RBYZ: Share thy mud pie (#006)

Jim Strain, screenwriter of the original Jimumji and amongst many, many other movies, shares his Hollywood journey and what he means by ‘mud pie.’

I love Jim’s intro accompanied by this revealing picture on his website:


I had never seen a “self starter” key on a typewriter until I found it on an old Remington 5 portable in an antique store. It now hangs on the wall of my office. When you press the key, the typewriter carriage advances in slow but steady increments. Seemed to me the perfect metaphor for life as a freelance writer.

I’ve written screenplays for virtually every major Hollywood studio and even had a few produced. I’ve dabbled in theater, contributed to magazines and newspapers, and published a few books. I wear many other hats including that of a teacher, consultant, and sometimes artist.

It’s hard if you are first-generation of anything. It’s especially true in the show biz.
Meet Jim Strain, who found his way into Hollywood by being a self-starter.

What you’ll hear:

  • Jim also graduated from the UCLA Film School, what does he think about the film school experience?
  • How did Jim end up in Hollywood? Or shall I say, get in and stay in the showbiz and still creating work from his heart and soul?
  • Jim has taught at the UCLA Film School’s revered screenwriting workshop for quite some years, what’s the key element to become a screenwriter, from his perspective?
  • How does UCLA Film School’s pitch week work from a professor’s perspective?
  • How did Jim balance his dream of writing and hard-living in LA before he broke into Hollywood?
  • Does hardship in life help you to become a better writer? If yes, how to channel it into your work?
  • How to find like-minded people to collaborate? Here is a clue: Not via Craigslist.
  • What exactly does Jim mean when he says ‘mud pie?’
  • And so, so much more!

The most satisfying thing in life is to share your “mud pies” for others’ sympathetic consideration. — Jim Strain

Links from the episode:

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A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

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Yours truly,

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

Frenzy and the British Humour

In the Hitchcock Studies class yesterday, we discussed Frenzy, Vertigo and Rebecca.

Unlike Vertigo and Rebecca, I was the only one who said I really enjoyed Frenzy.

The rest of my cohorts disregarded it as “shallow” or “jarring” to watch.

Frenzy was the second last film by Hitchcock. It was back to his hometown in England. No more James Stewart, Cary Grant, or his blonde female celebrities.

True, the rape/murder scenes “objectified” those women. But as a pure viewer, I had a great time watching it — as it was, a film to enlighten, a film to entertain.

Frenzy seems to me a hybrid of Corgi and Husky. I haven’t watched another film that combines suspense, thrill, crime so well with (dark) humour.

My film cohorts didn’t appreciate the hero saying that he seemed pathetic. But isn’t that the case with the British movies? An Average Joe’s adventure in his mundane life. My year-long sojourn in England lent me this perspective.

The Brits want someone they can recognize on the street. They root for the underdogs. They despise wisecrackers, quite the reverse to the American audience.

That’s why the Brits created Mr. Bean. That’s why they have heartfelt little story like The Full Monty, a group of unemployed men strip off to regain their manhood.

I certainly don’t dream of persuading my opinionated cohorts. But as true in film as in life —

There is not but one right answer, one right taste.