How to Write A Lifetime Network Murder Movie of the Week

In my work as a Script Doctor, I take dramatic stories for television, the movies, and the stage, and I make them structurally better. That sort of work isn’t formulaic, but there are common touchstones that must always be considered and then incorporated — what I remember the great Joseph Campbell loosely calling, “the natural rhythms of human storytelling shared with the reliability of a heartbeat” — and that’s what I do; I provide an unpacked redirection of the concentric condition that we are all innately accustomed to sending and receiving in a performance communication dyad, in the acknowledgement of, and in the often unwitting acceptance of, “The Holy Triad.” The Creator, The Object and The Observer.

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Liviu Ciulei and Marlon Brando: Recoiling the Mortal Coil!

The great international stage and screen director and designer, Liviu Ciulei, and the divine stage and screen actor Marlon Brando both share something disturbing as it is true: They both believed in bringing coiled drama into an explosion on the live stage. If the purpose of the Dramatic Arts is irrevocable change, they reasoned, then coiled detritus is the user agent that propels forward the story to the tragic, if not always cathartic, end.

I was fortunate to purchase authentic photographs of both Liviu and Marlon and I appreciate this moment of sharing them with you. Here’s the caption for Liviu’s photo:

International director Liviu Ciulei has been named Artistic Director of The Guthrie Theatre beginning Sept 1. 1980.  The 57-year-old former head of Rumania’s leading repertory theatre, the Lucia Sturdza Bulandra Theatre, has earned an international reputation as a stage and screen director, actor, designer, and architect. His directing and design credits include productions throughout Europe, Great Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States.

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The Killer American Self: Democracy as Suicide

Yesterday, we witnessed the Death Penalty — circa 1931 — with George Orwell’s assistance in “Taking the Mechanism Out of Man.”

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The International Orphan Myth

Most of us believe there are basketsful of orphaned babies the world over just waiting for an international adoption.  The truth is more sullied and brutal than that ideal.  The international children being adopted already have parents and they are being sold to the highest bidder.

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Fired for Myth Telling

Adjunct instructor Steven Bitterman was fired for suggesting a Bible story could be read as a myth:

Bitterman was on his way to teach a course in Western civilization at
Southwestern Community College last fall when his car slipped off the
road. By the time he got back on the road, Mr. Bitterman’s clothes were
muddy, so he returned home to clean up. That’s where he got a telephone
call from one of the college’s vice presidents, saying he had been

Three students, the vice president told Mr.
Bitterman, were offended because he had told his class that people
could more easily appreciate the biblical story of Adam and Eve if they
considered it a myth.

“She said the students and their
parents had threatened to sue the school, and sue me, and she said: ‘We
don’t want that to happen, do we?'” said Mr. Bitterman, who had been an
adjunct professor at the Iowa college since 2001. “She told me I was
supposed to teach history, not religion, and that my services would no
longer be needed.”

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Generational Wrongs

There are some wrongs that are so terrible and so terrifying — and that wound all of humanity so harshly — that they can never be set right in the lifetimes of those who perpetrated, and received, the cruelty.

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Miracle Myth Memes and the Propagation of Hope in Wen Chuan

The recent earthquake in Wen Chuan, China gives us a moment to reflect on our mortality in sorrow, express a renewed appreciation for being alive, and an opportunity to learn how we grieve and how we always try to look for stories of hope in the propagation of news from a disaster site.

I call those propagated stories of incredible survival — “Miracle Myth Memes” — and they are a fascinating cultural salve against the unthinkable.

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