Michael Mandaville

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Aircraft Carrier: Chinese Territory In Any Sea

The socialist People’s Republic of China is expanding its influence by refurbishing the Varyag, a Soviet era aircraft carrier, renaming it the Shi Lang. The carrier is expected to start sea trials later this year. An aircraft carrier is a

Ben Franklin Delighted: A Crash Course in Digital Self-Publishing

Benjamin Franklin, “The First American,” would have loved the Internet. He was, first and foremost, a printer, author, and publisher. He established the Pennsylvania Chronicle firing up the Colonies against British tyranny. He made his fortune with “Poor Richard’s Almanack”

We Live In a Digital Heyday

One saying often said in the Film Industry is that, if you want to go it alone in creativity (versus collaboration), then “buy yourself a paint set.” Whether we like it or not, that cheap paint set is becoming all

China's Weak Hand – Senkaku Islands

The Communist People’s Republic of China is confronting its neighbors and the United States in the Pacific. But how strong is their muscle in the fight? And, to paraphrase John McClane from “Die Hard”, what can we do to throw

China's Weapons of War

China is asserting itself on the world stage but with a 21st Century strategy. Striving to resurrect its former glory as a power after a century of foreign domination, World War and Mao’s murderous Cultural Revolution, China’s socialist dictators realize

Tips For Writing a Low-Budget Screenplay

In Hollywood, every word has a price: EXT. ROME – DAY The Huns invade Rome. Some people would say that this scene is only an eighth of a page, “We’ll finish it off in the morning.” In actuality, it would

Waiting for Sim: Christmas Eves With the Definitive Scrooge

When growing up in Los Angeles, a singular delight was getting the TV Guide in the Sunday paper and scouring it, pen in hand. My movie search. In the sixties, Los Angeles had the greatest number of TV channels in

A Great Chinese Thriller…Pass!

I thought about writing a script about China – thriller, action, intrigue. The last film that dealt with China would be “Red Corner” which a Wikipedia review said, “…more the movie’s subtext swallows its story, until all that is left

The Shattered Glass of Celebrity

The Hollywood star system: Rest in Peace. Nowadays, when I trawl through Blockbuster aisles, I find films with major stars that never saw the dark light of a theater. I’ve never even heard of some films. And I wonder about

The Stamp of Revolution — Again

The American Revolution was fired up in earnest with the Tax Stamp Act, imposed by the British Parliament on the American Colonies. This Act required that a Stamp be affixed to any paper or document such as bills, newspapers, correspondence,

Remembering Our Veterans: My Best Fourth of July

Our Heroes are everywhere. They pass by us at the market. They work for us. They walk our streets. I’m talking about the men and women of our Armed Forces who serve and have served our country ably, courageously and

Stoning: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

And I don’t mean the movie. “The Stoning of Soraya M.” is a remarkable feature film about harsh Sharia law twisted by a husband against his wife. The film is brutal, honest and unflinching. Based upon Freidoune Sahebjam’s 1994 novel,

Arabic Film Breaks Historic Barriers

This last week, “Menahi” became the first feature film shown in Saudi Arabia in more than 30 years. I worked as a supervising producer on the film last year in Cairo, Egypt for two months. I even appear briefly in

The Power of Language

In the 1930’s, when world audiences were asked to name the capital of the U.S.A., one answer was high on the list: “Hollywood.” That was the location listed at the end of every amazing movie: “Made In Hollywood.” How could