Personal

Gun Rights Defender J. Neil Schulman

A video compilation of the writing, film-making, and personal addresses defending the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (RKBA), from author/filmmaker, J. Neil Schulman.

The praise Schulman has received from Academy-Award-winner and NRA President, Charlton Heston.

Pro-RKBA clips and the pro-RKBA music video, “Tried by 12.”

Schulman’s birthday remarks on the Virginia Tech massacre.

J, Neil Schulman on Concord Bridge

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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

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Violon Chinois


Back in 1999 when I spent a couple of days at Epcot/Disney World I saw a performance of an ethnic Mongolian group performing on traditional Chinese musical instruments.

One of the traditional musical instruments was the Mongolian “horsehead fiddle.”

This is an instrument sized in between a viola and a cello, placed between the knees of the performer while sitting, and bowed like a cello. But just listening to it I knew I was seeing and hearing the grand-pappy of the modern string instruments that came out of Italy, particularly Cremona, ancestor to my father’s 1716 Guarnerius violin. In a November 1985 trip to Italy (obviously prior to my 1999 visit to Epcot) I’d visited the Stradivarius museum in Cremona which contained Stradivarius, Guarnerius, Amati, and other such violins, violas, and cellos.

One of the Chinese musicians performing at Epcot spoke English. I asked how far back in history the horsehead fiddle went and where it originated. The answer came back after discussion among the musicians that it was played in Inner Mongolia in the 12th century — well before Marco Polo’s 13th century visit to the region. I asked the Chinese musicians if Marco Polo could have brought back a horsehead fiddle with him to Italy. They didn’t know but said it was possible.

From that experience and conversation I concluded that Marco Polo must have brought a horsehead fiddle back to Italy, and it became the basis for the modern Italian-developed string instruments.

Ironically, as seen in the movie The Red Violin, when Mao’s Cultural Revolution was destroying violins as Western contamination they were actually destroying their own cultural heritage.

I was unable to prove the direct connection until — with my sister’s help — we found the proof I’d been looking for:

Mongolian Horse-head Fiddle

So it turns out that while I’m not anywhere the musician my dad was, I’m not half bad at being a cultural anthropological musicologist.

J Neil Schulman

Note: A web page I made about my father’s Guarnerius violin when my mom and I were selling it back in 2005 is still up at Million Dollar Violin.

Julius Schulman: Life With a Violin

Julius Schulman Violin Hero

Julius Schulman YouTube Channel

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Julius Schulman Violin Hero


I became, first, a photographer, then a writer, then a filmmaker, because I did not learn to play the violin like my father, Julius Schulman.

My father, simply and demonstrably, was one of the greatest violinists of the twentieth century, a century noted for master violinists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Efrem Zimbalist, Sr., Mischa Elman, David Oistrackh, Isaac Stern, Zino Francescatti, Leonid Kogan, and of course, Jascha Heifetz.

I grew up in a house where I could hear my father practicing the violin for hours every day.

I have a vivid memory of sitting enraptured at age four in front of a record player upstairs at my grandparents’ house in Forest Hills, New York, as my grandmother Sarah played for me radio broadcast transcriptions of my dad performing violin solos.

In the past few days I’ve had a “proof of concept” how good my father was on the violin. When I released one of my dad’s old radio recordings onto YouTube, I received a copyright infringement notice from RCA Red Seal records saying I had used a portion from one of Jascha Heifetz’s RCA records. Someone else might have been upset at the accusation of theft. I took it as one of the greatest compliments my father had ever received that my dad’s playing could be confused with Heifetz’s.

Copyright Infringement Claim

I’m told I sang the entire Mendelssohn violin concerto when I was four. Why I wasn’t started on violin lessons at that age is something I don’t know. I do know that when I did start violin lessons at age eight, with one of my father’s colleagues in the Boston Symphony as my teacher, I heard the sounds coming out of my violin — and compared it to what came out of the violin when my father played it — and quit practicing.

Whenever I was introduced to any of my parents’ friends I was always asked first thing whether I played the violin.

Consider that when Hercules murdered his children in a Hera-induced fit of madness Hera was probably doing them a favor. My father premiered his career at eight-years-old when he performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall. In classical music this is called being a “prodigy.” In movies it’s called being a “child star” — and we know how many child stars have emotional problems when they grow up and are no longer treated as entitled. A grown-up child star often regards their own child as competition. Maybe that’s why my father wasn’t eager for me to be a violinist. Or maybe he was noble and just didn’t want his son to have to eat the shit that comes with being in such a ruthlessly competitive business. I sure showed my father, though. I became a novelist and filmmaker, totally secure professions in comparison to music. *snort*

So I grew up in hero-worship of my father and sixteen years after his death that has never gone away.

My father twice gave up chances to tour as a solo violinist with only expenses covered because it was the Great Depression and instead my dad accepted orchestra positions with a weekly paycheck, so he could send half his pay to his parents whose fortune had been wiped out in the Crash of ’29. My father bitched about that for the rest of his life but my mother, sister, and I wanted for nothing in a career in which my father got a steady paycheck for all but one year in an orchestra career stretching over a half century.

When in the 70′s I gave my father a copy of Harry Browne’s book How I Found Freedom in An Unfree World — which introduced him to the concept of “family slave” — my father said he wished he’d read that book before he made his career choices. I didn’t tell my dad that it would have created a time paradox because if he hadn’t made the choices he did I never would have been born so I couldn’t give it to him to read.

YouTube Channel

By the way, I got the idea for calling my dad’s YouTube music videos, play list, and YouTube channel “Julius Schulman Violin Hero” because “Jimi Hendrix Guitar Hero” is what rock music’s greatest guitar virtuoso was called.

Here’s some trivia regarding my dad:

  • My father’s given name was Julian, not Julius, but his family called him Julie — as did most of his colleagues throughout his life. When his older sister Geri brought him to register for school she called him Julie — which the registrar wrote down as “Julius.” The name as registered for school stuck with him for the rest of his life.
  • My father had no middle name.
  • After my father passed my mom and I sold my dad’s Guarnerius violin, but I still have his first quarter-size violin that he learned to play on.
  • My father went bald in his late twenties. He started wearing a toupee when the Mutual Network Symphony Orchestra began television broadcasts in the 50′s and the lighting crew complained that reflections off my dad’s bald head were flaring in the television camera. He quit wearing the toupee as a member of the Boston Symphony in the 60′s.
  • His favorite author was Robert Ruark, who wrote novels about Africa. I had the pleasure of telling Nichelle Nichols — who got to name her Star Trek character “Uhura,” a femininization of the Swahili word for “freedom,” “uhuru” — because at the time she met with Gene Roddenberry regarding the role she was reading Ruark’s novel Uhuru — my father’s favorite.
  • My father played in pit orchestras for Broadway shows, and his favorite musical was Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man.
  • My father was a lifelong anti-Communist, which often caused him problems and certainly lost him jobs in a music industry rampantly populated by card-carrying Communists. But that didn’t stop my father from being close friends with fellow Boston Symphony violinist — and card-carrying Communist — Gerry Gelbloom, whom my dad picked to be my violin teacher. My father told me he distrusted Fidel Castro even before Castro came out as a Marxist-Leninist. My father told me, “I didn’t trust Castro because he smiled too much when there was nothing to smile about.”
  • As a member of the San Antonio Symphony my father bought a bright orange Volkswagen camper for overnight trips with my mother, but he also used it to commute to work. The orchestra members immediately dubbed it “Orange Julius.”

My father’s influence on me didn’t end with music. When at age fourteen I borrowed his Nikon and Ricoh 35mm single-lens-reflex cameras (the lenses were swappable) to shoot a junior-high basketball game — which led to my regularly selling photography to local Massachusetts newspapers — I developed those photos in my dad’s basement darkroom.

My dad shot movies of his orchestra tours around the world with a Bolex 16mm movie camera — movies so professional they were played on TV and got my father an offer to become a union cinematographer for a Hollywood studio — and later in life, after my father’s death, I became a movie director.

My first lessons both in shooting guns and their usefulness in defense against criminals came from my father. My dad was an NRA member and every month I read in his subscription copy of American Rifleman the “Armed Citizen” column with newspaper clips detailing ordinary people using their guns to stop crimes.

My dad held a license to carry a concealed firearm in Massachusetts, New York City, Texas, and California. He defended himself with a handgun from gangs of muggers following late-night concerts in Boston and New York on five separate occasions, wounding no one and only having to pull the trigger once. On another occasion he saw a woman being carjacked on 72nd Street and used his handgun to order the carjackers out of her car. The would-be victim sped off safely.

My dad applied for a license to carry a concealed handgun as a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, when after a late-night concert a fellow violinist in the orchestra was mugged, beaten up, hospitalized, and his violin smashed. My father played in orchestra concerts a Guarnerius violin dating back to 1716 — an irreplaceable antique. This was not going to happen to him.

My dad made his license application at our local police station in Natick, where we lived. The Natick police captain licensing my dad told him the story that one of the first times my dad deposited his symphony paycheck at a local Natick bank the silent alarm was set off. My father had opened his violin case (which he also used as a briefcase) to take out the check. The clerk who set off the alarm had thought my father was about to pull out a machine gun from the violin case.

At the time my father was given a license to carry a concealed handgun in New York City — 1970 to 1975 — only ex-cops, family of cops, private security agents, and private detectives were given carry licenses, although exceptions were sometimes made to wealthy applicants who slipped the desk sergeant $5000 and a bottle of Chivas Regal scotch. My dad didn’t have to pay the $5000 — only the bottle of scotch — because as a concertmaster for the Metropolitan Opera he was considered New York royalty. But my father nonetheless took his responsibilities as a gun-carrier seriously and practiced regularly at the firing range where — he told me — most of the security guards, private detectives, and cops looking for extra practice “couldn’t hit anything.”

Later in life I wrote Op-Ed articles about gun defenses on the editorial pages of the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, and in National Review. These articles and much more were collected in my 1994 book Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns, and my dad got to see the front book cover with this praise from Oscar-winner and NRA President, Charlton Heston: “Mr. Schulman’s book is the most cogent explanation of the gun issue I have yet read. He presents the assault on the Second Amendment in frighteningly clear terms. Even the extremists who would ban firearms will learn from his lucid prose.”

Stopping Power book cover

The truth be told in full, my fascination with the violin and classical music has influenced my entire professional career as a writer and filmmaker.

My first novel, Alongside Night, contains in the quotations on the novel’s frontispiece, “Tzigane — Maurice Ravel.” That gypsy-style violin piece played by my dad — “tzigane” being the French word for “gypsy” — was on my mind while writing about gypsy cabs, the counter-economic transportation Elliot Vreeland uses during a collapsing New York City’s unending transit strike. In the movie adaptation of Alongside Night the Ravel Tzigane became the musical theme of the movie’s underscore.

In 1980 my short story about a violinist “The Musician” — in 1981 published in the magazine Fantasy Book — was broadcast as a radio play.

The Musician premiere flyer

My second novel published in 1983, The Rainbow Cadenza, took all my musical knowledge to adapt the idea of contemporary planetarium-based Laserium shows into a futuristic fully-realized visual music. I wrote most of the novel in 1981 while staying with my parents in San Antonio, so I could pick my dad’s brain as necessary.

The Rainbow Cadenza cover

After the sale of my script “Profile in Silver” to CBS’s Twilight Zone broke me into screenwriting, my first feature-length screenplay was No Strings Attached, about a violinist who must learn to play again after suffering a hand injury. That script was published in my 1999 book Profile in Silver and Other Screenwritings, for sale on Amazon.

Profile in Silver and Other Screenwritings book cover

Read screenplay No Strings Attached

In the first feature film I wrote, produced, and directed, Lady Magdalene’s, one of the characters is a violinist. Despite the character being the bad guy the movie is dedicated to my dad. All violin playing you hear on the Lady Magdalene’s movie soundtrack is by my dad.

So here’s to my father, Julius, my violin hero.

His official web page, Julius Schulman: Life With A Violin.

Julius Schulman: Life With A Violin

His Official YouTube Channel, Julius Schulman Violin Hero.

Oh, and here’s my mom talking about her life with my dad, an interview I did with her on Mother’s Day, 2007.

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Dealing With Your Alien


Dealing With Your Alien
By J. Neil Schulman, D.oC

Dedication: To Be Figured Out Later

Introduction

The idea for this book came to me in a dream I had early this morning, November 6, 2016, the Sunday just before the presidential election between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Yes, I know some people will be voting for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green presidential candidate Jill Stein. Yes, I know some people who are eligible to vote in this election will decide not to vote at all. I live in Nevada, which has early voting. I already voted.

In my dream I was talking with Dennis Prager, the radio talk-show host. I was not calling in to his show. I no longer listen to talk radio nor call in to talk-radio shows.

In this dream I had just been a guest on Dennis’s radio show and I was talking to him in the studio parking lot afterwards.

This was not something that ever happened in real life but it’s close to things that happened in my real life.

Back in the 1990’s I was an in-studio guest on Dennis Prager’s radio show.

On one occasion afterwards my parents and I had dinner at Dennis’s house along with his wife Fran and step-daughter Anya, and on another occasion I visited Dennis at home along with my friend and fellow author, Brad Linaweaver. I also ran into Dennis a few times while eating at Souplantation.

In my waking life I haven’t seen or spoken with Dennis in almost two decades. Anya is, however, one of my Facebook friends, although we haven’t written to each other in about a year and a half.

Back to my dream.

In the radio studio parking lot (in my dream) I was discussing with Dennis the important difference between what people said they believed ideologically and how they treated other people in real life.

I’ve spent time hanging around (physically or on line) people who despise welfare and speak out for rugged individualistic capitalism, yet when I’ve been unable to pay my bills have generously given me thousands of dollars with no desire or expectation ever to be repaid.

I’ve spent time hanging around people who consider themselves socialists, progressives, and liberals who have also been generous to me.

I’ve also spent lesser amounts of time hanging around people who consider themselves socialists, progressives, liberals, or rugged individualistic capitalists who wouldn’t give someone a sip of water if they were dying of thirst.

In my experience – I was telling Dennis Prager, in my dream – what people claim they believe is not a reliable predictor for how someone acts in their personal life.

In political discourse – especially in this year’s presidential election – people have said the most awful things not only about the presidential candidates but about their supporters. I, myself, have done this – gleefully. But I’m also confident that while no doubt there are people who would drive by a motorist stranded with their children without stopping because of a bumper sticker for the opposing candidate, there are also people who would ignore the bumper sticker, pull over, and do whatever was needed to render assistance and make them as comfortable as possible.

Why was Dennis Prager in my dream? Maybe it’s because both Dennis Prager and I have frequently quoted Viktor Frankl who wrote in his book Man’s Search for Meaning:

From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two — the “race” of the decent man and the “race” of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people.

Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist. An older term for this is “alienist.” This older term suggests that study of the inner human finds something inhuman and alien.

Alienigena by LeCire
Alienigena (Grey Alien) by LeCire

I think that’s true in the sense that the ideas people believe – in politics, in religion, even in what people consider science – constitute an alien influence on human behavior. Ideologies – ideas – act as alien influences on human beings, and to one degree or another separate us from the empathy that allows us to recognize others as fellow humans.

As I started writing this I thought it would take a book to say that.

I now realize it doesn’t.

Once you know that the ideas you believe are standing in the way of your acting like a human being you’ve dealt with your inner Alien, whom you can regard as a body snatcher, a puppet master, or a zombie.

I’m done.

Oh, the “D.oC” after my name means: Drop out — College. I have no degrees.

Later in the day, in response to email:

My article wasn’t about absorbing a set of ideas by joining a party or a religion or a cult. It wasn’t about getting ideas from voices in the head. It was, I suppose, about what Max Stirner called “wheels in the head.”

I’m not identifying the source of the Alien within us as anything other than human nature as a thinking being. Desmond Morris, the zoologist who turned the tools of his primate studies onto homo sapiens in The Naked Ape and The Human Zoo, focused on what behaviors we have in common with the other higher primates, apes and chimpanzees. I’m injecting what both Rand and Korzybski would notice first, that which we don’t have in common with the other primates — intellect.

It’s when we are at our most human — as abstract thinkers — that we invent the State, and War, and Politics — as well as limited government, Bills of Rights, property, and Agorism. Intellect can do both. Intellect may, possibly, invent the religions or ideologies of Good and Evil as Stirner, Nietzsche, and the God-awful Crowley would note.

But Stirner, Nietzsche, and Crowley would all miss what C.S. Lewis taught us about the Tao that precedes any intellectual formulation of codes of ethics or morality. That Good and Evil is perceived, not conceived.

It was the point I was making, mostly directed at my own life’s history, when I wrote the first part of The Heartmost Desire, “Unchaining the Human Heart: A Revolutionary Manifesto.” Autobiographically, the second part of The Heartmost Desire — “I Met God” — came first, but the point I was making (again, mostly to myself) was that human decency does not arise in our species as an intellectual exercise, but in experiencing feelings. I will admit one unresolved issue in my self-examination. I think the feeling of love is not intellectual. I consider the possibility that the feeling of hate requires a base of intellect.

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Why I’m Screwed


I recently posted on Facebook, then as a web page, a request for voluntary compensation (“donation” implies I’ve done nothing to merit it) for the content I’ve given away free for many years.

My request for financial support during a life crisis when I can’t pay my bills hasn’t brought in a dime.

I conclude I’m unpopular. I conclude I’ve been rejected.

It’s logical and not all that surprising.

I’m pro-gun and have written major newspaper and magazine Op-Eds and articles, books, and made two movies supporting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, but because I’m not also an anti-abortion / pro-police / close-the-borders cultural conservative the Second Amendment activists won’t support me.

Because I’ve written in favor of regarding creative works as deserving property rights I’ve pissed off most of the current “anti-IP” libertarian movement.

Because most libertarians are atheists, as I was into my 30′s, then I talked about how “I Met God,” I’ve generated intense hostility from libertarians and atheists; but my stating I now believe in God got me no support from any religious affiliation since I say my change-of-mind came not from “religion, scripture, or faith” but instead from direct experience.

Because I won’t endorse the Johnson-Weld ticket of the Libertarian Party the LP supporters reject me.

Because I’ve said I’m voting for Donald Trump despite my being in favor of open borders, off-the-books workers, and Edward Snowden, the Trump supporters don’t like me.

Because instead of rock or country music I chose classical violin music for the soundtrack of my movie Alongside Night, I alienated a lot of potential fans.

J. Neil Schulman, directing Alongside Night
J. Neil Schulman, directing Alongside Night

Because in my “brothel-meets-Jihadis” comedy Lady Magdalene’s I have no nudity or sex scenes, I disappointed adolescents who expected a movie set in a Nevada brothel would have both, but because I linked modern prostitutes to the biblical whore Rahab I also tick off Christian fundamentalists.

Libertarians are fish-out-of-water to both liberals and conservatives. Despite my having won praise for my libertarian writing from Milton Friedman, Anthony Burgess, Charlton Heston, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Neil Smith, Robert Anton Wilson, F. Paul Wilson, Colin Wilson, Poul Anderson, Jerry Pournelle, Larry Niven, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Nathaniel Branden, Ron Paul, Thomas S. Szasz, Grover Norquist, Silk Road founder “The Dread Pirate Roberts,” Jeff Riggenbach, Walter Block, Kerry Pearson, Dyanne Petersen, Doug Casey, Wendy McElroy, Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Michael Medved, Walter Williams, Piers Anthony, Brad Linaweaver, Samuel Edward Konkin III, and prominent others, I’m a fish-out-of-water even to libertarians like Lew Rockwell, Jeffrey Tucker, and John Stossel.

It would have been so simple to be more popular.

All I would have had to leave behind was my mind.


Want J. Neil Schulman’s Free Stuff?
Help Pay His Bills!

For many years I’ve been giving away books and other things I write, research, and produce for free.

  • Alongside Night, now both the latest PDF edition of the novel and an online link to watch the full action movie.
  • My full-length comedy “brothel meets domestic-terrorist” movie, Lady Magdalene’s.
  • A personal website with articles, photos, and more rich content.
  • The PDF edition of my trade paperback book Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns.
  • The two-volume history of my first venture into eBook publishing back in 1990, SoftServ, in the eBook Book Publishing in the 21st Century.
  • My website The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock.
  • The complete audiobook I Met God.
  • Two blogs with years worth of articles, short stories, and complete books.

Keep on reading. All these free links are further down.

All free, no charge, no registration, nobody’s name, Facebook, Twitter, email address, or other online personal info collected for future marketing. Hundreds of thousands of views and downloads, possibly well into seven figures because I never kept close track of a lot of it.

Today I made sure everything of mine I sell on line on Amazon has an up-to-date affiliate link.

I am arranging to fix broken automatic download links that vend seven PDF editions of my books for sale so that I don’t have to email books when a Paypal payment is made.

I also made sure that on every page I give away my work for free (other than on Youtube) there’s a “Like it? Reward it!” Paypal link. Some of my websites aren’t compatible with the link so I link them to this page, which is.

I have to do this. I’m 63 and it has come to my attention that “the golden years” require a stash of gold I don’t have.

My daughter informs me it would be unseemly to go into details. But in an age when everything I have produced in a long career has been displaced from brick-and-mortar stores and competes with an ocean of free entertainment digitized as my own creative output has been, I am in serious danger of not being able to sustain my continued ability to pay my bills.

Here are some links to where I give away free stuff, not all with “Like it? Reward it!” Paypal buttons:

Watch here: Alongside Night the Complete Feature-length Movie. Written and Directed by J. Neil Schulman.

Watch here: Lady Magdalene’s the Complete Feature-length Movie. Written and Directed by J. Neil Schulman.

The World According to J. Neil Schulman personal website, with his book links, articles, photos, bio info, and much more!

J. Neil Schulman @ Agorist.com and
J. Neil Schulman @ Rational Review.com — J. Neil Schulman’s free/no-subscription blogs

Free PDF: Alongside Night Movie Edition Novel by J. Neil Schulman

Free PDF: Stopping Power: Why 70 Million American’s Own Guns by J. Neil Schulman

Free two-volume eBook: Book Publishing in the 21st Century by J. Neil Schulman

Free web book: Nasty, Brutish and Short Stories by J. Neil Schulman

Free web book: Self Control Not Gun Control by J. Neil Schulman

Free web novel: Escape from Heaven by J. Neil Schulman

Free two-volume audiobook (stream or download): I Met God by J. Neil Schulman with Brad Linaweaver, Jack Landman, J. Kent Hastings & William H. Kennedy

Free educational/info website: The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock, webmaster, J. Neil Schulman

Julius Schulman: Life with a Violin. Bio, free music, music videos, Old Radio, Classic TV, history, and more!

Free short and full-length videos — movies, interviews, speeches, music, historic videos, and much, much more! Celebrity guests include Kevin Sorbo, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Walter Cronkite, Alex Jones, Ron Paul!

Archived Alongside Night Radio shows with guests J. Kent Hastings, L. Neil Smith, Brian Wright, Brad Linaweaver, Kevin Latchford, and Paul Davids.

Alongside Night the Movie related radio interviews

I appreciate your patronage.

J Neil Schulman
August 27, 2016



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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.

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Mirror, Mirror on the web …


J. Neil Schulman @ Rational Review (http://jneilschulman.rationalreview.com) is now a mirror site of J. Neil Schulman @ Agorist.com (http://jneilschulman.agorist.com).

All back articles of this blog are now also archived at the new site.

My gratitude to Thomas L. Knapp for offering me this space for my blog back in 2009 and for assisting me in maintaining it ever since.

J. Neil Schulman

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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

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Leonard Nimoy and Me


Let’s start this with a practical joke that I collaborated on with Leonard Nimoy as the target.

In May, 1974 I was a young writer living in Manhattan, and I’d just started working on my first novel, a few years later published as Alongside Night. One of my friends was Michael Moslow, another writer who circled around the NYU Science Fiction Society and its two founders, Samuel Edward Konkin III (at that time an NYU post-graduate student in Theoretical Chemistry) and another NYU post-graduate student, Richard Friedman.

One of the advantages of hanging around NYU students and attending an on-campus club, to non-NYU-students like Mike and myself, was easy access to the many celebrities who came to lecture. One of them was 1956 Nobel laureate in Physics, William Shockley, who at the time was much more controversial for his writings outside of his field, on eugenics and comparing the intelligence of racial groups.

There were, not unexpectedly, major campus protests against Shockley speaking on the NYU campus, covered widely by all media. It was big news.

Mike and I did not attend Shockley’s lecture. But speaking in the same NYU auditorium exactly one week after Shockley (and without any protests) was Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock … and I had a sick idea that once I told it to Mike he could not be stopped doing it. Not that I even tried.

Nimoy began his lecture to a packed house, Mike sitting near the back of the hall, me seated somewhere nowhere near Mike, because I wasn’t a complete fool.

About twenty minutes into Nimoy’s talk, Mike jumps up and shouts, “I came to hear Shockley. This isn’t Shockley! Who’s this clown?”

Everyone, including Nimoy, cracked up as Mike marched himself out of the auditorium, still shouting.

At a Star Trek convention not long after that I met Leonard Nimoy and let him in on the joke, which he remembered and still thought was funny.

(This was also the convention where I first met Nichelle Nichols, who three decades later starred in my first feature film, Lady Magdalene’s.)

Look, I’m a Trekkie old enough to have watched Star Trek in its original first-run NBC broadcasts. A TV Guide description of the next episode was enough for me to convince my ninth-grade history teacher to write on the blackboard the episode “Bread and Circuses,” broadcast on the Ides of March, 1968.

In later life I’ve worked professionally with four actors from Star Trek series: Nichelle Nichols, Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series, starred in the title role of the first feature film I wrote, produced, and directed, Lady Magdalene’s.

Tim Russ (Tuvok in Star Trek Voyager), Garrett Wang (Ensign Kim in Star Trek Voyager), and Gary Graham (Ambassador Soval in Star Trek Enterprise) all have featured roles in the second feature film I wrote, produced, and directed, Alongside Night.

When I spoke with Ayn Rand in August 1973 I asked her about Star Trek.

“She told me that she watched Star Trek and Spock was her favorite character.”
–J. Neil Schulman: “I Met Ayn Rand


Leonard Nimoy at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore

So Star Trek has a permalink in my consciousness.

But Star Trek, and Leonard Nimoy in particular, also had a profound impact on my understanding and describing some of the most mysterious experiences in my life.

Here’s three excerpts from my book The Heartmost Desire, describing aspects of those experiences.

Now, I had thought of myself as somebody who, if he identified with any character out of Star Trek, it was Spock. I was out of control. Suddenly my emotions were out of control. It was “Amok Time” — or something like that — without the mating ritual.

It got to the point where on the night before my birthday I lay down in bed and this feeling of uncertainty — and remember this combined with this death phobia — I was afraid I was going to die from this, that something was happening in me that was killing me. I didn’t know what it was.

I lay down in bed – and bed for me was a futon on the floor in this bedroom – and I felt a hand on my heart inside my chest. I can’t describe it any other way. I felt a physical presence of a hand, as if it was holding my heart. Not squeezing it but holding it so I could feel it. In my head I heard this voice and it said to me, “I can take you now.”

Suddenly my worst fear, death was coming, you know, God is going to take me. I’m in the middle of a Twilight Zone episode. Hand on my heart. I’m scared to death – literally. And a voice — The Voice, which I knew was God’s voice — was saying, “I can take you now.” And I was scared.

Something unusual happened at that point. The Voice, which had just said “I can take you now,” started laughing at me.

And I said, “Why are you laughing at me?”

And The Voice — God, I might as well just say God, because that’s how I identified it — God said to me then “Because I can’t believe that you’re scared.”

I said, “Why would you be surprised that I’m scared? I’ve always been scared of death. You’re surprised that I’m scared?”

It was totally inexplicable to me that while this is going on, God’s first reaction is to be astonished, and laugh, that I am scared of death. Who am I that God would be surprised that I’m scared of death? I’m not a war hero, who’s been an Audie Murphy who’s charged machine-gun nests, or anything like that. Why on Earth would God be surprised by that? This was one of the things going on while I am, in essence, scared out of my mind.

After He stopped laughing at me, God said “You have to make a choice. I can take you now. You will die now or I can let you live but here’s the thing. No more promises. No more deals. You have in your mind somewhere that you can make a deal with me and I’m going to make everything come out all right and you’re going to be safe from everything and you’re not going to die and the people around you, who you keep on praying for constantly, are not going to die. And if you stay – if I don’t take you now – all bets are off. You stay, unconditionally, with no promises, and whatever happens, you have to let happen.”

And I was more scared of death than of fate. And so I said “I’ll stay.”

And I felt The Hand leave my heart. I had accepted the contract.

I thought, at that point, I wonder if this is simply some sort of psychological event, some fantasy my body is having to tell me that I’m having a heart attack?

BRAD LINAWEAVER: While this was going on, weren’t you thinking about Heinlein’s situation as well as your own?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Well, I was thinking in terms of everybody. Not just Heinlein, but I was praying for my parents, and my wife, and all my friends, you know, “Don’t let any of them die, don’t let me die, don’t let anybody die.”

BRAD LINAWEAVER: I just remember conversations I had with you at the time. Heinlein seemed to be very prominent in your mind.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Very prominent, but at that particular moment I don’t know, okay? But again, it was this clinging to God, praying so tight that nobody dies, that no harm comes to everybody. You know this panicked clinging, which was what He was breaking. In essence He was telling me, “Don’t pray so much! because I’d been praying every day, constantly. Not just the Lord’s Prayer, but also the prayers for everybody to be okay – and not in the Christian sense of praying for their soul – but praying for them physically not to die, not to get hit by a truck.

So, God ended that at that moment.

Nonetheless, again, being the rationalist, I’m thinking maybe this is my science-fiction writer’s brain telling me that I’m having a heart attack. So at this point I woke up my roommate and I said, “Call the paramedics, I think I’m having a heart attack.”

The paramedics arrived and they put those sensors on me to do the electrocardiogram, which they do instantly, and they looked at me like I was crazy. They said, “Your heart is perfectly fine. What are you talking about? There’s nothing going on.” One of them asked me an interesting question. He said, “Are you going through a divorce right now?”

“No,” I said, “everything’s fine. My wife is coming out tomorrow to celebrate my birthday. Everything’s great. But I thought I was having a heart attack.”

“No, you’re not having a heart attack. Forget it, you’re fine!”

They didn’t even want to take me down to the hospital for observation. My heart must have been rock steady at that point.

They left. My roommate went back to sleep. And my panic was over.

Whatever had happened – now that I knew that I was not dying — what had been going on for a week, with this recurring hyperventilation, this emotional lability, it stopped at that instant.

It was over. The event was over.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: Now, important question. So what would have been your first contact with God — when it was over you thought it might very well be God but you weren’t one-hundred-percent certain that it was God?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: I was pretty certain that it was God.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: Ninety percent or one-hundred percent?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Ninety-eight percent.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: But there was still two percent of doubt?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: So you thought very likely it was God but you weren’t totally convinced, just almost.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right. There was always that two percent of doubt because I might be crazy. I knew that the human body was capable of doing odd things, and the human brain was capable of doing odd things. I thought that maybe I was suffering from some toxic poisoning from coffee or something like that. Maybe this was some sort of hallucinated experience.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: Now another question. What would be your first encounter with God? Because a lot of people who have known you over the years, when they see your license plate “I met God,” or when they see the title of this book, are going to be thinking about your econd encounter — which we we’re not getting to for a while yet — which you call the Mind Meld with God, which is the most intense meeting with God. But, in fact, this is the first meeting with God?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: This is the first direct encounter, or actually the first one which I identify as a direct encounter, because I have had experiences –

BRAD LINAWEAVER: But this is not the Mind Meld. That was a later experience?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: That is correct. This is a frightening and entirely confronting and unpleasant experience.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: And, it’s the most unusual thing about what would be your first encounter of God. The first time you move from agnosticism to pretty damn close to the theistic position, that you now believe there is a God. You’re awful close to it now, that the first thing, in effect, you get out of your first encounter with God is?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: God telling me to stop praying.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: Right! You don’t normally hear that from somebody who prays, prays, prays — God finally communicates and says, “Stop all that praying!”

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Yes. Bizarre. And also, just as bizarre, God laughing at me because he can’t believe that I’m afraid.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: Right, so there’s two things. The sense of humor, which a large part of your argument about God, you’ve argued. A large part of your novel, Escape from Heaven, and many times on Jack’s show when you’re explaining your real beliefs, your view that God has a sense of humor, is a very, very important part of everything you’ve been building out of these experiences. This was the first time you had the idea that God had a sense of humor, his laughing at your fear?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Yes. You know a really rough sense of humor.

But two events happen. One of them is Heinlein dies. I let go and a few weeks after that he’s dead. Okay? I’m told that I can’t keep him alive any more and a few weeks later he’s dead. And it’s almost like what was going on with me was not, in fact, a caffeine reaction, or a coffee reaction or something like that. But in essence this link, which I have set up psychically with Heinlein, is killing me, and unless I let go I’m going to die.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: Die along with Heinlein or in place of Heinlein?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Along with, I’ll go with him.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: Were there were links to others, too? It sounds like there were a couple of links.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Yes, but the others weren’t dying. I’ve linked up with a number of people and one of them is dying and it’s going to drag me along with it. On the metaphysical level if we want to look at it in these terms, that’s what was happening.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: This psychic link with a dying person, dangerous move.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right. And then he dies, May 8th, was that the date?

Now. Something else happens, very significant. I have a dream.

In my dream I am in a courtroom and to my side is my counsel and my counsel is a woman and my counsel is God.

Not, in some same sense, the God who had his masculine hand on my heart a few weeks before that. But God as a female and God is my lawyer.

And there is a panel, a panel of judges up on the judge’s bench, and I’m at the defendant’s table. Although it’s more of a hearing, an inquiry, than a trial, I’m not on trial for having done something wrong. But it is a court of inquiry. And the question before the court, I am told by God, my lawyer who is female, is, “Why was I afraid?”

BRAD LINAWEAVER: The same question repeated?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right. What was it, why was I afraid? God is obviously surprised that I could be afraid and apparently it’s something that needs to be resolved.

Here is something very interesting, I am told by God, my lawyer who is female, “The judges need your permission to unlock the records. They are sealed. None of us are allowed to look at them without your permission. Will you give us permission to look so that we can find out why you are afraid of death?”

I said “Yes, permission granted.”

BRAD LINAWEAVER: But God is asking for permission to look at sealed records in effect.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Not only God but all these judges in this courtroom.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: But what’s impressive is, God won’t look at these records without permission. Do I have this right?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: That is correct. And I said, “Yes you can look.” And only a few seconds go by — it’s not like court is adjourned, we’ll be back later — a few seconds go by and they have the answer immediately after I give permission.

I am told, “We have just searched the records and what we found out was that in your immediate incarnation before this you were murdered as an infant and died not understanding what was going on, that the imprint of this carried over into your current life as fear, as an irrational fear of death.”

Now, I woke up from this dream and the phobia that had dogged me my entire life up to that moment was gone.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: The phobia was gone?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: The phobia — something, which had dogged me my entire life – was gone. Okay?

Now what sort of dream is it that you have, that changes your life, that changes something fundamental about you? This was remarkable to me, I have a dream and then suddenly, this thing which I have never been able to go to bed without distracting myself so I wouldn’t think about death, suddenly this is gone?

BRAD LINAWEAVER: The dream reinforced the first meeting with God. You could actually argue that this dream is either an epilog to or a second encounter with God, but it’s logically tied to that first encounter. It is all of a piece with the hand on the heart and that you’ve got to let go what you are afraid of, all of that is a piece of the same experience, the same event. Therefore, at the end of what might be called this first encounter with God, you’ve had a major psychological change and you as somebody who used to be an atheist, and then have gone through this agnostic period, are wondering why the thing that would get you over the hump of such a dire problem, why you of all people ould be imagining that it’s God? Since you’ve never felt for most of your life a need for God.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right

BRAD LINAWEAVER: And yet God shows up in this situation and suddenly a huge life problem of yours is resolved. It’s like, what is it eight years later when you have the Mind Meld? There’s a good chunk of a decade that separates this event from the next encounter with God. Which means you’re not just having — like these people who claim they have born again experiences and God’s in their heart and they’re in communication with God all the time — you go through a long period of time from this moment to the next time you have an encounter with God.

–J. Neil Schulman, The Heartmost Desire (Section 2, “I Met God — God Without Religion, Scripture, or Faith,” Chapter 3: Contact)

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Napoleon, or Jesus Christ. As you say, the asylums are full of people who claim to be Jesus Christ or Mary or something like that. But the point is they’re going around trying to convince other people of it.

The last thing I wanted to do was tell anybody about this. Because, if I thought I was crazy, certainly they would think I was crazy, too! I didn’t want to tell anybody that I was considering — inside my skull — the idea that I was God. They’d put me away!

I was pretty much back to myself after the first few weeks, when I started feeling physically stronger again, and no longer had this fear that this was an end-of-life experience. Because, by the way, people who I’ve spoken to about this experience since, say that, in some senses, it matches up with the near-death experiences of those who have had their hearts stopped or something like that and found themselves out of themselves. Because, when I would try to explain that I was out of my personality, people would hear it and think of it as an out-of-body experience.

I wasn’t out of my body. God was in my body with me. That was different.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: No, it’s definitely flipped from the normal. It’s definitely different.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right. So, again, I didn’t want to go around telling anybody I was God. Not during the experience and not afterwards.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: You weren’t floating around looking at your own body. You had decided that God had invaded your body –

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: No, it wasn’t an invasion because it was welcome. The experience was entirely welcome.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: I don’t know what verb to use but God had overlapped with, intruded upon…

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: How about had communed with me?

BRAD LINAWEAVER: Or double exposured, or whatever?

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: How about conversation in the Biblical sense? That it was a joining? Instead of a physical joining it was a spiritual joining? Or to use the metaphor which I came up with later, it was a Mind Meld.

–J. Neil Schulman, The Heartmost Desire (Section 2, “I Met God — God Without Religion, Scripture, or Faith,” Chapter 8: Aftermath)

After the book is already published, after Escape from Heaven is in print, that’s when I start discovering what I put into the book. What God has revealed to me without my even knowing it.

And two things in particular. One is that I got ahold of Leonard Nimoy’s photographic book, Shekhina, and I had never heard the word Shekhina before then. But this is what was interesting to me, and here is the sequence of knowledge and learning here.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: Back to kabbalah…

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Right. Leonard Nimoy was raised Jewish, in Boston, and when he was taken to the Orthodox synagogue, you had the ritual of everybody turns their back so they can’t see the Holy of Holies and I guess the Rabbi holds up his hands and does the Vulcan greeting, as we know, with the two fingers separated into a “V” in the middle.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: “Live long and prosper!”

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: The “Live long and prosper” symbol, which is a representation, Nimoy explains in his book Shekhina, of the Hebrew letter “shin,” if I’m not mistaken, which is the representation of Shekhina. Shekhina being the Holy Spirit, the feminine aspect of God.

And I am learning, when I start now researching this — having learned about it — that it’s God’s wife, the female aspect of God. And here’s the important part: the advocate of man to God.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: I have to ask you a question.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: But let me, before you ask me the question. I can’t let this go by without emphasizing it too strongly.

We go back to 1988 where I had that dream, the dream that changes my life, where my attorney — my advocate — is God and she is a woman. God was a woman in my dream, okay?

I put that in Escape from Heaven and now I find out that Shekhina, the Holy Spirit in Judaism, is a central part of the hidden kabbalistic doctrines, and I’ve met her in my dream in 1988, and put her in a novel? And only now I find out who she is? That the defender of humanity before God, in essence, represented me?

This is — I’m starting to think — this is a central part of Judaism which I never knew about.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: I always thought it was a hidden part of Judaism.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: Hidden, but you know it’s not something I was taught in the year of Hebrew School.

BRAD LINAWEAVER: That’s what I mean, I always thought it was kind of like secretive.

J. NEIL SCHULMAN: It is. It’s secretive. It is deliberately secretive.

Here is Leonard Nimoy doing a book about it, telling me about it, starting me researching about it, and what I find out is that who Shekhina is, the Holy Spirit, the defender of man before God, was in my dream, defending me in 1988, after I had the experience where I had God — the male God — having His hand on my heart.

I’m blown away when I learn this.

–J. Neil Schulman, The Heartmost Desire (Section 2, “I Met God — God Without Religion, Scripture, or Faith,” Chapter 9: Collaboration)

These experiences formed the backdrop of my 2002 third novel, Escape from Heaven, so when I first received printed copies of the novel I decided that the man who had told me about the Shekhina should be given a copy.

Living in Culver City it wasn’t far to drive to Leonard Nimoy’s house in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles.

As I drove up the gate was open, and Leonard and Susan Nimoy were outside their house. Susan approached me. “Delivery for Leonard Nimoy,” I said. “No signature needed.”

Leonard Nimoy’s eyes were on me as I handed Susan the package with the book. I don’t have any idea how well he could see me or whether there was any chance he’d recognize me from our few convention encounters. But while Leonard Nimoy was looking at me, I gave him the Vulcan split-finger salute and said, “Live long and prosper.”

Susan Nimoy smiled but Leonard Nimoy didn’t return the Vulcan salute and in true Vulcan fashion, he didn’t smile as I drove away.

Escape from Heaven book cover

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