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Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Curse: Fleeting Acknowledgement



People have wondered why it gets to me when jackasses on the net call me a has been and say my work as no value. After all they are what the hell do they know? Right? Well, the reason is that that’s all I get. Simple acknowledgement of anything I’ve done is a fleeting thing in my life.
I remember as far back as elementary school that I had the same problem. One instance that comes to mind was when I was in third grade and our class broke up into teams to build carrying displays for our school’s Chinese New Year Parade. My group build a very detailed tiger. I worked on the head and the painting work on it. When all the displays were done the teach graded the projects and read the names of all the kids on each individual team…all except for my name. I had to correct her on this. She apologized but my peers took a collective sign and called me a glory hound. Also, when the parade went on my group’s display was featured to the news story in the local newspaper. My mother proudly showed me the picture in the newspaper and read the caption to me. Though my smiling face was there behind a girl named Nancy my name did not appear in the caption with the other kids.
Well, woopie dee! You didn’t get acknowledged for a stupid paper mache’ tiger and that gives you the right to be an asshole and demand acknowledgement…My answer to this is read on…
My finally year in elementary school we had a poster contest for our school’s big carnival to get donations to help with after school sports programs. I did a very large poster featuring a huge detailed clown face, carousel, and ferris wheel that took me three weeks to design and paint. Needless to say, I won the contest. I got a check for $15 dollars, which was a hell of a lot of money for the age I was at the time. Also, my poster was to be prominently framed and displayed outside the front of the school with my name on a card on the bottom…Problem was when my family arrived at the carnival  we saw that the  name “David Mennor, 1st Prize Winner” was on the card below my poster which had my name clearly signed on it. After spending half an hour, which felt like an eternity to me, we tracked down the principle and informed him. He looked at the card, shook his head, and said there was nothing that could be done, but that at least I knew it was my poster and I had the prize money. This hurt me deeply. My father was so mad he refused to allow us to stay so I didn’t even get to enjoy the carnival I worked so hard to promote.
Boo Hoo, sad story you say, if you are a complete ass…
Well, after the carnival bullshit I gave up on doing contests completely for many years....
My next fun event happened as a surprise to me at end of my high school term. Supposedly, because I had had learning problems due to physohedrin poisoning, known now as Physoderm, and overcame them my teachers thought I deserved some acknowledgment by putting in for two scholarships. The scholarships were the Robert Rittenour Scholarship for Superior Achievement in English Studies and The John Papan (local representative) Memorial Scholarship for General Education. Together I got $3,000 in scholarship money for college. I went to my schools award night in suit and tie and a couple of the socials, that’s what we called the stuck up, shallow, jackasses that thought they ran the school, got is my face and ask me what the hell a loser like me was doing at awards night. That night I got two scholarships, to be correct I was the only person to get two scholarships, which pissed the socials off to no end. Well, the next Tuesday, because it was always on Tuesday the school newspaper came out. It featured on the front page the list of people and awards given at Awards Night. Well, since the last Thursday I had been telling people that I won to two scholarships, so you can imagine how amused I was when I looked at the list and my name didn’t appear. To be exact the newspaper put down Hans Thomas, the guy who won The John Papan poster contest as the person winning the scholarship. They didn’t even mention the Rittenour scholarship at all. I went to the head of the newspaper, a social, and told her that there was a mistake. She huffed and said it was no big deal. I even went to the principle and he gave me the same response except for saying my old favorite line “You got the money and you got the scholarships that’s what’s important. So for the next three weeks of the school year I was called a liar and the socials enjoyed rubbing it in my face.
Oh, you got me in tears, you say laughing…
I say no comment.
Well, the next should have been my greatest achievement yet. I was seventeen at the time. I had the pleasure of going to Los Angeles with my father to attend the first ever convention for The William Shatner Fan Fellowship (Yes, there actually was one in the early 80s). Anyway, while I was there the organizer Sonny Cooper introduced me to Harve Bennett, who had just been given the assignment to create an entertaining Star Trek film after the lack luster Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Well, Harve and I chatted for nearly three hours and this ended with him offering to pay for a hotel room if my father and I would stay an extra week and help him come up with an exciting treatment for Star Trek II. After a week of long days at the Parmount Office for Star Trek, which was actually in the TV office section instead of movie production offices, we put together the treatment that would become Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (At the time we had it under the titles of Star Trek II: The Genesis Project and Star Trek II: The Vengeance of Khan). Anyway, before I went home at the end of the week Harve informed me that I wouldn’t be able to get credit on the film because I wasn’t a member of The Screen Writer’s Guild and Paramount was a little on the picky side about that. He said he would make it up to me. He actually did. He sent me a crew T-shirt, a limited edition belt buckle that only people associated with the production were supposed to get, and Admiral Kirk’s broken spectacles from the end of the film. Then a year and a half later  I was back in LA for another William Shatner Fellowship event. Harve contacted me again and I was back in the Star Trek offices again, this time he needed my help with writing the actual script for Star Trek: III, which at the time was subtitled In Search of Spock (I found it amusing). So Harve was having trouble with key scenes in the film. He just wasn’t feeling the Star Trek vibe from what he was writing. The first scene I rewrote was the very opening of the movie. Harve had it taking place at a wake for Spock. We moved the wake to later in the film and I came up with a very sad opening with Kirk doing his Captain’s log. Later I added a scene where a crewman asks Kirk if there was going to be a celebration of their homecoming. Kirk say that god knows there should be, that they paid for the party with their dearest blood. Then I worked on the very long series of scenes known as the stealing of the Enterprise scenes. It was my idea to give the supporting characters one scene in this sequence that highlighted them. Sulu got to do the body throw live that his character did in the animated episode The Infinite Vulcan (Though George was a bit incensed about being called “tiny”). Scotty got to show his humorous side and what a tricky fellow he could be. Finally, Uhura got to do more than communications with “Mr. Adventure”. There are a few other scenes I threw some classic Star Trek references in as well. Needless to say Harve once again gave me the same to while thanking me for my help…no credit. I did get another belt buckle, T-shirt, and I got a prop phaser from the film. Also from that point on  until Harve left Star Trek I got shirts and crew collectibles from the productions….So I was happy though I didn’t get to see my name on the big screen…That came years later with my work on The Horror Seasons. But even now there are some people who keep trying to say I’m lying about my participation in Star Trek. One person who is friends with Walter Koenig has called me a liar because during the production of Star Trek III Walter doesn’t remember an hour visit I had to the set with Harve. The thing is the person who really made me feel welcome on that visit was Mark Leonard (Spock’s father Sarek). I was a bit shy at the time, after all these were my heroes, and Mark invited me to have a coffee and pastry with him at the snack table on the set. I remember chatting with him about that years later at the last Creation Convention I attended before Mark died. The thing is that asshats love to remind me that I don’t have a credit and that Nick Meyer (The man annoyed me) has taken credit for completely writing The Wrath of Khan, but if you look at the clumsy work he does in the writing of Star Trek VI to try and copy my style and  my claim looks more reasonable. Also, as for Walter’s claim he doesn’t remember me on the set…can you remember a single hour from thirty years ago with any detail, especially if that detail is a shy kid standing in the background?
Sure..you say I believe that shit....Right. I say believe as you will.
So comes to my books, I’ll be short because you all already know the details. I was on contract with Berkley Books. I found out they expected me to write four novels in one year or I wouldn’t get paid. I worked sixteen hours a day seven days a week on those books both writing and editing the book. The stress nearly killed me. I was promised $20,000 for if the first printings made a certain level of sales. Berkley promised me book signings and convention appearances. I got nothing except an initial payment of $1,500. Now jackasses are telling me I’m a has been, even though I have three projects in production and am the host of a very successful Blog Talk Radio show. They say my work has no value and no one is interested…which is interesting because last month on Ebay a collection of my Camp Crystal Lake books, including a flash drive with my final novel, The Mask of Jason Voorhees (which I spent seven years writing for the fans) ,were sold for $600.00 in auction. That doesn’t sound like something no one is interested in or has no value. Still I get told my books are crap and I have no fans, thus I am not worthy of consideration to be a guest at conventions…So you wonder why I get pissed and go off. This is an edited down version of the crap I’ve had to endure over the years and I'm sick of being fluffed off and having my achievements ignored…Get a fucking clue…

2 comments:

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  2. When I was at the convention for William Shatner the second time a reporter from The Los Angeles Times interviewed me about fandom. I told the guy three times that my name was William Pattison. Hell, I even had him spell my name back to me. Still when the article was published though he got my quotes perfectly right the reporter put me down as Bob Petterson from San Mateo California...I was not amused...

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