Tag Archives: smothered

Things happen for a reason…

Whenever I hear that phrase I want to vomit.

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…


“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:

God is listening...
God is listening…

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!


What is inspiration? Mine, anyway…

Remember… you asked the question…

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….

Looks like a movie set to me. What happened here..?
Looks like a movie set to me. What happened here..?

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.”

Okay... Sometimes I get carried away...
Okay… Sometimes I get carried away…

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!

Where are all the campers..? I can still hear them laughing...
Where are all the campers..? I can still hear them laughing…

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…


All in a day

It’s amazing how a lifetime can come down to a single day. I am in the process of packing up my mother’s house to move her to Louisiana and am amazed by the memories contained in her home.

Photos on the wall from Dukes, Grand Hotel, Collier and company…
Children who were not yet adults by creeks that looked like raging rivers to them at the time…
Young eyes full of hope, dreams and promise…
Long forgotten songs with the #1 beside them in a magazine called Billboard…

Life encapsulated. Lives… encapsulated. Fascinating.

Hard to know with every coffee cup, photograph, stuffed animal and thing “As Seen On TV” which ones need to make the journey. Surely they don’t all need to survive the move.

But who am I to decide? I’m in the pictures, on the cups and maybe even provided a stuffed animal or two but what do I know?

It’s not possible to know what someone else holds in an object. The simplest of things can contain memories so emotional and vast that someone may be willing to give their lives for its protection.

Dramatic..? Consider the source.

I’ve been going through interviews for “Smothered” lately and noticed what  strong emotions come from a shared experience. The cast appears to all remember the experience fondly. I’l bet they all have something in their homes to commemorate the experience. Something that won’t mean anything at all to one of their children or grandchildren sometime in the future who may be moving them somewhere else to live out their lives.

I wrote a screenplay about finding something in my mother’s house a few years ago. Something dark. I default to dark when I write. More on that later. The point is that the object I found held memories for me. They were sitting there in that box waiting patiently for someone like me to visit. To give them life. Wings. One glance into this box and I was 8 again. 10. 13.

Memories are amazing things. Perhaps they are what novelists are speaking of when they write of time travel. A memory is very nearly like being there. Songs and smells do that for me too.

How about you? What triggers memories for you? Good ones… not so good… great?

By the way… I’m going to go get a bigger truck so I can pack it all. Who am I to decide which of my mother’s memories make it to Louisiana?

On the road again!

i don’t mean to brag…

…but I’m really proud of myself.

For the past 3 years I have worked out every day with anything from P90X to Insanity to Les Mills Combat and now T25.

It’s not easy and I honestly believe I wouldn’t be on the “Haves and the Have Nots” if it weren’t for that discipline. Tyler was looking for someone in his 50’s that was in “great shape for his age.”

I weighed 30 pounds more 3 years ago when I did “Desperate Housewives” and “October Baby” and “Doonby.” It felt great to no longer be the “Middle age guy with the middle age spread!”

Me and two of my cotton mouth friends at Sundance

Tell you why I’m bringing this up… I was walking up a flight of outside stairs at Sundance yesterday and had the pleasure of zipping by several groups of younger (much) on my way up.  They were huffing and puffing and holding on to the rail.

Not me! I used my core… pretended I was doing T25 or a pull-up with Tony Horton and made it to the top of the stairs… then the steep hill… then the really steep hill without having to stop even once!

I couldn’t have done that 5 years ago. Hell… I couldn’t have done that 20 years ago!

If you currently don’t have a daily practice of some kind of physical fitness I urge you to find one. I have many to choose from right here but you can get it anywhere you want as long as you make a commitment to do it.

I can also assure you that I never would have been able to keep up with the schedule of “John Schneider’s Smothered” if I wasn’t in shape. No way. We shat two days every day and it may have killed me three years ago!

I feel better about everything. My head is clear. I write more. I’m more creative…

…and I can jog by people half my age going up the public stairs at Park City!

I’m liking  that.

Do it for you. Do it for your family. Do it! Then you’ll be bragging too!

I am really NOT trying to sell you anything here but if you are interested in any of the programs I have to offer there are three that come with a full email/youtube video support system for free when you purchase  a challenge pack. P90X. T25 and the Ultimate Reset.

If you want to know more about what that involves, click here for Coach John Support.

been a long time

since I’ve been to Sundance. Actually… last time I was here it was actually at Robert Redford’s ski resort.

Quaint. Small. Independant.

It’s pretty big now. No parking. Fans. Crowds. Swag bags.

Not so independent any more.

photo 1
Interviews at Sundance for Smothered. All about bringing filmmakers to Louisiana.

But still a lot of fun. Great to feel the energy of lots of people with the same passion. Making movies.

I saw a company that has re-designed the computer specifically for  editing and rendering purposes. Small. Lightweight. Fast. Great stuff.

My plan is to gather different people from all aspects of filmmaking and get them to come to the new studio ion Holden to set up shop and make their [products and services available to independent filmmakers in Louisiana.

Can’t wait to get different departments there up and running.

If you have the chance to hang wit people who are interested in what you are interested in (Beachbody Challenge for example) take it. There’s a synergy that happens in that situation that doesn’t hap[pen elsewhere.

Firefighters, lawyers, bowlers, botanists… whatever your passion… do what you can to spend some time with like minded people. It will fuel your passion.

Good times!