Daily Dojo

Announcing THE JOSHUA JAMES PROJECT

December 10th, 2013

It is with great pleasure that I announce The Joshua James Project!

“New York playwright and screenwriter Joshua James (SPOOGE - The Sex & Love Monologues) has made forty-four of his popular short plays royalty-free for independent and amateur production in THE JOSHUA JAMES PROJECT. Included in this collection are the favorites ALL THE RAGE, A GAY THING, AMBIVALENT, SOMETHING SITUATION, THE BEAUTIFUL ONE and the Off-Broadway premiering EXTREME EUGENE, among many others.”

Joshua James’ work is bold, intelligent and subversive. Read it. Then find a way to make it happen on stage.” - Obie award-winning playwright Naomi Wallace.”

Please check it out, friends…

The Joshua James Project

Completely Zuckered

December 5th, 2013

I now have a Facebook Page Writer Joshua James which you can like and follow my adventures there, if you’re of that mind.

Ninth Anniversary of The Daily Dojo

November 28th, 2013

Today actually marks nine years since I started this blog.

Usually I go on and on about how blogs have changed (and they have) and so on and so forth… I’m not going to do that this year.

Instead I’ll note that when I began this blog, I worked part time in a vet’s office while supporting my theatre habit, had been married for just two years and change, and had no kids. And I had just stopped training Muay Thai, spent far too much time playing Xbox and was gaining weight fast.

Today, nine years later, I’m a professional writer, full time, with work in development. I’ve seen words I’ve written uttered onscreen (tho’ I wasn’t credited, heheh), I’ve been published and produced, untold number of scripts, pilots, plays, pitches, treatments, and novels written in that time since. I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined about being a writer (and continue to learn every day), I have a disciplined approach to my craft, I’m back into martial arts again (Brazilian Jiujitsu, baby!) four years strong and, even better, I’m still married and the father of two very rambunctious boys.

I’m very aware now, more than I ever was when this began, of how precious time is. It’s been a wonderful nine years to share that with you, my precious few readers, and I am grateful and thank you for it. I hope the next nine are even better.

I wish you all a wonderful thanksgiving.

How To Appease The Distracted Creative Mind | Sessionville

November 26th, 2013

My latest column is up at Sessionville, it’s called How To Appease The Distracted Creative Mind | Sessionville… please check it out.

Writing To Music | Sessionville

November 18th, 2013

I’m going to be doing some columns for my friends at Sessionville and my first one is up, it’s called Writing To Music. Please visit and let me know what you think of it in the comments over there.

He Was …

September 24th, 2013

They used to have these things called drive-in movies theaters.

They still have them here and there, I’m told, but it’s mostly for nostalgia’s sake … like LP records and cassettes, they’re for a specific group looking for a throwback experience (well, regarding cassettes, maybe not) rather than a cinematic one.

But back when I was very young, they were plentiful and very much the thing to do on the weekend, especially in the summer. You’d drive to the theater, pay to drive in and park next to a speaker post, hang the speaker on your car window and watch the movie from the comfort of your own vehicle. The sound was tinny and thin from the speaker, nothing no one would want to put up with today (especially after Star Wars) but damn it, it was fun.

They often had double and triple bills, so for a family it was ideal. Three movies for the price of one.

Our parents took us to the drive-in a lot when I was very young, and I remember my brother and I were always very excited. We’d pop our own popcorn and put it in a large brown paper bag and we’d pick some green apples from the neighbor’s tree and that’d be our snack, along with a lot of sugary soda (which is called pop in the Midwest, by the way). We often fell asleep before the second movie started, but that was part of the fun.

We saw a lot of “bad” movies, as that my father’s tastes skewed toward Roger Corman type of films. A double bill of Ron Howard movies, EAT MY DUST and GRAND THEFT AUTO come to mind, for example. A lot of flawed movies that had more than a bit of fun in them.

Some of the drive-ins had swing sets and stuff for the kids to play on until it got dark enough for the movie. There was always a cartoon before the show, and sometimes we took the truck and sat in the back on lawnchairs, the movie before us and the stars up above. It was a pretty awesome time.

We also loved Chuck Norris movies and for a few days afterwards would have “play” karate fights with my dad throughout the house. He usually won those, at least until we got bigger, then we stopped doing those.

We stopped doing a lot of things once we all got older.

Many things change as time marches on.

But for the first ten to thirteen years of your life, your father is the one who picks you up when you fall down, who you run to when you’re scared because the thunder was really loud or that bad dream you had was really, really frightening (likely inspired by a Corman movie).

He seems large, impregnable. When you’re a child, that’s your father.

Everyone’s memory of their father probably starts the same, a large man with a deep voice holding you. Because that’s how it starts out, you remember a big man with big arms picking you up. Even after you’ve grown, that image of your dad is implanted in your memory forever.

In my father’s case, he was always bigger than me even after I grew up. Had me by a couple of inches and, up until I was thirty, by at least forty pounds. Even after I put on weight, he still tipped me by about ten or fifteen. And he was pretty rowdy, wasn’t afraid of wading into a bar fight or three when we were kids, he even named one of his country bands ROWDY, in fact.

No one is impregnable, naturally, and the natural course of things is that as you grow older, you begin to notice your father’s flaws. We all have them, but you notice his first, especially if you’re a son and competitive … males do that. You notice those and they become an issue. Then there are other issues. Young males can be very unforgiving.

It’s part of the growing and separation process, part of finding your identity is rejecting that which you already know and moving on toward the unknown to discover what you can be. You rebel, you fight and you deliberately walk away.

For some sons, the separation is short, lasts about as long as puberty. For others, it is longer, through college perhaps. For a few, as was my case, it was far too long, years and years.

Right up until I had sons of my own, in fact.

My father lived in the small town he grew up in and never wanted to leave. I couldn’t wait to get out and move to the most populated city in the country. My father loved and played country music and called himself a “proud redneck”. I am a former theatre geek and proud progressive. We were opposites in many ways, even though we looked alike.

But when I had my own boys, I began to understand him, if only a little bit.

A good buddy of mine around my age who is also a father told me that once you embark on being a parent, it’s not a question of if you’ll make mistakes, but when. You can only hope and pray that it will be something small and ordinary when you do. It keeps you up at night.

One night, decades ago when I was around six or so, we were at the drive-in and my father was walking my little brother and I to the concession stand in between features, so it was really dark.

As we walked along, a car rocketed out of the night, headlights off and driving far too fast. The rule for drivers at the drive-in was that one supposed to creep along in your vehicle because everyone walked. This dude wasn’t abiding by that rule, he zipped along fast and without his lights on, we didn’t see him until it was too late.

My father grabbed my brother and I with each hand and shoved us away hard out of the way in opposite directions just as the driver slammed on his brakes and hit him. My father went up and over the hood of the car, stopping at the windshield. He rolled off the hood, hopping mad, and gave the driver, a scared and pimply teenager on a date, a spectacularly profane ass-chewing.

I forgot about that incident for decades as I got caught up in my own shit and my own issues as a young male.

But I remembered it when my own sons were born, and never forgot it. It allowed me the space to reconnect with my father, too. My father was always his own man, a stubborn and proud redneck who loved drinking Budweiser out of a bottle, and while he wasn’t without flaw, there is no one who is.

He was still my father and he threw himself in front of a moving car for his sons.

He was there, then. All the other issues I may have had with him were small and insignificant compared to that.

My dad passed away on September 8th, 2013 after a long battle with multiple illnesses. He was a rough, tough man, he still had the big hands and arms and he was my father. I was fortunate enough to be there with him when he moved on, just like he was with me when I transitioned into this world. It’s not just my loss, but a loss for many, his wife, his sons, his grand kids and his great-grand kids and his devoted dog Jack. The many who knew him as a neighbor and friend, and many more who were fans of his bands and music.

It took me too long to understand what it means to throw yourself in front of a car for your boys, but I’m glad that I did finally get it in time.

He was my father. That’s what they do.

Rest it peace, Beau.

Yet Another Post In Which I Tell You…

May 1st, 2013

That I sadly must take yet another blogging break… I am writing like a mad beast, and the unfortunate tradeoff is that the blogging must wait… but I will have more to report, and soon, of that I promise you…

In the meantime, be safe, be well and I will eventually see you back here on the mats…

The Numbers Station

April 25th, 2013

My friend F. Scott Frazier’s movie THE NUMBERS STATION opens tomorrow… it’s awesome.

Friday Fight Scene - The Yakuza (1974)

April 12th, 2013

In the early seventies, a young Paul Schrader met up with his younger brother Leonard, who’d just returned from four years teaching in Japan and shared some of his experiences with Paul, telling him he hoped to turn it into a novel.

Paul said, “Novel, sure, but let’s write a screenplay first and sell it for big bucks!” which then began one of the biggest spec sales of its day, which Paul pitched as “Bruce Lee meets The Godfather” (and yeah, I know, Bruce was Chinese and Yakuza are Japanese, but it was the 70s Paul figured the Hollywood suits wouldn’t know the difference)… and later became a Sidney Pollack movie starring Robert Mitchum, among others… and features a fantastic sword fight at the end and a great gun fight, too.

Clips are scarce, I have here the great scene where Dusty, played by the awesome Richard Jordan, dies:

Which is particularly well crafted (especially the man who keeps begging them to stop, it adds and even greater tension to this scene).

Of the sword scene, I could only find this clip, which has different action scenes spliced together and someone else’s score tracked over it, but I’m embedding it regardless, just to give you an idea of its coolness and will urge you to check out this movie asap… it’s a great flick.

That’s the great Ken Takakura as Ken, the sword expert… what’s fascinating about that fight scene is that there is ONE person that Ken, during his attack, he’d promised NOT to kill, and of course, that’s one person at the end who attacks him and leaves him no choice. It’s a really fantastic choice.

What’s really kickass about THE YAKUZA is that there is a layered complex family drama underneath it… it’s not a mindless one man defends against the yakuza, not at all, it has a depth and a power and a few rather stunning character reveals… reveals I’m not going to spoil here… I’ll just add that, on top of the fight scenes, The Yakuza is a movie well worth seeing. A classic that doesn’t get enough love… check it out.

Friday Fight Scene - Siskel & Ebert

April 5th, 2013

Like a lot of people, Siskel & Ebert were my first film professors, and in particular I identified more with Roger who famously based his tastes on his gut, whereas Gene was more cerebral. But in particular, after Gene’s passing, I was moved and impressed by Roger’s writing, especially after he lost his voice to cancer, but didn’t lose his VOICE, which became even stronger.

So in honor of those two who meant so much to those of us who loved movies as much as they did, I’ve posted some infamous outtakes of the two men (who, despite their fighting, were actually close friends) sniping at each other and making each other laugh… these are outtakes, so warning, strong language.

and this, too..

Good journeys, Roger, wherever you’re headed next… I was really glad you and Gene were with us and shared what you love… it meant a lot.

Creatures of Appetite by Todd Travis: Free Giveaway

April 4th, 2013

My buddy Todd Travis is hosting another free giveaway via Amazon of his novel Creatures of Appetite today and tomorrow, so if you want to read a really exciting thriller, now’s your chance to download one for free.

It’s been getting some good reviews from Amazon readers, too. Here’s a few of them:

I have only one word for this book “WOW!” I was browsing, looking for a book while waiting for my favorite authors new releases and came across this one. Got the sample chapter, read it and immediately bought it. That was this morning and I literally couldn’t put it down, finished it in about 5 hours and, again, WOW! The characters were totally believable, the killers twisted and the story line is awesome. I would have paid $15 (like other Kindle books out there) and it would have been worth every penny. Don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just say, READ THIS BOOK and be prepared to say WOW….

This story held my attention from start to finish. Intense throughout, couldn’t put it down! One of the best crime stories I’ve read in a while. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys criminal investigations, and stories about how they are solved. Will be watching for more stories by Todd Travis!!!

Intense throughout, couldn’t put it down! One of the best crime stories I’ve read in a while.

Absolutely loved this book! Can’t wait to see what Todd Travis will write next. What a ending all I have to say is wow.

This is totally opposite from any book I have ever read and all I have to say is wow!!! I am just flabbergasted haha. Some things I seen coming I was just excited to see how it played out. However the ending…holy Moly. Read it to find out…

Full of suspense. Better than Hitchcock! I couldn’t put the book down. It kept me guessing right until the very end and another surprise waited there!

I was soon hooked, but the best part of this book is the end. I won’t spoil it but it was totally unexpected.

The murders are chilling, the plot twists refreshing, and the dialogue believable. I LOVED the ending!

Check it out and spread the word, he’s good people: Creatures of Appetite