Tuesday, May 22, 2012

PublishAmerica CEO: I love the camera man

Letter from PublishAmerica's CEO: Young and unusually talented

May 21, 2012

Good morning!

Today I'd like you to go to either (top left) or (scroll down, center of the page) and look at the 12-minute video that filmmaker Alexander Lenzi shot in Orlando.
For two reasons.
One: enjoy while you watch how much fun other PublishAmerica authors were having. And while you're at it, you can watch me in action (I emcee those conventions, and I interview the authors).
Two: look at the high quality of the documentary. Alex Lenzi did all the camera work with a single camera, he edited it, he chose the music, and he decided what to put in and what to leave out. He shot hours and hours of footage, and ended up with these 12 minutes. He did a top professional job, as you will see at a glance. But get this: Alex is only 24

More after this book review, Those Damn Girls: A True Story of Survival by Linda Holvig

Linda Holvig and her six siblings grew up on a ranch in South Dakota in the 1950s. On the surface, their life was the typical American dream as portrayed in the pictures included in this memoir, but underneath the fa├žade was a childhood of abuse and neglect. The girls in particular were made to feel inferior and thus began a life of shame and low self-worth. Linda's recollection of maltreatment toward all of her siblings is the cornerstone of the book. For some of the girls in particular, this abuse would be the impetus to marry men much like their father and endure lives of, well, horror. Linda's first marriage seemed to be doomed from the start, but shortly after her divorce she remarried and she has been enjoying a life free from abuse ever since. A quick transition more than halfway through the book exposes the damaging details of the molestation that plagued Linda, and a battle over their father's trust forces most of the siblings to completely withdraw from their mother and brother. A traumatizing past comes to the surface for these sisters, but their strength and confessions have proven that past cruelties don't rule their current lives. A very personal book, one that, unfortunately, far too many can easily identify with Find Those Damn Girls here: What do you do when you meet a talent like Alex? You offer him a job, right there, on the spot. I had known him before as a waiter at our favorite Carrabba's restaurant, but I didn't know that he was studying filmmaking at Towson University. Not until he told me six weeks or so ago that he had just graduated. I asked him to come with us to our convention in Orlando, May 1, and put the event on video. As soon as we took possession of the convention ballroom, Alex was on his knees on the floor, then on his back, then moving here, crouching there. He was testing the light, the sound, the camera angles, how I would be working the room, where the authors would look their best, everything you expect a video guy to do. Doesn't sound too special or unusual, but there was something about the way Alex was doing his solo act that stood out.

It was that single camera. Alex and his camera were one. It was not just an extension of him, it was him. He loves that camera, what the camera sees, registers, remembers forever. And you can sense that Alex and the camera together love what they see. It isn't very often that you watch someone doing exactly what they were born to do. Alex was born to film. Halfway the convention I offered him a fulltime job. His face lit up with a mixture of surprise and distraction. He was in a zone, and I yanked him out of it. But he liked the offer, very much, said he was going to consider it seriously. Last week Alex came to deliver the final video product, and to refuse my job offer. He explained why. When still in college he had made friends with three other students, and together they had agreed to move to the opposite end of the country, to artsy Seattle, to start a film production company from scratch. He was tempted by the secure job offer but felt obligated to honor that commitment. He said he hoped that I would understand this. All his other friends and family had weighed in and told him to take the job offer. But he just couldn't let his pals down.

That's talent and character in one. From scratch in Seattle, that means working as a restaurant waiter all over again until something comes along. But Alex rather does that. Because he values loyalty, and because he believes in his own talent, confident that he will eventually succeed anywhere, no matter what. With that attitude, there's no doubt that he will. On Friday, he flew to Seattle. I am proud of him Alexander Lenzi. Remember his name. He's that good. And he's going to be even better. I invite you to talk back to me. I don't guarantee a response, but I do guarantee that we listen. You can reach me by email at In the subject line write Attn. Willem

Have a wonderful day!

--Willem Meiners

If you want to rent space on Willem's future Letters-from-the-CEO, go to Have your book reviewed for tens of thousands of people to see, or talk into the open mic!

You can read this letter also online here: ceo052112.html. All previous letters are

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousMay 22, 2012

    YEAH, those Damned Girls. Meiners should have included the ad for this book in his rant about all the complaining, bitter, over 50 old ladies, who are too smart to spend their retirement money promoting a book that will only put more money in PAs pockets. Up yours Meiners.


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