by Johnny Carlton (Giesbrecht)
Copyright 2012 Johnny Giesbrecht
Johnny Carlton is a writer of suspense thrillers available as e-books at www.amazon.com
Some of the projects that I’ve been involved with have, thus far, not worked out. I’m thinking in particular of my attempt to become a viable motion-picture producer. With the help of my wife and many other people, I’ve produced and directed five movies, three of them feature lengths.
I’m pleased with the way they all turned out. The problem is that they haven’t earned any money.
But what really bothers me is that people who helped me make the movies–actors, investors, etc.–no doubt feel that I’ve let them down, and some of them see my name, whether Giesbrecht or Carlton, as being written in mud or worse. I can’t blame them for that. However, I do wish to clarify the situation, for what it’s worth.
First of all, not one of those five projects have ever made a profit–not a cent. We had a few showings of some of them, and one, the first one, was distributed in video by a small company in Edmonton, Crown Video Canada; but none of this meager income even came close to covering expenses. We paid up some of our debts with money squeezed out of other sources, but overall the situation has remained gloomy.
One particular problem has been unexpected difficulties with music rights. We paid out considerable amounts of money for rights, only to find that the allotted time limits ran out before we could find a way to realize income from the projects. In the meantime the costs of music went up drastically.
For some years I tried to get us out of this hole with new movie projects (hence the five completed ones), hoping that each one would be the big ship coming in to rescue the whole flotilla. Instead, each one only added to the disaster.
I finally had enough sense to quit trying with this particular method, realizing that money would have to come from some other effort.
In the meantime I was losing my health. This decline had been going on for many years, so that even during the years of shooting the movies I could sometimes just barely stay on my feet. Doctors, including specialists, didn’t deny that I was ill, but for a long time they couldn’t find what was causing my symptoms.
My condition kept getting worse, the symptoms being weakness, tiredness, pain in my back and legs, and an increased unsteadiness of hand. Actually my right foot was the first to begin this jumping around bit, and then my right hand.
Only recently I finally found out what’s wrong with me. I was diagnosed as having Parkinson’s disease, a condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough dopamine. This can result in tiredness, weakness, and loss of muscle control. My symptoms began noticeably in 1980, thirty-two years ago, although there was a shorter episode some years before that.
Long before it got to the seriously shaky part, but with the weakness, tiredness, and pain more or less in full swing, I decided that the best thing to do was to go back to an earlier interest–the writing of books, fiction. Sitting at a desk, writing, was physically more possible for me than any other kind of work I could think of.
Some time before I got into making movies, Moody Press of Chicago had published two of my teen novels. Those didn’t make much money either, but at least they didn’t put me in the red. So I did go back to writing, knowing that it’s very hard to place a manuscript with a publisher but hoping for a breakthrough.
Then came a major shift in the tectonic plates underlying the world’s publishing scene–namely the arrival of technology that allowed books to be published not on paper but digitally. This way they could be read on an e-book reader and on other popular devices including ordinary home computers. Once the book marketing companies were set up for this, the cost of publishing a book (by this method) had dropped so drastically that they were willing to have a much longer list of books accepted for publishing than the print publishers could afford. This allows many more authors to get published than would otherwise be the case. The downside is that the competition is as fierce as it ever was. It’s easier to get published now, but one’s book is likely to get lost among the thousands of others that also got published.
That’s where I sit right now, having had a number of books made available as e-books, but waiting to be discovered by readers. This website is an effort at promoting my books. Information is also available on them by going directly to amazon.com, the company that’s marketing them, and calling up their e-books and then Johnny Carlton and Johnny Giesbrecht; I have some books under each name.
I’ve begun to take medication for Parkinson’s, and am waiting for it to kick in fully. Already there has been a slight improvement–somewhat less tiredness and a little less pain. My hand still trembles, but I’m able to type. I’m trusting in God.
I haven’t given up on the movies. Should I be able to earn enough money from writing to pay for the music rights, I would have another go at marketing these five entertaining projects, so that, hopefully, some income could be realized by all who were involved in their making.
I sincerely thank all the people who helped make them, and apologize for my lack of success in marketing the product. Please forgive me and join me in hoping that some good things will still happen.
You were wonderful to work with, and Yvonne and I will always remember those exciting days of filming.