"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser



The upcoming TV suspense series THE PATIENT...and Me!

The new Hulu suspense series, THE PATIENT, is from the creative team behind THE AMERICANS. This limited series premieres on August 30th and deals with a therapist (played by Steve Carell) who's held hostage by a serial killer desperate to be cured of his homicidal urges.

My job on the series was actually technical advisor, vetting the ten scripts for clinical accuracy, how the therapist might react in this bizarre situation, etc. Nevertheless, the show runners were kind enough to give me the title of Consulting Producer.

Thanks! --Dennis Palumbo

To Jeddo with Love - Compelling tribute to her grandfather from a precocious young Lebanese filmmaker!

 Yara Melki's tribute to her grandfather from NYU Film School (TISCH).

 Yara Melki's tribute to her grandfather from NYU Film School (TISCH).

15 Screenwriting Lessons People Learn TOO LATE

In this Film Courage video series, screenwriters share their thoughts on screenwriting lessons most people learn TOO LATE.

1) 0:06 - Work On New Projects

2) 4:24 - What No One Else Can Create 3) 5:44 - Six Scripts 4) 11:08 - Script Comparison 5) 12:30 - Nothing In Return 6) 15:16 - Story or Character 7) 15:56 - Name Of The Game 8) 18:55 - The Great Weakness 9) 21:03 - I’ll Take A Look At It 10 27:04 - How To Build Empathy 11) 31:05 - A Participatory Experience 12) 35:35 - Writer’s Mindset 13) 41:46 - Not Good Enough 14) 47:43 - Value Of An Idea 15) 50:40 - Story Structure Myth Bonus) 56:10 - Never Forget This One


BUY THE BOOK - HOW TO QUIT YOUR DAY JOB AND LIVE OUT YOUR DREAMS: Do What You Love for Money - https://amzn.to/2LkduUj

BUY THE BOOK - SELL YOUR STORY TO HOLLYWOOD: Writer’s Pocket Guide To The Business Of Show Business - https://amzn.to/2JlWBaC

BUY THE BOOK - WRITING TREATMENTS THAT SELL:  How To Create And Market Your Story Ideas To The Motion Picture and TV Industry - https://amzn.to/2Hakwcl

Late Night Health Radio on Fathers & Their Sons with Ken Atchity


Story Merchant” Ken Atchity, head of Story Merchant Books and Atchity Productions, has more than 40 years of experience in the publishing world, and over 20 years in entertainment.

“At the prompting of a marketing friend, I was advised to title this book, My Intensely Madcap, Lebanese/Cajun, Jesuit-Schizoid, Terminally Narcissistic, Food-Focused, East Coast/West Coast, Georgetown/Yale, Career-Changing, Cross-Dressing, Runaway Catholic Italophile, Paradoxically Dramatic, Linguistically Neurotic, Hollywood Academic, ADD-Overcompensating, Niche-Abhorring, Jocoserious Obit. But when my designer pointed out that title wouldn’t fit on the spine, much less on any public display list, I changed my mind. Again! The story of my life. Which this is at least the first volume of. I hope it makes you laugh, spares you some of my grief, and leads you to insist on telling your story to anyone who will listen,” shares prolific story merchant Ken Atchity with Late Night Health’s Mark Alyn about his MY OBIT: Daddy Holding Me, Volume 1, published by Story Merchant Books, $19.95 softcover.

Prolific story merchant Ken Atchity is a writer, editor, professor, producer, literary manager who’s spent his life in the world of stories. He’s written over 20 books, produced more than 30 films for television and theater, and made hundreds of Hollywood and traditional publishing deals for his writer clients – including nearly 20 New York Times bestsellers.

His films, include: The Meg (Jason Statham, Warner Bros—over $500 million worldwide!), Angels in the Snow (Kristy Swanson, UP! Channel), Erased (Aaron Eckhart; Informant), Hysteria (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy; Informant), The Lost Valentine (Betty White, Hallmark Hall of Fame), the Emmy-nominated The Kennedy Detail documentary (Discovery), Gospel Hill (Danny Glover; Fox), The Madam’s Family (Ellen Burstyn, CBS), Joe Somebody (Tim Allen; Fox), Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie: Fox), Shadow of Obsession (Veronica Hammel, NBC), The Amityville Horror (NBC), and the Shades of Love movies for Cinemax-Warner Brothers International.

Learn more at https:///www.thestorymerchant.com.

Listen to Ken and Mark here: https://www.latenighthealth.com/fathers-their-sons/

What They're Saying About Ken Atchity's My Obit: Daddy Holding Me


Join Author Alan Gibson at the Writers Conference Manuscript to Market at Shepherd University September 9 & 10!


A note from Alan Gibson

As founder and director of the Writers Conference at Shepherd University, I'm so excited to announce a second Writers Conference. Our mission continues to be to support, encourage, and empower WRITERS AT ANY STAGE in the process of writing, publishing, and selling their books.

To implement these big ideas with practical strategies and insider advice, we bring internationally celebrated authors and experts to speak and network throughout the conference.

Please share this with anyone you think might benefit.



12 Hints for Rekindling Your Creative Spark

by Dr. Ken Atchity
Reprinted from Writer's Digest

Sometimes the struggle to publish can drain even the strongest creative dynamo. Here's how to recharge your creativity, to keep your career going...and going...and going...

When you began your struggle to establish a writing career, you were no doubt highly motivated. The joy of challenge, the lure of creativity, lured you into your dream.

But now you've struggled for so long that you may not be feeling that same joy. You may not be feeling it at all. What once seemed so promising now seems like folly at best, madness at worst.

What's happened? You've allowed the struggle to overpower the hope and positive energy you began with. You've forgotten that the creative process follows a natural cycle, from concentration to abandonment. The cycle begins when motivation leads to work; which, when not punctuated with appropriate rest periods, leads naturally to exhaustion; which leads to frustration; then to depression; then, ideally to reassessment and renewal. If you're pursuing a "creative" career, the process of keeping yourself motivated, like the challenge, is endless.

So what do you do when you're not feeling motivated? Try the following:

Remotivation Rule #1: Keep moving forward despite your moods. You cannot allow achievement to depend on mood. If you always must be in a good mood to accomplish your work, then it's probably time to consult a therapist. You haven't grown up. Grown-ups have to get the job done no matter what mood they're in. Imagine a firefighter throwing down the hose because he's no longer in the mood, or a super Bowl game dependent on a quarterback's moods, or an Olympic gold medal contender announcing she's not in the mood to skate in the finals. Edmund Burke said, "Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair."

If Rule #1 fails because the meeting with your agent went badly, or because you stared at a blank computer screen for an entire week, you apply...

Rule #2: When things get tough, take a vacation. But do so in a carefully limited way. Say, "I need three days off." At the end of three days, you're likely to feel much better. If not, try a few more days off: "I need another week away from this project." Never decide to abandon your project when you're tired. Things always look worse when you're tired. Remember that you're taking a vacation only from your work, not from your commitment to the work.

The moment you're officially on vacation, allow this to percolate in your mind:

Rule #3: The difficulty you are experiencing is normal -- and necessary. Writing is the highest expression of human creative potential. So how could it be easy? If it were easy, everybody would be doing it (instead of just talking about doing it). Sometimes writers have a hard time with the stress simply because they haven't realized their stress is necessary. It's not simply par for the course; it is the course. I once spoke on a panel with the late Louis L'Amour. he had just published his 93rd novel, and said to the audience that night, "I feel I'm finally beginning to master my craft." Afterward, one writer told me she was quite discouraged by L'Amour's statement. "discouraged?" I said. "You should be elated! What that tells you is that no matter how long you live or how many books you write, you'll always feel challenged by this endlessly challenging craft."

What better way is there to live than with the assurance that your work will provide you with endless discipline and demands for excellence? Doesn't it make more sense to congratulate yourself for having the courage to write than to berate yourself because you haven't "succeeded"? If you're making progress, you're succeeding. Now you understand what St. Catherine of Siena meant when she said, "All the way to heaven is heaven."

Rule #4: Don't doubt yourself. Identify the negative influences that have caused your resolve to falter. Maybe a well-meaning relative made a remark about how painful it is to see you wasting your life pursuing a dream of being a writer. Maybe the doubting Thomas is your own dark angel -- the little voice inside that tells you to forget about a writing career.

Either way, it's time to refurbish your self-confidence. You may have to reevaluate the amount of time you're putting into your writing, making adjustments that will help you feel more comfortable about the effort you are putting into your writing career. You may also have to remind yourself that what other people say can't affect you unless you allow it to. One way or the other, it's time to talk to yourself, asking the various parts of your mind, "What's going on in there?"

Lack of self-confidence is for all of us the greatest enemy. No matter how successful you become, you'll see -- it never goes away, but the successful person has managed to move forward despite his or her lack of self-confidence. Self-confidence increases when you continue to act (in this case, write) with no regard for your insecurities.

Rule #5: Face your fear, and make it your ally. According to popular anthropological accounts of the Malaysian Senoi tribe, a child dreaming of being chased by a monster would be told that the monster was, instead, his friend and that he should turn to face the monster the next time he's chased in his dream. We all know by heart that crises, when confronted directly, provide opportunity as well as danger. The first step is to acknowledge and face the fear, remembering David Viscott's observation (from his book Risking): "If you have no anxiety, the risk you face is probably not worthy of you. Only risks you have outgrown don't frighten you."

When a client or student tells me he's filled with anxiety, I assure him that not only is it a good -- and normal -- sign that he's afraid, but that he should try to be more afraid. The writing flourishes when you face your fear, owning it as yours. If you dare to turn the doorknob behind which the pain lurks, your fear can become a positive force. The hero's fear becomes a powerful ally, making his entire being alert and engaged.

Rule #6: Associate with positive people, and stop associating with negative people. Nothing is more helpful than a positive support group, and nothing more damaging than constant negative reinforcement from "friends" and family. Make whatever adjustments are necessary to reduce or eliminate your contact with the naysayers.

The positive people in your life are the hero's allies who've encouraged you to pursue your dream no matter what. They are your true "saints," inspiring you to go on living to the utmost of your ability. The philosopher-poet Johan Wolfgang von Goethe said, "If you treat people the way they are, you make them worse. If you treat them the way they ought to be, you make them capable of becoming what they ought to be." The positive people are those who treat you the way you have imagined yourself to be, at your best. Which leads us to...

Rule#7: Take responsibility. When one of my artist clients told me, "I never get personally involved in my own affairs," I realized how often creative people try to remain detached from their own commitment -- a defense mechanism with all-too-limited effectiveness.

I call this "magic thinking": "If I'm real good, work hard, be patient, the world will honor me eventually, and I've been good, worked hard, so now I'm waiting for the world to honor me." The world hardly ever works this way. Most successful people have struggled long and hard, and endured through multiple failures before achieving their success.

Rule #8: Take charge of your own thinking. You can control your own mind better than you may believe right now. Not all the time, but as you practice, more and more of the time. When you think, "I am succeeding at being my best self," you are succeeding. Motivational experts agree that you must see your success, be able to envision it internally, before you can experience it in your outer life. It helps to remember that you can't fail at being you; you're the only one, in fact, who can do that -- which means that everything you do is important, even being depressed!

Rule #9: Let go of the wrong kind of control. You can only do what you can do, and then you'll have to let fate take over. Control what you can do; don't try to control the rest. Even the most successful people can't control everything -- so why are you upset about things you can't control? The things you can control include work you can do in the next hour, or today, and calls and letters that will help you market your work.

Rule #10: Try to figure out what you really want -- and start living as though you already have it. Function follows form. If you commit yourself to the form of your optimal lifestyle, it will follow in function, but function follows only when your commitment is truly in place. Important to your remotivation agenda is reaffirming your commitment to writing. I call this fine-tuning. Your career will profit from fine-tuning at every stage.

Be careful what you wish for, though, or you're likely to get it. A screenwriting client called to tell me that she'd gotten her wish: She'd been hired by the staff of a successful series. But she'd forgotten to wish for a successful, intelligent series. now she was paying for her oversight with ten-hour-a-day tedium.

You've gotten past fear and returned to action and concentrated on the details of your work. Now, it's time to conclude your remotivation vacation with:

Rule #11: Congratulate yourself and celebrate! "Let's drink a toast to folly and to dreams," writes Paul-Loup Sulitzer in his novel The Green King, "because they are the only reasonable things."

Recognize your courage. After all, you've freely decided to take this unsafe road; you will never be choked with the tears of regret shed only by those who lament "the road not taken." the creative path, as we know by heart, is the difficult path, the path of anxiety and despair and failure, as well as of challenge and elation and triumph. You deserve self-respect for the courage of your commitment (even when it doesn't feel like courage to you at all). You can't control receiving respect from others; you can control receiving it from yourself. But if all else fails, there's...

Rule #12: Try just "coasting" for a few days. Focus on the present rather than on the future. "If worse comes to worse," an actress friend told me once, "I'm happy now." It's hard for creative people, who probably work alone without regular validation from the world, to keep from living in the future. It's hard not to do this. But you can give yourself the gift of the present, when the present is actually satisfactory on most levels required for life: enough to eat, a place to live, friends and family. Don't deprive yourself of life's simple pleasures. Meditation helps. Exercise helps -- especially long walks to new places. Vacations help. These breaks in routine, by taking you "out of yourself" temporarily, bring you into contact with the present, allowing you simply to be here now. Most of the time, when this happens, you'll be able to regain your perspective.

James Pierre’s Novel GAMBINO: THE RISE Signed as Italian Film with George Gallo Directing

LOS ANGELES, CA—Story Merchant Books reports that an Italian film based on James Pierre’s Gambino: The Rise was announced by veteran producer Jules Nasso at the Cannes Film Festival. The film will be directed by George Gallo (Bad Boys, The Comeback Trail) who is scripting it with two-time Oscar winner Nick Vallelonga (Green Book).

Pierre’s novel dramatizes the history of the Cosa Nostra, beginning with its roots in Italy and the organizing role played by Carlo Gambino, its boss from 1957 until his death in bed in 1976 in his Long Island home. Gambino was reputed to be the inspiration for Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. In the novel, Gambino carries a copy of Nicolo Machiavelli’s The Prince with him on the boat from Italy.

Story Merchant/Atchity Productions Ken Atchity, who introduced the book to Nasso, will serve as executive producer.

Vallelonga, speaking in Cannes, said that the approach he and Gallo are taking is not just that of a typical mob movie: “We’ve seen a lot of that. This is Shakespearean.” “Think Once Upon a Time in America,” said Nasso, whose start in the film business was as assistant to Sergio Leone. New York in the ‘50s and ‘70s will be reconstructed in Rome’s Cinecittà studios.

James commented: “What is every writer’s dream—to see their book turned into a movie validates the many years of research—and long hours in front of my keyboard—that went into bringing Gambino and his world to life. I listened to the characters, and they talked to me.”

Author James Pierre has also published How Did Warren Buffet Succeed, and is nearly finished with Gambino: The Triumph, his sequel to the Gambino saga. He was born and raised in Brooklyn where he witnessed as a teenager a Mafia hit that led him to a lifetime fascination with the Gambino family.

According to Variety, “the film is being produced by Nasso Productions (a Nasso-Zheng company) and fully financed by Edward Zeng and former Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, with international sales handled by Minerva Pictures.”

Gambino: The Rise by James Pierre is available on Amazon


Congratulations to Story Merchant's Yasmine Isil - Winner of the Best Experimental Film in Los Angeles Shorts Festival


Directed By @elication
Written & Produced by Yasemin Isıl & Azize Erim
Line Producer @ozozmens
Director of Photography: @alexismendezfilms
Production Designer: @jdizo
Music By: @serkan_celikoz
Paint Artist @fatal.attraction
Editor: @rjeanpierre
Assistant Editor @ricardoperezmedia

Post Sound Mixer: Michael Archacki
VFX Intro: @maxcoltt
1st AC: @theeprodigy
Gaffer: Jeremy Guico
Key Grip: @doomdoer
G&E Swing: @cameronhinojos
Art Director: Brandon Bill Allen
Art Assistant : @eyerenuh
Production Sound Mixer: @80884
Boom Operator: Nate Ipanag
Production Coordinator: @souqilaith
Production Assistant: @brody.bogert_
Site Representative: @paul_rush_maine
Special thanks to our Executive Producer @storymerchant @ken_atchity and @samsskelton

Hysteria - Streaming on Hulu

HYSTERIA, a mischievously inspired romantic comedy set in the late 19th century, is based on the surprising truth of how Mortimer Granville came up with the world's first electromechanical vibrator in the name of medical science.