Book Report

When I was writing my first book I didn't know if it would ever even be published.
Now, two years later and another book coming out in a couple weeks, writing books has lead to awesome things. BUT I never imagined that someone would do a BOOK REPORT on one of my books!!!! Below are some awesome pictures from a creative young lady with great taste.
(some *spoilers* for the first book in the text of the report)

So cool!!!!
And yes that is a Jell-o pool.

DREAMS & REALITY - Me!! Peter Harmon

Hello!! Today I'm debuting DREAMS & REALITY, my new blog series. As a prototype I interviewed someone I know pretty well... ME!

Name: Peter Harmon
A handful of credits: Transcriber/Logger/Production Assistant/Story Assistant on Intervention, Producer on Celebrity Wife Swap and Home Free

How did you get into Reality TV?
My directing teacher back at Towson University was simultaneously teaching the class while also producing episodes of A&E's Intervention. He would go on location to shoot or work in post in LA then fly to Maryland to teach a Saturday directing class. Once I moved out to LA he was one of my very few contacts. I met him for lunch, asked him about work, and he said he did have a job for me, transcribing, but it wasn't a great job.

I said "I'll take it!"

What is transcribing?
At the time when I was doing it a few years ago, I would watch a DVD of interview footage and type exactly what the interviewer and the interview subject were saying. I made $1 per transcribed minute, which sounds pretty cool, except when you're trying to figure out what drug addicts are saying through their slurred, hazy speech.

How did you get promoted from Transcriber to Logger to PA to Story Assistant all on one show?
I worked on Intervention for about 5 years, roughly 7 seasons. This is not typical in Reality TV. Usually a stint on a show lasts a couple months and then it's time to find a new job. So, since I always got my transcription minutes in on time with few errors and took "rush minutes" and was a pretty cool dude they promoted me to Night Logger. Logging footage (when I was doing it a few years ago...) was watching raw footage and making excel documents about what happened in the footage for the producers and editors to look through to find a topic or a shot or an OTF (On The Fly interview) that they may need.
I actually could have gotten promoted to Production Assistant sooner but my wife and I had our first son while I was night logging and I logged at night and watched the baby during the day. So I didn't take a day position a couple times when it was offered because we weren't making enough really for childcare and he was still so little we wanted me to watch him. 
During that period of time I didn't get a ton of sleep... 
Once our baby was bigger we transitioned to childcare and I switched to the day shift and right around then the current Story Assistant was promoted and I took his spot. 
I attribute the promotions to: being around, learning, making my intentions of going into the story department known, having a good attitude, and being a chill dude.

What's a weird thing about Reality TV that no one thinks about?
People have microphones strapped to their bodies while they're being filmed. They forget they have them on. They go to the bathroom. 
I've heard dozens, maybe hundreds, of people pee.

You must have moved to Hollywood with a dream, what is it and how are you still pursuing that dream? 
I have been shooting video, making movies, and writing since I was a kid. I started as a camera person and switchboard operator on my elementary school's morning show. I wrote poems and stories throughout grade school and took television productions classes in high school. My curfew was before all of my friends had to be home so after I hung out with them I'd hit Blockbuster and see what was new, what was in the Sundance section, what else had some writer done that I had just discovered.
I went to college for Electronic Media & Film and Creative Writing.
Simply, I came to Hollywood to write movies.  
And I have! I've written several produced direct to DVD movies (when that was still a thing...), for example, anyone a big fan of Nora's Hair Salon 3???? I wrote that. I also wrote a movie that was released last year, shot in Tokyo, called Love In Tokyo. And a handful of sketch videos, a web series, and other various projects. 
I'm still out here writing and hustling to do bigger movies. I wrote a young adult novel that I hope will be adapted into a movie at some point as well. SO I am still on my journey.

Thanks Pete!
Yep.
Check out The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last. The sequel is coming this summer.

Hey Reality TV friends! I'd like to interview YOU! Please email me at TheHappenstances at gmail.com or message me on Facebook or whatever. THANK YOU!!!

Two New Projects!!

Helloooo!

Today I'm announcing two new projects that I'm very excited about.

YOUNG AND IN LOVE is a new PODCAST that my wife Ashlea and I have started!

Here's the pitch: Pete and Ash are (relatively) young and certainly in love. Pete is an author, screenwriter, producer, and daddy. Ash is a teacher at an inclusive school and a mommy. Each episode they talk about parenting, productivity, and positivity and they also play fun games, discuss current events and pop culture. Welcome to Young And In Love!

The first episode is up RIGHT NOW. You can search Young And In Love on iTunes or find it here.

and

DREAMS & REALITY is a new BLOG SERIES that I'll be posting here on my blog.

Here's the pitch: I interview people that I know in the Reality TV realm. I'll ask them about the behind the scenes of working in "reality." Crazy stories, terrible craft services, run-ins with the talent... And also practical knowledge like how to get into television production, what is a "stringout", and what in the world could a "frankenbite" be? 

Another aspect of the blog posts will be focusing on the subject's Hollywood dreams. Why did they initially venture to Los Angeles? What side projects do they do? What are their aspirations for the reality space? I'll be able to pepper in my thoughts and experiences as well. It'll be fun!

So to my Reality TV friends and fam, email me if you would like to be interviewed for this series.

Thanks!!

#Pete30Before30 Wrap Up: Part 1

It's almost here... I turn 30 years old in 2 weeks! It's been an incredible year and I think that a lot of that will come out as I wrap up my 30 Before 30: 30 things I wanted to accomplish, watch, even buy, in the year before I turned 30. This is just Part 1, I'll do a couple now and a couple more until I've covered all 30.

So here we go!

My original post will be in italics, then I'll type up my summary in good ole' normal type.

1)    Save Face
I was born with a cleft lip, I donate money to Operation Smile to help kids less fortunate than me get the life changing surgery that I was blessed enough to get when I needed it.  Over the course of this year I’ll donate enough for one surgery ($240), please join me in donating if you so desire.  I set up a OneSmile page where you can donate along with me here:
http://tinyurl.com/PetesOneSmile

I have indeed donated my $240 for one surgery (which I'll do every year by the way). I set another goal to raise donations for another $240 for another surgery and a bunch of awesome people donated and we raised an additional $300!! I'm going to try to push for another $180 on my birthday so that all in all 3 kids will have had their lives changed, but even what we did already is pretty cool. Thank you to anyone who donated.

 

2)    Don’t Run in Place, Run at a Place
I’m going to run a 5k!  Hopefully a fun one that involves beer or inflatable obstacles or mud or something.  This will be probably pretty tough for me and I’ll have to do some training for it.  I’ll keep you posted on which one I do so you can come along.  Maybe I’ll run for Operation Smile and raise some more money!

Man, this one was pretty cool. First of all I was able to raise money for Operation Smile through running the 5K. I ran the LA Harvest Festival Pumpkin Run and at the end I got a pumpkin! Another cool part about this goal was that I hated running but through training for the 5K I kind of got into running and now I run a couple days a week, so this was a life changer.

 

3)    Let Me Upgrade Me
I use my laptop computer every day at work, I write scripts and things on it, I’m writing this on it currently, right this second.  I got my MacBook before Facebook was invented…  It’s old.  I need a new one.  I’m going to do the damn thing and invest in a new laptop.

All I have to say about this one is... bling blinggg (and see picture below).

 

4)    A Novel Idea
Here’s a big announcement…  I have a deal with a publishing company to publish a novella I wrote.  This is beyond a dream come true, it’s a dream that I never knew I had in me really, I didn’t think it was possible.  I will write about this in length as the different steps happen.  So excited!!

In June of 2015 my first novel The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last was published by Koehler Books, it has been such a cool experience! I've been working hard to try to get the word out about the book. I've bought ads, been a guest on some of my favorite podcasts, and really hit the social media hard. In fact, if you still haven't bought the book you should go here: www.tinyurl.com/TheHappenstances and get the paperback or kindle version, what are you waiting for!?

AND, I'm working on a follow up novel to The Happenstances... where we'll pick back up with the Yellow County crew a couple of years later. Look out for that in probably 2017.

Here's a picture of me when I first got to hold a hard copy of my book:

 

5)    Be a Sport
I like sports, I like to play sports, but I hardly watch sporting events.  I’m going to make up for my total lack of sporting knowledge by watching the ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries.

OK, this will be the last one for today, and we'll end this group on a failure... I only watched 8 of these (list below) but every one I saw was excellent and I learned a ton that I didn't know before. I am definitely going to continue to incorporate these and of course other docs into my life. There's nothing better than a well-done documentary.

So those were my first five 30 Before 30 goals and how they turned out. Stay tuned for the rest of the list...

 

How did you find the time?

My book, The Happenstances at the Yellow County Community Swim and Racquet Club the Summer Before Last, has been out for just over a month now.  It's been so cool to see pictures on social media of people with my book at the pool or at the beach, or tagging me saying "I just got your book!"  I've sold my book to a couple people in person and they've asked me to sign it, which is crazy.  I've had a couple conversations about the book with coworkers and family and podcasters and an interviewer for a web show.  It's awesome!  And it's especially cool because I really believe in the book.  I've created a lot of content and Happenstances is what I'm most proud of so far in my content creating career.

I work in television production and a question that invariably comes up is "How did you find the time to write a book?!"  Coworkers say they would like to write or make a film or this hobby or that and they're amazed that I completed a thing.  My answer to their question is always that I didn't "find the time to write a book"...

I made the time.

I got it into my head that I was going to adapt my screenplay into a young adult novel and then for the next couple of years I chipped away at it, an hour here, 30 minutes there.  Believe me, if I had looked at as a full task I would have been overwhelmed, but I looked at it as a process.

That's what I'm doing with the next book.  I'd love to set a deadline and write X amount of pages per day and all the sorts of things you read in the "how to write" books.  

But currently, with a 4 year old son, another son on the way, a 50+ hour a week job, promoting the first book, and everything else that pops up in life just being an adult human, I can't think about the next book in a traditional way.

So for me, right now, I'm happy to get a few moments a week, probably after my son is asleep, and probably while my pregnant wife is binge watching "Friends" and my pug is probably snoring somewhere on the carpet that she blends in with, to chip away at that next book.

I think that covers it.

A few weeks ago I got an email that was simply titled Happenstance Cover.  I was sitting at work (or standing rather, #StandingDesk), it was the middle of the day on a Wednesday, and then that email came in and rocked my world.  

The graphic designer assigned my book cover introduced herself, said that she had read the book, and loved not only the book itself, but the concept for the front cover that I pitched.  She included some sketches attached as a PDF.

I opened the attachment and the characters that I had been creating since college were there on those sketch pad pages.  It was awesome.

CUT TO: A few weeks later.

My publisher just released two potential covers to The Happenstances... and you, yes YOU, can vote on which one you enjoy the most.  Click here (or on the picture), read the synopsis and such, then VOTE via the sidebar poll.

By the way, both of these book covers have SO many hidden 'easter eggs' from the book.  I can't wait for people to read it.