Mental Illness In Movies: An Exploration into the Dark Side Hollywood Doesn’t Show You

We are not as open about mental illnesses as we are about broken legs. If we were, can you imagine how much more understanding there would be? People often forget that the brain is a part of the physical body; suffering from a mental illness—whether temporary or chronic—should be as normal to the outside observer, or family member, or employer, as the common cold. The severity differs, but the stigma—or lack thereof—should not. In order to empathize with the mentally ill, we need to have a better understanding of what they’re suffering from, and that understanding requires a proactive effort on everyone else’s part.

Bringing an Indie Film into the World

No Alternative is a personal film that, these days, is near impossible to get made in Hollywood. I’ve written a great deal about how the decline of the middle space of filmmaking has essentially mirrored the decline of the middle class in this country—the chasm between the one percent of filmmaking—tent-pole blockbusters—and the ninety-nine percent—indie films, which […]

The Eulogy of Justice Thomas A. Dickerson

In the latter half of my life thus far, I’ve become somewhat of an expert at writing eulogies. While part of me would like to boast that I’ve become quite good at it, I wish the opportunities to practice such a skill were fewer and farther between. Over the years, I had thought numerous times […]

The Dreamachine

My latest novel, “The Dreamachine,” has hit bookshelves. I’ve long been fascinated with the device the book is named after. It is, indeed, a real device with a storied history—it has roots in the Beat Generation, and in a latter generation, some claim it was responsible for Kurt Cobain’s death. One can build a Dreamachine […]

Perfect Prisons

It has been four years since my sister died. The trauma begins to bubble up in mid to late June, throughout which I relive the last few days of her life—the days locked inside a coma having endured irreparable brain damage—and continues to simmer well past the fourth of July. The yearly explosions in the […]

NO ALTERNATIVE: Dances With Films

I am proud to announce that “No Alternative” will have its World Premiere as the OPENING NIGHT FILM at the 2018 Dances With Films Film Festival in Hollywood! Dances With Films is perhaps the best example of an “independent” film festival, in the truest sense of the word, that stands out amidst a wealth of […]

The Court of Public Opinion: the Art vs. the Artist

Fifteen years ago, a colleague recommended I apply for a position as personal assistant to a high-powered movie executive. These types of positions are typically filled through word-of-mouth and individual referrals—this is a small, highly intense and demanding business, that necessitates trust and professional discretion. While at first I was excited, as I was an […]

NO ALTERNATIVE: Project Semicolon

The issue of mental illness must be destigmatized. This is what compelled me to make “No Alternative” into a movie. My sister, Briana, was a victim of mental illness, and she fought against her illness with aplomb. She fought against it through her art—both painting and music. This battle in which she waged is something I […]

Life and Death… and Life

This annual essay begins with this word and these numbers: Briana.07.01.2017. This is the designation I used to label the file of this document. Each time I attribute another year to my sister’s name, I wish it could somehow bump the one etched on her gravestone. That way I might have a few more days left with […]

Project Semicolon: R.I.P. Amy Bleuel

Drug addiction, mental illness, and suicidal behavior—which is often a result of one of the two aforementioned issues—are among a handful of problems that our culture has traditionally viewed as moral failings, rather than from physiological disorders. While some progress has been made in this realm, it has not been nearly enough to effect substantive […]

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