I’m a lot of things… but an “activist” isn’t one of them.
You are not likely to see me holding a sign that says “Down with &*#?!” any time soon or anywhere close.
I’m more or a guy that is “for” something rather than “against” something.
May people aren’t “for” things because there is positive effort in being a “for” person and it seems that human nature leans more toward the negative, or “against” posture.
Blah, blah… and… blah.
Here’s what I do… because I am a “non-activist.”
I saw a film about a certain oil company that apparently did some major damage in our gulf coast some years ago that likely destroyed the fishing business and the families that depended on it.
By the way… if you are someone who loves fish and the business is destroyed you can always go get lesser fish from some store somewhere for a greater price. As the consumer you/we have many choices. As the fisherman… if your waters are contaminated… you’re screwed. No livelihood… no food on the table… no college education for junior.
That’s bad stuff. It’s hard enough being a fisher family without adding a mutant, inedible catch to the equation.
Sorry… that’s just how it is. I’ve never thought much about it and as recently as yesterday I reacted negatively when somebody said it about something.
So… this morning when I was tired and going over my lines in the living room of the Cryer mansion (my living room in Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots) I sat down and put my script away. (There’s a fine line between knowing your dialogue well and too well. One breeds natural performance and the other breeds crappy “mirror” acting… in me, anyway).
I decide to read something else for a few minutes and notice a Fine Art magazine there on the coffee table.
For those of you in the “industry” you know that all of the magazines that are laying around on a set actually have fake “approved” covers and that what is inside can be most anything.
I need to back up to the long night before for a moment:
The reason I couldn’t sleep is that it hit me like a ton of bricks that “John Schneider’s Smothered” has yet to get distribution. I thought this movie would be out by now and printing thousand dollar bills for everyone who had anything to do with it. The test audiences have raved. The reviewers have called it “A love letter to the horror fan” and people who don’t like horror films have all said that they loved it.
That and $4.75 will get you a grande non-fat latte after waiting in a long line on any given morning.
So… I open this magazine and see a picture of a woman hiding behind a piece of furniture with creepy arms coming out of it.
“Interesting” thinks I. “This must be about a horror movie.”
Not just another pretty face. I’m pretty damn smart.
I read on…
“THE YEAR’S BUZZIEST FRIGHT FLICK” jumps out at me.
“Oh great” thinks I. “At least somebodies horror film is printing those thousand dollar bills.”
Bitter..? A little. Disappointed..? Yeah. Embarrassed..? You bet your sweet bippy.
I read on about this film that has taken the industry by storm with it’s plot twists and fresh approach to the genre.
Then I saw it…
Remember what makes me vomit when I hear it? Now I’m going to actually SAY it… listen…
“All things happen for a reason.”
This is what I saw on the next page of this phony Fine Art magazine that had been sitting on this set for two seasons:
In case you can’t read it… allow me:
“We shot the film and had an amazing time, and then it disappeared for three years.”
Thanks, Universe… I needed to hear that. I guess all things do happen for a reason!
Final note… The Cabin in The Woods went on to make 66 million dollars. Way to go!
My stories – They seem to fall into place. First the beginning… then the end. “Leap” is actually a better word…
Then… over the next few minutes… seconds or months… the rest claws its way out of my brain… my heart… knees… through my elbows and wrists to finally jump through my fingers onto this grimy laptop that has served me so well over the years.
Stories don’t need to be told… they demand to be told.
Creativity and inspiration is only to obey the demand.
I could no more hold a story back from pouring out onto this keyboard than I could hold the water back from destroying man’s real folly in Malibu (damn… I just got a flash of the beginning and end of that film in my head. Guess I will have to write it soon. Title..? “Seawall.” Maybe…)
In any event… some are asking where these stories come from. Where the inspiration, catalyst, ideas come from that become “Smothered” or “The Twenty-Nine” or “Backwater” or “Like Son” or….
The truth is I have no idea. They fall out of my fingers like panicked people from a burning building (Oops… there goes my childhood speaking again! My childhood voice seldom takes me to anything that resembles a puppy dog or a puffy cloud!)
When I write I stick to a wonderful adage someone once told me. Something that has served me well over the years and, I believe, will serve you well in your creative endeavors:
“Don’t get it right, get it written.”
There’s always time for that analytical editor to come in and repair the bumps and potholes created by the passion. I try not to edit anything until I have gotten it all out…
“There, there, Johnny… get it out… get it all out… that’s a good boy…”
So there they are… the voices inside my brain that insist they be heard.
I have to run now as there are 4 stories churning in there at the moment. 4 sets of totally different circumstances, realities, people and global perspectives that are currently demanding to see the light of day. If I don’t put elbow to finger, finger to keyboard there’s no telling what they will do in there!
All I know is that they have to come out somewhere… somehow. Like rust on a nicely painted and polished quarter panel… they will have their day in the sun!
What inspires you? How does it come out? Have you considered that question before? If not… it’s time you did…
I remember, as a kid, watching shows with Bill Bixby: My Favorite Martian, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, The Magician and then Th Hulk and thinking “This guy is the hardest working actor in show business!”
Little did I know that, at 54, I would be so fortunate to have been in a different landmark show for several generations.
Consider these: The Dukes of Hazzard, Dr. Quinn, Walker Texas Ranger, Nip Tuck, Smallville, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Desperate Housewives, Hot in Cleveland, Leverage, Mistresses and now The Haves and the Have Nots.
I was having a conversation with someone my age yesterday and someone very young happened to be in the room. She didn’t know Dukes or Smallville so I said “Wait… I’ll get you.” I figured her for around twenty-three so I said “Secret Life. I was Marshall Bowman.” This girl lit up like a Christmas tree and told me all about my character and how the writer had destroyed my stellar reputation posthumously.
How cool is it to have been a part of so many people’s lives? Amazingly cool. I truly am the luckiest actor in showbiz to have such loyal fans and to have had them for so long.
And now… with you HHN fans? You all are off the charts! Thank you for loving the show and loving to hate me on it. What a blast I have on the Addicts of the Haves and the Have Nots page! You all are too much.
Enjoy the show tonight… just 2 more left… and get ready for what’s coming next week. I guarantee you that nobody will see it coming!
Thanks you all for keeping me around all these years. I’ll do my best to keep finding movies and television that makes you want to continue. If I missed your favorite show up there in the list, I’m sorry. I forget things sometimes and wanted to get this out before the show came on tonight and I have a studio to build!