Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Last night, I performed at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City for a wonderful organization called, Seeds of Peace.
I was absolutely blown away by what this particular organization attempts to accomplish and does so with meaningful and undeniably optimistic results.
Basically, Arabs and Jews who are not even allowed to talk to each other where they come from, live together in a camp. From what I understand, a Palestinian for example, would get into a debate with the opposition who is Jewish. Here's what makes it fascinating; the Palestinian will argue for Jews and the Jewish contingent will argue for the Palestinians.
What this does is help everyone concerned see the other side and instead of being brainwashed by hatred and unnecessary violence towards each other, they begin to feel and understand that the only way to resolve any aggression is through peace and humanizing each other's existence.
I have to say, I was touched by this incredible idea which is run by a very young, soft-spoken and optimistic man named, Jacob Toll.
The comedians were wonderful. They were Jewish, Arabs, Jordanians, Egyptians, Indians and myself a Greek/Australian. Another interesting thread was that listening to Arabs talk about Arabs, Jews talk about Jews, Jews talk about blacks, blacks talking about Indians, Indians talking about Australians, I realized that we all have the same habits and idiosyncrasies.
From a writer's standpoint, it was interesting to see that all the jokes about a certain ethnicity fit snugly when applied to a completely different ethnicity.
The one most incredible thing I took away from the event and couldn't stop thinking about on the train was the realization that we don't have to wait for our politicians or people in power to make things happen. We can do it on our own.
Seeds of Peace, you're an incredible organization and I'd gladly support you in the future.
Thanks for trying to save the world... and succeeding!
Here is their website. I encourage you to support them in any which way you can.
Friday, September 25, 2009
My trip to Australia was very fruitful. I signed with a major international agency that not only helps me in Down Under but the rest of the world. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. It was wonderful to perform for my peeps again.
Meanwhile, here I am back in the most extraordinarily, crushingly wonderful city in the world, New York, where I've been auditioning like a madman. I used to dread this process but now I've embraced it. There really is nothing like being aware of the journey and enjoying it.
I love being in New York. It makes me feel alive, especially when it sticks up the middle finger.
Actually, sometimes I think if you look really closely at Miss Liberty, it appears as though she's inconspicuously flipping the bird. New Yorkers are wonderful. Without a doubt, the toughest, most resilient buggers on the planet. What I say in my act is true... there's a brutal honesty about you all... rather than beat around the bush, you prefer to beat into the face. I mean that lovingly of course. ;-)
I'm an actor first and foremost. Comedy is a wonderful accident and a very rewarding icing on the cake. I'm now freelancing with three major agencies as an actor and signed to one. They're all brilliant. I can't thank them enough.
In mid-October, I'll be playing the role of a snooty Doorman in a movie to be directed by Craig Weintraub. It's called, Uncle Melvin's Apartment. Here's the website:
Uncle Melvin's Apartment
Craig is an up-and-coming filmmaker/director who will be directing his first feature film next February called, My Baby Grand. He's getting a lot of support from Martin Scorsese and deservedly so. I look forward to working with him.
Tomorrow, I'm off to shoot the promo for the new and revamped Newlywed Game. I play an executive at a boardroom meeting. My coworkers and I are all attentively listening to our female boss expound on sales figures for the month. I then ask her a very inappropriate, sexual question. Needless to say, it's a lot of fun.
The screenplay adaptation that I wrote for Dino Pavlou called, Set 'em up, Joe, is making incredible progress. I had a meeting in NYC with a producer involved with A-list stars and Academy award-winning films was very impressed and it looks like, if things go according to plan, he'll produce this movie. He's produced nearly 40 movies for film and television. That's very comforting!
My screenplay, All My Friends Are Getting Married is still in the process of getting funding. Everything else is firmly in place including distribution.
I really haven't had much time to blog... too busy writing and performing and of course, living. Life is good. Hope yours is too.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
It's been a while since I've blogged. Thankfully, it wasn't because of laziness. There was a time when I was infected with this terrible life sapping condition but I took serious doses of discipline and was cured. My absence in blogging is due to the result of being really busy and living. Currently, I'm balancing quite a few projects.
Those of you who know me are aware of how important I believe a positive mental attitude is in bringing about your desires. The magic ingredient is without a doubt, optimism. No matter what, optimism is always a faith which leads to success. No matter how bad things are, if you remain optimistic, it is inevitable that that which you think about, you'll bring about.
I made a concentrated effort this year to focus more on my acting and writing career. Of course, show business is plagued with more challenges because unfortunately, the less confident believe that the end result is based upon luck. I'm living proof that this isn't the case.
You’ve often heard that if your ship doesn't come in, you should go out and swim to it. My belief goes one step further. I say that if your ship doesn't come in...build one!
I can tell you from experience that you will feel overwhelmingly empowered when you become master of your own destiny.
Persistence is the other ingredient that failure and procrastination cannot cope with. With persistence, I have managed to do the so-called impossible... get a distribution deal before the movie is actually shot. It's important that you never abandon your dream. If you do, you're basically forfeiting your dream. Yes, it's taking me a very long time to get my movie projects to come to fruition, however slowly but surely, they're that much closer to becoming a reality.
I also landed a role in a wonderful independent movie which, as yet, is untitled. I got to play a vagrant and enjoyed every minute of it.
There I was on location, lying on the streets of Astoria, NY under the blistering sun, wrapped up in the latest bum fashions, with a mouthful of cold Campbell's Chunky Vegetable soup ready to barf on cue. Ahh, the glamour of moviemaking.
I even got to perform my own stunt. They gave me a pair of kneepads to fall to the ground, and completely pass out as the cops try to take me away. There really is nothing like getting a round of applause from the crew as well as the onlookers who had gathered to watch us on location. It's a strange feeling to be applauded for playing a drunk and barfing convincingly.
My utmost respect to the crew... particularly the wardrobe and makeup department. Thank you Ariel. Thank you Lucia. :-)
I'm also in the running to rewrite another screenplay for Lionsgate. It's a horror/adventure movie.
The other screenplay adaptation I rewrote for one of Frank Sinatra's closest friends and inner circle, Set ‘em up, Joe, is now in the hands of Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks' wife, as well as one of the producers involved with The French Connection. He now produces movies on HBO.
I'm still working on what is perhaps my most monumental project which involves raising money for charity as well called, Not Until She Sings. I'll expound on this a little bit more later on.
Anyway, here we are halfway through the year and although we're in a recession it's important not to use it as an excuse to prevent you from chasing your wants and desires. Use whatever method you can to turn your disadvantages into advantages. It's the cliché of turning your lemons into lemonade.
You can do that or you can just continue to believe that life sucks and then proceed sucking on your lemons. :-)
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
It was as funny the third time as it was the first. I think everyone deserves to hear they did a good job at work so here is your 'atta boy-to you, from me. I was literally in pain from doubling over in laughter. Thank you for making me laugh. You have a gift and I appreciate your work. May the force be with you as you further your career."
Heather says, "Hey Jim! My friends and I saw your show last night in Cleveland. You're awesome!! If you're ever near Cincinnati I'm going to have to bring my mom to see you. She'd love your show :).".
"GREAT show last night!!! I dont think I have ever laughed so hard. When you come back to Cleveland, I will def. have to come see you again! Enjoy the shitty Cleveland weather ha"
You were GREAT last Thursday night at Pickwick & Frolic in Cleveland. I'm the "old broad" you thought was not an "old broad"! My husband and I & our whole gang thought you were wonderful. We both admire Charley Callas (he & Las Vegas go way back when!) and you are a much better looking version of Charley. In fact we thought you would top him because of your versatility. You make it look easy to be hilarious without all the ugly profanity!! Really terrific & refreshing. We love Bobby Collins, but he sounded lewd after your terrific act!! (& terrifically funny!)"
"I want to say THANK YOU for a great show last night at Hilarities! I don't think I have ever laughed so hard!!! You are a great comedian. I definitely want to see you again when you are back in Cleveland! I hope they show better movies on your flight back to Australia!"
"I just wanted to drop you an e-mail to tell you how much my girlfriend
and I enjoyed your act. I heard her healthy laugh for the first time
because of you. I have been to countless clubs around the country and
seen many comedians. You are truly and sincerly funny and earned
everyone of my laughs. I have an open invite to many clubs around the
country as a restarter ( I was the healthy laugh in the back on your
Thanks for making life a bit more enjoyable, it was a true pleasure."
After coming down with a terrible flu and food poisoning, I had to brave my stuff and get out on stage and make them laugh. It was very therapeutic.
To all the people who came to my show and responded so positively, as corny as this sounds, I would say you healed me. Thank you so much. :-)
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I can't believe it's been a little over 365 days since I wrote that same line. In 2008 I was determined to be a lot more positive and I definitely lived up to my expectations. The year was very fruitful, somewhat turbulent (in a very positive way) and I achieved most of my goals. In some ways, I surpassed my expectations. Writing a screenplay for one of Frank Sinatra's closest friends was definitely a highlight. I'm thrilled to report that we now have a deal with a producer who is trying to get the movie made. My other two projects got closer to production than ever and I'm making sure that everything I do will continue that trend. The important thing is to enjoy the ride.
It's interesting how most people successfully transcend themselves into a fired up positive frame of mind for the first couple of weeks as their New Year's resolutions excitedly bounce around in their heads and hearts. Unfortunately, more often than not, within a month, their resolutions are forgotten and the negative, lazy way of life resumes... that is until of course December 31 rolls around again.
One of my acting teachers believed that the first ten to twenty days of the year serve as a barometer as to how the rest of the year is going to unfold. When I first heard that, it inspired me to make sure that, no matter what, I had to make sure that those first ten days we're going to be electrically charged with as much positive energy and determination that I could manifest. Whether there is any truth to the theory is irrelevant. I found it was a great way to make sure that I maintained my affirmative attitude and did as much as possible to get closer to my goals in those first ten days. Sure enough, the rest of the year followed that trend.
A while back, I remember the year started with a lot of misery and it was in my head that this was going to be the tone for the rest of the year. Sure enough... that's what I got.
Again, these are just theories but serve as a great example as to how powerful the mind is. There is nothing new in this. Basically, if you sow positive seeds and nurture them with faith, determination and courage, they will grow with all your desires. If on the other hand you sow seeds of a negative nature, again, this is what will grow... detrimental and negative outcomes.
It's amazing how powerful the mind is. I've always been inspired by people like Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa to name a few. All of these wonderful people always sowed positive seeds and their outcome, even in times of great distress and tragedy spawned nothing but positive energy beyond their years on earth that we continue to be inspired by to this day.
Here's wishing that you sow positive seeds in 2009!