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January 2016
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About James

The first stage I ever stood on was in third grade. There amongst storytelling contest winners from other city schools in our district, I was a bit of an odd man out: while they were there to recite short, well known published works, I was chosen to be there because I had written, and illustrated, a story of my own. “The Devil’s Necklace” was the story of good triumphing over evil at the hands of a precocious third-grader who, if you let him, could convince you all the world’s problems were solvable with just one thing: chocolate milk.

It would be many years before I picked up the pen to write another story - college in fact - when I decided to do an independent study and write my very first screenplay my last semester. I was earning double-degrees in Psychology and Media Study (Film Interpretation) and felt writing a script would be a perfect marriage of the two. My professor, our department chair who had edited numerous books on the screenplays of Preston Sturges, was a bit skeptical but allowed me to proceed anyway. Yes, that precocious third-grader had turned into a precocious seventeen-grader (an extra year of college does that) who had a story burning inside him to tell. By semester's end, my professor’s skepticism had given way to full blown adoration - something I am truly grateful for as it gave me the encouragement to continue writing.

Flash-forward to today, a number of years later and a number of scripts under my belt which have collectively won two contests, been semi-finalists at Page Awards and earned a total of six strong considers from ScriptShark - six different scripts from five different readers, the most recent a first draft (I believe the notion first drafts have to be born via excretion come from people full of, well, excrement). While those are nice accolades, I'd be lying if I said I found any real satisfaction from those accomplishments - they're merely signposts along the journey that let me know I'm on the right path. If there's one important thing I've learned (among many), it's how fickle tastes are; what one person believes to be a work of art, another finds mediocre at best. The challenge is - and remains - finding the people who can champion your successes into even bigger ones.

I’ve also learned that chocolate milk can’t solve all the world’s problems, but somehow it’s lead me to where I am right now, writing a bio on Stage 32. In addition to writing screenplays, I enjoy sharing some of the knowledge I've acquired over the years from all those various stages in between on my own blog with hopes it might be helpful to others. You can find me there at https://thebarkbitesback.wordpress.com.

Remember, writing is merely sculpting with words on the page that leave impressions in the mind. Good luck and keep writing!

Awards

  • Top 10 finalist ScreenCraft Horror
    (2016)

  • Quarterfinalist Final Draft Big Break
    (2016)

  • Semi-finalist Page Awards (Drama)
    (2012)

  • 1st Place Thriller - Fade In Awards
    (2008)

  • Finalist Shriekfest
    (2008)

  • 1st Place Horror - Fade In Awards.
    (2007)

  • Top 5 finalist Screamfest
    (2007)

Education

  • SUNY University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)

  • SUNY University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)

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