APPALACHIA aka GHOST TOWN

Considering that The Simpsons attacked Upstate, NY – a place that I love and where I grew up – I am sharing this screenplay about Upstate, NY that I wrote at the start of my screenwriting adventure.

This is not a joke about life in Upstate, but rather a sad portrayal of the broken American family, suicide, massive loss of jobs, drug and alcohol abuse epidemics and how, despite all of those odds, the young hero of the story gets away and starts anew.

This is a story about anyone who wanted to stay home but couldn’t. About the downfall of a once influential region.

Appalachia SYNOPSIS 

This movie script has been through many iterations and the project has been in many different hands that have tried to make it since 2001.

APPALACHIA SCREENPLAY

Originally to be directed by Jay Russell (My Dog Skip, Ladder 49)

Sean Penn, Robin Williams, Kevin Costner – all read and considered starring in it.

Mali Finn told me that it was exactly what Ian McShane was looking for. We had the offer all drawn up…

I tried to raise the money and direct it myself. RANDY MOSS put up the money. Yes that Randy Moss – he grew up in West V. and said the screenplay felt like home to him.

The script was also in the IFP script program in NYC 2006.

If you’re looking for something to read and you didn’t really think what The Simpsons did was funny…have a look at this and remember – I wrote this so long ago that it was before widespread cell phone and computer use.

 

 

 

The next Hosel and Ferrule book is coming…

Being the father of a junior golfer means that I have less time to dedicate to the blog and other creative endeavors during the height of golf season. Now that school is in session and golf is saved for late-afternoons and weekends I can get back to work.

My next book, DADDYSHACK, is a hysterical comedy about what it’s like to participate in organized junior golf competitions and how easy it is to lose your cool, your mind and your self-respect.

DADDYSHACK is geared towards teenagers and adult readers and will have something for everyone who enjoys the game of golf.

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The Puddle Club – behind the imagination of Michael McGruther

Creative writing is one of the more mysterious (and difficult) crafts for many to learn.

The idea of sitting down, staring at a blank page and bringing it to life with words, arranged in such a way that draws the reader into an emotional journey — is incredibly daunting and the process of writing is different from person to person.

In the next few blog posts I am going to reverse engineer The Puddle Club and take you on my writer’s journey within the journey so that I can share my process with you.

In order for this to make sense you should go back to the first Puddle Club posts by clicking HERE. Once you’re caught up, come back to this page.

The premise and the real world collided in my mind when I first noticed my own reflection in a puddle and realized that PUDDLE THEORY applied to me in the writing of this book as well as being a central theme in the story.

For the longest time I would talk about my secret desire to write books instead of screenplays. I would flirt with writing a book but never truly went for it until I decided to write The Puddle Club after my walk on that damp spring morning.

It was time for me to stop talking and start doing. I needed to jump right in and follow through on a dream I’ve had for a long time. I’m experienced enough to know that process over outcome would save me from losing focus — so I began to tell my story, projected onto the hero, who is based upon my daughter in real life – the same girl I have been teaching these hard-leaned life lessons since her birth.

Jumping in…

Skyler, the book’s hero, travels through a puddle and lands somewhere in a mystical golf course.  I started to connect the plot to real life locations I knew from walking my dogs around my home course.

What you see below is the 9th hole tee box at Applecross Country Club. I liked this hole because it is a very long par 5 and really is made of “rolling hills of green” If you knew nothing about golf (like Skyler) you would not know this was a golf course if you were magically transported to this spot.

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After Skyler lands in the general area of the image above – she is naturally curious about where she is. The question in her head (if I’ve done my job right so far) is the same as the question in the reader’s mind and that is the perfect moment to create more questions that need to be answered by the hero, who in turn answers the reader’s questions.

The only structure Skyler can see is a shed that sits at the top of a winding trail. In the book the shed is more rustic and has smoke coming from a chimney to signal to her that someone is there. In real life this is the grounds-keepers shed where he stores all of the golf course maintenance equipment.

Skyler starts walking to the shed. Along the way she meets Ralphie the talking golf ball. In my next post I’ll show you the exact spot where Ralphie was found.

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The story behind The Puddle Club – Part 7 – Play with a Purpose!

If you’ve been reading this blog you know that The Puddle Club book is a fantasy tale about how golf and life are similar. It vividly shows young folks that the tools they first learn to use in golf are again used in life.

Golf is a game and so is life.

You cannot beat Golf and you cannot beat Life. Both require one seemingly simple gesture – you must play. There are really just two ways to play — you can Play to Get By or you can Play with a Purpose.

You know folks who Play to Get By — you can tell who they are because they never do more than is required, never face the danger of the unknown, and are always making big plans that just need more time before they’re ready to execute. They secretly enjoy being in the safe space known as the bench. Most folks postpone Playing with a Purpose because they don’t feel or believe that they are ready.

This is a lie. What they really lack is an understanding of process, it’s supreme importance at the start of any action and how to develop one of their own.

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You know folks who Play with a Purpose – you can tell who they are by their willingness to jump right in and get dirty, do more than is required, and never take their eyes off the ball (goal). They don’t judge themselves for their mistakes along the way because mistakes show you where to adjust your PROCESS.

Playing with a Purpose can be boiled down to simply focusing on the process needed to move forward and constantly adjusting according to what the situation requires.

Purposeful players reap most of life’s greatest rewards as a symptom of their effort. That chance meeting that changed your life? It’s a symptom of process. That book that “found you” and contained in it just the information you needed at that moment? It’s a symptom of process.

LUCK is a symptom of process.

What kind of a player are you?

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