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The Adventures of the REAL Tom Sawyer (hardback) Hardcover – May 1, 2017
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Take a ride from the bottom step to the top of an escalator and join creative, insightful and tenacious Tom Sawyer on his journey to success. This screenwriter, author and director presents his life to readers in a humorous, heartfelt and definitely creative way.
Tom tells readers that everyone deserves a certain amount of success and going for your dreams is the way to start to make dreams a reality. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you are in, success comes to those who work at it, so network and never give up. He’s learned through experience, you have to be tireless in the pursuit of your dreams.
The unique information shared in this book is pulled from his life experiences — good, bad and comical. This approach helps readers understand Sawyer’s great success. His motto seems to be “You’ve got it and you deserve to win!” and he lives it every day.
He tried numerous shows and different venues and a divorce and having two daughters, shows his tenacity. He remarried, keeps his daughters from the previous marriage in his life, and remains family oriented. His work did not require much travel except for a couple of TV Commercials and later, shooting the McGraw pilot in Boston.
Sawyer worked on popular TV shows Murder She Wrote (producer – 79 episodes, writer 24 episodes), The Law & Harry McGraw (producer- 14 episodes), Quincy M.E., Wonder Woman, Chico and the Man, and many more. He was even nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics Murder, She Wrote in 1984.
Tom has had many ups and downs in his career, but as some directors, producers and others in the business learned he is a force to be reckoned with. The most exciting part of this great memoir is the story of how he came to write and produce many episodes of Murder She Wrote with the amazing Angela Lansbury, one of my favorite actresses.
When he thought Murder She Wrote was about to end, Tom wrote the last scene for Jerry Orbach. He never expected that the show would continue to air for five more years after that episode with Angela as the new executive producer. Angela fire everyone connected to Peter Fisher, and surrounded herself with family and those she felt assured with adhere to her guidelines for the series.
Tom also discusses the three major national TV networks he worked with: CBS, NBC and ABC. He explains how TV uses up material quickly, which makes it difficult for a series to run for long periods of time. He also explains the way a series is pitched to advertisers and market tested. He then tells what happens when a show is picked up. There’s some valuable information in this book for anyone who wants to go into writing for television.
He tells about his other career as an aspiring cartoon/comic strip illustrator. He has great imagination and fantastic ideas, and the illustrations in the book bring his work to life. My favorites are the ones with Mary Tyler Moore -- what a great tribute to her!
This career didn’t start smoothly either. He recalls his first encounter with an editor who told him to go back to Chicago because art samples weren’t good enough. This was the spark Tom needed to create different images and present his work in a more comic book-type format. This method was successful, as the images in the book show.
Avon comics were his first stop. He met Leonard Starr, legendary cartoonist and comic book artist while waiting for his appointment! Sol Cohen, editor of Avon’s comics division, appreciated Tom’s samples and after a quite meeting he was on the way to success.
Tom also shows how seemingly mundane things like having lunch with a friend can turn into something big. His lunch with Gerry Matthews eventually resulted in the two creating the film Reunion. The award-winning documentary was about a high school reunion in Beardstown, IL. Reunion was honored by the 1970 New York Film Festival, as well as the Rochester and Edinburgh Festivals, and received national theatrical release.
As the Internet became more important to authors, artists, editors and entertainers, Tom learned to network using social media. He’s become an expert at getting noticed using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. He still values his personal, in-person interactions more than those online, and says the more contacts and face to face time you have with people, the better your opportunities for success will be!
With wife Holly’s s encouragement, Tom decided to embark on yet another career writing books. He wrote a conspiracy thriller about the JFK assassination, Sixteenth Man, and self-published it with IUniverse. He must’ve enjoyed the experience because he’s written four other books – No Place to Run, Cross Purposes, Fiction Writing Demystified (a Writers Digest Book Club Selection), and Plots Unlimited. He’s also taught writing at UCLA, and other colleges and universities, at numerous major writers conferences, and currently teaches an online course at Screenwriters University called Storytelling: How to Write Stories That Will Grab and Hold Your Audience.
This is a quite compelling memoir as you the reader take each step on that escalator ride until you reach the top one and alight but not before learning about the other novels he wrote and the first one this reviewer did review: Cross Purposes. Find out about No Place to Run and learn more about the Adventures of the Real Tom Sawyer by reading this interesting, thought provoking and enlightening memoir of this outstanding author, writer, producer, director and Showrunner.
Tenacious, flexible, smart, and intuitive are all ways to describe this fascinating man, and his life story certainly makes for compelling reading.
I don't usually go for memoirs and picked this because I'm such a fan of "Fiction Writing Demystified." I'm SO glad I did. "The Adventures of the REAL Tom Sawyer" is full of stories and words of wisdom about Tom's many, many careers and escapades.
Angela Lansbury's quote on the front tells it all - ".... he knows how to tell a great story."
And he tells it at break-neck speed with humor and insight.... I totally recommend this book.