My Pitch to the Studios, as a Children’s TV Show Host

dichotomy

Editor’s Note:

I will be emailing the following letter to the same casting agency that reached out to me a few months ago to interview and potentially invite my family to participate in the upcoming reality TV show, The Family Project on NBC.

After that, this letter will then be going out to the all the casting agencies and directors for all the major children’s (and family) television networks; including PBS, Nickelodeon, Disney, TLC, Animal Planet, and The Discovery Channel.

Dear [casting agencies for television studios of major networks that feature children’s programming],

I believe you may be interested in meeting me. I think I can solve your problem in that I am who you are looking for if you are currently in need of a children’s television host.

However, please do not take my word for it…

Instead, simply watch me at work. My passion is creating original content to entertain children; as I have a 5 year-old son, as well as a daughter due to be born in April.

Just watch this quick webisode of my newest web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest. Everything you see here is original content. I write, produce, and direct my shows; as well as serve as the protagonist and voices to the animal characters:

I write and perform my own songs, just like the beloved Mr. Fred Rogers did. I play both guitar and harmonica; and obviously sing.

You will see how I simply engage children in nostalgic ways, similar to that beloved uncle everyone has.

To further showcase my acting and production skills, as well as my musical talent and over all creativity, I also ask you to watch a short webisode of my other original web series, Jack-Man; which is a sci-fi super hero show starring my son and me.

In this series, you will see my acting skills as a villain; not just simply the kind and warm “Uncle Nick” character I play on my other series. Again, I created all of this content from scratch, including the lyrics, music, and performance of the songs.

Also, I already have a following on my website, Family Friendly Daddy Blog; where I maintain a minimum of 15,000 views per month. (For 3 years, I had previously served as the official daddy blogger for Parents.com; the website for the legendary Parents magazine.)

Thank you so much for your time and consideration today. Even if I never hear back from you, please know I will continue creating original content to entertain and engage children in the YouTube world; knowing that one day I will get my big break.

Granted, I hope that “big break” comes from you.

Sincerely,

Nick Shell of Family Friendly Daddy Blog

dad from day one: Proud Papa

Twenty weeks.

*Did you hear about this blog from American Baby magazine?  If so, click here to get to the main page (table of contents) for “dad from day one”.  There’s a whole lot more where this come from…

During the closing credits of my favorite movie of all time, I Love You, Man, Barry (Jon Favreau) finds out his wife Denise (Jamie Pressly) is pregnant after she vomits on him at the wedding reception.  With puke on his shirt, he says to her, “Please, try to make it a boy.”  Barry is a Type A jerk, inhabiting every memory and idea of a typical beer-guzzling frat boy.  So of course, having a boy (instead of a girl) would be very important to him.

Being that I’m nothing like that character in the movie, instead being much more like the main character, Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), I had just always assumed I would have all daughters.  Here’s the picture I had in my head of my future family: Me, wifey, three daughters, and two Cockapoos (or Labradoodles).

It just makes more sense that a guy who has no interest (or talent whatsoever) in sports or hunting (or anything proving I’m man enough by showing my “game face”), but instead has always been enthralled in everything artistic (drawing, entertaining, acting, singing, songwriting, writing) would somehow automatically make a better father to daughters instead of sons.  So that’s part of the reason I was so authentically surprised to learn that our baby is a boy.  Like somehow I deserved a son less because I’m not a certain macho stereotype I’ve memorized from three decades of watching sitcoms and movies.

And now, I have to admit, there’s a part of me that can’t help but laugh that without any preconceived hopes or crossed fingers, I get what every man secretly hopes for- a son.  There’s an unspoken concept (at least in my mind) that raising a son is a rite of passage for a man.  A coveted elective course, a special honorary badge, an engraved trophy so easily received- to be a father to a son.  A chance not so much to relive my own life, but to enhance another future man with all the life experience and knowledge I’ve learned the hard way.

The movie I Love You, Man is built around the fact that male friendships and bonds don’t often come so easily.  By a man having a son, he is automatically given that opportunity- to nurture a male the way every boy and man craves to be taught and directed.  What I lack in knowledge of fixing cars and football statistics and home repairs, I can make up for in teaching healthy communication skills and anything that falls under that categories of “literary”, “artistic”, “psychological”, and “entertainment”.

In other words, I have a feeling I will be raising  the likeness of a future Jewish comedic actor, maybe the next Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the next Shia LaBeouf, the next James Franco…

A well-rounded people-person who is confident in who he is, that’s who I predict he will become.  Who knows?  Maybe he’ll be a quiet, mild-mannered, studious, future accountant.  But with a dad as quirky and Hawaiian-shirt-wearing as me, I just don’t think he has a chance of being anything like Clark Kent.

Baby Jack's body is the length of a cantaloupe this week.

Here’s what The Bump says about Week 20:

Baby’s digestive system is busy creating meconium (a tarry black substance made of swallowed amniotic fluid, digestive secretion and dead cells), which will fill the first diaper after birth. And, speaking of the diaper situation… baby’s genitals are now fully formed!

To return to the “dad from day one” main page, click here.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

The Invisible Touch, Yeah (The 2nd Installment)

 

It takes seeing bad acting to know what good acting is.  Bad acting isn’t simply defined by an actor who conveys no emotion (Ben Stein).  But there is a thin invisible line between a person who is a good actor (Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti) and a person who simply plays the same character in every movie (Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Arnold Schwarzenegger).  Of course there are also the in-betweens (Adam Sandler, Ashton Kutcher, Robin Williams) that only seem to play the same character in all their comedies but in dramas actually become a different person.


But ultimately for an actor who has appeared in a string of successful/popular movies, the question of how good of an actor is, is irrelevant.  It doesn’t matter.  Because there is some unseen force that causes people to keep watching that actor’s movies.  It’s not simply professional acting skills that audiences follow, it’s that invaluable quality of “I like this person”.

Friendships don’t grow just because of common interests.  Now that I think about it, I’ve never made a conscience decision to be a person’s friend.  It just happens.  I never have to say anything like, “You’re cool.  Let’s officially become friends.”


It starts with a few joking insults through text messages, leads to several Sunday afternoon Mario Kart Wii tournaments, and before I know it I plan a whole Saturday around rowing down the Harpeth River in a canoe with him, trying to forget about the movie Deliverance as we paddle our way through the quiet waters.


The “I like this person” quality transcends to romance as well.  There is something extremely ironic about “Singles” events and groups.  For my first year living in Nashville I attended the Singles Sunday School class at my church (around 80 in attendance) plus I went to Kairos (another Singles event every Tuesday night with an average of 1200 people).  It seems with all those single-and-looking people in the same place with the same wishful thinking, it would be easy for people to match up.  But that’s not where I met my wife.  (A mutual friend unintentionally set us up.)

 

And when she and I started dating, I knew right away she was the one.  Aside from all the obvious reasons I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, it was those subconscious connections we had that caused both of us to know right away that the search was over.  The greatest occurrence of “I like this person” that I have ever known.

 


“We are all a little weird, and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”  -Chinese fortune cookie

 

The Invisible Touch, Yeah


The 1st Installment
The 2nd Installment
The 3rd Installment


 

fortune cookie

Stage Presence: How I Went From a Shy Kid to an Outgoing Local Actor, Thanks to Eddie McPherson

Growing up, I was labeled a “shy kid”. But in 1989 when I was in 3rd grade, a young local playwright named Eddie McPherson had faith and saw potential in me, recruiting me to portray an island native boy named Maybe in a play he wrote. Wearing a loin cloth, a rope belt, and a khaki colored t-shirt, I spoke in broken English. (Though off the top of my head I can’t think of any island societies where a white boy with brown spiky hair would not be speaking English as a first language.) This play, Captain Gilabo, would be the vehicle that introduced me to a life where I realized it was actually easier and more natural to be on the stage than it was to hide in the corner, afraid of the spotlight.

Eddie McPherson

Every year he would choose me to play a decent sized role for his newest play, from 3rd grade until 9th grade when he moved away from our small town. But my participation in drama didn’t stop only with Eddie McPherson’s plays. During the summers of my childhood to support local charities, for my senior class play, in the after school program I worked for, and in college, I had stage presence. Actually ending up on the front page of my hometown paper several times, promoting the current play I was in.

Not that I was an amazing actor, it’s more that I learned that a good majority of people didn’t necessarily want to be in plays. But for me, I realized that if I simply memorized my lines and pretended to be someone else, I could pull it off. (Because we all have to adapt our personality to better suite those we are around on a daily basis, it seemed to me that acting is a constant part of life anyway.) I became a hometown child actor not because I was necessarily great at it, but because I was willing to do it.

Simply put, I didn’t have much competition. That’s one of the same reasons I have such a passion for writing. The truth is, hardly anyone I know writes on facebook. It gives me the corner on the market. If it was a crowded market instead, I doubt I would be as inspired to participate so regularly. But knowing my competitions were “25 Things” forwards and “What Kind of Hot Pocket Are You?” quizzes, I learned to take advantage of the “notes” tab.

I am convinced there are many entertaining, insightful, and talented people with an impressive ability to write. But they just don’t do it. I wish they would. Some of the best inspiration I get is by reading the writings of the people that hear the same dog whistle as me.

The inspiration and the audience are often one in the same.

The people that are tired of the all too familiar Christian writing involving a predictable moral point like “just trust in God and everything will be alright” like it was copied and pasted from a 2001 email forward that says only people who really love God will send it to everyone in their contacts, or the seemingly smart but ultimately depressing, Debbie Downer-like “my take on what’s wrong with today’s church” bit.

And people who realize that reminiscing about the memories we all share is more fun than worrying out the future and things we can’t control. And people that like to be made aware of the subtle, random aspects of life that we accept yet don’t notice. “Christian Seinfeld with an actual point.”  When people ask me what can of stuff I write, that is my answer.

Nazareth Dress Rehearsal pirates06.jpg