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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sneak Peek #5 From (the book version of) The Gospel According to Josh: A 28 Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah




Hey there friends, amigos, amies, 

This here is another sneak peek into my book (which is fo-sho coming out in September '13). The part you're about to read is a fun (kinda fratboy-ish) little section in the book where I've just joined my first writing group (to appease a certain someone). Hilarity and embarrassment ensue. Hope you enjoy...


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Matt had each of us tell an amusing or embarrassing story about ourselves or someone we know. Colonel Sanders, Lollapalooza Guy, and the two comedians all went before me, each telling a tale of the amusing variety. Not to be outdone I decided to tell my “Cocoa Pebbles” story—a chilling account of hunger, unrequited love, and rancid diarrhea. 

Cocoa Pebbles and the One That Got Away
Right after high school my friend Hsoj and I got cast in a community theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Asbury Park, New Jersey. In between a matinee and an evening performance, I, Hsoj, and our new friend Mike, got hungry and bored, so we all took a long walk to a sandwich shop where we each bought a greasy, fatty, footlong cheesesteak and an extra-large soda. 

Shortly after finishing our meals, the three of us played around for a little bit on the boardwalk until Hsoj’s metabolism went into overdrive causing all the meat and soda he had just consumed to run through him like a chocolate river. The closest place that was open that had a public restroom was at the theater in which we were performing.

After a mad and labored dash back to the theater, Hsoj was stricken with terror because the theater was locked and there were no other open buildings in sight. Desperate, Hsoj climbed a ladder along the side of the building to a balcony that had an entrance into the theater. But that door was locked as well. Sweating and swearing, Hsoj climbed up two more stories only to be denied entry by a locked door each time. When Hsoj got to the very top of the building he couldn’t hold it in anymore and relieved himself on a pile of brown pebbles. He then cleaned his underside with a few pieces of stray cardboard he was fortunate were casually lying around. 

Embarrassed and ashamed, Hsoj begged us not to tell anyone about what he had just occurred. But later in the day, Hsoj found out that Mike had decided it would be funnier to take some of our cast mates, including a girl that Hsoj liked, on a tour to the top of the building to show them his brown masterpiece. For the next week Hsoj was affectionately known to our cast mates as “Cocoa Pebbles.” The girl that Hsoj liked felt so much pity toward him, that she bought him a roll of Scott Tissue and never spoke to him again.

Lessons in Storytelling
By the time I finished my story, my teacher and classmates were all grimacing and looking down at the ground. After a brief awkward silence, PJ snickered like a frat boy, slapped his knee and yelled out, “Dude, Hsoj was totally you.” I think everyone else had beaten him to that conclusion. With “Cocoa Pebbles” I learned an important and timeless truth: all poop stories are not created equal, mine being in the categories of “unfunny” and “painfully embarrassing.” ....

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Thanks for reading!! And as always feedback is welcome :)

-J



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Turning a "No" into a "Yes"



So I’m writing this post as I’m on my way out to The University of Washington, Bothell. to do The Gospel According to Josh, along with with a presentation on suicide prevention. This is the 48th time I’ve done this combo presentation in a little less than 2 years. 

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s important to remember the genesis of this project...that only 22 months ago, whenever I presented my idea and my show/suicide prevention combo to schools, universities, and suicide prevention organizations; I either go no response at all or a big fat “NO.” 

No, we don’t know what to do with you
No, we don’t have the money for your programming 
No, non, nyet, nein, geen, όχι, 没有, لا, קיין, nope.

Whomp, whomp. 

I was stuck...I mean, I knew had an awesome idea that a few people were on board with and I knew my idea had already helped people...but no one seemed to care.

So what did I do to get unstuck? I did some serious self-analysis and started asking myself questions like this:
  • Why did that person tell me no? 
  • Does their “no” lie in the presentation of my idea/offer? 
  • Is it a terrible idea/offer? 
  • Is it an idea/offer that needs tweaking or more infrastructure? 
  • Is my offer/idea presented to the other person, keeping mind their wants and needs? 

After asking myself these questions, I started tweaking my offer/pitch and the infrastructure of my idea. From there I figured out how to approach people with this idea, keeping in mind I need to talk about in way where I present it as a solution to a problem.

WIIFM (108.7...What’s In It For You?) 
  • If you have a really cool and valuable idea or offer and it’s shot down, keep in mind that a “no” is really a “maybe” working toward a “yes.” 
  • Keep working on your idea/offer. Tweak it and then strengthen it. 
  • Do a little research and development on your idea/offer. See if there are other people out there doing similar things as you. How are they successful? How have the failed? Interview them if you can. 
  • Work on the way you pitch your idea/offer. Who are you offering it to specifically? How does it solve their problem or need? Why should they take a “risk” on implementing your idea/offer.
Keep persevering. A “no” isn’t the end of the world. It’s an opportunity...to grow, to learn, to develop oneself, to change the world. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Why You’ve Stopped Creating (and What to do About it)


Here are the questions (wrapped in finite statements) I often here from people about creating (answers in red to follow): 

Q’s —

  1. It’s scary. 
  2. It’s unprovable that you know what you’re talking about, that you’re the best. 
  3. Your future creation is going to take forever because you have a boyfriend, you have children, you have very needy pets, or you have a case of the sniffles today You don’t have time.
  4. How would you ever bring your creation to market? What will people say? What if they don’t like it? What if they laugh in your face?
  5. Other people are born with the creative gene. You’re not good at anything.

A’s —

  1. It’s scary. 
    Hell yes, creating is scary. But you know what’s more scary? Giving up, giving in, and settling for a vapid life that doesn’t include the essence of your true self. 

  2. It’s unprovable that you know what you’re talking about, that you’re the best. 
    See: 
    • Galileo Galilei (the Sun does not revolve around the Earth)
    • Bill Gates (anyone can own a PC that doesn’t take up space in an entire room)
    • Louis C.K. (getting his comedy in front of the masses without a middleman)
    • Mom’s Mabley (being a black lesbian comedienne in the 1930’s)

    All of these folks were unproven and came from humble beginnings.

  3. Your future creation is going to take forever because you have a boyfriend, you have children, you have very needy pets, or you have a case of the sniffles today You don’t have time. 
    You make time for the things you want in your life. Simple enough. Find time at 6a.m. before the kids are up. Do something during your lunch break. Cut out that extra half hour of watching One Life to Live on Hulu. Something (it can be small) needs to be sacrificed on the altar of creativity.

  4. How would you ever bring your creation to market? What will people say? What if they don’t like it? What if they laugh in your face? 
    Worrying never solved anything. Ask questions from the people who you think would benefit from your creation. Don’t go into the situation blindly or without some kind of a map. *Note at some point your “road map” will not be of any use to you except for the beginning and end points of your journey.

  5. Other people are born with the creative gene. You’re not good at anything.  
    Bull-dookie. From an environmental standpoint some people were surrounded with creative situations at an early age. BUT everyone has something they’re good at. Some people are good at creating experiences, some are good at putting together events, some can write a sonnet, while others sculpt clay into statues.
It’s much easier to be a big fish in a small pond, to play it safe. But do you really want to swim with all that gunk floating around in that small pond? Free yourself.  Create something. Lean on others to help you with your creation, to grow your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. Do so and: watch your mind expand, see your life experience become richer, then thank yourself for helping the world become a better place.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sneak Peek #4 From (the book version of) The Gospel According to Josh: A 28 Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah


Hey there friends, loves, and well-wishers. 

This here is another sneak peek into my book (which is finally coming out in September '13). The part you're about to read is a fun little section in the book where I've decided to leave show business all together, right as I'm getting over a severe bout of depression. Hope you enjoy...

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           Little by little I found the strength to search for a new career to pursue, something that would make me happy, something to replace acting and show business. The only requirements I had for my new and undetermined line of work were that it had nothing to do with fame, had to include writing, and had to help other people. Too many years were wasted worrying whether or not I was going to get some dinner theatre job in Wisconsin, or hoping I’d be cast as the next rookie detective paired with Jerry Orbach on Law & Order. 



* * *
INT.  LT. VAN BUREN’S OFFICE - DAY

Detective Briscoe, still in his trench coat with a coffee in hand, stands with his mouth agape alongside two dumbstruck police officers in their uniform blues. 

A camera pans briefly to what they’re staring at — the face of a dead Detective Ed Green hanging from a noose.

BRISCOE
Somebody cut him down, will ya? He shouldn’t be left here like this.

COP # 1
Why would he do it, Lenny?

BRISCOE
What if he didn’t do it?

COP # 2
You saying you think this is a homicide?

BRISCOE
What else could it be? His little girl was born yesterday...he was the happiest I’d ever seen him.

Just then, a baby-faced cop in an oversized trench coat rushes in. He is quite disheveled, out of breath, and is wearing fresh coffee stains down the front of his shirt, tie, and trenchcoat.

RIVEDAL
Hey everyone, sorry I’m late. Detective Josh Rivedal reporting for my first day. I’m here from Boise. What did I miss?

BRISCOE
Lenny Briscoe. What did you miss? Are you blind from gorging your face on all those Idaho potatoes? My partner...Ed...he’s dead.

RIVEDAL
I’m so sorry. Is it...self-inflicted?

BRISCOE
We think it’s a homicide.

RIVEDAL
Any leads?

BRISCOE
No, genius, your guess is as good as mine.

Just then, Rivedal sees an envelope peering out from underneath Lt. Van Buren’s desk. A camera zooms in for a close up on the envelope as Rivedal reaches down to pick it up.

RIVEDAL
(Reads) From Ed to Lenny. (To Briscoe) Hey Lenny, here’s something you might want to check out. It might give us a clue as to why Ed is...hanging around...

Dissolve to black. The sound of the Law & Order “Clang-Clang” is heard. The opening credits play.
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How did people ever change careers before the advent of the World Wide Web? If I had my pseudo-nervous breakdown in that dark Mesozoic period pre-1989, I’d be doomed to flipping burgers in between extra work on soap operas for the rest of my existence...

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Thanks for reading!! And as always feedback is welcome :)

-J