Alex Mathews

Alex Mathews – writer, bared naked dude blah blah blah

Save the Manatee

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I went to a job interview the other day. I didn’t want the job, so the first thing I said to the guy when we met was, “I don’t think I’m the guy for this job.” Probably not the best way to start an interview, but candor has always been my thing. It was a job selling mortgage leads. I have found I can’t really sell things. Sure, the opportunities always seem promising, and of course I buy into it, thinking this could be just the thing for me. But it never pans out. When I contacted this guy, he began to sell me on the job. There was talk about the money. I can make 5k a week. I am interested. That would put me on the lot for an OC chick, with options and upgrades. Mind you, I am married, but I can still measure my dick like any other guy, can’t I? Then there was the fast talk, incessant. I started getting bored, then annoyed. I can’t talk like this guy. I hope that won’t preclude me from selling his product. At one point he proclaimed that this was easy money.
“I mean, we’re not saving the manatees here,” he said.
This threw me. I was suddenly confused. What did he mean? Was he trying to say that the manatees are not worth saving? Are mortgage leads more important then that cute, helpless seal-like creature? No, he couldn’t be saying that. Was he saying that yes, the preservation of the manatee is the noblest of pursuits, and selling leads is just a way to put food on the table and chicks in your car, nothing noble about it? I really thought about that for a while. I think more than anything it was a statement about practicality. There’s no money in saving the manatee, regardless of the humanitarian angle. Perhaps it was a way of dividing the bleeding heart from the mortgage lead salesman, like there’s no room for warm hearts in this business, even though this creature’s very existence is threatened. My only question was why aren’t we saving the manatee, here? I mean, if something’s worth doing…

Hollywood Jock Review

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Being a screenwriter is one of the toughest endeavors a writer can undertake. In Hollywood Jock, Rob Ryder takes us on a 52-week journey to either make or break his career. He makes a last-ditch to placate his worried wife and makes a deal with her, asking for one year to get something sold in the cruel and often heartbreaking world of Hollywood or otherwise he will, God forbid, get a real job. His book chronicles that yearlong quest. And this guy’s no kid fresh off the bus. He’s actually worked in the industry as a consultant, stuntman, location manager and basketball consultant on some movies we’ve all seen, or at least heard of. He has contacts, like Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, who might help with his latest screenplay. It is surprising that despite his working knowledge of how Hollywood works and the Rolodex to back him, it’s no easy task to sell an idea to studio execs, agents, managers and even people he calls his friends.
His first rule of thumb as a freelancer is, “get it out of your ass.” For a guy with all the right connections, it’s painful to read how rejection after rejection never spoils his determination to make something happen. Worse perhaps is the fact that for all the ideas he juggles, each project seems to develop promise, only to get put on hold or shelved in his mother’s garage, where his life’s work is gathering mouse turds. He starts out with an idea for a basketball musical—a cross between the Harlem Globetrotters and Moulin Rouge, and a film project about a basketball game. He has some real NBA stars willing to participate in the film, he gets some folks interested and producing, and yet the cold culture of Hollywood puts the kibosh on it all.
It’s strange that Ryder keeps coming up with new ideas when it looks like there’s no more hope for his latest brainchild. Each new project seems to be born of the ashes of his latest defeat, and at one point he’s chasing seven projects around town, managing his expectations and trying to weather the insanity and navigate the weird world of selling ideas. With a weekly column for ESPN as his only real source of revenue, he hurls himself at the defensive line of Tinsel Town like an All-Pro Linebacker, hoping his sheer muscle will somehow get him into the end zone.
Hollywood Jock is a candid look at the entertainment industry. Although the reader sees a world where pain is inevitable, nothing is fair, and everything seems driven by unwritten rules, it really portrays the toughness required to brave its landscape, and Ryder is certainly cut out for it. He teaches his reader that the elusive dream of fame requires attributes that few people really have—the desire to win, the ability to tolerate losses, and the kind of guts that only a strong Hollywood jock displays.

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