Holiday special! Prices slashed!

Want to get a personally autographed copy of “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher” directly from the author, but you can’t manage the $20? 

Well, you’re in luck!

For a limited time, I’ve cut the price to $15. That’s right, just $15!

And that even includes 705BuddyPostcardpostage and handling.

Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Send me $15 per book (yes, you are allowed to buy more than one!)
  2. Send me your name and address.
  3. Tell me to whom to address my signature.
  4. Send payment via PayPal at phof63@sbcglobal.net OR send a check made payable to Paul Hoffman to  me at P.O. Box 2611, Columbus, IN 47201.
  5. If you see me in person, I probably have a book nearby. Just ask. And as long as I have my cell phone and Square reader with me, I’ll be able to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

It is also possible to get the book in e-book format or through Amazon or Barnes & Noble or at your local bookstore. If they don’t have it in stock, just ask them to order it.

Don’t delay. Order today! Supplies aren’t limited yet, but they could be if I get a nice holiday rush.

Oh, and tell every single one of your friends about this fantastic offer, as well as 3 or 4 other people. It’s good for the planet probably.

One step closer to starting a screenplay

I finished reading Syd Field’s book, “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting,” yesterday.Syd Screenplay book004

This was the first big step for me in writing a screenplay based on my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher.”

The book explains how to go about writing a Hollywood-type script. All the nuts and bolts. Hopefully, I learned enough to put it into practice.

I plan to do a bit more research, as well as some planning of how the main characters will interact, how they will change throughout the script before I chart out the basics on 4×5 index cards.

There is a long way to go before I actually open up the scriptwriting software and start in earnest. But I’m on my way, and that’s more than I could say a few months ago.

They didn’t have this stuff in 1925

Have you ever heard the phrase “This is the best thing since sliced bread?” Well, in 1925, they couldn’t say that. Because there was no store-bought sliced bread in America.

That’s one of the interesting little factoids I came across today while doing research for my screenplay adaptation of my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” which is the true story of a little boy’s abduction in 192Malabar5.

This was an era of Prohibition, flappers, jazz, gangsters and the like.

However, it was not an era of the following items:

  • Talking movies (There wouldn’t be one shown at a U.S. theater until “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson in 1927). Mickey soap
  • Bubble gum (Walter Diemer came up with that in 1928 for his employer, Fleertoaster1 Chewing Gum Company).
  • Sliced bread (Not until 1928).
  • Pop-up toaster (Showed up in 1927, thus apparently spurring the slicing of the bread the following year).
  • Mickey Mouse (Disney created the character in 1928).
  • Kool-Aid (1927).
  • Aerosol cans (1926).
  • Frozen food (thanks to Clarence Birdseye for this in 1929).

There’s a lot of other stuff that wasn’t around in 1925. Like iPads and nitro-burning funny cars.

But, when this movie finally comes out, if you see anybody throwing slices of bread into a pop-up toaster or blowing a big pink bubble with their gum while watching a “talkie,” you can put that down on the Goofs section on IMDb.com.

‘Blackridge’ screenplay update

I’ve set aside my bowl full of cherries and my block of orange rind Muenster cheese to update you a little on the progress of my first screenplay. But don’t worry; the Torpedo Juice brand root beer obtained directly from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, is nearby in case I get parched.

Many of you know that I decided to write a screenplay adaptation of my book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” the true story of the 1925 disappearance of an 8-year-old boy suburban Milwaukee boy and the subsequent search for his killer.

Going into this process, I knew I’d have to make a number of changes going from book to big screen. My brother, Andy Hoffman, who works for a production company in Chicago and who has a degree in such things cinematic, suggested I look into reading the late Syd Field‘s book “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting,” which is a step-by-step guide for writing sceenplays, from concept to finished script.Syd Screenplay book004

Another of Field’s advocates is director/writer/producer Bill Dever, a Franklin, Indiana, resident who graciously allowed me to bang my head against a wall for his movie “Resurrection,” to be released in October. Bill studied under Syd.

Armed with the advice in Syd’s book, along with the knowledge of the basic story already, I have begun piecing together the basics of my screenplay. I haven’t really written too much of the screenplay itself, although I did paste the text of my book into a Celtx file. That software helps format your sceenplay to Hollywood specs.

As I read the book, I take Syd’s advice and apply it to my situation. Here is some of the advice Syd gives, as well as how I’ve tentatively applied it to my screenplay, which I’m tentatively calling “Blackridge,” which was the name of the swimming hole little Buddy and his pals were headed for when he disappeared:

What is your movie about?

It’s about a person (Art Schumacher, Buddy’s father) in a place (Wauwatosa, Wisconsin) at a time (mostly 1925).

What is your main character doing? 

He’s trying to keep his own sanity as well as keeping his family from falling apart after the disappearance of his son and later the revelation of the boy’s murder.

What kind of story is it?

It’s a story about the relationships between a father and his family and his community and how those relationships can change when tragedy strikes.

The screenplay will consist of three acts, the first of which will be about 20-30 pages/minutes long followed by Plot Point 1, which is an event that changes the direction of the film. The second act will last about 60 pages/minutes, terminating with Plot Point 2. The final act will be 20-30 pages/minutes.

Act I (Set-up): We’ll be establishing Art’s character … who he is; what he’s like at church, home, work and in the community; how he reacts to certain situations; his relationship to some of the other characters, etc. We’ll also be introducing some of the other main characters.

Plot Point 1: Buddy disappears. The story is set in motion at this point.

Act II (Confrontation): Art begins his quest to find his boy. His desire to stay calm for himself and his family is challenged by nightmares, some of the newspaper reporters who hound his family, rumors flying around town, eye witnesses changing their stories, etc.

Plot Point 2: Someone confesses to the murder.

Act III (Resolution): Here is what happens to everybody, whether Art is successful or not in his quest. I won’t spill the beans on this, but I know what happens (in general, specifics yet to be determined).

I know I have a lot more work to be done. I’ll be doing even more research on the 1920s, Milwaukee and Wauwatosa than I did for the book. I’ve already looked heavily at some of the events and issues that shaped society back then, especially in that area, things like mental health care, media coverage, homelessness, Prohibition, etc. But there is so much more to know when trying to show a story in pictures than in words.

I’ve also spelled out on paper a lot of things that have just been rolling around in the back of my mind. These include jotting down the dramatic need of each major character… what do they want … and the conflicts that crop up that could prevent them from getting it.

Syd’s book is fascinating, with several examples from Hollywood movies that many of us have seen to help illustrate his points. I have started watching for certain things in movies I watch.

I’ve got quite a long way to go. But I should be able to stay on track and get through the outline phase before too long and get going on putting an actual screenplay together.

OK, back to the Muenster.

My motion picture acting debut

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Twenty-four hours after performing in what promises to be first appearance in a real motion picture – unlike the Super 8 movies that Dad made of us during Christmas and birthdays in my youth – the headache has finally subsided, … Continue reading

Wauwatosa memories from a reader

Below are excerpts from an email I received from a reader of “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher.” Many of you native Wauwatosans may recall the Pig Farm.
 
Hi Paul,
 
I very much enjoyed reading your book, in part because it lent perspective to some of my childhood activities in Tosa. In the mid ’70s (a friend) and I used to go junking and exploring back in the Pig Farm area and along the river. We made a couple trips, then one day he came back and said we better be armed if we go again, and cited some incident his family had told him about. Next trip we made with knives in our pockets, and whatever they had told him seemed to have him half expecting we were gonna use them. I’ll bet it was the Schumacher incident. Something like that would leave an impression that would resonate in longtime villagers’ memories for years.
 
My “turf” was typically north of that area, on the north side of Capitol Drive, Webster School neighborhood. But I remember encountering active yunkles and hobos in the parkway near us back in the 1960s and 1970s. 
 
I look forward to anything else you might produce with a relevant local history.
 
Bill Laste

Sterling North official announcement

 

Here is the announcement on the Sterling North Book and Film Festival website announcing my appearance there on Sept. 27.

For more information on the festival, which will be conducted in Edgerton, Wisconsin, click here.

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Tomah! Tomah!

There’s a new event planned for west central Wisconsin this spring at which folks will be able to purchase autographed copies of “Murder in Wauwatosa.”

The first Tomah Rotary Beer and Sausage Fest is scheduled for 2-6 p.m., Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Tomah Recreation Park.

I was invited to attend and sell autographed copies of my book. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend due to a previous engagement. But the host said he’d be willing to promote and sell autographed books at the fest as long as I supply him with said books. So, that’s what we’re going to do.

Tomah is southeast of Eau Claire, east of La Crosse and northwest of Portage and Wisconsin Dells. 

If they run out of books, just send $20 to me at PO Box 2611, Columbus, IN 47203 and I’ll get you an autographed copy.

We’re back in the top 1%

It’s been a while, but “Murder in Wauwatosa” has jumped back into the top 1% of books ranked by Amazon’s author website. Of more than 8 million paperbacks listed on the site, “Murder in Wauwatosa” hit spot No. 62,660 on Feb. 12, 2014.

We’ve only finished a day ranked that high three other times since the book came out in July 2012:

38,028 on Sept. 23, 2012

40,637 on May 8, 2013

46,660 on Dec. 1, 2012

Thanks for all your support!

 

Scrapbook of the Book

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For Christmas 2013, my wife spent endless hours making a scrapbook of my journey of getting a book published, then going around to all sorts of presentations, book signings, and whatnot. She sprinkled in inspirational quotes, author-type artwork and more. … Continue reading