Most of my career was spent as a copywriter in some of the biggest and most famous advertising agencies in the world (just like on Mad Men). Eventually I rose to the title of senior VP and creative director. But that was not what brought me close to fame.
Years earlier, I had come across the amazing theology of Emanuel Swedenborg. His new and potent ideas about God and Holy Scripture had captivated my creative nature. Deep within me, a strong desire to focus my creative talents on sharing these unique ideas with the public was bubbling up to the surface. After all, I was trained to convince people to buy various consumer products, why not put this talent into “selling God” in fresh new ways? Swedenborg had supplied me with all the input I needed to distill real “product benefits” and communicate a powerful “competitive edge.”
As my passion for sharing these ideas grew, I lost interest in my advertising career and choose to take a stab at screenwriting. All my creative juices became enlivened by the challenge of portraying Swedenborg’s amazing life and accomplishments on the silver screen and reaching a wide audience.
I spent one whole year relying on my own talent and sagacity to get it done. But before mailing it off to Hollywood I sent the script to a gentleman in Chicago who trained screenwriters—Dan Decker at The Screenwriters Group. In a word, he said my manuscript “sucked.” After going through a short period of mourning over my wounded pride, I decided to fly once a week to Chicago (from St. Louis) to take his courses. My ego took a heavy beating as my “baby” came under continuous professional scrutiny. Thanks to Swedenborg, I understood that this uncomfortable experience could be used for spiritual growth, which depended on finding humility. (Having been an advertising hotshot I was hampered by a formidable ego.)
After spending two years and a couple thousand dollars, I finally had succeeded in writing a truly professional screenplay. My Chicago instructor had real connections in Hollywood and offered agent services. My “Swedenborg” screenplay captured his and his company’s imagination and I signed a two-year contract with him to represent my work.
About six months later I received a call from one of his producers who said that my manuscript was seriously considered by Hollywood director Peter Hyams and his staff. (Peter directed the film Time Cop.) My manuscript was discussed for about 45 minutes around the table, then they made the fateful decision to pass it up. Instead, they ultimately choose to go with End Of Days with Arnold Schwarzenegger. At least Peter had picked another script with an apocalyptic scenario.
That is as close as I came to reaching a large audience and personally becoming famous (and making Swedenborg a household name).
Although I have given up becoming famous myself, I haven’t given up trying to make Swedenborg famous. Still feeling plenty of creative energy inside me, I felt I could have more success and control over the process if I wrote and published my own books. I even volunteered my talents as a three-term president of a local publishing organization (a branch of the national group IBPA—The Independent Book Publishers Association) which exists to educate and empower authors and small presses in this challenging and stimulating process—to take advantage of the growing influence of small independent publishers to bypass the formidable system of the publishing giants (whose influence is waning under the new challenges of the current marketing climate).
So far, I have two books under my belt: Sermon From The Compost Pile which involves spiritual gardening and how one can find God’s wisdom in a backyard garden, plus Proving God, which is my more ambitious, seven-year attempt to unify science and theology. (I spent tens of thousands of dollars more going to Seminary to earn the appropriate credentials—I put my money where my mouth is!) All my writing is based on Swedenborg’s contributions to the world of human thought.
This Blog is the part of my new book writing career and making creative use of emerging technologies to share my ideas.