Michael's Favorites


I recently saw The Sound Inside at the Pasadena Playhouse. It's about a middle aged writer. Naturally, I loved it. The play just closed, but you can find the paperback version above.

Cynthia, who's directing my one-man show, A Paper Orchestra, thought it would be good for me to see Every Brilliant Thing at the Geffen Playhouse. (Starring Daniel K. Isaac, written by Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe.) Ordinarily, I'm not a huge fan of theater that breaks the 4th wall, but this was done so skillfully. I highly recommend.

Ordinarily, I'm not a big fan of biopics. They tend to tell someone's life story, whereas I think it's much more compelling if you tell one story from their life. Maudie on Amazon did just that, and I loved it. It follows the relationship between folk artist Maude Lewis and her husband, Everett. As a bonus, students of my screenwriting course will appreciate how closely it follows the story structure that I teach.

I enjoyed Dream Scenario, starring Nicholas Cage, written and directed by Kristoffer Borgli. It's a study of what happens to people when they have fame thrust upon them. The main character is extremely passive, which is the point, but in my opinion, this passivity also makes the piece frustrating, random and a little unfulfilling. I'm curious to hear what others think about it.

Author Sheila Heti was my guest on the podcast. Her critically acclaimed books include Pure ColorMotherhood, and Alphabetical Diaries among others. More than just a writer, she's someone who paints with words, and I very much enjoyed talking about her art and process. 

I watched American Fiction by Cord Jefferson. The hero is an author, and there's a great scene in it where we see him talking to his characters. Such a creative way to spice up a scene.

We watched Perfect Days, written by Wenders and Takuma Takasaki. It tells the beautifully, simple life of a man who cleans toilets in Tokyo. I really enjoy small, character pieces, so it's no surprise that I loved it. Highly recommend.


What I Wear

Someone on Instagram asked where I got my signature MichaelJaminWriter jacket, so I guess now I'm a fashion influencer. It's from Legendary Whitetails. The one I wear is tobacco, but I'm certain I'd look fabulous in every color.

What I Write With

Another person asked me what pen I use to write. Actually, I prefer pencil because it slows down my handwriting, which makes it less sloppy. I've been using the same exact mechanical pencil since high school. It's a metal Pentel Sharp and given that it's lasted almost 40 years, I guess it's safe to say that it's high quality. That said, I only use it to write notes. Everything else I type.

Final Draft 13 is finally here and I've got a discount for you! (Final Draft is the screenwriting software I've used on every single TV show and movie I've sold. It's the industry standard.) The offered me a brand deal which I quickly accepted because I love the product so much. If you have an older version and want to upgrade, you can do so here.

Enter code: MJAMIN24 and GET 25% OFF.  Offer expires soon.

What I Smell

This year, everyone who celebrates at my house will take home one of these essential oil inhalers. This is something I would've dismissed years ago, but now that I'm full blown Californian, I use essential oils all the time. I have to be the only Jeep Wrangler owner to keep a spray bottle in the center console. "Look how macho I am, I drive a Jeep!"  Then I ruin it by spritzing lavender everywhere. Anyway, I travel with these little inhalers. A few drops of bergamot, pine needle, eucalyptus and white camphor oil is supposed to good for your immunity.

FULL DISCLOSURE: These are affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I get a small commission which helps defray some of my costs. But no one is paying me to recommend them. I just truly love them.