About

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The first stage Jim ever stood on was in third grade. There, amongst storytelling contest winners from other city schools in his district, he was, as usual, a bit of an odd man out: while everyone else was there to recite short, well known published works, he was chosen to be there because of what he had written and illustrated. 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.  The main character was, in hindsight, an awful lot like Jim who, as a result of his efforts, landed a placement into the notable SEEK program and though he never outgrew his insatiable appetite for chocolate milk, it would be a number of years before he wrote another story.

While earning degrees with numerous honors in both Psychology and Media Study (concentration: Interpretation) at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Jim took up screenwriting as an independent study his last semester of college.   Over the years since, he’s honed his skills and become a multiple award-winning writer whose psychological mystery/thriller/horror scripts have won first place twice at the Fade In Awards as well as having been a top five finalist, top ten finalist, finalist and semi-finalists in numerous competitions including Page International, Austin Heart, Screamfest,  Shriekfest (link to interview) and ScreenCraft.

His first five screenplays – his fifth a first draft – have all received strong considerations from the now defunct (as of 9/06/16) ScriptShark, which for eighteen years was one of the industry’s premier professional screenplay/novel coverage services.

Comments on his projects from various services include:

Far End of the Black (Existential Horror/Suspense/Adventure, 1st draft comments) 

“Wow! What a terrific read this is. Reading this was a real pleasure, from both a technique/craft perspective as well as someone who loves a great story. As someone who reads a LOT, your script easily falls into the top 5% on the readability scale and this – in tandem with a great story – is what creates the desire for an overworked studio reader to executive to not only finish a script over the weekend, but rush in on Monday morning to sell her or his colleagues on it. And as writers that all we really have control over – writing a script that will do that. And you’ve done it. So congratulations.”–RR/ScriptShark

“A powerful set of cinematic sensibilities, a strong instinct for visual storytelling, and an impressive degree of emotionality, particularly for a film of this genre, define a story that, in this script, comes across as quite impressively professional in many regards.” –EK/ScriptShark.

“We all know that those overworked studio readers and execs aren’t looking for the genre-redefining script – they want something that’s tried and true. Ironically, because they read so many scripts, they want those ‘safe’ stories wrapped in a unique, fresh package. And that’s where your script has amazing potential.  Once again, congratulations on an original, entertaining and thought-provoking screenplay…There’s much here for writers to admire and to entice directors and talent.” — RR/ScriptShark

“One scene that stands out the most – and it should – is the finale. More times than not, the ending is a huge let down after we’ve invested so much energy and emotion in getting there. In this case, the author gives us the satisfying, heart filled ending we want.” –SM/ScriptShark

“Throughout the script, moments of genuine emotional anguish and profundity are delivered in a truly compelling fashion. Whether it is the eventual full explanation behind Faith’s decision regarding her and Max’s unborn child, Max’s eventual (spoiler alert!), or even more minor stylistic flairs such as the constant bad puns and jokes that Ephraim regales the others with, the script deserves credit for creating a sense of genuine emotional depth and growth within its cast. Genevieve adds a similarly compelling dynamic in some of the closing scenes, expressing her dedication to Max in what becomes a quite poignant fashion.” –EK/ScriptShark

Watering Holes (Farce based on “found footage,” 1st draft comments) 

“Witty, engaging, and distinctly creative, this script begins with a unique, offbeat idea, and proceeds to develop it with an overall execution that seems fresh, original, and thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. Crafting a voice that seems all its own, while at the same time piecing together a plotline that feels tonally reminiscent of a blend of movies such as Napoleon Dynamite, Lake Placid, and Anaconda, the script creates a finished product that seems quirky, funny, and distinctive to its final pages.” –EK/ScriptShark

“Throughout its unfolding execution, one area where this script immediately sets itself apart is in its overall sense of voice and vision. Offbeat, quirky, and unflinchingly faithful in its depiction of its equally somewhat kooky characters, the script establishes an atmosphere that seems all its own.” –EK/ScriptShark

The Fourth House (Psychological Horror/Ghost Story/Mystery)

The Others by way of Sixth Sense, [The Fourth House] is fortunate to possess both a terrific premise and a strong execution, delivering a uniquely-conceived story set in the familiar local of terror-laded New England, where for moviegoers, the past continues to haunt the present in a terrifying manner. Like the aforementioned films that have explored this milieu in the past, this has the potential to become a serious and seriously scary treatment, properly giving the genre a deserving new installment. Simply put, [The Fourth House] has the potential to be a major (and majorly successful) suspense film and with the right director, could be an amazing visual experience.” –RR/ScriptShark

“A compelling and creepy tale…(whose) elements lead to a truly dramatic and surprising climax.” –Script Pipeline

“This is a fantastic story…[with] all sorts of wonderful twists and turns. I was very impressed by this tale; the natural set-ups, the great connection between past and present crimes, the plants and payoffs. Very promising.” –MG/Truby’s Writers Studio

“Chilling in tone, and fairly creepy with its overall atmosphere, this script presents a classic horror ghost story with a fairly creative plot. Following the footsteps of movies like The Sixth Sense and The Others, it manages to create an interesting back story, while at the same time presenting plenty of chilling twists, turns, and reveals over the course of its execution.” –EK/ScriptShark

Gemini (Mystery/Suspense/Coming of Age)

“Intricate, complex, and intriguing from start to finish, this script presents a fascinating mystery with a number of twists that are all its own. The plot itself is nothing if not intricate. Across-the-board, it feels as though every line is used to its fullest capacity, conveying tiny details that become crucially important further down the line. The script does an impressive job of juggling all of its various facets, while at the same time maintaining a strong sense of character development and voices throughout the progression of the story. Ultimately, this script presents an unconventional mystery story replete with so many levels of complexity and depth that it truly sets itself into a category all its own.” –EK/ScriptShark.

“Its twisting plot is engaging…fairly gripping in that it quickly sets up not only a haunting series of murders, but perhaps more intriguingly, a more realistic spur-of-the-moment murder that implicates a group of the main characters.”
–MN/ScriptShark

“Benefiting from excellent character voices and a strong sense of visual imagery, it manages to tell a story that seems both intellectually fascinating and emotionally successful, thanks to the strength of its central cast. Inhabiting a genre that is not necessarily notorious for well-developed protagonists and emotional underpinnings, this script manages to provide a central cast of characters that is both vast in size and memorable in its dimension and depth.  Virtually every single character in the script has a powerful sense of unique perspective, individual texture, and solid motivation.” –EK/ScriptShark

“This script has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster, employ(ing) several powerful metaphors to deal with the ways in which the past comes back to life when it has not been dealt with.” –JC/ScriptShark

“The thrills, the twists and turns, even the ‘McGuffin’ – all work pretty well for me. The story moves well, has a great pace, an interesting character web, great small-town dialect, and of course, a great sprinkling of chills and gross-outs. It’s always nice to get a script across my desk that I actually WANT to read in one sitting, so I’d say all in all you’ve got a great story on your hands.” –MG/Truby’s Writers Studio

“From start to finish, it reads like a professional script intended and more or less ready, as it stands, for the big screen. From the atmosphere it cultivates to the abiding style with which it conveys its characters, settings, and story elements, it seems as if the script thoroughly knows precisely what it is doing.” –EK/ScriptShark

In Memoriam (Mystery/Suspense/Drama) 

“…a well-written script with a strong premise and terrific final twist that is both strong in narrative and emotional payoff.” –ScriptXpert.

“…a very well written script…A finely constructed and intricately plotted family drama packed with suspense and mystery. The script serves as proof that the writer is capable of delivering a complex, suspenseful screenplay with all the character nuances and atmospheric details that many directors and actors would love to sink their teeth into.”–LR/ScriptShark.

“The writer has created an ambitious character saga here, and certainly shows a good skill for intricate structuring and strong characterizations. The script is filled with powerful transitions uniting the past and the present, and the themes are deeply felt throughout.” –JC/ScriptShark

“Tonally similar to movies like Frailty, this script presents a plot that feels as if it has been carefully crafted and quite gratifyingly polished. Indeed, it is in the details where it seems as though this script truly shines. From start to finish, it feels like every tiny nuance and planted plot thread is handily paid off by the conclusion, right down to the smallest and most seemingly-trivial elements. As a result, the series of twists and reveals that come about toward the end of the second act and over the course of the third act feel that much more gratifying and rewarding.” –EK/ScriptShark

“Another reason for the script’s strength in the revelations it creates in its story is the sheer number of them, and the ways in which they are tightly wound around one another. This type of pacing and modulation – as well as this degree of dedication to the unraveling mystery the script displays – seems to represent a genuinely thoughtful and professional overall written style.”–EK/ScriptShark

“This is a most remarkable screenplay. What is perhaps most unusual about it is that it seems written from inside the characters. What is more remarkable is how the screenplay coheres–without strain, without forcing–it builds up a complex network of interrelated events, characters, and symbols.” –Brian Henderson, Editor, Five Screenplays by Preston Sturges, University of California Press

“Layered, nuanced, and intriguing from start to finish, this script presents a story that feels deep, and which is bolstered by a strong sense of tone, atmosphere, and abiding texture. Similarly infused with three-dimensional characters that possess rich and nicely rendered voices, it manages to craft a plot that proves both intellectually engaging and emotionally investing.” –EK/ScriptShark

Jim can be reached at thebark@me or you can follow him on Twitter or Google+.

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5 Responses to About

  1. The Savvy Svengali says:

    Jim,

    I wanted to let you know I started a blog of my own on storytelling, perhaps you’d like to check it out. Here’s the link:

    http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/

    Like

    • I think that’s a great idea to cover storytelling cross-mediums; I’m not even sure if there are any blogs with regards to narrative in video games so kudos! I haven’t played them in quite some time, but did play one (I forget which, seems like a Tom Clancy game) set in Las Vegas. Having lived there for 13 years (never thought about that number until now), it’s interesting to see what kind of a backdrop people have turned it into (interesting note: did you know there’s an entire population of several hundred to a few thousand people living underneath the city? There’s a book written about it, I believe titled Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas.)

      Good luck! I’ll be sure to follow. Need to post some more articles myself soon – been busy with actual (re)writing!

      Like

      • The Savvy Svengali says:

        Damn! I got to check that out, now that’s a story you don’t see every day. It’ll be nice to have you pitch in with a comment or two, I know you got great stuff to say (which also means I’m waiting for whatever else you got coming on your own blog). Vegas is one of a kind, even the greatest game or movie can barely do it justice.

        Like

  2. Ed Abbate says:

    It was nice to meet u !

    Like

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