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Get Your Hero Up A Tree: How to Write a Movie (That Doesn’t Stink) by  Mark Achtenberg

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Mark Achtenberg’s book is a common sense, accessible approach to screenwriting, aimed at students and “young” writers. Written by a writer and teacher who is also an excellent picture editor, the book is filled with practical insights and approaches, based on examples of real films that students will know. It gives the writer a number of choices and the reasons behind them to consider in her or his own original work and does so in a way that encourages the writer to stay true to the passion of the idea and discourages a formulaic ‘one way’ approach.

– Lawrence Mirkin, producer on Fraggle Rock and  the Jim Henson Hour


How to write with moving pictures has often been shrouded in a fog of conflicting advice. Get Your Hero Up A Tree looks clearly through to the heart of what is necessary. Follow Mark’s advice and never get lost. It makes a fuck of a lot more sense than anything Robert McKee ever blabbered on about.

– Robert Mills, writer, director, founder of Radical Sheep Productions


From diverse sources, Mark connects the dots from literature to film language and wraps it all in an entertaining way. This book is an accessible resource showing his talent for contemporizing and synthesizing writing techniques for the writer, screenwriter, and filmmaker in us all.

-James Caswell  - Professor, Story and Storyboarding at the Sheridan College Animation program


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Mark Achtenberg has spent his life confusing producers and potential employers. His resume includes working at a Psychiatric Institution, Public and College Libraries, The Canadian Air Force as well as a Journalist and Editor. He also grifted for the Coles book store in Toronto and has taught writing, editing and visual effects at Humber College and has lectured and given student feedback at the prestigious Sheridan Colllege Animation school. Mark settled into working in the Film and Television industry. He has worked as a writer, director, editor and visual effects artist in animation and live action. Mark has continued his career in the exploration of film and is an avid student of all things that involve moving pictures. And in the interest of dropping names, Mark has worked on shows for Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, Disney, BBC, CBC, Jim Henson Company, TVO, PBS, MTV and many others.

He currently lives in Whitby, Ontario in the Greater Toronto Area.

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The Abundant Life by Aaron Jacobs

Things are not going well for Alexander Wolf. At thirty years old, he leaves behind federal prison for a more confining environment: his childhood home. There, Alex must rely on his family. The only problem is their situation is more dire than his. In a fit of desperation, Alex concocts an outlandish rescue plan for his Jewish family: marketing products to fundamentalist Christians, a prospect that attracts the mysterious Reverend Warren Holden. As Alex and his family put their financial house in order, they are dragged deeper and deeper into Holden's bizarre world, leading them from suburban New York to the Mojave Desert, where they finally learn that not all cons are about money.

Aaron Jacobs' short stories have appeared in a number of literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, JMWW, The MacGuffin, and Atticus Review. He lives with his girlfriend and dog in Brooklyn and the Catskills. The Abundant Life is his first novel.

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A unique and compelling collection of narrative essays by young(ish) Amercian authors that runs the gamut on form and content

This collection of 21 narrative essays by 11 authors is a miscellany of topic and theme: from tattoos to addiction to spinning vinyl to ice fishing; from  navigating the streets of Saigon to sexual assault to battling mental illness to living with death. The montage of content is held together by a distinct “voice,” a voice that occupies that space beyond the customary and the commonplace in society, a voice from the fringe giving utterance to outsider’s experience. Miscellany brings together the sensibilities, experiences, and the aesthetic of young(ish) American essayists in a truly singular voice.

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These essays occupy the dangerous spaces between tale and rant, between song and scream, between meditation and meltdown. Miscellany offers readers a thrilling ride along the ragged edges of American culture.

- Scott Nadelson, author of Saving Stanley, winner of the H.L. Davis Award for Short Fiction


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Check out the author interview. Aaron talks about his book, its themes, the writing process, and alcohol.

Check out the video on our Indiegogo campaign. Contributors talks about essay writing, fiction versus creative nonfiction, and changing tires.


his book, its themes, the writing process, and alcohol.

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"Aaron Jacobs makes a strong, gimlet-eyed debut with this tale of guns and religion — American culture’s two eternal verities — and one cynical young man’s improbable attempt to save his family and his own soul through the power of salesmanship."

- Jonathan Dee, author of The Locals  and Pulitzer-nominated The Privileges


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"Aaron Jacobs' madcap tale of family dysfunction, heavy weapons smuggling, and the uniquely American enterprise of hawking eternal salvation in exchange for legal tender is a stunning literary debut that will have you laughing from the first page to the last. With an inventive yet utterly believable plot, memorable characters, and sharply crafted sentences, The Abundant Life  will leave you racing to the end and pleading for more."

- Shulem Deen, author of award-winning All Who Go Do Not Return




“It is Salinger-esque in spirit and execution. And you can quote me. Oh, you just did? Well, great then.”

- Jason Jones, actor/writer for The Detour  and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart


The Abundant Life is an entertaining and edgy rebirth story spun by an unflinchingly honest narrator. Aaron Jacobs has written a novel that is compulsively readable and filled with whip-smart social commentary that is often laugh-out-loud funny. This is one firecracker of a debut.“

- Julia Fierro, author of The Gypsy Moth Summer and Cutting Teeth

 "With its delightfully unique, hilarious, and, many times, infuriating characters, The Abundant Life introduces us to the Wolf family and we are better for it. I swear my mouth puckered from Jacobs' acerbic wit, just the way I like it."

- Samantha Bee, host of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee