I asked a close friend to write something interesting and provocative for this space. He submitted a draft that included the following slug at the beginning: M. Charles McBee (1946-????). He then asked that I fill in the missing year. Since I’ve now eliminated him from my circle of Facebook friends and placed a voo-doo doll with his name on it in my freezer, I’m left to write something interesting and provocative in this space. Which also got me to focus on that first year of my life – 1946! a/k/a, the dark ages! That’s gotta be a lie. Check the picture of me on my web site – www.mcharlesmcbee.com – see what I mean?
Anyway, let’s get to the bio.
Shortly after I was born, back in the dark ages for all you cynics, I knew one thing for sure. I was going to be a movie producer. By the age of eight or nine I was biking, daily, down to the local library in town and sitting for hours scanning books on movie production. I, of course, had no clue what I was reading. And this was further complicated by the fact there were no pictures! So I concluded the next best thing was to see every movie possible that came to the Clock Tower Theater in Roslyn, NY. Everything from Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis to Hitchcock’s “Pyscho,” which I particularly liked because it reminded me of my Uncle Ed.
But that’s another story.
Off I went to the University of Dayton where I excelled in Play Directing, Television Production, and as an on-air radio personality at WVUD-FM. After graduation I unfortunately did not get the job I wanted, i.e. an NBC page. Despite the fact I had a serious case of the flu, my mother sent me to the interview at NBC anyway where I likely infected everyone on the 6th floor at 30 Rock including the staff of the Tonight Show down the hallway. My father further complicated my goal by not hooking me up with his close friend, John Skoros, the no. 2 guy at United Artists, nor did my uncle hook me up with his close friend from childhood, John Frankenheimer, the award winning movie Director. Clearly, there was a family conspiracy to keep me out of the entertainment field altogether.
Not to be discouraged, and realizing that perhaps my family had my career interests in mind – not their first wish which included automatic entry into the family business, i.e., importing and wholesaling fine wine & spirits, (I was the 4th generation heir apparent) I was able to land a job on Madison Avenue with some help. Tune into “Mad Men” on AMC sometime and see what my life was like back in the 60’s and early 70’s. It’s quite accurate!
I worked at Marseller, Inc, and it’s here I learned to write under the guidance of the agency Creative Directive, Bill Zeitung. I was taught to write with both the big screen – movies – and the little screen – TV – in mind. It’s known as “visual” writing. And I’ve been practicing it for 40 years. Somewhere in there I did join the family business when my Dad said it was my time. He casually said I’d make more money to which I cleverly responded, “how much?”
I started work the next day.
After retiring from the wine & spirits business, I returned to graduate school to re-acquaint myself with the discipline of screenwriting. In the past ten years I’ve either won or placed well in numerous contests, the avenue to assignment work in Hollywood, and have done a few re-writes. (Did you know, despite what the credits say at the end of a good flick, there are at least 7 to 10 writers on most all movies?) The path is long and hard, but constantly working at it does pay off.
It was suggested to me that I convert my original screenplays to novels as a way to get better exposure to production companies and the major studios.
COUNTERPOINT is my first effort at that objective. And it is written in the brilliant satirical style of Dave Barry combined with the authentic drama style of Nelson DeMille.
In the meantime my wife and I have been blessed with a wonderful family that has chosen to live nearby us, which has cast us into yet another enjoyable career – babysitting! We have also created a luxurious Bed & Breakfast in Virginia and have entertained (my shtick is fabulous) and hosted close to 7000 guests since opening in 2004.
So when I’m not making beds or flipping pancakes, I’m writing.
Hopefully I’ll get good at the writing part and I’ll be able to quit my lowly position at the Inn.
Don’t tell the Innkeeper!