Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jason Collins vs. The Conservative Media In The Form of The Adorable Ben Shapiro

29 year-old right wing blogger and Editor-at-Large of conservative megasite Breitbart.com, Ben Shapiro made headlines yesterday for mocking the breaking news that Jason Collins, a twelve-year NBA veteran and current center for the Washington Wizards was coming out, and would be the first openly gay athlete in American professional sports.

Who is Ben Shapiro?

Ben wrote a "best-selling" book titled BULLIES, in which he complains about the political left wing "bullying" those on the right to change their beliefs. I put "best-selling" in quotes because think tanks and organizations on both sides typically buy flame-throwing books in bulk in order to inflate the book's sales to enhance the appearance of wide-spread support for the book's inflammatory positions, then use the books as gifts, swag, bribes for event ticket-purchasers, etc.

In BULLIES he asserts that the left uses its godless, socialist, media-might to intimidate right wingers into silence, shame and other humiliating positions of subjugation, which is why real Americans must endure things like equal pay for women, gays in the military, a black president... Because they're shamed into accepting these politically correct false constructs of guilt-ridden middle class whites, not because there is, say, an inherent American interest in equality and shame in institutionalized misogyny and bigotry.

Anyway, this gentleman scholar has done so much living in his 29 years he not only understands the complex left-right, psycho-political dynamics of all political issues, he also understands what it's like to be gay in America. Not because he is gay- he's married TO A WOMAN, thank you- but because being gay is just another disability, like being an amputee, or cataracts sufferer. Or maybe it's like being some weird but charming ethnicity, like Eskimo [both sentiments retweeted by Ben Shapiro]. Either way, he gets it.

He also gets basketball. Just yesterday, when Collins came out in Sports Illustrated, Ben tweeted that he was a "bad player." Sure, Collins has lasted twice as long as the league average six years, a remarkable feat for any baller, but he's a bad player because he doesn't contribute many points or rebounds to the teams that, for some odd reason, keep signing him. Maybe they haven't checked in with Ben? He would enlighten them by stating Jason Collins must be a bad player because he hasn't been in Sports Illustrated before. Ben tweets that this should be the real story...

It's hard to tell if he's relying on his knowledge of professional team sports or his experience as a best-seller for this particular pitch. For whatever it's worth, Collins has been in SI over 20 times, but Ben doesn't read SI, so it doesn't count. He probably doesn't play team sports, either, so it's totally fine that he would be confused as to how someone with low minutes and low statistical contributions could be valuable to an NBA team yet would tweet as if he knew anything about sports.

Ben doesn't care that last year more gays were murdered because of their orientation than ever before (at least according to our records, which are incomplete, because, well, the Bens of the world have prevented us from keeping track of this sort of thing for a looong time).

Ben doesn't care that bullied gay teens sometimes see suicide as their only escape from their tormenters, after their pleas for help- if they're able and willing to plea for help- are ignored by parents, principals or other authority figures. I mean, don't get me wrong, Ben Shapiro HATES BULLIES, but it's only really cruel when the bullies are like, The Huffington Post and the victims are Ben, or, say, Ann Coulter.

Ben doesn't think Jason Collins is a hero because he didn't storm the beaches at Normandy, he's not a middling Republican congressional candidate, and he's not a mysoginist talk show host. Basically if Ben really, really likes you, you're a hero (but, guys, seriously, he has to like, really like you).

Ben doesn't think you're a hero unless you take a risk, because, "...This is not 1997 with Ellen. Bravery requires risk." Guys, it's no longer a risk to be openly gay in ALL OF AMERICA! Ben, of course, is assuming all of America is like... let's see, where does Ben live... Los Angeles. Well. Geez, Ben, LA? Really? Most of America is about 20 years behind LA in progressive issues. But what do I know. I'm not Ben Shapiro, 29 year-old professional conservative blogger and the real victim of bullying... by, like, MSNBC or something.

If there's one thing Ben does know, it's that suggesting Jason Collins isn't the biggest deal in the world is sure to get you bullied by the left wing media cabal. Poor Ben, once again a victim of the socialist, PC media police. I smell another "best-seller" in the works! Most of the people yelling at him on Twitter were angry because he stated outright that Jason Collins is not brave, courageous, heroic, or a good basketball player, but whatever, to Ben it felt like people were angry because he just didn't get caught up with all the backslapping. See, he's a cool guy. He reserves his praise for the real heroes, other pundits and middling wannabe congressmen.

The only problem, though... Ben is a fucking clueless gas bag.

He's jealous of the attention a gay, black liberal is getting for coming out, because it threatens the white male superiority he was promised at some point in his young life. Like most bigots, instead of facing his fears he's chosen to cry out as a victim of mistreatment, of abandonment, of progressive bullying and political correctness run amok.

It's difficult to tell what Ben is most clueless about.

Could it be the dangers that gay teens face at the hands of, in some cases, alpha males who have been either beaten or brainwashed into hating them? Possibly. It would explain why he's missed the significance of Jason Collins coming out in one of the most alpha arenas of all.

Could it be sports? Possibly. Ben is feeble, with small hands and soft skin. It's unlikely he's ever taken or delivered a hit, let alone twelve years of them in professional arenas around the world. I would be surprised if he even follows sports, as sports coverage tends to be plagued by talk of "heroic" acts by (often) minorities- overcoming obstacles, dedicating oneself to striving for greatness against all odds, giving back to their communities and those less fortunate, inspiring young people to be their best selves. Gross. Right, Ben? I know. Wake me up when they storm Normandy, host a right wing talk show or write for a big blog.

Could it be his own lack cluelessness? Certainly. He's only 29. He's dedicated his short life to conservatism, which means from childhood he's been taught to look backwards and never forwards. It's hard to imagine someone who is raised to believe that the good old days were actually good old days would have any concept of what life for young gays, or gay minorities can be like in alpha America.

Could it be the concept of bullying? Ben sees himself and his fellow Real Americans on the right as victims of bullying, because media outlets- and a majority of Americans- don't let them get away with institutionalized misogyny, bigotry, racism. Though it's a far cry from being murdered for your personal sexual orientation, Ben believes he and, say, Glenn Beck deserve more praise than Jason Collins, for they are fighting the good fight to return America to a time when... Well, I'd love to know when. Before gays could serve openly in our military? Earlier? Before integration? Before voting rights for women? Ben? When were those good old days?

Yes, it's hard to tell what Ben is most clueless about. But one thing is for certain: the child is fucking clueless.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Top Five Reasons to Give Your Soundtrack Away for Free

I wrote an article about my experience giving away the soundtrack to my first indie feature film, The Graduates, for free. Though it launched on the uber-popular blog NoFilmSchool.com it was picked up pretty quickly by TribecaFilm.com, which is always an honor.

I loved sharing and distributing this particular film marketing idea, because it singlehandedly propelled my film to a new level of visibility, helping it become a cult hit. Take a look at the article, The Top Five Reasons to Give Your Soundtrack Away, here: TribecaFilm.com, and let me know what you think.
Fast forward three months to the summer of 2009. THE GRADUATES had been rejected by every distributor in the continental United States. We were getting rejection letters from distributors we hadn’t even submitted to. We got the message. I guess an award-winning indie comedy with stellar reviews, awards from prestigious festivals, an active and motivated team as a marketing partner and an active online following built-in was not enticing enough, I don’t know. But I’m not bitter. I’M NOT BITTER.

We knew the film had an audience, but we had no money to reach them. As we brainstormed, Cuban’s article kept resurfacing, haunting me. Eventually I pulled the trigger and put the soundtrack on our website. What followed was sort of an indie film miracle.

Continue reading The Top Five Reasons to Give Your Soundtrack Away, here: TribecaFilm.com

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What Your Kindle Cover Says About You (Infographic)


Just in case you can't pull up the image on your mobile device, here's the text version!

The Timbuk2 Messenger Bag says, “Hey world, I’m a busy metropolitan guy, but I’m not too busy to read. But I’m busy. Not too busy to stay organized- look, I got a snack, some water, and a bike lock, I’m prepared for ANYTHING!”

”But, still. BUSY. You’re gonna need to walk a little faster to keep up- I’m not your avergae reader with some flat, rinky-dink kindle cover, okay? Because the avergae kindle cover would not provide nearly enough room for my water, bike lock and snack (apple).”

“Can I hang the keys to my bike lock and safe (don’t ask) from the average Kindle cover? NO. I’ve tried. It’s a disaster. Where would my sunglasses go on a traditional Kindle Cover? Draped over the front like it’s a shirt collar? Gross. What am I, a farmer? No. I already told you, I’m a BUSY metro- politan man. And I need a Kindle bag that can keep up.”


The his and hers Belkin Pleated Kindle Sleeve are adorable... individually. How you integrate these into your relationship is up to you, but “his and hers” anything is a dangerous game, friend.

I offer a simple warning: (pictures of idiots)


The Eco-nique Hemp Case says, “I’m not afriad to get my hands dirty, to till the soil, commune with nature. It also says I’m not afraid of hemp, the most resilient and dynamic plant in the world, which is actually not marijuana, man, it’s basically completely different, okay? Did you know until 1954 farmers had to grow hemp? BY LAW. For food, fuel, textiles... I’m just saying, bro, it’s a miracle plant, and, and, and...

”I digress. As the great Voltaire once wrote, “cultivate your garden.” Commune with the earth, even while reading digital e-books. Sure, Voltaire probably wasn’t envisioning a Kindle reader cover, but can you prove that? Can you prove it, man? It’s from the EARTH. And we just ignore it? Or import if from the Chinese? Bro, what are we thinking? We could grow it here, TOMORROW, and, and, and...”


The Periscope Flip Cover is the Lincoln Town Car of Kindle covers. Meaning, old people drive it. Or, in this case, cover their kindle with it.

That’s not a knock- it’s sturdy, smooth, well lit, secure... You know how people say, “This isn’t your grandfather’s so-and-so”? Well, this is your grandfather’s so-and-so, and he’s having a pleasant experience.

By the way, if a product description includes the phrase “stylish and functional,” the product you’re looking at is solely functional.


The CathyKDesigns handmade Kindle covers say, “I’m not afraid to carry around a swatch of wallpaper from the early 70’s, and read from it. In fact, it matches this macrame purse I picked up at the thrift store (the one I always wear with the leggings from H&M, yeah, with the horizontal stripes).

Yes, I went to art school, why? What’s that supposed to mean? Vintage is in, okay? Vintage will ALWAYS be in, okay? That’s why they call it “vintage” and not “old.”

“Hey, look, just because you’re a 9 to 5 coporate drone doesn’t mean I have to be. Yes, I’m a barista for a very famous coffee company from Seattle, but it’s not like I own the company. Whatever. Starbuckcs was a mom-and-pop store once, too, okay?

Where are you going? Take this flyer first, we’re really good. We’re like The Pixies meets Phillip Glass. We go on at 1:00 am, okay? You’ll come?”


The leather and Moleskine Kindle covers scream with quiet dignity, silently commanding onlookers to both admire the classic, understated design while politely suggesting they look away quickly, as you are not one who wishes to be ogled, like some attention whore with a floral-print Etsy cover.

You’re welcome to admire from a distance, of course. Out of respect for the craftsmanship and the fine leather or moleskine. What’s that? It makes me look like a writer? Thank you! I mean, that’s not why I bought it. I am a writer, but it’s not like I have to announce it to the whole world.

Pardon me, for just a second, will you? I’m going to make a note in the moleskine cover- yes, it comes with a moleskine notepad inside. No, I don’t think that’s cliché at all! It’s helpful, for moments like... well, perhaps it’s a tad cliché (he smiles).

What’s the note about? Nothing. Just a little trifle. If you must know, I’ve just had an idea for a short story about a reclusive writer who happens to take his moleskine-covered e-reader on the train one day where a beautiful woman is intrigued by his understated but classic taste in e-reader covers, and the two strike up a conversation and quickly fall madly in love, and...

Author’s note: at this point she either runs away or blushes, but I don’t think it matters which, because you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and you went for it, all because of your classic but understated e-reader cover!


The Verso Kindle Antique says “Game of Thrones. I’m reading Game of Thrones.”

This is the Kindle cover you buy when you have a dragon fetish, or a George R.R. Martin poster in your room.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that- I just started A Dance With Dragons, though I do not have a George R.R. Martin poster in my room. It’s in my study, where he silently judges me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cool Promo Ideas for Authors #2: Sell Your Book on Facebook

Today I'm going to show you how to sell your book directly from your Facebook fan page!

How to add a shopping cart to your Facebook Fan Page:

I use the Ecwid app to easily install a store and shopping cart on my Facebook pages. After creating the backend (upload images, add a description, set pricing and social media interaction controls), adding the app to your fan page is super-simple. Watch the video tutorial to find out how.

Why is the Ecwid app a game-changer?

You're a self-published author. You've made your book available everywhere books are sold online- Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, iTunes for iPhone and iPad- and now you're desperately trying to get your Facebook friends and fans to leave Facebook in order to buy your masterpiece.

The problem is, nobody wants to leave Facebook. In fact, Facebook doesn't want you to leave Facebook, and they're rapidly changing their mega-site to keep you there longer.

One of the most useful ways they're doing this is by allowing brands (that means YOU) to integrate stores and shopping carts to Facebook Fan pages. So, as soon as you make a new fan, you can sell them your book, instantly.

How Can I Sell My Book Directly to My Fans?

If you have a store and shopping cart integrated into your fan page, you can sell to your fans without asking them to leave their desired social media experience.

This is a game-changer for independent artists, because it means every penny spent on building Facebook fans is now driving them to a store, and not a blog!

My company handles Facebook and YouTube marketing campaigns for films, filmmakers and authors, and one of the greatest advances we've seen in liberating artists is the integration of the store/shopping cart.

It's hard to overstate the value of this app, so I urge you to watch the video, integrate a store and shopping cart into your Facebook fan page, and tell your fans to check it out.

Over the next five years, people are going to grow accustomed to shopping on Facebook just as we do on Amazon. By adding a store/cart now, you're ahead of the curve.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Gay Bomb, Explained

Before it was a book, the Gay Bomb was just a twinkle in some military scientist's eye...

In 1997 the United States military floated a proposal to create an aphrodisiac bomb that would arouse the enemy to the point of distraction, leaving them vulnerable to American offenses. A few news outlets covered the story when the existence of the proposal was discovered by a FoIA request from the Sunshine Project.

However, the story only gained traction in internet forums, in passing moments between friends, and in the mind of filmmaker Ryan Gielen. Yes, I am Ryan Gielen, and I am writing about myself in the third person. Why? Because I'm self-publishing and marketing my own book, and I'd prefer not to pretend that I have a well-paid staff of hungry young interns creating a tidal wave of social media propelling my book into the pop culture canon (third person resuming now).

Gielen has compiled every video of the "gay bomb" story into one place, so you can see the chuckling, dismissive reaction that the news was greeted with. For Gielen, however, the proposal sparked the idea for Love Bomb and the Pink Platoon, a dark satire of the nation's fear of gays, told through the viewpoint of an aging, tired general who thought he had the world all figured out.

Check out the links below to buy the book.

Order the Paperback
Buy for Nook
Buy for Kindle
Buy for iPad/iPhone
Buy for Sony Reader
Buy the PDF

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Best Booze for INDIE Bestsellers!

By popular demand! Best Books for INDIE Bestsellers!

For those who can't view on mobile devices, here is the text version!

Best Booze for Best Sellers, by Someone Who Has Only Read a Few of Them!

Saving Rachel (Donovan Creed)
by John Locke
Ex-Cia assassin Donovan Creed races to save… wait for it... Rachel.
2.5 oz Gin
0.25 oz Dry Vermouth
1 Green Olive
(Locke was the first self-published author to sell a million ebooks! With that kind of bread you can afford to indulge in a fine traditional martini with Donovan Creed)

How I Became a Famous Novelist
by Steve Hely
A novel about a novelist writing novels.
Whiskey, rocks
(Tortured writers drink Whiskey… mixed with a dash of tears and a couple ounces of regret. Just kidding! Hely's book is a lot less bleak!)

by Curt Finch
A cheeky British adventure involving well-tailored suits chasing international terrorists.
Pink Panther
2 shots Vodka
6 oz Pink Lemonade Mix
Mix and pour over chipped ice
(Written with cinematic influences, and reviews include: "a truly memorable debut!" Funny, globetrotting journalists with British accents? I'm in.)

Love Bomb and the Pink Platoon
by Ryan Gielen
A military experiment goes horribly wrong and turns an entire platoon gay.
Veuve Clicquot Champagne
Chill. Drink. Chill.
(Takes place at the start of the new millennium. What better way to ring in the new century than with some fabulous soldiers and bubbly! Reviews: "Great characters, clever, just too edgy." In other words, awesome.)

The Final Appearance of America's Favorite Girl Next Door
by Stephen Stark
Adventurous love story following a female standup comedian? Sold.
The Bradford
2 oz Gin
2 oz St. Germain
2 squeezes fresh lime
Muddled cucumber
1 splash soda
(Broke comedians can barely afford gin, but The Bradford is so good it can make the worst gin pop. Originall created at Good restaurant in NYC's West Village, by bartender… wait for it… Rob Bradford.)

The Final Appearance of America's Favorite Girl Next Door
by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortés
Exhausted parents curse at kids, and its cathartic
Blue Moon Beer
Chill, drink straight from the bottle
(Sweet and thick, citrus, with 5.4% alcohol by volume, guaranteed to be the sweetest knockout punch ever. Maybe slip a little into baby's bottle (my German grandmother's recipe from the old country).)

The Final Appearance of America's Favorite Girl Next Door
by Chris Culler
Devil Wears Prada meets Swimming With Sharks. Sex and the City (of Angels).
Anything in a flask
Fill flask, keep in bag, or under front seat
(If you really, really miss Carrie and… I have no idea what the rest of their names were… Have a Martini or whatever they drank. But, I guarantee you real assistants party way harder than that!)

Fifty Shades of Grey
by EL James
College girl falls for a hot per, gets tied up and enjoys it. This book is the scourge of the 'burbs!
Chateau Margaux 1995
1000 year old vintage
Hints of Blackberry
(This indie bestseller is spreading through the 'burbs like a case of sexual shingles. Gross! Supposedly the book is pretty hot, so why Chateau Margaux? If you're gonna indulge, freakin' indulge!)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Infographic: Best Booze for Bestsellers

Ever stared at your liquor cabinet and wondered how to rationalize making one of everything? Good! I thought I was the only one. This infographic should help- we've picked the perfect drink for any reading occasion!