Don’t Mess with Zohan Lawsuit in My Writer’s Group

Five or six years ago I started up a writer’s group in New York City, with the goal of getting regular feedback on my early pages of [i]Finders Keepers[/i]. I put up an ad on Craiglist and interviewed about a hundred writers until I settled on the four would ultimately join the group.

We met once a week, reading and critiquing each other’s work. We were all at different skill levels and wrote n different styles, which, at the time, I thought was a good idea. Ultimately, however, the group Five or six years ago I started up a writer’s group in New York City, with the goal of getting regular feedback on my early pages of [i]Finders Keepers[/i]. I put up an ad on Craiglist and interviewed about a hundred writers until I settled on the four would ultimately join the group.

We met once a week, reading and critiquing each other’s work. We were all at different skill levels and wrote n different styles, which, at the time, I thought was a good idea. Ultimately, however, the group did not work out for various reason, and it broke up within six months. Such is life.

But one of the writers in this group–Robert Cabell–was working on an outlandish adventure story based on the James Bond series. Only the lead character was a gay hair dresser who also battled evil corporations. The name of the character was Jayms Blonde. The writing needed polish, but Robert had a funny idea that had potential if executed well.

Well, check this out from today’s news.

Crazy.

***

(from the NY Daily News)

The creator of a gay comic book hero accused Adam Sandler Monday of ripping off his idea for a blow-dried public avenger and turning it into "You Don’t Mess with the Zohan."

Author Robert Cabell sued Sandler, Happy Madison Productions, Sony and Columbia Pictures for copyright infringement in Manhattan Federal Court.

Cabell says "Zohan" steals from his "Hair-Raising Adventures of Jayms Blonde" comic book series.

"He’s gorgeous, he’s gay, he makes the bad guys pay," Cabell boasts on a Web site plugging his adventure hero. Cabell says he created Jayms Blonde in 2000 and published the first story on the Internet two years later.

It chronicles a former Navy SEAL-turned-hairdresser out to get corporate evildoers armed with an Uzi-style blow-dryer.

Cabell says he pitched Columbia on the idea of a Jayms Blonde movie in Los Angeles in the fall of 2007, around the same time Sandler was filming a "Zohan" disco scene nearby.

In the movie, Sandler plays an Israeli special forces officer who fakes his death and takes a job as a New York City hairdresser.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/03/01 12:35

Man, I Need a Vacation – But Can’t Take One!

If there was ever a time when I needed to get away for a few days, a week, and just let the steam out of my head, now’s the time. Only problem is, as much as I need a vacation, I can’t take a vacation!

The collective stress of getting laid off, looking for a new job, networking, doing contract work, and just, you know, living … is making it just a tad difficult for me to relax. I’m trying, but let me tell you, it ain’t easy. Still I try.

Thing is, while I have a few pennies storedIf there was ever a time when I needed to get away for a few days, a week, and just let the steam out of my head, now’s the time. Only problem is, as much as I need a vacation, I can’t take a vacation!

The collective stress of getting laid off, looking for a new job, networking, doing contract work, and just, you know, living … is making it just a tad difficult for me to relax. I’m trying, but let me tell you, it ain’t easy. Still I try.

Thing is, while I have a few pennies stored away, enough to take a little vacation, I can’t afford–networking and job-hunt wise–to be away for too long. Sure, I could probably sneak away for a long weekend, but even that’s been problematic, because Liz and I are on different schedules. She’s down in Florida right now visiting her parents (who rented a house for the month), and I couldn’t go because I’ve got some contract work lined up, which is a good thing.

But Liz has also had to travel for her job, and sometimes the trips pop up suddenly, so it’s been really difficult for us to take any time away together.

Ugh …

Still, still, still … for someone who’s been laid off I’m actually doing pretty well. Like I said, I’ve been working almost every day since I got laid off, I’ve been networking like crazy and I’ve got a few irons in the fire.

And yet …

Beer me. Beer me now.

I’m Back to Work- Sort Of

So far, I’m thankful to say, my unemployment has not been prolonged. I put in three days of contract work this week, with at least another two lined up for next week. There’s opportunity for continued work here, so who knows? It’s gone pretty well and hoping that will continue.

I’ve also got a meeting lined up for later this afternoon for an interesting opportunity. It’s a bit of a long-shot, but it’s absolutely worth my time to check it out. At minimum, I get to rub elbows with some prettySo far, I’m thankful to say, my unemployment has not been prolonged. I put in three days of contract work this week, with at least another two lined up for next week. There’s opportunity for continued work here, so who knows? It’s gone pretty well and hoping that will continue.

I’ve also got a meeting lined up for later this afternoon for an interesting opportunity. It’s a bit of a long-shot, but it’s absolutely worth my time to check it out. At minimum, I get to rub elbows with some pretty-well connected executives, and at best, there’s a nice payday in it for me down the road.

Beyond that I have a few other leads to follow up on. And as they say in the biz, it only takes one to make it work.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/02/21 10:38

Russ’s Newsletter: Vol. 3, No. 2 – Tales from New York Comic-Con ’09!

Hey Gang,

 

Well, a lot’s happened since last time. This darn economic swoon clunked me right on the head, landing me on the unemployment line. But I’ve since bounced back with a new job, which I’m starting in a week, so I’m back in action.

 

As for the really fun stuff, here’s what I’ve been up to along my adventures in publishing:

 

* Last month was the NY Comic-Con, and a good time was had by all. Partner-in-Crime Rich Koslowski made the trek down from Milwaukee, and between eating our weight in barbecue, borscht and pasta, and drinking ourselves blind, we did manage to squeeze in some Comic-Con time! But seriously (we did get hammered), the convention was great. I pimped out FINDERS KEEPERS all across the board and made some new connections.

 

To get the full story on the NY Comic-Con, check out my blogs from February 7-12, and go to the PHOTOS section on my site (www.findersk.com) for all the costumed crazies, er, I mean, fans, who not only attended the show, but agreed that FINDERS KEEPERS will be the next smash hit once it’s on the shelves.

 

* Now that I’ve got my employment situation settled and I can focus again, I’m back full throttle on CROSSLINE. I’m in the home stretch, with a first draft nearly complete. Just a little bit more to go and then I can do some serious editing on that bad boy and then send it around for some feedback. If all goes well, I’ll have a clean, completed manuscript by the end of the summer. And once that’s done I’ll get right to work on book No. 3.

 

* A few issues back I told you about DRAWING WITH CHALK (www.drawingwithchalk.com), the debut film from jack-of-all trades Todd Giglio. After that great screening in Tribeca, DRAWING WITH CHALK has already been accepted into multiple film festivals, both in the U.S. and overseas. This is just the beginning for Todd, so keep an eye out for him and his movie. I suspect you’ll become quite familiar with both before too long.

 

* And for this issue’s spotlight–and for anyone who wants to see something absolutely hilarious–check out this link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgRcK3Eum8I). Lost in the archives for almost two decades, this is a Twilight Zone-type short student film from 1989, entitled LIGHT CHASM written, directed and narrated by high school buddy Don Philbricht, and starring yours truly. If you want to see a good Jewfro, you’re in for a treat! Man, talk about bad hair! But still, LIGHT CHASM won a student film award, so take that Academy!

 

That’s all she wrote for this edition. I’ll be back in May with some groovy updates and the latest on FINDERS KEEPERS, CROSSLINE, the upcoming 2009 San Diego Comic-Con, a unique creator who may soon become a household name via the wonderful world of cable TV, and any new tricks I might have up my sleeve.

 

Thanks!

Russ

www.findersk.com

Messing with the Mojo – Friday the 13th

Maybe I should have been tipped off from the beginning, but my first day of work at what is now my old job, was March 31–the day before April Fools.

And my last day on the job?

Thursday. Feb. 12 — the day before Friday the 13th.

Coincidence? Don’t know. But it seems to me that maybe I was tempting fate by messing with the uber mojo. April Fools? Friday the 13th?

They say that timing is everything. Tell me about it…Maybe I should have been tipped off from the beginning, but my first day of work at what is now my old job, was March 31–the day before April Fools.

And my last day on the job?

Thursday. Feb. 12 — the day before Friday the 13th.

Coincidence? Don’t know. But it seems to me that maybe I was tempting fate by messing with the uber mojo. April Fools? Friday the 13th?

They say that timing is everything. Tell me about it…

My Unemployment: I Got Laid Off

With all the news of an economic downturn, pretty much everybody is worried that their job might be in trouble. If there’s any good news on that end for me, I don’t have to worry. Because I don’t have a job! I am officially unemployed.

My (former) employer eliminated my position as part of their corporate belt-tightening, so I’m back out on the job market. Thankfully, I’ve known for a while and so have been networking and going on interviews, and have a few leads. Also, I’ve got a lot of pWith all the news of an economic downturn, pretty much everybody is worried that their job might be in trouble. If there’s any good news on that end for me, I don’t have to worry. Because I don’t have a job! I am officially unemployed.

My (former) employer eliminated my position as part of their corporate belt-tightening, so I’m back out on the job market. Thankfully, I’ve known for a while and so have been networking and going on interviews, and have a few leads. Also, I’ve got a lot of people knocking down doors for me, so with a little good fortune I’ll be back on my feet sooner rather than later.

And the thing is, I understand all the reasons for cutting back, but when they cut me back, well, it’s just a little harder to be understanding! If there’s any consolation it’s that my situation had nothing to do with me. Corporate saw me as a salary on a balance sheet that they could eliminate. In a good market I probably would have gotten a raise, a bonus and a promotion, so my fate wasn’t personal. Just business, as they say.

Still doesn’t pay my mortgage, but it’s something.

I’m sure I’ll have lots more to say about this, but for now:

%$#@!

All in all I’m actually doing okay, and I fully realize that for getting laid off, I could be in a far worse position. Thankfully I have skills and experiences on a variety of levels and in several disciplines that opens a lot of doors for me. And I’m going to keep telling myself these things until a new paycheck comes my way.

As a parting gift, I picked up a nasty cold from someone in the office, so I’ve got that going for me, too. For now, however, I’m on the couch watching reruns of Scrubs, and at some point today I have to file for unemployment.

I’ve never been laid off before, so I’m just chalking this up to one of those rites of passage that comes along–hopefully just this one time.

I’ll keep you posted.

NY Comic-Con ’09: Photos Galore

Check out the PHOTOS section for new pics added every day…

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/02/26 06:46Check out the PHOTOS section for new pics added every day…

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/02/26 06:46

NY Comic-Con ’09: Nick at (Drunken) Night

Saturday at Comic-Con was chuck full. I spent a good part of the day walking around, snapping photos, and doing a little networking. In fact, I approached a major book publisher about Finders Keepers, and they liked the premise enough to ask my agent to get in touch with them. So that was very cool.

The real fire works, however, really kicked off after hours.

Exhausted after a full day, Rich Koslowski and I made our way over to the Westin Hotel bar and had a few drinks as we waited fSaturday at Comic-Con was chuck full. I spent a good part of the day walking around, snapping photos, and doing a little networking. In fact, I approached a major book publisher about Finders Keepers, and they liked the premise enough to ask my agent to get in touch with them. So that was very cool.

The real fire works, however, really kicked off after hours.

Exhausted after a full day, Rich Koslowski and I made our way over to the Westin Hotel bar and had a few drinks as we waited for some friends of his, a dude named Nick Postiglione, the owner of Source Comics and Games out in Minneapolis, and his buddy Brian. To say Nick is larger than life is selling him short. Physically he’s rotund, but he just chews up life. Tons of energy, loads of fun.

We all cabbed it up to Dallas BBQs on the Upper West Side, and knocked back many, many, many Texas sized beers, and if you want to see how big those suckers are, just check out the pictures as soon as I get them up on the site. We spent probably three hours there getting rocked and chomping down ribs until sweet sauce was pouring out of our eyeballs.

Later in the night me old buddy Kevin joined in and held court about true story behind the Valkyrie movie (Kevin’s a WW II buff), and finally we stumbled our way to City Grille for a few more beers, a local restaurant that Babe Ruth himself used to drop by way back in his day.

Kos and I didn’t make it back to Queen until about 3 a.m., and I can tell you, Sunday at the show was [i]painful …[/i]

But all well worth it.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/02/24 15:23

NY Comic-Con ’09: The Bruce Willis Movie

For about half the NY Comic-Con Rich Koslowski and I hung out at the Top Shelf booth. Top Shelf is a respected comic book publisher, and one that has published several of Rich’s own books, including THE KING and the award-winning THREE FINGERS. The Top Shelf guys were nice enough to let me hang out back there, and knowing that I’m a brother-in-arms with FINDERS KEEPERS, also helped me do a little bit of networking as the industry folks came by.

One of the Top Shelf creators–one you might sFor about half the NY Comic-Con Rich Koslowski and I hung out at the Top Shelf booth. Top Shelf is a respected comic book publisher, and one that has published several of Rich’s own books, including THE KING and the award-winning THREE FINGERS. The Top Shelf guys were nice enough to let me hang out back there, and knowing that I’m a brother-in-arms with FINDERS KEEPERS, also helped me do a little bit of networking as the industry folks came by.

One of the Top Shelf creators–one you might start hearing about–is Rob Venditti, who has his own sci-fi comic book called THE SURROGATES. Well, Rob is one of the guys who the gods smiled upon, because The Surrogates is going to be a $100 million movie with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, coming out in September. THE SURROGATES is Rob’s first comic-book project, so indeed the rest of us are thrilled for Rob … and we kinda hate his guts! (With love, Rob).

So I got to hang out with Rob a bit, and for a guy with a movie deal, he’s as humble as can be. Just a nice guy who doesn’t seem to take any of this for granted.

I also stopped by to see Jason Younbluth, the creative crackpot (again, with love), who did the FINDERS KEEPERS animated trailer, and chatted with a Hollywood.com reporter about the trailer–and gave her one to take away–so maybe that’s got some legs on it. Who knows?

Rich and I also had a pretty awesome dinner on Saturday night, but I’ll cover that in the next blog. My throat is still hoarse from the weekend, and I’m still meditating on a way to take some of those Surrogate/Bruce Willis molecules and transform them into a FINDERS KEEPERS movie!

To be continued …

NY Comic-Con ’09: Let the Games Begin!

Yesterday I was able to squeeze in about two hours for the first day of the 2009 New York Comic-Con. Partner-in-Crimes Rich Koslowski and Jim Chambers were already roaming the floors–Jim buying books and Rich floating back and forth between the Archie booth–Rich has been illustrating Archie comics for about 15 years, and Top Shelf, a smaller, but solid comics publisher that has put out several of Rich’s books over the years.

On my first day I snapped a few photos and picked up a book or tYesterday I was able to squeeze in about two hours for the first day of the 2009 New York Comic-Con. Partner-in-Crimes Rich Koslowski and Jim Chambers were already roaming the floors–Jim buying books and Rich floating back and forth between the Archie booth–Rich has been illustrating Archie comics for about 15 years, and Top Shelf, a smaller, but solid comics publisher that has put out several of Rich’s books over the years.

On my first day I snapped a few photos and picked up a book or two for my personal collection, but today will be my first all-out day at the con.

But of course, traditions carry on, and last night Rich joined me and Jim for our annual Friday night dinner at Don Giovanni’s for a great Italian meal (Jim and I both had the baked ziti, while Rich devoured a massive plate of seafood and pasta–and half a carafe of red wine!).

I wasn’t quite at the top of my game yesterday, as I had to work most of the day, but I’m rested and feeling good this morning. So Rich and I will be heading out into the city in about an hour, grab a good lunch, do the con, and then see what kind of trouble we can get ourselves into.

To be continued …

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/02/11 09:50

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