Thursday, June 28


Some people seem to get utterly caught up in having the right gear, equipment, training, whatever BEFORE they’ll make any art.

Oft-times it’s really just an excuse not to start.

If you can lay your mitts on an acoustic guitar and it’s got all—or even most—of its strings, then you can start making music. Right now. Today.

Then you can get pretty good at playing the guitar, and pretty good at making music, while you save up to buy all the amps and speakers and cables and digital jib-jabs available to contemporary musicians.

Think of the head start you’ll have on your Musical Dreams if go down this road less-traveled…rather than focusing on the gear and stuff first and waiting for Godot to show up before actually doing something with your talents?!

Shit, when I made my first independent feature—the comic mockumentary, THE PERFECT MAN CONTEST—I had a little money to buy some equipment. I decided to spend most of it on lights and, especially, the best microphone, boom and attendant audio gear I could afford. However, this didn’t leave me with enough money to afford one rather important piece of equipment: the digital video camera with which to shoot the picture.

Sooooooo, I let that stop me and never made THE PERFECT MAN CONTEST.

Just kidding, natch!

Actually, not having a Camera stopped me for about a day, then I found a fellow artist here in Austin, TX who had a (then) state-of-the-art Canon XL-1. I made a deal with him where he let me use his camera in exchange for borrowing my sweet lights and audio-recording gear whenever he was doing HIS productions. Everybody came out ahead.

Don’t let NOTHING stop you from making your art! Please!

Tuesday, June 26


One easy way to measure how big an impact your Creativity is having on the world is through Google Alerts.

Rather than going through the bother of Googling yourself and your projects all the damn time, you can simply go to Google, sign up for Google Alerts, and then any time your name or current artistic endeavor or whatnot is mentioned pretty much anywhere on the Internet, you'll get an e-mail with the link to it.

Which is pretty damn cool, when you think about it!

If some dude in New Zealand, say, blogs one evening about really wanting to see Z: A ZOMBIE MUSICAL, I'll get a notice about it in my Inbox within a few hours. Then I can write him, thanking him for his interest and even offering to sell him a DVD of the picture.

Currently I receive Google Alerts for:


(That would be me, of course! However, it turns out there have been--and still ARE--bunches and bunches of John McLeans in the world. Or is it Johns McLean?! Whichever, there's lots. These include well-known doctors, boxers, barristers and musicians named John McLean, along with the John McLean who was formerly the head of the WGA until he got deposed, and, especially, the John McLean who was a Cabinet Member and Supreme Court Justice in the mid-1800s. Damn them all for stealing my name!)


(My original movie musical. Learn more about it at the Official Site,


(The sexy Burlesque Company founded by the three principal actresses from Z: A ZOMBIE MUSICAL--viz., Hanna Hardin, Hallie Martin and Tiffany Janssen--along with our Choreographer and Lead Singer, Amy Jordan. I'm the MC for the Jigglewatts, which is why I have them particularly in my Google Alerts. Check 'em out at

As my next narrative feature--the literary comedy, EX LIBRIS--moves further into pre-production, I'll surely add that to my Google Alerts as well.

Because, again, it's a great barometer of how word is spreading on your creative projects.

Monday, June 25


Earlier this year we submitted my latest independent feature--the All-Singing, All-Dancing, All-Zombies musical called, simply enough, Z: A ZOMBIE MUSICAL--to a major film festival.

And...we didn't get in.

When I saw the kinds of pictures that DID get in, I realized that an independent, original movie musical like ours would probably never get into any of the major, corporate film festivals.

Being a filmmaker and all, I couched my response in the form of a short called HOW TO SUCCEED IN FILM FESTIVALS...WITHOUT REALLY TRYING! and posted it on YouTube.

Major film journalist Nikki Finke--whose film blog, Deadline Hollywood Daily should be on everybody in show business' daily Must-Read List--picked up the link and Posted it on her site, saying:

"Stop whatever you're doing now and watch this satirical short by filmmaker John McLean from Austin, TX that explains the "truth" behind the selection process at the major festivals -- and tips how to get indies selected at Sundance, South by Southwest, Toronto, et al. It's both funny and nasty. I loved it."

It always feels good when other people appreciate your creative efforts...'cause that ain't always the case, of course!

Sunday, June 24


My experience is that the more creative ideas you release into the world, the more new creative ideas come along to fill the void. Contrary to the popular belief that you only get so many ideas in your life, creativity simply leads to even more Creativity.

If you sit on a single project and hold it too precious and take forever to realize it, then perhaps your ideas WILL dry up. I see that happen with artistic pals of mine now and again. Rather than conceiving an idea, bringing it into the world and then moving on, they sit on it for weeks, months, sometimes even years at a time.

Hell, you can make a groovy short film in a single weekend...if you bring enough energy, passion and enthusiasm to the dance! Which leaves you approximately 51 remaining weekends in the year to make still more stuff.

Or, if you're short on energy, passion and enthusiasm, you can spend an entire year nursing that same little short to life.

It's all up to you, of course.

Friday, January 5


Some artistic endeavors you just can't do by yourself. You need other people and/or their money to pursue them. If you're an architect or an actor, for example, you pretty much gotta waiit by the phone until someone offers you a gig, an opportunity to practice your art, a chance to do your thing.

Rather than just lapse into a creative torpor between gigs, some passionate people here in Austin are keeping their creative urges at least partially satisfied through what I think of as Secondary Arts...artistic endeavors outside their primary medium.

In that spirit, a passel of Austin actresses I know have just launched their own magazine. Called "Caught In The Act", the magazine covers a world they know well...arts and entertainment! Check 'em out at:

Another group of actresses I know well--indeed, they were the principal Zombie Girlz from Z: A ZOMBIE MUSICAL, along with our choreographer/lead singer--have formed a burlesque company called "The Jigglewatts". Not only are they getting valuable theatre experience through this endeavor, but they're getting paid to entertain people...and it don't get much better than that! Discover more about the Jigglewatts' electrifying brand of risque cabaret at: