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Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 1st of each month and on the 7th, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of DOG BITE High Gravity Lager (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

ROCKTOBER MusicFest - 3 (Or, Van Morrison's Imaginary Movie Soundtrack)

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My First Place award-winning entry for a fake pumpkin decorating contest, 2014.
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This is my third contribution to MMQE's 'ROCKTOBER MusicFest' at 'Jingle Jangle Jungle'. Click HERE for more!
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In 1987, Van Morrison released his 17th studio album, 'Poetic Champions Compose'. How many music artists can unleash one of their very greatest albums after having already made 16 of them? Well, Van-The-Man sure did.
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'Poetic Champions Compose' may or may not be Van's greatest studio album, but I think it definitely has to be considered among his Top 5, without a doubt.
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One of my very favorite tracks from the collection is 'Did Ye Get Healed?' (You are required to listen until the Irish woman asks that very same question at the very end of the song! ...Don't make me have to come over there!!)
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DID YE GET HEALED? - Van Morrison
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfKRz6_S9fc

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However, as much as I LOVE that song, I did not indicate that it should be used in my one and only attempt to write and sell a movie screenplay. I wrote 'BILLY 'N' BILLIE' in 1989 / 1990. It's a romance story about "Billy" (surname: Withers), a White, alcoholic, wanna-be writer living in Venice Beach, and "Billie" (surname: Clayton), a Black, Venice Beach woman who wants to be a Blues and Jazz singer.
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I actually had a real shot of selling this screenplay! It garnered me a one-on-one interview with [link> Tony Bill, who had a production office in Venice Beach. (Yes! *THAT* TONY BILL! The actor, and the director of the terrific movie 'My Bodyguard'.) But I [damn-near deliberately] sabotaged my chances of selling the movie because... I was young & stupid & idealistic, and I objected to having to personally (with my personality) "sell" the story to Mr. Bill when I felt the story sold itself. So, I shot myself in the foot. Wasn't the first time; wasn't the last time.
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Anyway, that's Bourbon Under The Bridge.
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But in my screenplay, I indicated that 3 (Van Morrison) songs should be used - one at the very beginning; one just past the middle, when Billy and Billie dance together for the first time; and at the very end, while the final credits are rolling on the silver screen.
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Below, I am pasting the pages from my screenplay which indicate where the 3 Van Morrison songs were supposed to be used. The first two songs - 'I Forgot That Love Existed' & 'Someone Like You' - came from Morrison's 1987 album 'Poetic Champions Compose', and the End Credits song, 'Brand New Day', came from Morrison's 1970 album 'Moondance'. And below the screenplay pages, you will find a YouTube playlist including those 3 songs in proper order.
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I ask you to try doing this: Imagine watching the opening credits of a movie on the big silver screen, while seeing the activity described on the written page, and hearing the song 'I Forgot That Love Existed'. I still - STRONGLY! - believe that would have been an unforgettable opening for a Hollyweird movie!
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'Billy 'N' Billie' soundtrack - Van Morrison

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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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24 comments:

  1. I love Van Morrison and his voice is unique, I think anyway. It has a jazz and blues vibe. Your screenplay sounds good and maybe you can try again but with some humble pie when you see them. Age will make us more humble besides, dealing with Hollywood means you can only be arrogant once you make 6 figures....maybe.

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    1. BIRGIT ~
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

      When he was younger, Van had more of a "head" voice. He wrote fantastic songs (I love the albums 'Astral Weeks' and 'Moondance'), but I actually liked his voice better as the years went on. He's a terrific singer, and one of the best songwriters from the "Rock" age, no question about it!

      Ha! And thanks for the nice comment about my screenplay. But, nah, that ship has sailed. They wouldn't allow a guy like me in Hollyweird today, and I feel pretty *GOOD* about that!! (As the saying goes: "A person is known by their enemies." [;oD

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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  2. That's too bad about your screenplay, Stephen! 😟 it sounds interesting. And, you used the line "Let's get on it." πŸ†’ Van's music would have fit right in. I wanted to write screenplays when I was young (bought instruction manuals and everything) and even daydreamed about winning an Academy award. Life got in the way...Anyway, I enjoyed your musical selection and agree with Birgit. Why not try submitting the screenplay again? What have you got to lose?

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    1. Hey, muchos gracias, DEBBIE!

      >>... And, you used the line "Let's get on it."

      Ha!-Ha! Fabulous catch! You really were reading and paying attention. That's great. THANKS!!

      Yeah, that Howlin' Wolf line goes back a long ways with me. And since Billie Clayton (she adopted Billie Holiday's first name) was a massive fan of Blues and Jazz, it made sense to me that she would ALSO be familiar with Howlin' Wolf's expression.

      So, in 1989 / 1990, I wrote a screenplay about an interracial romance. I guess that means no one can legitimately accuse me of being a racist.

      When I was younger, I saw myself as a famous actor (the next James Dean). But that was a 'Long, Hard Climb', and the longer it went, the more comfortable I became in my own skin. And at some point (right after playing Jim Morrison in a screenplay I wrote for a friend in film school), I decided I didn't really want to pretend I was *OTHER* people anymore.

      So, then I moved on to the screenplay. But almost NO ONE sells their first screenplay, and after writing this one, I moved on to a manuscript for a children's book. I think if I were to try to make it in the arts again, I would pursue Children's Literature.

      But I'm too old and tired to keep trying that now. And, plus, I think the whole world is going to be changed in 2029 (give or take a year), and there are probably more important things for me to focus my attention on between now and then.

      Thanks again for coming by and really reading what I posted. You get a godzillion and one brownie points for noticing that "Let's get on it" line. As sad as it may seem for me to admit this, you kinda made my day by mentioning that! THANKS!!

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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    2. I'm glad I was able to make your day more pleasant, Stephen! Reading that gave me a little lift, too. 😎 Observant is my middle name (kind of a stereotypical, Teutonic trait). In your younger pictures, you definitely looked a lot like James Dean. It must be incredibly difficult to make it in showbiz!

      So, what's going to happen in 2029 or thereabouts? Don't tell me! The Mayans got it wrong (they predicted 2012) and the world is going to end then? πŸ€”

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    3. DEBBIE ~
      I never fell for that whole 'Mayan Calendar' prophecy bit. (I just couldn't put any stock in the idea that heathens who conducted human sacrifices really knew anything worth knowing. Ha!-Ha!)

      Nah, the world isn't going to end in 2029. In fact, I am more than certain that Earth has another 1,000 years to go yet.

      But - since you did ask - I *DO* firmly believe that "this world" as we currently know it, is going to be drastically altered (in a great way) in 2029.

      This will protly be TMI, but you can take a look if so inclined:

      [Link> The End Of "This World" As We Know It: 2029 (Give Or Take A Year Or Two)

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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    4. I don't buy into prophecies, in general, but thanks for the link. Fascinating stuff! And it did answer my question.

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    5. Sorry, DEBBIE. I didn't mean to ignore your reply but it's been a busy weekend.

      Prophecies are truly "a thing", and in fact The Holy Bible, more than anything else, is a Book of Prophecies - they appear on most of Its pages. God even says in The Bible that a reason we can believe He authored The Bible is because, in its pages, He has told us what will happen before it occurs / occurred. It saddens me to say, however, that even the majority of self-professed "Christians" don't know this because the majority of them have never even ONCE read their Bible from cover to cover.

      I think [link> THIS BOOK was an extraordinary read. It details very precise prophecies that have come to pass.

      And then there are also Biblical prophecies that are being fulfilled now, in our time, and [Link> 101 Last Days Prophecies lists them. Every day that I check the news, I see these prophecies falling into place. That's another reason why I think that the culmination of all "pre-written history" is only about ten years down the road.

      And, you're right, it really IS "fascinating stuff!" It's part of why I keep on keepin' on.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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  3. I'm sold. As I've probably mentioned before, I didn't really discover Van's music for myself until Poetic Champions Compose came out, after which I started buying every Morrison album I could find.

    That idea for the soundtrack is excellent and the story sounds interesting to me. Maybe you need to keep trying to market it?

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Thanks, LEE! I truly appreciate the positive comment! But I'm sure you can imagine just how much a guy like me would be welcomed in the Hollyweird of today. "They" wouldn't ever let a guy like me in. And I'm sure I'd be miserable there, if they actually did.

      'Poetic Champions Compose' is truly masterful. And I could say that about several Morrison albums. ('Into The Music' might actually be my favorite, overall.)

      I'll never forget this day:
      It was sometime late in the Summer of 1986 and I had just driven home after having found about 3 or 4 (used) Van Morrison albums that I'd been hoping to find for months. Believe it or not, at that time, it was kind of hard to find some of Morrison's older albums, even in L.A. But I found 3 or 4 (one of them was DEFINITELY 'Hard Nose The Highway' - somehow I remember that all these years later).

      And as I pulled up in front of my house, I saw my old buddy, Kelly Anderson, sitting there in his old Chevy pickup truck. For some reason - which was so damned important that I can't even remember what it was now - I'd been upset with Kelly for awhile. (Even though he was one of the two best friends I've ever had in this lifetime!!)

      But because I was in such a (almost) euphoric mood from having finally found those old Van Morrison albums, I put all the animosity out of my mind, and I embraced Kelly and told him how glad I was to see him. He and I had a nice conversation in the middle of the street where I lived, and then he drove away.

      In September, I was told that Kelly had killed himself.

      Until the day I die, I will be EXCEEDINGLY GRATEFUL for the music of Van Morrison! Because if I hadn't loved it so much, and if I hadn't just found some long sought-after Morrison albums, I might not have been so willing to bury the hatchet, let bygones be bygones, and welcome Kelly's appearance as the true, great friend he'd always been! Can you imagine how I'd still be feeling today if I'd snubbed Kelly on the street where I lived, just a month or two before he killed himself?

      I thank you, Van Morrison!!
      And I thank you, GOD!!!

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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    2. I'm a great believer in impossible dreams coming to fruition. There is a wide market out there for films especially with all of the potential of internet streaming. I don't know that getting rich is always the endgame, but there is a market for everything.

      Recently I discovered that my next door neighbor's son (who once annoyed me with his loud rap music until I requested he turn it down so I couldn't hear it in my house and not only did he turn down the music, but from that time on he only was listening to music of my generation)--anyway, he has been writing for films and directing them as well for about 10 years or so. That at age 35!

      One of his most recent efforts, Crave: The Fast Life (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4118366/?ref_=nm_flmg_wr_3) can now be found on Amazon Prime for free if you have that service. My wife and I both watched it and were impressed by this anti-Hollywood "Fast life" faith-based film about the importance of family. Apparently, Joaquin persisted and made connections to do what he's doing now. He's not big time by any means, but he's making films and seeing his own stories get the film treatment. Not bad I think.

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

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    3. LEE ~
      Very cool about your neighbor's son's success in making movies! From Rap to Faith - gotta LOVE that transition.

      I checked out the page and there was a nice review for his movie 'Crave' :

      >>... One of the best Christian movies I've seen. It wasn't cheesy and it was real. The actors were great! I really enjoyed it a lot. Glory to God.

      I actually don't have Amazon Prime, though. In fact, I don't have ANY KIND OF TV SERVICE at all. Haven't watched any TV in at least 5 years.

      Also, sadly, I am not "a great believer in impossible dreams coming to fruition". I came to the realization long ago that the vast, vast majority of the time, artistic success (regardless of which art form we're discussing) comes down to...

      1: Who you know.
      2: Pure lucky breaks.
      and way, way down the list, in a very distant third place is...
      3rd: Talent.

      Oh, well. I'm just too old and tired to give a rat's ass about "artistic success" anymore. I'm just hanging on now, waiting for the end of "this world"... as we know it.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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  4. (As the policemen try to wake the drunk:) "I forgot that love existed, (.... as the lovers kiss:) "then I saw the light." (then cut to children building sandcastle.)

    Yeah, I can TOTALLY see that as one GREAT opening.

    I listened to each song where you'd envisioned it. Beautiful. Beautiful vision, in fact.

    I agree with what you said to Lee. You'd be about as welcome in Hollywood as an ice water enema. So I understand why you might let go pursuing that dream. But to me, ideas exist on their own, and the composition and beauty and relevance of BILLY and BILLIE sprung to life thru you, and can't be taken away. I am sure that sounds a bit out there, but... poetic champions compose. The harmony and poignance of Morrison's "Someone Like You" were THERE... and he was just the conduit. And you can relish the emotions/ideas/harmony of your screenplay, even if the movie didn’t get made. It sure would have been a better movie than most that do!!!

    I’m enjoying this series as much as any BoTB in a long time, McBrother.

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    1. McBRUHTHUH SIXGUN ~

      Thanks, man! Very cool that you got so involved in the idea and really let it play out in your mind the way I wrote it.

      I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I still think that's a great movie opening, and I believe there were a lot of really good scenes / ideas in the screenplay.

      I found it kind of interesting (and maybe slightly annoying) when in 1991, right about the time I was beginning to realize 'Billy 'N' Billie' wasn't gonna be made, I saw this movie...

      https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102598/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

      ...which included a Van Morrison 'Someone Like You' dance scene. I wanted to yell "plagiarism!" but I knew it was just a case of two great minds thinking alike. ;^)

      I'm pleased as spiked punch that you're enjoying this impromptu series. I should have a new installment up tomorrow, Bruhthuh.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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  5. Dang it Stephen!

    Here it is - the middle of the night and I'm up. I'm trying to catch up on all these posts that I'm a little behind on. Now keep in mind, I've been riding a bit of an emotional rollercoaster the past few months (part of why I'm not sleeping at night - the other is dealing with my current life situation).

    So here I come to your post, and like a bloomin' idiot I click play on the playlist and start reading the screenplay. The music takes over and next thing I know, my cheeks are wet. Now I know damn well that I didn't fall into my drink! Thank goodness it wasn't a full on ugly cry (that was yesterday!) but I was damned moved by the music.

    You know how I said I hadn't fully listened to Van Morrison before? I may have to change that now.

    Excellent post. Truly appreciate the share.

    BTW - it's never too late to get that screenplay looked at - or even dipping your toes in Children's literature. My author that I assist is a mere 72 yrs young. You've got plenty of time still!

    ~Mary

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    1. MMQE ~

      >>... Now keep in mind, I've been riding a bit of an emotional rollercoaster the past few months (part of why I'm not sleeping at night - the other is dealing with my current life situation).

      You're clearly not drinking enough!! Try the 100-proof Evan Williams (with the white label) -- it's kind of like Windex in that it fixes EVERYTHING!... except Alcoholism.

      Wow! Really, thanks for reading and listening. I'm glad you felt what I was trying to convey in the screenplay.

      >>... You know how I said I hadn't fully listened to Van Morrison before? I may have to change that now.

      Other than my aforementioned disappointment with some of his spiritual / religious missteps, I still think the guy created some of the greatest music of the 20th Century!

      And his music isn't just "La-La-La" stuffs (e.g., 'Brown-Eyed Girl'). But rather, he's got so much music that is genuinely deep and even mystical. There's a whole lot of "There" there, and one can almost disappear into his music and find new worlds, new concepts or ways of thinking about life.

      A good place to start (at least it was for me) is his first real album, 'Astral Weeks'. When I was young - very early twenties - I used to love listening to that album alone, through headphones, with my eyes closed, and just letting it mentally transport me elsewhere.

      Hearing just those very first lyrics and - *BAM!* - the mental journey would instantly begin:

      If I ventured in the slipstream
      Between the viaducts of your dream
      Where immobile steel rims crack
      And the ditch in the back roads stop
      Could you find me?
      Would you kiss-a my eyes?
      To lay me down
      In silence easy
      To be born again
      To be born again

      This is the kind of introspective music that can really take me on a journey within myself.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ech6pZoBJ4

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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  6. Stephen,

    Unfortunately, one's youthful ignorance gets in the way but now what's stopping you? Why not try selling the script now? Thanks for sharing some of Morrison's mewsic that you included in your story. Both songs are introductions and I enjoyed listening to them very much. Have a rockin' good October. I can't believe how fast it's slipping away.

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    1. HiYa, CATHY!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the songs I posted!

      To be entirely honest, I still believe the viewpoint I had when I was attempting to sell my screenplay was valid. Why should a writer have to sell "himself" when all he's really attempting to sell is what he has "written"? They're not buying an actor; they're buying a screenplay. And I was tired of trying to sell "myself" while pursuing an acting career. That's one of the reasons I turned AWAY from acting and TOWARD writing instead.

      However, I do now realize that when "the man" has the power to say "Yes" or "No", you are required to play by his rules, UNTIL you've reached a point where YOU are "the man".

      I just wasn't willing to play along with their silly game then. And, frankly, I'm not entirely sure I would do it today, either. When you're right, you gotta stick by your guns (or your honest beliefs). I was a rebel when I was young, and I'm not much less rebellious in my old age.

      I believe that when we are being intellectually honest with ourselves, and not being overly stupid or living with self-imposed blindness, things generally turn out the way they *should*. And looking back on the years when I was trying to break into "Hollyweird", I think it's probably for the best that I didn't get sucked into that demonic hellhole. I wasn't Spiritually mature enough to deal with it back then, and it probably would have wrecked me.

      I get by just fine today with what God gives me - I trust Him to know what's best for me in the long-run - and I have no real regrets about how I handled that situation in the past.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, my friend!

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends'

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    2. Stephen,

      You hit on some very good points. God definitely knows what's best for us and He knew then that going down that Hollywood path would be determintal to you. I'm glad that you can see the past for what it was with no regrets. To play in that pool you have to give a little more of yourself then you'd care to give but many choose to ignore the soft spoken voice of caution (Holy Spirit) or ultimately just don't care to listen to because they want what Hollywood offers. Everything does work out the way it's supposed to and all the what ifs I have to wonder is just Satan's way to distract oneself from being happy in the moment where God puts you. Thanks for causing me to reflect and think with your response. It helps to make things in my life clearer. Have a blessed day, my friend!

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    3. CATHY ~

      Yes, exactly. And I think the majority of the people who make it big have to give away a lot more of themselves than most folks can even imagine.

      I don't really believe in the old "deal at the crossroads" kind of fable, but I do suspect something of that nature really does often occur in one way or another.

      I don't think about fame and fortune anymore. I try to keep Micah 6:8 as my goal:

      He has shown you, O man, what is good;
      And what does the Lord require of you
      But to do justly,
      To love mercy,
      And to walk humbly with your God

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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  7. Hi Stephen T!

    Rather outrageously late than never, I hope...

    I’ve always been easily swayed by mood-bending tunes, and Morrison is a master. This mini set of two really good ones had me wishing for a patch of grass to laze around in, thinking about days when the rains came. Nice treat!

    I was there, you know. In your screenplay. I could almost smell the suntan oil, hear the clack of typewriter keys. It’s no easy feat, my friend; being able to draw folks into your world that way. Don’t let it go unnoticed.

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    1. Hey, thanks for reading and commenting, dIEDRE!

      Yeah, always better late than never.

      Ahh, I'm really pleased you liked what you read of the screenplay. I thought it had some memorable scenes and some potential overall.

      One day I went down to Venice Beach, just to hang around. I went into a bar called 'The Townhouse' to have a drink. You can Google it. There are videos at YouTube and such about 'The Townhouse'. Back then, the place was a real dump, but it's been renovated very nicely since then. Now it's more like a nightclub than a dirty dive.

      Anyway, I was drinking a gin & tonic and saw my reflection in the mirror behind the bar. Then I had this thought: What if a guy disliked himself and had so little self-esteem that when he caught his reflection in a bar mirror, he would slide over one bar stool so he wouldn't have to watch himself drink?

      And then I just started adding questions, like, WHY does he dislike himself? Why is he in THIS bar? What happens to him as soon as he leaves the bar?

      And as I kept answering those questions, the story I wound up writing in that screenplay just unfolded in my mind. I kind of chuckle to myself when I think how it all came from the simple thought that a guy slides over one stool so he doesn't have to look at himself in the mirror while he gets drunk. Ha!

      Thanks so much for the very kind comment, my friend!

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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    2. "One Slide Over" Would garner some double-takes on the story, and rekindle the ambition you had in the first place ;-) Go for it!

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    3. Ha! It's a thought, but... honestly, I'm just too tired to even think about it. I'm ready for a long rest. :^)

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...'

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