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Jon Weisman's outlet
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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

About Jon
2003-06-06 11:37
by Jon Weisman

Hi folks. I decided it was time for a new biography, one that didn't read as if I were having my first child for the second consecutive year.

So in no particular order:

I'm a native of Los Angeles, second generation on my Mom's side. Dad's from Chicago, and attended the last Cubs World Series as a 10-year-old in 1945. He is a lifelong Cubs fan, but the Dodgers were his No. 2 team even then, thanks in no small part to Jackie Robinson. Dad moved to Los Angeles as a teenager in 1951. His family got season tickets to the Rams that year, and they stayed in the family until the team moved to Anaheim in 1982.

My 13th birthday came in 1980, which is of some significance to the Jewish people. However, I was never a religious person. I flunked out of Hebrew school after my first year because most days, I stayed home to watch the Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Hour instead of attending. I was not moved to change my ways when my older brother was bar-mitzvahed in 1976, nor when my sister was bat-mitzvahed in 1978. In the case of my sister, she had herself quit Hebrew school after a couple of years, but then did a crash course at the last minute when she realized that she was going to miss out on a heck of a lot of presents if she didn't get that bat mitzvah.

Me, I didn't want the presents that badly. I was a pretty content kid. But as the time approached, my father grew a little concerned that I would follow my sister's less-than-sincere path. So, in a fashion he compares to "The Devil and Daniel Webster," he made me an offer. If I gave up my right to have a bar mitzvah, my Dad would give me a lifetime pass to the Dodgers.

Yep, that was the offer. I hope it doesn't alienate the more righteous of my readers to learn that I snapped that offer up in a second. (I would say that about 10 percent of the people to whom I tell this story are appalled to some degree.) But that's why, in at least one respect, the Dodgers are my religion.

Some time passed as details were worked out. First of all, the Dodgers, believe it or not, did not sell a lifetime pass - just a mere season ticket. And at the time, I think the Dodgers had a waiting list for season tickets - demand was greater than their allotment of 27,000. Also, I think my Dad had already committed to the Rams for one more year, and didn't want to be spread too thin.

Anyway, starting in 1982, we were the proud owners of four season tickets to the Dodgers. (Guess my Dad didn't want me to have to go alone - or maybe he just had wanted season tickets all along...)

As far as ambition went, at age 3, I wanted to be a policeman. At age 4, I wanted to be a television star. At age 5, I combined the two ambitions and wanted to be on Adam-12. At age 7, I switched to wanting to be a TV weatherman. Then around the time I was nine or 10, I wanted to be Vin Scully.

That dream lasted for quite some time, until I realized I didn't really have much of an interest in talking for a living. By the time I graduated from high school in 1985, I had been Sports Editor of the school paper and had some inkling I might want to be a sportswriter. By my freshman year at Stanford, I was pretty sure of it. I started writing for the Stanford Daily my first week there. By the time I graduated, I had covered the College World Series in Omaha and Stanford's first appearance in March Madness in 47 years. I had a column and I loved it.

The next appropriate chapter of what has already become a stunningly long-winded biography can basically be found here. In short, I loved sportswriting, fulfilled a lifelong dream by covering games at Dodger Stadium, saw many current major leaguers play in their high school days - but got frustrated with it. I left to get a Master's degree in English at Georgetown in 1992, planning to become some sort of novelist/teacher. But I took a screenwriting elective, and got hooked. I moved back to Los Angeles near the end of 1993, right after wrapping up my quick degree, and went after the screen pretty much up to now.

Depending on your perspective, I had great success or none. I wanted to write for prime-time television, and got an agent to help me to do so, but despite some real close calls, including a tantalizing moment with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I never made it. Well, I did some uncredited punch-up work with Chris Leavell and Brax Cutchin on a short-lived sitcom, If Not For You, but that was it. I did sell about a dozen half-hour children's scripts for So Weird, Hercules, Men in Black, Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles and Max Steel, among other things.

I was making a living, but frustrated by the lack of job security in the business, I've found myself taking salaried jobs outside of screenwriting since 2000, and have been a writer/editor at our museum here in Los Angeles since April 2002. I still do some screenwriting - and, as you can see, some sportswriting - and hope to be paid for both again someday. (I've got two feature screenplays that aren't spoken for, if anyone's interested in snapping them up! Oh - and "Dodger Thoughts" doesn't run on spit and axle grease, either. Well, I guess it sort of does - but still!)

Okay, let's wrap this up. Hobbies? I play softball and ski whenever I can (the latter, of course, ain't as easy where I live). I root hard for the mighty Cardinal. I love great television and was as passionate about Hill Street Blues in its day as I am about the Dodgers today. I still sometimes think my future might be as a TV critic - I did some reviews for the Times in 2002. That'll be my next blog, at any rate.

Well, that's it. If you've read this far, you deserve a prize or some help. I'll close with this: While the amount of time I've spent writing here about other things is going to dwarf the amount of time I've spent on my family, suffice it to say, I'd be nowhere, nothing, nobody, without my wonderful wife and my wonderful daughter. Update: ... and son!

Update 2: I began freelancing for Variety in 2004, and moved there full-time as a features editor in 2006.

Update 3 (March 2008): And another son!

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