C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

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AB Challenge 22: John Leguizamo, I know you’re reading this. Call me.

Leguizamo outside the Broadway production of A...

Leguizamo outside the Broadway production of American Buffalo, November 21, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s writing prompt: If a Hollywood agent were to come knocking on your door with an offer to turn your book into a movie and told you that you could call all the shots, who would you have direct and star in it? Write the first paragraph of Roger Ebert’s review of your film.

For my crime novel, Bigger Than Jesus, Martin Scorcese or Quentin Tarantino would be my first thought for directors.

For the Jesus Diaz, the Cuban hit man who wants out of the mob, could be played by the great John Leguizamo.

Eva Mendes comes to mind first to play the lovely Lily Vasquez, the most gorgeous woman in New York and the object of Jesus’s worship.

For Big Denny De Molina, Jesus’s best friend and biggest obstacle? Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson would be perfect, especially if he’s willing to keep the biceps but add a bit of a fat suit.

Jimmy Lima, the dangerous underboss? Jimmy Smits, of course! After his tour on Dexter, I can think of no one better for that role. Andy Garcia would be great, too.

Uma Thurman would be great as Barbara, Jimmy Lima’s wife. (Shades of an overlap with Pulp Fiction there.)

Harv and Marv, the twins with tattoos on their necks? Michael Fassbender or Ryan Gosling. (This one’s for you, ladies! Times two.)

Panama Bob is the other underboss who has skimmed a fortune in mob money (that Jesus needs to escape). I’m thinking a bold casting choice: Zach Galifianakis going against type.

For Vincent, the godfather of the piece, I’d take Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor who plays The Most Interesting Man in the World in the Dos Equis commercials.

My cousin David Strauss as the FBI agent. My other cousin is the actor and jazz singer Amy Hack. She’d be great singing a torch song in a bar.

As for the hypothetical Ebert review: I don’t have enough thumbs to point up! Run, don’t walk, to the nearest theatre to enjoy the best mob movie in ages. Jesus Diaz, played by John Leguizamo in his best role yet, is a clever hit man who wants to escape New York with stolen mafia money and his girlfriend, Lily Vasquez. In a darkly humorous trip full of witty dialogue and fast-paced action that will leave you breathless, it’s the unexpected twists and reversals you can’t see coming that elevate this to a movie you’ll want to see again and again. It’s so good, you’ll even want to buy the book by Robert Chazz Chute, too!


Filed under: publishing, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Publishing: Ownership

Ever see the follow-up to Get Shorty? It was Be Cool with Uma Thurman and John Travolta. While generally entertaining, there was a sour note and just didn’t feel at all right. It’s a problem with a lot of artistic gestation.

Uma’s character confesses her life’s ambition. She wants to turn on the radio and hear one of her songs. She says, “A song I produced.”  But she’s not talking about a song she wrote or sang or drummed or strummed. She’s talking about the bureaucracy that brings the art out and to the masses.

Producers talk about “their” films, “their” writers, “their” stable of talent. Like they own that talent, or at least rent it. When I hear an editor or agent refer to “their” writers, entitlement and ownership creeps into their tone. “I tell my writers…” “My books….”

But they aren’t your books, films and music, are they? Bureaucrats, like the rest of us, are each the star of their own movie. Money and access has been the root of that uneven power relationship.

Key words: Has been. Now agents and publishers are struggling harder to justify their roles. Why do you need an agent for access to digital publishing when you can DIY? Why should an author only get 25% for ebooks? (Or Harlequin’s egregious offer of 8%!) Meanwhile, some agents are morphing into writing coach services, expanding their offerings to stay in the role of taking care of authors. Some authors want to be taken care of. That’s fine, as long as they know their options.

The writer has been the last to get the cash. The writer has written on spec and often been a “speck” in the way they’re treated. It’s upside down. Writers are content providers. We make up things from nothing.

If you still feel powerless before the system, a small cog in a great machine, a serf among lords, a peon The Man pees on—now you’re just doing it to yourself. Take ownership of your ambitions and destiny.

Don’t blame them.

If you want power, don’t ask permission.

Just go take it.

I did. I’m now president and chief bottle washer, turd polisher and executive in charge of toilet paper replacement and Creative Arts at Ex Parte Press. Boo-ya!

Filed under: agents, authors, Books, DIY, ebooks, Editors, getting it done, Useful writing links, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , ,


Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

You can pick this ebook up for free today at this link: http://bit.ly/TheNightMan

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