A Filmmaker on Film

Submission

Oy vey.

Look, I’m a libertarian anarchist who’s been a muckraking journalist, a magazine editor, an Op-Ed writer for major newspapers, a much-published book author and magazine writer, a network television screenwriter, the founder/CEO of two publishing companies, a blogger, a tweeter, an indie writer/producer/director of two narrative feature films — and that doesn’t begin to exhaust my experience and the jobs I’ve done both for pay and on my own dime.

I’m a professional, and amateur-for-fun, pain in the ass.

So despite my sweet nature I keep finding myself at the center of controversies.

Here’s the latest, and unless you who are reading this can figure out a way to help me, this one may finally put me out on the street with a cardboard sign, “Will Write For Food.”

Who am I kidding? I’m a 64-year-old man with ongoing health issues.

This might kill me.

For most of this year I’ve been writing new screen stories and sending them to my literary manager since 1977, Joel Gotler at the IPGLM management company in Los Angeles.

Joel is a big deal in the business. He’s represented superstar writers for decades. Joel has an executive producer credit on The Wolf of Wall Street.

After spending most of the last ten years focusing on producing my own movies I’ve spent this year trying to make a screenwriting sale to a major studio. The money is a lot better and a sale could secure the finances for my old age. But there’s a firewall in my way. I’ve been a member of the Writers Guild of America since I made my script sale of “Profile in Silver” to CBS’s The Twilight Zone series in 1985. The studios won’t read an “unsolicited submission” from a writer. As a manager, not an agent, Joel can’t directly submit my writing to the studios because it’s not allowed by Writers Guild rules. So the only way I can get a studio to read my submission is through an agent or agency that’s signed up with the Writers Guild.

Included in that agency category is arguably the most powerful talent agency on this planet: Creative Artists Agency — CAA, for short. The “A List” client list of CAA includes among the most famous and accomplished actors, directors, and writers in the motion picture and television industry — “The Industry” when discussed among The Industry.

After my first two novels were in print from major New York publishers — Crown and Simon & Schuster — my first sale to The Industry was a four-page outline that Joel Gotler — when he was still an agent — sold in 1983 to movie producer Herb Jaffe at the film production company Vista Films. Vista Films had produced major box-office successes such as The Wind and The Lion, Demon Seed, and Time After Time. My outline was titled “All the King’s Horses.”

Under contract to Vista Films I turned my four-page outline into a 100-page screen treatment — just one short step from being a shooting script. You can find that treatment in my 1999 book, Profile in Silver and Other Screenwritings. It’s still in print and on sale at Amazon.com.

“All The King’s Horses” was a very commercial idea. In 1983 the two-year-old marriage of Lady Diana Spencer to Charles, the Prince of Wales — and the birth one year earlier of their first child Prince William, second in line to the British throne, was a modern fairy tale in all major media.

In 1983 the tabloids had published not the first word about marital troubles with this royal family.

So when in 1983 I wrote a romantic comedy “All the King’s Horses” about the Princess of Wales, while on a goodwill tour with her son to the United States, filing for divorce and child custody in an American court — and the Prince of Wales through derring-do winning back her heart — it was, as they say, a “high concept” movie idea.

Nonetheless — perhaps with backroom pressure from the real British monarchy, who did know what was going on behind the scenes — Vista Films was unable to find a studio to make the movie.

Seven years later the rights reverted back to me. By this time — 1990 — word of marital problems between Charles and Diana were being leaked to the media. But what was being reported as gossip was no longer ripe for a fictional treatment.

In 2017 — 20 years after Diana’s tragic death — a movie about a fictional Princess Susan and Prince Arthur from the fictional country of Wittland — struck me as once again a possibly commercial romantic comedy.

So in March 2017 I turned my old treatment into a screenplay, retitled The Princess of Brentwood.

The Princess of Brentwood

Yet the firewalls preventing my screenplay from being read by the movie studios, or by movie stars and big-name directors who only read what their agents and managers sent to them, remained.

I sent The Princess of Brentwood screenplay to Justin Ptak, who praised it, but he was still waiting for the Writers Guild to accept him as a signatory agent, so he could not yet submit it for me.

I sent The Princess of Brentwood screenplay to Joel Gotler, who on May 8th emailed me that he was too busy to take on the project. Joel’s assistant Rachel Levine told me in a phone conversation that their office was so swamped with other projects that Joel wasn’t even allowing her to read the script. My experience with Joel after many years was that Joel no longer had time to read scripts himself but sent it out for story coverage. I knew that because in the early 90′s I had been one of those who was paid to read manuscripts and write coverage reports for Joel.

I subscribe to IMDb Pro because it provides contact information to The Industry.

A legendary agent at CAA, Fred Specktor, had a direct email address listed.

Attaching a PDF copy of The Princess of Brentwood screenplay, I emailed Fred Specktor:

Dear Mr. Specktor,

Attached as a PDF is my new screenplay, The Princess of Brentwood. I’m seeking representation for this as well as other projects.

Over a four-decade career as an award-winning novelist, filmmaker, and journalist, notables who have praised my writing include Charlton Heston, Jeff Goldblum, Anthony Burgess, Robert A. Heinlein, and Milton Friedman.

My past representation has included Curtis Brown and H.N. Swanson.

Sincerely,

J. Neil Schulman

The Princess of Brentwood
A Screenplay by J Neil Schulman
89 pages
Genres: Romantic Comedy / Courtroom Drama / Action-Adventure

Synopsis:

The whole world watched the fairy-tale romance of Prince Arthur and Lady Susan, their royal wedding, and the birth of their son, Prince John. But life as a Royal turned out not to be what Princess Susan expected with its relentless political control and media scrutiny.

On a two-week goodwill tour of America with her 8-year-old son, Prince John, heir to the throne after his father, Princess Susan applies for permanent U.S. residency and custody of John which would forbid him from visiting the kingdom until he’s grown up.

The consequences of this decision complicate International tensions, legal wrangling, media frenzy, a re-evaluation of his life choices by Prince Arthur, and a kidnapping which puts the Prince’s character to the test.

J. Neil Schulman is a filmmaker, novelist, screenwriter, journalist, radio personality, songwriter, and actor.

His dozen published books still in print include the novels Alongside Night and The Rainbow Cadenza, both of which won the Prometheus Award, and the anthology Nasty, Brutish, And Short Stories. His third novel, Escape from Heaven, was a Prometheus-Award finalist.

Schulman’s articles and essays have been published in magazines ranging from Cult Movies to Mondo Cult, and in newspapers including funny articles and serious Op-Eds for the Los Angeles Times.

His 1986 original episode for CBS’s The Twilight Zone, “Profile in Silver” about a time-traveler who prevents the JFK assassination played three times on CBS prime time and has been frequently replayed on SyFy and Chiller.

He’s writer/producer/director for two indie feature films, Lady Magdalene’s (2008) and Alongside Night (2014). Both are available on Amazon Video/Amazon Prime, as well as DVD or Blu-ray editions also on Amazon Prime.

A few days later I made a follow-up phone call to Fred Specktor’s CAA office and, to my amazement, Fred Specktor took the call. Initially Fred Specktor intended only to inform me that he could not read an unsolicited submission but I managed to keep the conversation going long enough to explain that the script was based on an outline that Herb Jaffe had bought back in 1983 and that my most recent credits were as the writer-producer-director of two indie feature films from 2008 and 2014.

This was enough for Fred Specktor to agree to having The Princess of Brentwood read at CAA if I’d sign a standard submssion release form. I agreed and was transferred to Specktor’s assistant, Joey Amoia, to whom I gave my email address.

Minutes later I received and replied to this email:

On 6/19/2017 4:54 PM, Fred Specktor Asst (Joseph Amoia) wrote:

Hello –

Per your conversation with Fred, in order for us to accept your project, we must have Submission Release Forms sent to you and fully executed. To expedite the process, please answer the questions below.

1. Name of the Project:

The Princess of Brentwood

2. How many pages it is:

89 pages including cover sheet

3. Name for ALL writers of the script (Please note each writer will have to sign 3 copies)

J. Neil Schulman

4. Which client the project is intended for (if any):

For directing: Danny DeVito or Paul Greengrass or Rob Reiner
For the lead role of Princess Susan: Keira Knightley or Emma Watson or Alice Eve or Emilia Clarke

5. Address of where the Submission Release Forms should be sent

J. Neil Schulman
150 S Highway 160, C8-234
Pahrump, NV 89048

Once I receive this information I will send out (3) submission release forms via mail. They need to be signed by the writer(s) and all original copies mailed back to me.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thanks,

Joey

Joey Amoia
Office of Fred Specktor | CAA

Now.

I’ve been in The Industry since Joel Gotler started representing me in 1977, when my first novel Alongside Night had not yet been sold to a publisher. Based on the unpublished first-novel manuscript Joel started submitting it for a film sale.

From 1977 through my phone call to Fred Specktor I’d never been asked to sign a submission release form because submissions coming through a known manager or agent never require one.

So to expedite this process and make it more standard, more professional, I emailed Joel Gotler and his assistant Rachel:

On Jun 19, 2017, at 5:50 PM, J. Neil Schulman wrote:

Joel and Rachel,

I spoke on the phone today with Fred Specktor, CAA superagent. He’s having his assistant Joey Amoia mail me release forms so they can read my script The Princess of Brentwood. I don’t suppose you’d want to send a copy of my screenplay over there, yourself, to help this process along?

Neil

Joel replied:

Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 01:21:54 +0000
From: Joel Gotler
To: J. Neil Schulman
CC: Rachel Levine

We can.

Sent from my iPhone

Rachel confirmed for me by telephone that an email from Joel to Fred went out a few days later, containing the submitted screenplay. Rachel instructed me not to get directly in touch with Fred Specktor’s office regarding the submission release forms since this was now their submission and did not require one.

A few weeks went by during which it would have been common for CAA to have read my screenplay, and on July 6th Rachel emailed me back: “No word yet! We’ll check in with them if we haven’t heard
anything on Friday- give them to the end of the week.”

Another two weeks went by without our hearing back.

I need to tell you that every day that went by was putting severe financial pressure on me, and most important, it was passing a deadline for me to make travel arrangements to my daughter’s August 5th wedding in Seattle. If I had a pending deal on The Princess of Brentwood I could ask friends to lend me the money for the trip.

Finally, on July 26th — not being able to reach Rachel — I decided to phone Fred Specktor’s assistant, Joey Amoia, to find out what the status was of Joel Gotler’s submission of The Princess of Brentwood.

Joey said he thought I was calling about not receiving the submission release forms, because the package containing them had come back to him from the CAA mailroom. He said he knew nothing about the submission from Joel Gotler. I asked him to check the CAA computer to see if Joel’s submission might have ended up with another agent. Joey told me the title The Princess of Brentwood was not in the CAA computer therefore no CAA agent had it read.

Joey told me he’d personally re-sent the submission release forms, and in a call from him later that day he told me that regardless of the submission coming from Joel Gotler I’d still have to sign the submission release forms.

Once they were received back Joey Amoia assured me my screenplay would be in Fred Specktor’s reading for the weekend of August 5th.

Coincidentally the same weekend as my daughter’s wedding that because of this delay I would not be able to attend.

Because the submission was supposed to have been received from Joel Gotler, I emailed Joel and Rachel:

Amoia had no knowledge that Joel had sent Fred Specktor The Princess of Brentwood. The purpose of his call was to let me know that he just became aware yesterday that the CAA mail room had failed to send me the release forms allowing Fred Specktor to read The Princess of Brentwood and that Joey had today FedExed the release forms to me. When I told Joey about Joel’s submission he said I needed to sign the release forms anyway and that when he received them back he’d put the script in Fred Specktor’s weekend reading. He also checked the CAA computer to check whether The Princess of Brentwood was in their system; it wasn’t.

Apparently we’ve been waiting to hear back on a submission from IPGLM they didn’t know they had.

I told Joey that I would sign the forms and Fedex overnight them back to him so Fred Specktor could read The Princess of Brentwood this coming weekend.

Sincerely,

Neil

Joel emailed me back: “Right, just sign the release.”

Later in the day on July 26th — after the Writers Guild East offices were closed — I phoned the Writers Guild West to find out if Joel Gotler’s management company IPGLM was now possibly signed as a Guild-approved agency that could make submissions for me. I was connected to Bertha Garcia, an administrator in the WGA West’s Contracts Department, who told me it wasn’t.

It was a friendly conversation in which Bertha told me (based on my spelling my email address using the Ham Radio Letter Code) that she was a licensed Ham, and as an anecdote I told Bertha about the confusion and delay at CAA of my screenplay being read because the Submission Release Forms had been lost.

That’s when Bertha dropped a bombshell on me. I asked her to email what she’d just told me.

On 7/26/2017 5:25 PM, Bertha Garcia wrote:

Hi Neil,

This will confirm our phone conversation of this afternoon. It is the Guild’s position that WGA signatory agencies may not ask writers who are WGA members to sign release forms.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Bertha Garcia
Administrator, Contracts Department
Writers Guild of America West, Inc.
7000 West Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048

I’d just been told that CAA, a WGA signatory agency, was asking me, a WGA member, to sign a submission release form that they weren’t allowed to ask a WGA member like me to sign and that as a WGA writer I wasn’t allowed to sign. Yet if I didn’t sign it I was also being told that Fred Specktor wouldn’t read the script that could not be sent to a studio unless it came from a WGA signatory agency.

Talk about a Catch-22!

I then emailed Joey Amoia, and cc’d Fred Specktor, Joel Gotler, Rachel Levine, and Bertha Garcia:

Dear Joey,

Houston we’ve got a problem.

CAA is a WGA signatory. I’m a WGA member. According to the email below from Bertha Garcia at WGAW CAA — as a WGA agency signatory — isn’t allowed to ask a WGA member to sign a release form and as a WGA writer member I’m not allowed to sign one.

The CAA legal department must be aware of this.

I am willing immediately to sign a CAA agency agreement making me a CAA client as a writer, producer, director, actor, multi-published-book author, and songwriter.

I am willing immediately to sign a CAA packaging agreement for my screenplay, The Princess of Brentwood.

Joel Gotler at IPGLM would remain my personal manager.

I’ve attached my WGA membership card below in this email.

Sincerely,

Neil

J. Neil Schulman

I copied in Bertha Garcia’s email to me.

I got no responses to this email before receiving an email from my mailbox service on Thursday that I’d received a Fedex package. I confirmed by phone it was the package from CAA. I decided to pick up the package, sign the release forms, and Fedex them back to Fred Specktor’s office.

I’m so broke I had to ask a friend to PayPal me to cover the cost of gas for a 120-mile round-trip drive to a FedEx Office location in Las Vegas and cover the Fedex charges.

When I picked up the Fedex package with the CAA submission release forms, and read them, I understood why the WGA would have a problem with them. The WGA has its own arbitration process regarding originality and credits.

The CAA release forms I was being asked to sign included:

6. I recognize that you and your clients have access to and/or may create or have created literary materials and ideas which may be similar or identical to said material in theme, idea, plot, format or other respects. I agree that I will not be entitled to any compensation because of the use of any such similar or identical material which may have been independently created by you or any such client or may have come to you or such client from any other source.

7. I understand that such similarity in the past has given rise to litigation so that unless you can obtain adequate protection in advance, you will refuse to consider the submitted material. The protection for you must be sufficiently broad to protect you, your related entities, affiliates and individuals, your clients, and your and their employees, agents, licensees and assigns and all parties to whom you or they submit material. Therefore, all references to you in this Agreement shall include each and all of the foregoing.

I phoned Joey Amoia from my car and told him I had signed and was Fedexing the forms and that I’d email him the Fedex Tracking Number when I returned to my computer.

When I returned home from the Fedex office I found the following email from Joel Gotler:

Neil,

This kind of letter does nobody any good. I personally sent your script to Fred last month as a favor to you (despite telling you I was passing on this multiple times initially), and if they have procedures to follow or don’t want to read, what can we do? But now you’re displaying yourself as a problem client to people I’ve known and respected for decades. I have to step aside on this.

This conversation is done.

Joel Gotler

I sent this next email later that night to Joey, Joel and all other parties cc’d in:

Dear Joey,

As I promised, attached is a PDF copy of my signed release form which is on its way to your office via FedEx Express, Tracking No. XXXXXXXXXXXX. Delivery is scheduled by Wednesday August 2, 2017 by 4:30 PM.

Below my signature and above my printed name I added the words “Subject to WGA rules.” That should keep the WGA off our backs.

Just for the record this has been the first time in a 40-year literary and screenwriting career — since Joel Gotler started representing me in 1977 — that I have ever been asked to sign a release form.

Sincerely,

Neil

I replied to Joel Gotler separately:

Dear Joel,

I signed the release form and Fedexed them back to Fred Specktor’s office. I copied you in to the email. Rachel is signed up for Fedex tracking updates.

I did this despite Rachel telling me a submission from you to Fred Specktor did not require a signed release from me; despite such a release ostensibly violating WGA rules; and despite the insult to you in Joey Amoia continuing to ask for a release from a Joel Gotler client after Joey Amoia had it confirmed that the submission had come not from me but from you.

There must have been a miscommunication between us at some point since not “multiple times” but zero times did you tell me you were taking a pass on The Princess of Brentwood. Here is what you did email me:

April 27, 2017: “Having it read while I’m away. Joel”

May 3, 2017: “We haven’t read it yet. You are way ahead of us. Patience, please.”

May 9, 2017: “I can’t take on another project. Ptak will have to do the selling. I am on overload with what I have on my plate, so don’t wait for me. Good luck in placing it.”

That’s it. Nowhere did you or Rachel ever tell me by email or phone that you’d read or had The Princess of Brentwood covered at IPGLM, determined the screenplay uncommercial, and were passing on it.

If that had been the case I never would have bothered you about sending the script to Fred Specktor after he asked to see it.

As things stand now my last word to Fred Specktor and Joey Amoia was to get back to you, not me.

If Fred Specktor takes this project on and you still don’t want to be a part of it, let me know.

Your friend and client since 1977,

Neil

The next morning at 8:45 AM PDT Joey Amoia phoned me and told me what he then said in email a few minutes later:

Subject: RE: Release Forms
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:39:05 +0000
From: Fred Specktor Asst (Joseph Amoia)
To: J. Neil Schulman
CC: Joel Gotler, Rachel Levine, Fred Specktor

Hi Neil,

Per our conversation, Fred has decided not to read or accept your script. Please do not send it to us.

Best,

Joey

Joey Amoia
Office of Fred Specktor | CAA

I was now being exiled from The Industry for attempting to avoid being sanctioned by the Writers Guild for violating WGA working rules.

I phoned Rochelle Rubin who’s in charge of agencies, signatories, and contracts at the WGA East.

Rochelle knew me well for several reasons, one of which was my required member endorsement for Justin Ptak to become a WGA signatory agent. But Rochelle also knew me because of emails I’d responded to earlier this year regarding the root of this problem: the studios being allowed to refuse “unsolicited” submissions from WGA members. I’d forwarded a copy of this email to Rochelle:

Subject: Re: WGA Strike Authorization Vote – PLEASE READ
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2017 13:27:54 -0700
From: J. Neil Schulman
To: Geoff Betts

Jeff,

Thanks for taking my call.

I just posted the following statement on all my Facebook pages and a jpeg is going out in my Twitter:

I just had a conversation with Geoff Betts, business manager of the Writers Guild of America, East, of which I’m a member.

The Writers Guilds, east and west, are in negotiations with the AMPTP (the major U.S, movie/TV production/distribution studios) and asking members to authorize a strike possibly as early as April 19th.

The issues the Guilds are asking the members to strike over only affect pay rates and benefits for the small percentage of members who have current paying work. The Guilds are asking the vast majority of members who like me are not currently working to authorize a strike vote on behalf of pay rates and benefits for the small minority of members who are currently working.

I explained to Geoff Betts that when I try to submit my writings — scripts, screen stories, short literary stories, and novels to a production company or studio that is contracted with the Guilds I am told that my materials are unsolicited and they will not read them.

I informed Geoff Betts that if the Guilds want my vote to authorize a strike they must make it a demand to the AMPTP that all submissions from Guild members must be regarded as solicited and given equal consideration to submissions coming from the major talent agencies such as CAA and WME.

J Neil Schulman

This is the center of my problem. After four decades in The Industry I can’t get my submissions read without going through gatekeepers — and now the gatekeepers inside are putting me on the other side of the castle moat.

Rochelle Rubins asked me to forward all the emails to her. I did and later in the day she phoned me to say this being a Friday she would take this up Monday with Writers Guild management on both coasts.

I then sent the following email to selected members of the Entertainment Business press:

Subject: WGA – CAA feud with me at Ground Zero
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 12:58:40 -0700
From: J. Neil Schulman
To: (Named editors) Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter

As a long-time WGA member (I joined in 1985 when I sold my first original screenplay to CBS’ The Twilight Zone) I now find myself in the middle of a conflict between the WGA and CAA, which happened when my literary manager, Joel Gotler at IPGLM, submitted my new feature screenplay, The Princess of Brentwood, to Fred Specktor at CAA seeking representation.

In a phone conversation with me on June 19th Fred Specktor agreed to read my screenplay if I executed a submission release form. I agreed but then Joel Gotler emailed me that he would make the submission to Fred Specktor. It’s universal industry practice that a submission from a major management agency to a major talent agency bypasses the need for any release forms from the writer.

Over a month went by after Joel Gotler emailed the screenplay to Fred Specktor with Joel’s office unable to get a response from Fred’s office so I phoned Fred’s assistant, Joey Amoia on July 27th, who apologized for not getting the release forms out to me in a timely manner and said he was Fedexing them to me. I informed Joey that the submission had already been sent from Joel at IPGLM to Fred but after checking Joey Amoia phoned me saying I needed to execute the release forms anyway.

In a phone conversation with WGAW contracts administrator Bertha Garcia on an unrelated matter, also on July 27th, I related the story about the delay on the release forms from CAA and Bertha informed me that as a WGA signatory CAA was not allowed to ask a WGA member such as myself to sign a submission release form. I asked Bertha to email this to me, which she did, and with an email cover of my own I forwarded Bertha’s email to all parties at CAA and IPGLM, with Bertha at WGAW cc’d.

I then received the release forms and decided to sign them anyway, with “Subject to WGA Rules” written in between my signature and printed name, and Fedexed them back to Fred Specktor/Joey Amoia. I emailed the tracking number and a PDF of the signed form to Fred Specktor, Joey Amoia, Joel Gotler, and Joel’s assistant, Rachel Levine.

That’s when all hell broke loose for me.

Joel Gotler emailed me that he was withdrawing as my manager.

And today Joey Amoia phoned me, then emailed me, saying that Fred Specktor would not read my screenplay and I should not send it to them as called for in the release form I’d signed.

I’ve spoken with Rochelle Rubin, contracts manager at WGAE (I was living in Jersey City, NJ when I first joined WGA East and have never changed my membership to WGA West even though I’m now living in Nevada) and have forwarded all the emails to her — 20 of them. Rochelle says she’ll get on this after the weekend.

By following the advice of a WGA executive I appear to have foiled my attempt to get my screenplay read and packaged by CAA This seems fundamentally wrong to me — a lone screenwriter up against the most powerful agency in the biz — and this comes at a time in my life when I’m in financial meltdown due to having made no sales since the last feature film I wrote, produced, and directed, 2014′s Alongside Night. After a limited theatrical run and a Beverly Hills premiere in July, 2014, Alongside Night — and the other feature I’ve written/produced/directed — 2008′s Lady Magdalene’s — both currently stream on Amazon Video/Amazon Prime, and are also available on DVD or Blu-ray).

If this story is of interest I am willing to share all the emails with the three of you as well.

Sincerely,

J. Neil Schulman

I then emailed Fred Specktor, Joel Gotler and the others copied in:

Subject: Re: Release Forms
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2017 14:56:16 -0700
From: J. Neil Schulman
To: Fred Specktor
CC: Fred Specktor Asst (Joseph Amoia), Joel Gotler, Rachel Levine,

Dear Mr. Specktor,

If this whole matter didn’t adversely affect my career at a time when I need a new deal to keep my finances afloat I would laugh at this comedy of errors.

When a month went by without Joey Amoia sending me the submission release form you and I’d talked about I assumed CAA no longer was requesting a signed submission release form from me because instead of the submission of The Princess of Brentwood coming from me it had come to your office from my manager, Joel Gotler at IPGLM. Joel’s assistant, Rachel Levine, emailed me that she was following up on that submission. Yet when I spoke to Joey a few days ago he seemed unaware that the submission came from Joel, not me — and his email to me today telling me not to send the script once again ignores that the submission wasn’t coming from me but had already come from Joel Gotler.

So that leaves me in the middle of something, and I don’t know what it is.

Is it CAA’s procedure to request submission release forms from managers like Joel Gotler, who not only has represented superstar writers for decades but has an executive producer credit on The Wolf of Wall Street?

Or is it CAA’s procedure to request submission release forms from WGA members when Bertha Garcia at WGAW says that violates its agency rules?

Either way, I signed the form because I promised I would and it’s on its way to your office.

This matter has gotten out of hand and there’s still time to turn it around before Rochelle Rubin at WGAE takes this matter up with WGAE and WGAW management on Monday (she has all the relevant emails) and before I get callbacks from the entertainment business editors at the Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter, and Variety.

I’m just a screenwriter who will lose his house if I don’t make a deal. Joel Gotler is already pissed off at me. I literally have nothing more I can lose.

Sincerely,

J. Neil Schulman

Joel Gotler emailed me:

You had better stop these diatribes.

Sent from my iPhone

I emailed Joel back:

Or what? I’ll be out of the business and lose my house?

Your office’s failure to follow up with Fred Specktor before this spun out of control has already cost me attending my daughter’s wedding in Seattle on August 5th. There’s nothing more any of you can do to hurt me.

Later that day (Friday, July 28th) the editor from the Los Angeles Times phoned me. We talked about 20 minutes. He asked me to email him the contact info for the Writers Guild executives I’d talked to and I did. He emailed me: “Thanks. We will reach out to the guild.”

And there’s where it stands: one powerless writer being kicked out of The Industry.

Again.

See my May 18, 2010 article “Yes, There Is a Hollywood Blacklist — and I’m on It

I’ve tried to continue paying my bills in any way I can think of within my skill sets.

For most of this year I’ve been putting up new Kindle books onto Amazon — all three of my novels, my short story collection, my Heinlein Interview book, and several nonfiction books.

One of my literary representatives, Justin Ptak, has been trying to gin up interest for film or series productions based on my novels, screen outlines, and finished screenplays. But until the WGA adds him to its electronic list of signed agents he can’t make any submissions for me to WGA-signed production companies or studios.

I’m living in a house in the name of my deceased parents’ living trust that has a mortgage from Wells Fargo Bank. The mortgage payments are several months past due.

I have a storage unit containing valuables, both family and literary, which is on 30-day notice of an auction of its contents if I don’t immediately bring last month’s missed payment up to date.

It’s the end of July and I have no funds to pay next month’s utility bills or Internet connection or web-hosting or car insurance.

I’m running short even of groceries.

Most heart-breakingly, I don’t have the money to travel from Nevada to my daughter’s August 5th wedding in Seattle.

In short, my failure to make a meaningful sale or obtain work doing the only things I am experienced and capable of doing is sending me down the drain.

Here’s a link to read The Princess of Brentwood.

Award-winning author/screenwriter/filmmaker/Mondo Cult publisher, Brad Linaweaver, has read it and compared the quality to classic scripts by Ben Hecht and Billy Wilder.

I’m airing all this because dignity is not on the menu for me. The trolls have everything they need to call me a no-talent or a has-been and tell me to look for a day job.

Whatever.

If there’s someone out there who both cares and has the connections to someone who might do something with this script or something else I’ve written, here I am.

And please note the PayPal “Like It – Reward It” links.

God bless you if you do.

Neil

Bookmark and Share

The Litmus Test for Agorism


Samuel Edward Konkin III, and I, co-founded what today is called Agorism or the Agorist movement.

Sam was Agorism’s chief theoretician in published works such as The New Libertarian Manifesto (1980) and The Agorist Primer (1986). Before that Sam introduced counter-economics in his talks to the CounterCon conferences I organized in fall 1974 and spring 1975.

The first printed explication of Agorism was in my novel, Alongside Night (Crown Publishers, 1979).

The first explication of Agorism in a movie was my adaptation of the Alongside Night novel into the Alongside Night movie, previewed to libertarian and science-fiction venues in 2013 showings and released in limited theatrical showings in 2014.

The Alongside Night movie is an independent film produced for under a million dollars. Compared to studio productions for theatrical or network television release that’s ultra-low-budget. Nonetheless, the Alongside Night movie achieved production values including starring actors who have appeared in major theatrical movies and network television series, visual effects produced by artists whose work has appeared in blockbuster movies, a musical soundtrack composed, orchestrated, and conducted by a musical artist whose work has been used in numerous major studio movies and recorded by a major symphony orchestra — and additional music licensed with a major recording artist and another full symphony orchestra — and both interior and exterior locations worthy of a studio picture.

This is not debatable opinion. These are provable facts.

Yet the only explicitly Agorist-content movie has been relentlessly denigrated by persons calling themselves Agorists. They not only attack every aspect of the movie’s production they go on to attack the Agorist content of the movie itself. Sometimes these attacks on the movie are by persons claiming to like the novel — but the attacks on content in the movie are on content that originated in the novel.

Here is a new example.

On the Agora Club Facebook page, “Agoristball” writes, “The book was pretty good but… just… wow… As far as libertarian message is not subtle at all and beats you over the head with liberty in ever frame and honestly it seems to glorify a lot of libertarian straw men. Like at one point the main character goes to buy nuke from a market. Not exactly the film I’d want representing my ideology.”

The Engineering Nuke in Alongside Night

So let’s compare the sequence from the novel, and from the movie, that “beats you over the head with liberty,” glorifies “a lot of libertarian straw men,” and which this man claiming to represent Agorism writes is “Not exactly the film I’d want representing my ideology.”

Keep in mind that both the novel sequence and movie sequence were written by one of the founders of Agorism and the novel version was vetted by Agorism’s universally-acknowledged theoretician, Samuel Edward Konkin III.

The guard looked them over, and saw they were genuinely confused. He motioned with the Taser. “Come on.”

He led Elliot and Lorimer to the security alcove, and told the commandant — a different one from the previous night, “Two for Aurora Proper.”

The commandant then asked them, “Anything you want from the lockers?”

“I have a pistol,” said Elliot. “Do you think I need it?”

“I couldn’t say,” he replied. “Cadre are not allowed on the trading floor.”

“Why not?” Lorimer asked.

“Privacy,” the commandant explained. “The allied businesses in Aurora have delegated to the Cadre the right to monitor incoming and outgoing goods and communications, to ensure that the location is kept secret. To make sure that the Cadre can’t try to use this authority against them, they forbid us to enter into their domain and maintain their own security force to keep us out. Their guards are armed; except during emergencies we are not allowed to be.”

“Well,” said Elliot, “if I’m allowed to, I guess I will take my revolver.”

“Right. Surrender your badges, please.”

Taking their badges and feeding them into a collection slot, the commandant then got Elliot his revolver. After Elliot had put on his holster, the guard led the couple down the same corridor through which they had entered the Cadre complex initially, retracing the 45-degree bend around which was the steel door defended by still another guard. The door was opened for them, and they were instructed to walk to the Terminal corridor’s end and wait at the large portal opposite the Terminal. They did — Elliot meanwhile noting the Terminal door locked — and a few minutes later the portal slid open.

They were facing a freight elevator.

After they had got on, the door automatically slid shut, the elevator creeping down. When the door opened again, they were looking down the main promenade of what looked to be a small village.

Elliot and Lorimer faced a carpeted mall — daylight simulated by sunlight fluorescent panels in a low acoustic ceiling — twenty-feet wide and stretching ahead over twice the length of a football field. On each side of the promenade was an array of storefronts and offices the likes of which Elliot had never seen, and shopping in the mall were over a hundred persons obviously of widely varying nationality, creed, and custom.

“This is clearly impossible,” said Elliot. Lorimer did not disagree.

They began down the promenade, on the left passing the Black Supermarket (it looked like a supermarket); next to it, offices of the First Anarchist Bank and Trust Company — AnarchoBank for short; farther down, NoState Insurance; and beyond that, a post office: The American Letter Mail Company, Lysander Spooner, founder.

On the opposite side of the promenade were The Contraband Exchange (jewelry, novelties, duty-free merchandise), Identities by Charles (makeup and disguises), and a restaurant, The TANSTAAFL Café. There were several dozen more shops and offices that looked even more intriguing.

“Well, what do you think?”

Lorimer paused a moment before answering. “I think it might be easier to hide the Lincoln Memorial.”

“We might be under it.”

They walked farther, passing The Gun Nut and an office for Guerdon Construction, coming to a door marked “The G. Gerald Rhoames Boarder Guard and Ketchup Company.” Elliot and Lorimer took one look at it — then at each other — and decided to go in.

A bell of the door tinkled as they entered; the shop was old-fashioned, almost Dickensian in style, with a small, well- dressed man seated behind a glass counter. He stood as they came in. “Yes?”

“Mr. Rhoames?”

He bowed slightly.

“We were wondering what you sell here,” Lorimer asked.

“My sign does not convince you?” He spoke with a British accent contaminated by overexposure to Americans.

“Should it?”

“Surely not. Gentlemen should deal neither in frontier guards nor ketchup. I am a cannabist.”

“You eat human flesh?”

“Good heavens, no, dear lady. I am a cannabist, not a cannibal. A cannabist deals in Cannabis sativa, the most select parts from the female hemp plant. I am a seller of the finest hybrids from Colombia, Acapulco, Bangladesh.”

“Wholesale or retail?” Elliot asked.

“Both,” said mr. Rhoames, “though naturally my store here is quite limited. Over three kilograms entails outside delivery.”

“What would an ounce of Acapulco go for?”

“Thirty-nine cents.”

“What?”

“Very well, then. Thirty-three.”

Elliot pulled out his wallet, extending a blue. “Do you have change of a hundred?”

Mr. Rhoames looked at it with disdain. “Surely you do not think I was pricing in fiat? The price is thirty-three cents aurum.”

“Well, how much is that in dollars?”

Mr. Rhoames shrugged. “I’m not a clerk.” He pronounced the word clark. “I suggest you utilize a bank here and exchange them.”

“Thanks,” said Elliot. “Come on, Lor.” They started to the door.

“I say — on the subject of dollars . . .”

They turned back to him.

He reached behind the counter, his hand returning with a small box. Inside were five manufactured cigarettes with gold dollar signs engraved on the paper. “A house blend, grown hydroponically in my own tanks.”

“I’m sure they’re excellent, but I can’t do anything until I get my currency exchanged.”

“No, no, no,” said Mr. Rhoames. “On the house.”

“Why, thank you,” said Lorimer. “That’s very kind.”

“Nothing at all. Come back anytime.”

When they were fully out the door, Lorimer turned to Elliot and just said, “Well.”

“I’ll reserve my opinion until I see how these others are,” Elliot replied.

A two-minute walk returned them to the AnarchoBank, inside three tellers’ windows with a half-dozen customers in line, and a sign on the wall: “Offices in AURORA, AUTONOMY, AUCTION, AURIGA, AUDACITY, AUBERGE, AUSTRIAN SCHOOL, AUNTIE, and AUM.”

Elliot and Lorimer bypassed the line, instead walking over to a good-looking black woman behind a desk marked “New Accounts.” “Excuse me, but who do I see to exchange New Dollars?”

“Do you have an account with us?” she asked pleasantly; Elliot shook his head. “Then I’ll take care of it. Won’t you sit down?” After Elliot and Lorimer had been seated, she asked, “How much would you like exchanged?” Elliot took out his remaining currency, counting out twenty-seven hundred in blues. “You’d like gold or eurofrancs?”

“Uh — gold, I guess.”

She made use of a desktop computer console, then said, “We’ll have to buy your New Dollars at what we estimate is Monday’s rate.” She explained, “That’s the earliest we can sell it. And at 28.165 New Dollars per milligram gold, we can offer you ninety-six mils.”

“How much will that buy around here?”

“Not very much. A carton of cigarettes at Black Supermarket or a light lunch at TANSTAAFL Café. As a reference point, a dime vendy trades at par with four mils, a quarter vendy at ten mils — that is, one cent.”

Elliot thought a moment, then said, “My money will buy me two dozen phone calls?”

“If there were pay phones in Aurora — which there aren’t — yes.”

“In that case,” said Elliot, “I’m interested in another transaction.”

Concealing his motions from both the woman and Lorimer, he unzipped his belt slightly and pulled out a 50-peso piece. He placed it on the desk.

“For eurofrancs,” said Elliot.

Ten minutes later, Elliot had exchanged his blues for a handful of vendies and had been given 405 eurofrancs for his gold piece — ten eurofrancs per gram gold and an 8 percent premium for the coin. The New Accounts officer also showed them AnarchoBank gold coins of various weights, including a one-gram wafer so thin it was sealed into plastic.

“Listen,” said Elliot, after he had been given a thorough sales pitch for minimum-balance checking accounts, interest- bearing time deposits, and a small pamphlet called “The Wonderful World of 100% Gold Reserve Banking.” “I don’t mean this to sound nasty — honestly — but how can I be sure this isn’t a fly-by- night outfit?”

“That’s a fair question,” she replied, though I’m afraid the best way we can prove ourselves to you requires that you simply do business with us long enough to be assured of our honesty. Short of that, you can receive a copy of the auditor’s report from the Independent Arbitration Group, or check with any of our overseas correspondent banks. AnarchoBank is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Union Commerce Bank in Zurich, and does business through it with aboveground banks throughout the world.”

Elliot and Lorimer got up. “Well, thank you,” said Elliot.

The New Accounts officer extended another pamphlet to him. “Your application for a Bank AnarchoCard,” she said.

For the next hour, Elliot and Lorimer window-shopped, looking at duty-free Swiss watches in the Contraband Exchange, picking up a prospectus for Project Harriman, a countereconomic lunar mining venture, and scrutinizing the wide range of illegal chemicals on sale in Jameson Pharmaceuticals, displayed as in the patent-medicine counters of a discount drugstore. A sign on the wall announced: “NO PRESCRIPTIONS REQUIRED ON ANY PURCHASE — Consult Your Physician for Indications.” And past rows of morphine, paregoric, methadone, and heroin was another smaller sign on the wall, but reproduced on each package: “WARNING: Narcotics Use is Habit-Forming.”

Another counter displayed LSD 25 . . . THC . . . Mescaline . . . cocaine . . . Sweet & Low . . .

In Nalevo Personnel Lorimer was told by a placement manager that they could guarantee her employment at twenty grams gold a week in one of the finer bordellos.

The Black Supermarket impressed them not for what it had — aside from tax-free liquor and cigarettes its merchandise was the kind any supermarket would sell — but for what it did not have: no shortages, no rationing, no listings of “lawful” ceiling prices. Elliot felt a momentary twinge when he saw a shelf stocked with Spam; he had pushed his family to the back of his mind and felt guilty for enjoying himself.

It became evident that the trading floor was primarily a convenience for wholesale countereconomic traders, who shook hands on huge deals here, and made their deliveries outside. It was only slightly unusual to see a person walking around with face masked, though Elliot suspected that most of the people shopping on this floor were “expendable” agents of the actual buyers, whose faces would never risk being seen.

After a five-minute wait for a table, Elliot and Lorimer were seated in the TANSTAAFL Café, a sign on the wall translating the word as There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, and rightly crediting the acronym to E. “Doc” Pournelle. The special luncheon for Saturday offered split-pea soup, sandwich, french fries, and beverage, all for seven cents. After brief discussion, Elliot ordered it for both of them.

While waiting for the food, they paid a visit to the restaurant’s old Wurlitzer jukebox, finding it stocked only with classical music. Elliot inserted a quarter vendy and pushed I-23; the machine responded by playing the Heifetz recording of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.

Elliot and Lorimer spent another ninety minutes drifting around the floor — talking with document forgers, electronics technicians, and arbitration agents — and visiting, at Elliot’s urging, The Gun Nut. On display was a weapon fancier’s dream, everything from pistols, bazookas, and M-21 automatic machine pistols, to grenade launchers, subsonic generators, and lasers. Its real attraction for Elliot was a fifty-foot-deep shooting range behind a soundproof glass panel. After donning ear protectors, Elliot fast-drew into a Weaver stance at a paper target in the shape of an armed assailant. Afterward, he brought his target up to the front counter.

“The proprietor said, “That’ll be ten cents. How’d you do?”

Elliot showed the man his target. He had shot a number of bull’s-eyes, fewer holes farther out, none out of killing range.

The proprietor nodded respectfully.

“Lor,” said Elliot as they exited to the promenade, “after this place I’d believe you if you told me someone was here hawking nukes.”

Someone was.

The display mock-up had a sign underneath labeling it: “100 KILOTON ATOMIC FISSION DEVICE.”

The salesman in Lowell-Pierre Engineering was telling them, “. . . but of course much smaller than the megaton capabilities of the hydrogen fusion devices.”

“You provide the plutonium?” Elliot asked him.

“No, of course not,” said the salesman. “You’d have to find your own source. But even if you did, you’d have to accept one of our supervisors to ensure that the device would be used only for excavation or drilling, before we would sell you one. We don’t hand over nuclear weapons to fools who want to blow up the world.”

“But you’ve sold these things?” asked Lorimer. “Really?”

“Of course,” said the salesman. “Do you think we’re in business for our health?”

Now here’s the same Agorist shopping floor sequence in the movie:



Speaking as the surviving co-founder of Agorism who came up with this sequence in close consultation with the other co-founder of Agorism, Samuel Edward Konkin III, I think the movie sequence is as representative of Agorism as the novel sequence. If you press me, I think the movie does an even better job at explicating core Agorist ideas than the novel did.

So here’s what the living Original Agorist says about this.

If you don’t like the expression of Agorist ideas in Alongside Night, the original novel or the movie the original author made from it, you’re not an Agorist.

If you don’t recognize and like the Agorist content of the first Agorist movie Alongside Night you have failed the litmus test identifying genuine Agorists and weeding out the phonies, poseurs, dilettantes, communists, fascists, racists, anti-Semites, unfunny comics, belching podcasters, illiterate critics, confidential informants, oppo trolls, and all variation of stealth statists from both left and right.

You can’t claim to be a fundamentalist Christian and hate the Bible. You can’t claim to be a Muslim and declare the Quran is a piece of crap. You can’t claim to be a Student of Objectivism and say Atlas Shrugged is the worst novel ever written. You can’t claim to love America but think half of American voters belong in a basket of deplorables.

If your esthetics are such that a clear expression of Agorist content in a more-than-competently made low-budget indie film turns you off, please stop calling yourself an Agorist, because you’re not. You can claim to be any other flavor of free-thinker you like — minarchist, Libertarian Partyarch, anarcho-communist, mutualist, AnCap, Voluntaryist, distributivist, etc. — but you are not an Agorist.

That’s not an argument from authority, or a claim of trademark.

It’s just cutting through a pile of deviationist claims to reach the historical facts witnessed personally from this guy who was there when it started.

Watch Alongside Night — The Full Movie Free

Bookmark and Share

Black Lists & Black Markets


A few days ago while watching an award screener of the new movie Trumbo — I’ll leave it to my libertarian friend Brad Linaweaver to review it for its historical inaccuracies — I had an epiphany. There’s a line of dialogue when Dalton Trumbo says:

DALTON TRUMBO
…no, I can’t tell you what I’m
working on now except to say, the
blacklist is alive and well and so
is the black market.

Although I was aware that communist Hollywood writers were bypassing the Black List by writing under pseudonyms and working through “fronts,” it never occurred to me that this was practicing my own economic philosophy of Agorism.

Irrespective of any contrary propaganda intentions of its filmmakers, Trumbo is a pro-Agorist movie.

Poster for Trumbo (Bleecker Street, 2015)

Dalton Trumbo — darling of the Hollywood left — was an Agorist: a practitioner of black-market capitalism.

Despite being a card-carrying member of the Communist Party of the USA whose theoretical understanding of free-market economics was somewhere between zero and negative infinity, when his career as the highest-paid screenwriter for the Hollywood studios was stymied and his bourgeois lifestyle capsized, Dalton Trumbo entrepreneured an elaborate counter-economic operation to market screenplays by himself and fellow black-listed writers to movie producers willing to lie about the screen credits and pay in cash.

I wrote, produced, and directed a feature film about Agorism as a strategy to resist and bypass any State, whether right-wing fascist or left-wing communist. It’s titled Alongside Night and as of yesterday it’s now available for free streaming via Amazon Prime. If you’re not a Prime member you can rent or buy it on Amazon as a streaming download or as a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack. It’s also on iTunes.

But fifty Hollywood distributors and all the major film festivals rejected my movie. They’ll lie and say my movie was substandard — mendacious lying is standard operations for communists and fascists alike — but Alongside Night was rejected because of its anti-political content.

So here’s my revelation to all those in Hollywood who applaud Dalton Trumbo for subverting and eventually destroying the Black List:

Dalton Trumbo used Agorism — the strategy portrayed in my movie Alongside Night — to defeat the oppressors of his time.

Agorism works to defeat tyranny … even if you think you’re a communist.

Wikipedia Article: Agorism

Bookmark and Share

Libertarian Movement Phoenix

Over the weekend of September 25 to 27th I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for the Second Amendment Foundation’s 2015 Gun Rights Policy Conference. I delivered a short address from the podium on Sunday the 27th that was video-recorded both by the Polite Society Podcast and C-SPAN. In addition I was interviewed before my speech by the Polite Society Podcast and both before and after by Ernest Hancock’s Declare Your Independence radio program.

J. Neil Schulman at GRPC 2015

Copies of the Alongside Night 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and a bulk order form were placed on the conference attendee’s seats.

The thrust of my presentation was also the theme of Alongside Night:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
–from the Declaration of Independence

The libertarian movement as I first knew it has lost its way. Disrupted by narrow ideology and petty squabbling over single issues it has been marginalized and the power of its message dissipated.

There needs to be a New Libertarian movement refocused on the original Revolution built from the ground up, and I decided a conference of activists devoted to at least one, if not more, of the Bill of Rights was a proper place to start.

Here’s my address to the conference plus my interviews.

This, and Alongside Night, are presented in the hope it will remind freedom-lovers what the libertarian movement was, and will again be, about and inspire the work needed to free us all.

Like the Phoenix of legend out of the ashes comes a rebirth.

–J. Neil Schulman



I’m J. Neil Schulman, author and filmmaker and I made this movie, Alongside Night, about the American Revolution returning in our time, and we gave copies to just about everybody who came to this conference. And for those of you watching on C-SPAN you can go to Amazon.com and buy it.

So let’s talk about the first American Revolution.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote those words about felons illegally in possession of firearms who on April 19th, 1775 used those illegal guns to shoot at police legally appointed by the governor to confiscate their illegal guns. In the exchange of gunfire three cops were killed and nine cops were wounded.

Sheriff David Clarke, I have bad news for you.

This country was founded by cop-killers.

Roughly 226 years later, on September 11th, 2001, four commercial jetliners filled with passengers, flight attendants, and flight crew – all of them disarmed of firearms by United States federal law – were overpowered by Jihadi militiamen armed only with box cutters, four per aircraft. Two of those captured aircraft were used as weapons to crash into New York’s twin towers financial headquarters, one crashed into the U.S. military headquarters in Washington DC, and one flight – where the disarmed passengers, none of them with military or police uniforms or badges – fought the jihadi militiamen who rather than surrender crashed the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The casualties that day were just under 3,000, but in subsequent years wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere costs the United States thousands of more lives, trillions of dollars, and a wounded warrior class.

Gun control gave us 9/11.

I’m a writer and filmmaker who has sold stories and screenplays to Hollywood production companies, including an original script for the Twilight Zone, broadcast by CBS in prime time, March 7, 1986. My new narrative feature film, Alongside Night, based on my first novel published in October 1979, was given out to participants at this conference, as a counterpoint to the usual Hollywood movies that treat privately held firearms as dangers to public safety.

Hollywood writers and producers led by Harvey Weinstein hate private gun ownership yet the entertainment industry makes movies and TV shows full of guns. Hollywood gets past its own objections by having these guns be either futuristic ray guns or ordinary guns used to shoot the heads off zombies, or by having the guns be used by cops. Prime time U.S. television is dominated by shows featuring law-enforcement officers and military service personnel as the armed heroes.

On the other side is a political right-wing dominated by politicians who assign absolute human rights only to the unborn. Anyone breathing air has only government granted privileges – driving licenses, gun licenses, work permits, and so forth. They talk about a “right to work” but want to build a wall to keep out workers.

They want gun rights only for the law-abiding – in other words, anyone who meekly complies with thousands of tyrannical regulations.

I’m here to agree with the signers of the Declaration of Independence – a legal document more binding than the Constitution — that when any government’s police and regulations become oppressive of the people’s rights the people have the moral right to resist abuse of their rights under color of law – and existing federal law agrees with me. Look up Title 18 US Code Section 242 which says that any official – local, state, or federal – who violates constitutionally protected rights is acting as a criminal and has zero legal authority to do so.

Title 18 US Code Section 242
Title 18 US Code Section 242
Title 18 US Code Section 242

By the way, the Second Amendment in a recent Seventh Circuit decision, applies to illegal immigrants.

And I need to tell you something that is not going to be pleasant for a lot of you to hear. It also applies to drug gangs because nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is the word “drug” mentioned and according to te 9th and 10th amendments if it ain’t listed in the Constitution as powers of the federal government anything they do on this subject is void ab initio.

That’s how Black Lives Matter and defenders of the Bill of Rights – you in this room — can get together.

Thank you.




2015-09-25 Hour 3 J neil SCHULMAN from Ernest Hancock on Vimeo.


2015-09-29 Hour 1 J Neil Schulman from Ernest Hancock on Vimeo.


Alongside Night Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Due to the college campus shooting today at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College I decided to add two additional videos.
–JNS





Bookmark and Share

The Most Libertarian Movie Ever?

I’ve been writing about the Alongside Night Movie for over five years, starting when I was still trying to put together casting and financing to get it made. I’ve sold it hard on the libertarian content in the movie and how I believe a feature-length narrative film can be effective in approaching people — especially young people — to consider libertarian principles and comparing libertarian approaches with far-more-popular government-reliant policies.

The Alongside Night Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack just hit the market. We just started running the first radio commercial, beginning on Art Bell’s return to radio, Midnight in the Desert.

I’ve dedicated my career to the belief that storytelling can convey complex ideas to large audiences.. I became a libertarian because I read stories by Robert Heinlein. Many libertarians started with Ayn Rand.

This approach is called show-and-tell or to use an older term, a parable. History’s most effective teachers — Buddha, Jesus, Aesop, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert A. Heinlein, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ayn Rand — have taught by storytelling.

Masters of totalitarian propaganda including Goebbels, Lenin, Stalin, and FDR all understood that movies have been essential in mass communication.

Libertarians, Agorists, Voluntaryists, lend me your ears — and eyes.

Watch these clips from Alongside Night.

–J. Neil Schulman, who wrote the novel and made the movie

Most Libertarian CardMost Libertarian Icon
The Most Libertarian Sequence in Any Movie Ever!

Libertarian Rally CardLibertarian Rally Icon
The Most Libertarian Rally in any Movie!

Economics in One Minute CardEconomics in One Minute Icon
“Economics in One Minute”

Legal Tender Deniers CardLegal Tender Deniers Icon
“Legal Tender Deniers”

Meeting the Cadre CardMeeting the Cadre Icon
Meeting the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre

Free Talk Live Card
Free Talk Live Icon
Free Talk Live in Alongside Night

Magnesium CardMagnesium Icon
“Magnesium!” — An Action Sequence in Alongside Night

Dr. Ron Paul in Alongside Night CardDr. Ron Paul in Alongside Night Icon
Dr. Ron Paul in Alongside Night

Alongside Night Teaser Trailer CardAlongside Night Teaser Icon
The Alongside Night Teaser Trailer

60 Second Commercial CardDr, Ron Paul in Alongside Night Card
The Alongside Night 60 Second Radio Commercial

Bookmark and Share

Alongside Night and Libertarian Movies


I write this the day after the 2015 Anthem Libertarian Film Festival closed without playing the most focused, hard-core and just-released libertarian movie — the one based on my novel of the same title, the only one where the libertarian author also wrote, produced, and directed the adapted movie — my own movie, Alongside Night.

Anthem Film Festival

So why should anyone else give a damn? Why should even I give a damn when Alongside Night was one of the opening-night movies previewed in a rough cut at the 2013 Freedomfest that hosts the Anthem Film Festival and a few days ago my movie just had its commercial release the same weekend as the 2015 Anthem Film Festival/Freedomfest as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack … and from all indications my movie has a bright future in multiple-venue and multiple platform distribution?

Alongside Night Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack cover

It’s because I’m one of that rare breed of novelists, screenwriters, and directors able to package a commercial-grade story with core libertarian themes that can also entertain people who disagree with its ideas. People who haven’t done any of this but are in positions of critical judgment over the artistic output of those like us who have done it need to pay attention.

I have four decades in as a celebrated libertarian novelist with major celebrity endorsements, awards, and reviews on my books; also as a libertarian editor and book publisher; a journalist and opinion writer published in major newspapers and magazines; screenwriter for primetime network TV; and I also won three film-festival awards for the first feature film, Lady Magdalene’s, that I produced, wrote, and directed — including a “Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Values” given to me at the 2011 Anthem Film Festival. Got that? The very libertarian film festival that I’m calling out here already gave me an award and its parent convention already played my movie that they rejected as unworthy.

Here’s the Anthem Film Festival’s description on Amazon.com’s Withoutabox website inviting filmmakers to submit:

U.S. Narrative Feature
Narrative features must highlight a libertarian theme. They can be any genre–comedy, drama, action, mystery, etc. They must present a problem created by authoritarian control and resolved by personal innovation or free enterprise. The theme may be subtle. The authority could be a parent, employer, or school board, for example; it does not have to be a government. We are looking for films that celebrate individual initiative, personal accountability, and self-reliance.

Say what else you want about Alongside Night as a movie. Maybe you don’t like my storytelling, my directing, the acting performances, the editing, the music, the visual effects. But if you’re a libertarian wanting your values to compete in the marketplace with movies carrying anti-libertarian content and promoting anti-libertarian themes, you still have to acknowledge that the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival’s call for entries describes Alongside Night. If Alongside Night had played at the 2015 Anthem Film Festival it would have been the only narrative feature film this year.

After receiving 300 film submissions the Anthem Film Festival did not select to screen a single narrative feature film — that means a feature-length movie telling a fictitious or fictionalized story, whether drama or comedy — at its 2015 festival. It played only documentaries and short films that usually appeal only to academics and indie film buffs — movies that with rare exception never have commercial appeal to a wide audience.

For a thriller like Alongside Night with a star-driven cast of actors with major film and TV credits, a film score by a composer with credits in dozens of major Hollywood movies and recorded by the National Symphony of Ukraine, visual effects done by a team that did effects for James Cameron’s Titanic, and produced, written, and directed by the only libertarian-feted author who crossed over into being a libertarian feature filmmaker — the only major libertarian movie release this season — not to play at the only film festival claiming to be libertarian is disgusting. That’s a true statement even when made by the subject of that observation, himself.

I don’t need the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival for my movie to succeed both in finding its audience and getting noticed in the media. See my article “Making Liberty Go Viral.”

Las Vegas Weekly article by Josh Bell

But I already saw a previous attempt at a libertarian film festival — Jason Apuzzo and Govinda Murty’s 2004-2008 Liberty Film Festival go under as soon as it aligned itself with the neocon David Horowitz Freedom Center.

This year’s FreedomFest, run by Anthem festival director Jo Ann Skousen’s husband, Mark Skousen — allowed GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio a keynote platform speech at the convention without having a libertarian interlocutor to challenge them on their anti-libertarian positions.

A festival representing itself as pro-liberty — and that’s both Freedomfest and the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival — needs what Andy Levy said about me on Fox News’ Red Eye — “full-on” libertarians who don’t soften their expression to appeal to liberals in the media or conservatives inside the beltway.

As I already said, I don’t need Freedomfest or the Anthem Libertarian Film Festival. I can get my movie out without their help.

Official Alongside Night Movie Website

But we do need libertarian conventions and film festivals in general to popularize libertarian ideas and get them traction in the mainstream culture.

If Jo Ann and Mark Skousen are not to follow Jason Apuzzo and Govinda Murty into having their outreach diverted by statists in libertarian clothing, they’d better pay attention to why I have a successful four-decade career as a libertarian breaking through into the mainstream media: New York and London book publishers, the Los Angeles Times book review and opinion pages, magazines like National Review and Reason, CBS prime-time network television, and now commercial movie outlets.

I already posted on the Freedomfest Facebook page a suggestion for next-year speakers.

Freedomfest Speaker suggestions

I strongly advise them to stop using trivial differences of personal taste or marginalization of the undiluted libertarian expression as a reason to sabotage their own core mission of popularizing “free minds and free markets” and to take my decades of experience into account.

They might also take into account that if Pat Heller and I had not run into each other at FreedomFest in 2011 when I got my Anthem award for Lady Magdalene’s, Alongside Night never would have secured the financing to get made.

Alongside Night Executive Producer Patrick A. Heller with Anthem Film Festival Director Jo Ann Skousen
Alongside Night Executive Producer Patrick A. Heller
with Anthem Libertarian Film Festival Director Jo Ann Skousen
Photo Courtesy of Liberty’s Outlook

Like or not, Mark and Jo Ann Skousen are godparents to the movie production of Alongside Night.

Postscript July 18, 2015:

In email correspondence following our public exchange of comments at jneilschulman.agorist.com Jo Ann and Mark Skousen wished to make clear that they do not in any way endorse my films, and I wished to make clear that the film festival run by Jo Ann Skousen judges libertarian content in films to be anathema. Mark Skousen also wrote that I’m quickly becoming persona non grata at FreedomFest. If FreedomFest does not reverse its course and stop providing higher profile platforms for Republicans and Neocons than hard-core Rothbardian/LeFevrian/Konkinian libertarians, that will be a badge of honor.

Bookmark and Share

Schooling the Academics


As I write this Cinemax is running the 1986 comedy Back to School.

The movie stars Rodney Dangerfield, the brilliant stand-up comic whose theme was always, “I get no respect.”

The theme of Back to School is Dangerfield’s, who co-wrote the story, about a successful self-made multi-millionaire whose only schooling is the School of Hard Knocks, versus snobbish and entitled academics with no real-world accomplishments who give the real-world achiever no respect. As Dangerfield’s movie portrays, the feeling is mutual.

Back to School poster

I dropped out of college, the only community college that would accept me based on a certificate of completion from a private tutorial academy, in my second semester. It wasn’t only that I was bored by instructors who couldn’t write or argue as well as I already could from what I’d learned in my own reading and teenage entrepreneurial pursuits, but the academic atmosphere itself offended me. A psychology course expected me to share my personal life with other students, all strangers, as if this were group therapy. I’d already undergone several years of private psychiatry which had been personally beneficial and knew what issues were mine to resolve, but nobody else’s business.

As well, after years of sitting in classrooms that taught me far less than days reading books I’d chosen from visits to libraries, I was impatient to test myself in the real world. I’d already achieved minor success as a photo-journalist who beginning at age 14 had sold photography to local newspapers and portrait photography to individual clients. Now, pursuing writing as my new profession, I was more interested in making sales to newspapers, magazines, and book publishers. Delaying this by sitting in classrooms that had nothing to teach me that I couldn’t teach myself more efficiently had no appeal to me. The social approval of others who would judge me not on my actual work but on academic degrees struck me as remnants of an aristocratic Old World that I thought the American Revolution was fought to disestablish.

Today, after decades in the real-world marketplace, I can acknowledge lost opportunities because I didn’t pursue academic degrees. I wasn’t entirely allergic to classrooms and audited Murray Rothbard classes in economics he taught in Brooklyn. I’ve taken extension courses in subjects that interested me at UCLA. I achieved a certificate from college courses in police work that qualified me to become a California peace officer, though I never was offered employment in the field. And I even taught a graduate course in digital publishing for the New School, based on my own early entrepreneurship in the field, to students seeking a Masters degree. One of my students was a vice-president at Prentice-Hall publishing.

Nonetheless, when in the 1990′s I applied for a full-time editorial position at Reason Magazine after having been published in Reason, National Review, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times Op-Ed page; had two award-winning novels published by major New York publishers; and had written for prime-time network television, Reason editor Virginia Postrel told me in a phone follow-up to my job application that I didn’t even make her top-ten for the position because I didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree.

The only paid editorial office position I ever scored in my career was working for a soft-core porn pulp magazine published by Screw Magazine’s Al Goldstein.

Today — even having achieved endorsements and praise on my writing from numerous doctorate-wielding university professors — academics with no publishing credits nearing my own in both popular media and academic journals, dominate conferences from the Independent Institute, Students for Liberty, CATO, the Reason Foundation, and conferences like PorcFest leaning to the left and FreedomFest leaning to the right — and I haven’t received a main-program-track speaking offer at any of these events for years.

I have friends like Brad Linaweaver — who holds a Masters Degree in English from the ivy-league Rollins College — who has real-world publishing credits as long or longer than my own. Academic achievement does not preclude real-world results.

But my disgust and contempt for supposedly libertarian publishers, conference organizers, and organizations that give out grants and awards for writing, publishing, and producing serious works encompassing free-market and libertarian ideas — preferencing academics over marketplace achievers like myself — makes me want to aim projectile vomit over their revanchist Old World Class.

This, alone, loses the libertarian future, and don’t think this autodidact doesn’t hate their guts because of their discriminatory lack of respect.

Bookmark and Share

Special YouTube Preview of Alongside Night Full Movie!

Update May 26, 2015:

I was intending to keep the Special YouTube Preview of Alongside Night Full Movie up until the movie was commercially available, a few weeks from now. I had to remove it today when the sponsor of the free web preview, Patrick A. Heller, informed me that a “conservative” website had bypassed the play-list link which had a Liberty Coin Service infomercial preceding the full movie and posted a direct link to the unlisted YouTube video itself. So Pat asked me to take down the now-unsponsored movie and I have.
–J. Neil Schulman

The only real YouTube site for Alongside Night — the full movie!

A 6-minute infomercial from Liberty Coin Service sponsors this free YouTube preview of the movie while the Alongside Night Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack is in production.

We’re making this YouTube preview available so you can spread the word about the movie on your blog or podcast, on social media like Facebook and Twitter, and in User Reviews and Ratings for the movie on IMDb.

Traditional media are also welcome to review the movie.

Alongside Night Author/Filmmaker J. Neil Schulman is available for interviews. Email Neil at jneil[at]jesulu.com.

This DVD-quality print of the movie has stereo sound and English SDH, French & Spanish captions available on YouTube.

It’s the near future and America is in trouble. Hyperinflation and disorder reign in the towns and cities of the nation. The government doesn’t have money to pay the military. A revolutionary group inspired by the Declaration of Independence is fomenting a second American Revolution and the director of a futuristic FEMA is arresting political enemies without court-issued warrants and imprisoning them in a secret prison.

This is the nonstop action and suspense in award-winning indie filmmaker J. Neil Schulman’s latest production, Alongside Night, based on his award-winning 1979 novel endorsed by Nobel-laureate Milton Friedman, A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess, and Dr. Ron Paul.

Alongside Night Official Movie Poster

Starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, God’s Not Dead), Said Faraj (Green Zone), Contact and Starship Troopers‘ Jake Busey, Star Trek Voyager‘s Tim Russ and Garrett Wang, Alien Nation‘s Gary Graham, Men in Black 3‘s Valence Thomas, Parks and Recreation‘s Mara Marini, Lady Magdalene’s Ethan Keogh, Adam Meir and Susan Smythe, Kevin Sorbo’s real-life wife, actress Sam Sorbo, singer/songwriter Jordan Page, and real-life activist Adam Kokesh, as well as up-and-coming actors Christian Kramme, Reid Cox, Kyle Leatherberry, Rebekah Kennedy, Charlie Morgan Patton, and Eric Colton, this is a film far more current than The Hunger Games or Divergence series.

This is the story of Elliot Vreeland (Kramme), son of Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Martin Vreeland (Sorbo). When his family goes missing and while being shadowed by federal agents (Faraj and Leatherberry), Elliot, with the help of his mysterious companion Lorimer (Cox), explore the underground world of the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to find them. It’s a story of romance, intrigue, action, adventure, and exhilarating science fiction thrills.

Alongside Night Blu-Ray Combo Pack Front Cover

Alongside Night Blu-Ray Combo Pack Back Cover

“J.Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night is at the forefront of libertarian cinema.” — Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly

“Seeing the movie adapted into a full length movie was a dream come true.”
–Sean Gangol, The Libertarian Enterprise

I believe Alongside Night will advance the cause of liberty.”
–Dr. Ron Paul, Ron Paul Channel, June 16, 2014

“The story is, by turns, touching, suspense-filled, violent when violence was called for, highly polemic, and altogether satisfying.”
L. Neil Smith, The Libertarian Enterprise

“ It’s a handsomely produced film for its low budget. Well-acted and ingeniously directed.”
– John DeChancie, best-selling author

“J Neil Schulman’s film Alongside Night is just as brilliant as his original novel and it may be even more so with all of the anarcho-capitalist and libertarian visual Easter eggs placed in the background that are a treat and supreme delight for all of those in the know.”
– Justin Ptak, Facebook

“A movie dedicated to promoting liberty and warning about a too powerful government.” — Coos County Democrat

“Abundant professional talent …supported the making of this fine movie. The result is visually bright and stunning, laced and layered with great music and pregnant with the theme of the unquenchable human spirit seeking liberty.”
–Jerry Jewett, Mondo Cult

Alongside Night has been recognized as an important projection of near-future crises on such diverse mass media as Fox News’ Red Eye, ABC’s On The Red Carpet, The Ron Paul Channel, Alex Jones’ Infowars, Reason.TV, the Larry Elder Show, Las Vegas Weekly, the Libertarian Republic, the Sam Sorbo Show, and many blogs, local TV and radio shows, and podcasts. With recommendations from Ron Paul and Alex Jones to their millions of listeners and viewers this movie has a fan base eagerly awaiting it.

Official Movie Website: http://www.AlongsideNightMovie.com

Official Facebook: http://Facebook.com/AlongsideNightMovie

Official Twitter: http://Twitter.com/AlongsideNight

YouTube Alongside Night Short Video Play List: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-Amt4eMOq4MupHcidoJdPZ2ajFjpIVMv

Bookmark and Share

Making Liberty Go Viral


In the 1970′s, as a young radical-libertarian fiction writer, I had the thought: What If — instead of setting the struggle for liberty in the past, or on another world, or in a parallel dimension or alternate timeline or post-apocalyptic future — I played that story on streets barely changed from ones outside my own window?

I didn’t write Alongside Night to be another Atlas Shrugged or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I wrote it to say that you didn’t need to go to the Land of Oz if you wanted to see the wizardry of freedom. It could be right on the sidewalks you walked every day and you didn’t need any ruby or glass slippers.

I believe that in seeking liberty stories are far more important than either elections or marches. Ideas without the imagination to visualize them remain stillborn.

I knew right from the beginning that Alongside Night would have to be more than a novel. I wrote my first draft of a screenplay adaptation before the first book came off the printing press.

Today, Alongside Night is the novel which was its first expression; but it is now also a movie, a graphic novel, an audiobook, and a song. All versions tell pretty much the same story.

I tried and failed to get the major film festivals and Hollywood studios to put my movie onto hundreds or thousands of movieplex screens. They didn’t want it. Knowing their politics, in which sugar and safety rank much higher than liberty, that should not have been a surprise … but I’m always an optimist.

More disappointing to me were people whom I thought prized liberty as much as I do only to discover their conventionality and timidity when courageous imagination was needed.

I did meet some heroes along the way, too — both old friends and some new ones.

We who love liberty, whoever we are, have to get the word out ourselves and if they’re to be deeply ingrained not just words, but pictures, voices, music, and ideas.

Alongside Night is already in distribution as a novel, graphic novel, and audiobook. You can find all of those for sale on Amazon.com if nowhere else. In a few months the Blu-Ray and DVD of the movie will be just as available — we’re aiming at Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, and Redbox.

If you’re a blogger, a podcaster, or just have Facebook friends or Twitter followers — hey, maybe you even have a face, voice, or byline in the Big Media — you don’t have to wait. I just made a secret web page with links to watch the full Alongside Night movie, to read the movie edition of the novel, to read the graphic novel, and to listen to the audiobook.

If you want to write or talk about Alongside Night in any or all of these versions you just need to email me (jneil[at]jesulu.com) or send me a Facebook message promising me you’ll keep the page and its links secret and I’ll give you the secret URL.

Yours in liberty,

J. Neil Schulman

Alongside Night The Movie

Alongside Night The Movie Edition

Alongside Night The Graphic Novel

Alongside Night The Audiobook

It’s the near future and America is in trouble. Hyperinflation and disorder reign in the towns and cities of the nation. The government doesn’t have money to pay the military. A revolutionary group inspired by the Declaration of Independence is fomenting a second American Revolution and the director of a futuristic FEMA is arresting political enemies without court-issued warrants and imprisoning them in a secret prison.

This is the nonstop action and suspense in award-winning indie filmmaker J. Neil Schulman’s latest production, Alongside Night, based on his award-winning 1979 novel endorsed by Nobel-laureate Milton Friedman, A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess, and Dr. Ron Paul.

Starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), Said Faraj (Green Zone), Contact and Starship Troopers’ Jake Busey, Star Trek Voyager’s Tim Russ and Garrett Wang, Alien Nation’s Gary Graham, Men in Black 3′s Valence Thomas, Parks and Recreation’s Mara Marini, Lady Magdalene’s Ethan Keogh, Adam Meir and Susan Smythe, Kevin Sorbo’s real-life wife, actress Sam Sorbo, singer/songwriter Jordan Page, and real-life activist Adam Kokesh, as well as up-and-coming actors Christian Kramme, Reid Cox, Kyle Leatherberry, Rebekah Kennedy, Charlie Morgan Patton, and Eric Colton, this is a film far more current than The Hunger Games or Divergence series.

This is the story of Elliot Vreeland (Kramme), son of Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Martin Vreeland (Sorbo). When his family goes missing and while being shadowed by federal agents (Faraj and Leatherberry), Elliot, with the help of his mysterious companion Lorimer (Cox), explore the underground world of the Revolutionary Agorist Cadre to find them. It’s a story of romance, intrigue, action, adventure, and exhilarating science fiction thrills.

“J.Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night is at the forefront of libertarian cinema.” — Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly

“I’d like to mention to the viewers, hopefully when you get the chance take a look at this movie, read the book. Neil’s worked hard in the libertarian movement. And we’d like to move it along and get it a lot of attention because that’s exactly what we want to do on this program, on this channel, is to promote the cause of liberty and I believe Alongside Night will do that.”
–Dr. Ron Paul, Ron Paul Channel, June 16, 2014

“The story is, by turns, touching, suspense-filled, violent when violence was called for, highly polemic, and altogether satisfying.”
L. Neil Smith, The Libertarian Enterprise

“A movie dedicated to promoting liberty and warning about a too powerful government.” — Coos County Democrat

“Abundant professional talent …supported the making of this fine movie. The result is visually bright and stunning, laced and layered with great music and pregnant with the theme of the unquenchable human spirit seeking liberty.”
–Jerry Jewett, Mondo Cult

Alongside Night has been recognized as an important projection of near-future crises on such diverse mass media as Fox News’ Red Eye, ABC’s On The Red Carpet, The Ron Paul Channel, Alex Jones’ Infowars, Reason.TV, the Larry Elder Show, Las Vegas Weekly, the Libertarian Republic, the Sam Sorbo Show, and many blogs, local TV and radio shows, and podcasts. With recommendations from Ron Paul and Alex Jones to their millions of listeners and viewers this movie has a fan base eagerly awaiting it.

Alongside Night has had successful paid ticketed theatrical screenings in Santa Monica, CA; Las Vegas, NV; Dallas, TX; Austin, TX; Columbus, OH; Scottsdale, AZ; Spokane, WA; Apple Valley, MN; Schaumburg, IL; Lansing, MI; Okemos, MI; and Lehi, UT.

Official Movie Website

Official Facebook

Official Twitter

YouTube Short Video Play List

Alongside Night Freedom Poster

Las Vegas Weekly article by Josh Bell

Bookmark and Share

Day Out of Days


The old phrase “feels like someone’s walking on my grave” came to mind in the past 48 hours when I read news about the writer/director of an indie film in production, Gray State, being found dead in his home, along with his wife and five-year-old daughter, in what local Minnesota police are calling “suspicious circumstances.” The physical circumstances in which David Crowley and his family were found dead, apparently undiscovered for weeks, suggests David Crowley of Apple Valley, MN, murdered his wife and daughter then took his own life.

David and Kormel Crowley
David and Komel Crowley / Image credit: Instagram

For several years David Crowley’s life was focused on making an indie suspense thriller with a lot of thematic similarity to my own new indie suspense thriller, Alongside Night, of which I’m the writer/director. Both our movies focused on events following the collapse of the dollar leading to a near-future America in which constitutional rights are dead and those who resist the new fascistic order are being rounded up and sent to FEMA-run detention facilities.

Both David Crowley and myself had appeared as Skyped-in guests with Alex Jones on his radio/Internet show, and received his praise for our cinematic efforts in defense of American liberty.

Both David Crowley and myself found ourselves locked out of Hollywood studio interest for our films.

There is one difference.

David Crowley was a 20-something first-time feature filmmaker who had produced only a concept trailer meant to raise production financing. By contrast Alongside Night was my second feature film, based on a novel I wrote in my 20’s, about David Crowley’s age when he started work on Gray State. My novel was published hardcover by a major New York publisher in 1979 with major literary endorsements, positive major reviews, and several awards picked up over the succeeding decades. Consequently I found the financing to cast known stars and complete production on my movie that David Crowley, despite a successful Indiegogo campaign to raise seed money, never did before his tragic death.

The violent death of a vocal opponent to the United States government in these post-9/11 times of secret Homeland Security warrants, arrest and indefinite detention of persons who with the stroke of a pen are classified as enemy combatants, and intrusive government spying gives way to the unthinkable: what if David Crowley didn’t take his family’s and his own life but was murdered by a clandestine operation and the crime scene engineered to cover up a political murder?

I am just paranoid enough for that possibility to scare the bejeezus out of me.

On the other hand, what if David Crowley lost hope of reaching the goal of a finished movie that I had already achieved – and in his despair lost his mind?

Neither prospect makes it easier for me to sleep at night.

But when Alongside Night does achieve commercial success in its general release later this year, I now feel that I’m not doing it only for my own cast, crew, producers and other supporters, but for David Crowley’s as well.


Bookmark and Share