Open Mouth, Insert Cash

Pulitzer material.
Pulitzer material.

When I’m not mogulizing – and if it’s not a word it should be – I’m talking about it.

“Mogulizing” is the notion of both “becoming as well as being a mogul as in ‘media mogul.’” Currently, I’m on the “becoming” side, which is just like the “being” side but with C-O-M jammed in the middle. I’m not sure if this has a secret meaning that would-be moguls are meant to decipher on our way to total “moguldom,” the enlightened state of the mogul at which point one is ready to instruct others in the art of mogulizing.

Admittedly, I’ve done this prematurely on a few occasions. When speaking to an English class at San Francisco’s Balboa High School a few years back, I was asked where I attended journalism school and admitted that I hadn’t, but that “I’ve seen ‘Fletch’ a few dozen times.” Since the flick was off their cultural radar by about 15 years, I was compelled to explain its plot and related trivia (did you know Chevy Chase beat Mick Jagger for the title role?). Suffice it to say, I was not invited back. At the Willamette Writers Conference a couple of years back, I presented an ingenious little talk titled “From the Byline to the Brand Name,” which permitted me no less than an hour and a half to discuss my own tribulations going from zero to 35 whilst making a living stringing words together in a manner that suggests meaning.

During the Q&A, however, lightheaded from gazing at my own navel so long, I suggested that aspiring writers might be better served actually writing rather than attending conferences.

Once this reached the conference organizers, of course, the ink mysteriously ran dry on my invitation to return. I conceded I was wrong on at least one point – walking the length of an Airport Sheraton parking lot is a fine way for writers to get some much-needed sunlight.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke to the Northern California Screenwriters Group. Overcome by my online OCD, I posted this fact on Facebook and promptly received the replies, “Thank God. They need it,” from a studio exec pal in LA; “Yeah, please tell them I said ‘You’re welcome for standing on your picket line with you, now please make Apatow stop,’” from a journo friend and colleague in San Francisco, and simply “Ha!” from her buddy.

Of course, I shared these comments with my audience as a sort of rallying cry for those embarking on screenwriting careers 500 miles from the action (hey, there are worse ways to start a career in the biz, trust me). I’m pleased to say, my chat resulted in an invitation to speak at a forthcoming Napa screenwriters expo. Needless to say, I will not invite writers to write instead of attending, convinced as I am that in the very least they need to come out and see me, right?

Come 4 p.m., Tuesday, June 9, I’m one of three guest speakers appearing at La Muse, Vins et Fromages at the Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club, 574 First St. E., Sonoma. I’m one of three guest speakers presenting in my capacity as Sonoma County’s Lifestyle Ambassador (which is to say, “Sonoma brand advocate and branded entertainment specialist,” though it sounds equally meaningless). Ned Hill, of La Prenda Vineyards Management, Inc., and social media promotions director, Shan Ray, are also presenting.

Somehow, I’m billed last, just above the cheese course (provided by The Epicurean Connection), which I attributed to being a late addition – perhaps another mogul dropped out.

Fact is, I’m particularly good in a pinch, when expectations are low and comic relief is necessary, if unintended. Spoiler alert, I’m going to reveal the plot of “Fletch Lives.”