with your belly.

Focus only on the air going in and out. Nothing else.

Do that for 1-2 minutes (I like to set a timer on my smart phone so I don’t try to finish early).

This will center you and make you feel more focused again.

2. Zoom out into the world (and then tap into gratitude).

Ask yourself: does anyone on this planet have it worse than me right now?

This question helps me to see things from a wider perspective.

I often follow it up with asking myself:

What are 3 things I can be grateful for but often take for granted?

Well, I can be thankful for many such things.

Thing like:

  • Fresh water.
  • Three steady meals a day.
  • A roof over my head.

Just these first two steps is often enough for me stop feeling sorry for myself and not get stuck in self-pity.

If not, then I move on to…

3. Zoom out in your own life.

Ask yourself this about the situation that has caused you to feel sorry for yourself:

Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks from now?

The answer is most usually for me that it actually won’t.

But I’m sometimes a bit hasty to make a mountain out of a molehill.

4. Find one opportunity or lesson in the situation you’re in.

This can help you to see what happened to you in more optimistic and constructive light….

Read it all at Positivity Blog

‘A STAR IS BORN,’ Romcoms And Love Addiction

Ethlie Ann Vare follows up the post on her blog last week about A Star is Born and its unintended psychological effects. Remember the old Spider-Man slogan, “With great power comes great responsibility?” That’s something filmmakers definitely need to start keeping in mind.

by Ethlie Ann Vare

As I predicted, A STAR IS BORN is a blockbuster hit, never mind the fact that it sends a terrible message to all the potential love addicts out there. (See my previous blog post on the subject here.) But I can’t be too hard on Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. After all, my whole life I’ve been given horrible messages from star-crossed onscreen romances – messages that might not damage a reasonable person, but can send an unreasonable obsessive like myself pursuing a bad idea straight to the gates of insanity or death.

I’m not blaming the movies; much of this is in the eye of the beholder. One person can watch LEAVING LAS VEGAS and swear off drinking; another sits through the same screening and decides to grow up to be Nicolas Cage’s suicidal alcoholic or Elizabeth Shue’s self-destructive prostitute. Because they’re so, you know, tragic and misunderstood. And sexy; don’t forget sexy.

Here, then, is a litany of cinematic woe for those unable to control and enjoy their love lives. The list is weighted for blockbusters and recent releases, because I only had so much space and it was too depressing to consider watching every Doris Day-Rock Hudson movie ever made. Feel free to chime in with your particular favorite.

Caution: Some spoilers ahead, but my guess is you’ve probably seen these movies already, maybe more than once. (Also note, a version of this column was previously printed in Substance Magazine.)

1. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) A rebellious heiress and an out-of-work newspaperman fall for each other while she’s running away to elope with another man. “I don’t know very much about him, except that I love him,” says rich girl Claudette Colbert about penniless reporter Clark Gable. I still adore this movie classic, but I did finally figure out that relationships work better when you’re actually acquainted with the person.

2. LOVE STORY (1970) A rich boy and a poor girl fall in love as Harvard undergrads; he defies his family to marry her. Their perfect life is cut short by her fatal illness. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” young Ali McGraw tells young Ryan O’Neal, because if you truly love someone you will never hurt or disappoint them in the first place. This is a terrible lesson to teach a love addict; we already expect you to read our minds and then resent you when you can’t.

Read it all at Affection Deficit Disorder

Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #17 – ‘When Good Ole Boys Go Bad’

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

by Larry Brody

A couple of good old boys paid me a little visit Sunday evening.

Gwen the Beautiful and I were surprised to hear the dogs barking and someone pulling up into our clearing. I went outside in time to see Brannigan the Contractor and his buddy Dwayne the Heavy Equipment Dude get out of Dwayne’s truck. Belle, the Good Old Dog Gone Bad, did what she does whenever she sees Brannigan the Contractor. She bit him.

“I knew you loved me,” Brannigan said to her. And to me: “I want this dog!”

“You want a dog that bites you?” Dwayne said.

“Sure. She’s a proven protector!”

“Not of you.”

“Of property, man! Property!” Brannigan started up the front porch. Tripped. Caught himself. Dwayne laughed. “Oh, man,” he said, “we’re so drunk. What’ve you got to keep us going?”

It didn’t take long to find something. We sat at the kitchen table, Kentucky bourbon going down easy. Gwen knew better than to want any part of this. Who says blind people can’t see? She went upstairs. Brannigan nodded appreciatively. “Fine woman,” he said.

“I don’t know about your judgment,” I said. “You think Belle’s a fine dog.”

“Out here a dog that’ll keep your property safe is worth two Winchester twelve gauges,” Dwayne said.

This kind of small talk means something’s up and it’s going to take awhile to get to it. But Brannigan and Dwayne were so drunk that if they took much longer they’d never be able to get to it. “You didn’t come here to talk about dogs,” I said.

“No,” said Dwayne. “We came to solve your problem.”

Brannigan sucked down a shot. “Your Chet problem.”

He was talking about Chet the Unhandyman, who came to Cloud Creek to start a new life and is still waiting for it to begin.

Dwayne leaned forward confidentially. “Brannigan and I know that this guy is driving you crazy. That he drives everybody crazy. He’s into you for electricity and the telephone and the food he takes from your fridge and the laundry he does on your washing machine when you’re gone.”

Brannigan picked it up. “We also know that you’re too soft-hearted to throw him out. You’re worried about the old boy.’” He raised his voice to a roar: “But we’re not!”

“Brannigan and I think it’s time for Chet to take a little walk in the woods with some friends of ours,” Dwayne said. “All you’ve got to do is nod and they’ll be here tomorrow morning. And tomorrow afternoon he’ll be gone.”


“Like he was never here,” Dwayne said. “Don’t ask nothing more.”

Another shot of bourbon found its way down Brannigan’s throat. “Told you we weren’t worried about him!”

“I can’t do that,” I said.

“Sure you can,” Dwayne said. “It’s one of the Old Ways. It’s how things are done in these parts. Man’s got no kin, no friends. No reason to hang around giving himself and everybody else the miseries.”

I didn’t reply. Dwayne leaned in even closer to me. Put his arms around my neck like a brother. “It’s okay,” he said. “Happens all the time.”

“No,” I said. “Not this time.”

“Well you just think about it. My offers don’t expire. It’s there whenever you say.”

We finished off the bottle. I went to call Brannigan the Contractor’s wife so she could drive over and take them home. Dwayne the Earth Mover shook his head. “I can handle it,” he said. “I can drive.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Don’t be so negative, Larry. C’mon—you ever seen me sober?” I shook my head. Dwayne beamed. “See?”

Nothing I said could stop them. Brannigan the Contractor and Dwayne the Earth Mover inched Dwayne’s truck down the mountain and left me to think about their offer. And about how cheap life can be. How little a man’s got to do to become someone who vanishes into the woods. About the danger of crossing the wrong folks.

And, yes, about the feeling of power that surges through your body and darkens your soul when you realize you too can make use of the “Old Ways.”

Today Chet the Unhandyman spilled five gallons of gasoline because he thought the air hole on the can was the spout. In my mind, the title of this little episode is “When Good Old Boys Go Bad.” And the reason I’m putting it all down is to make sure I stay “Good.”