About Mario

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mario Piumetti is a freelance writer of science fiction, horror, screenplays, and nonfiction. He has a bachelor's degree in English from California Lutheran University and an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University. An avid music lover, his work is heavily influenced by rock, punk, and metal. You can contact him at mario.piumetti.writer@gmail.com.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


For my birthday, a friend of mine gave me an iTunes gift card.  I used it a couple of days ago to get an audio recording of Stephen King's On Writing.  I've listened to audiobooks before, but only a small handful.  The first one was an abridged Seamus Heaney recording of his Beowulf translation.  The small number might stem from me growing up thinking reading is a visual act (looking at words on a page) rather than an auditory one (listening to words on headphones).

Now, for the record, I do have a hard copy of On Writing.  Which writer doesn't?  But I also take daily walks ranging from thirty minutes to an hour or longer.  I usually listen to music, but August has been a very stressful month, and I felt like I needed a different kind of company besides Marilyn Manson.  Audiobooks are great in that they you can multitask to a degree while listening.  Walks and drives are the best time for them, I believe.  I'm also a slow reader, so listening to a book means I can fit more of them in my year.  If this sounds like you, $20-30 downloading recording might be worth your while.

I'm not saying I'm abandoning printed books altogether.  Some of the books on my shelf had personalized messages in them.  Others are just too damn good to part ways with.  If you want my cope of Harry Turtledove's Tosev novels, you'll have to pry all eight of them from my cold, dead Eye-talian hands.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Keeping Your Emails Clear

I'm technologically schizophrenic, guys.  That doesn't mean I'm really schizophrenic, but I do have four email addresses.  Four!  And I sometimes feel like I've got to take on a different persona when I'm using them.

I call these Personal, Jobs, Writing, and Bullshit.  Personal is the one I use the most.  It's the one my friends have to reach out to me.  Jobs is for when I'm hunting for day jobs or registering with online job boards.  Writing is similar but for writing resources and when I'm submitting stories.  And Bullshit, frankly, is for relatives I don't want reaching out to me, but they don't have this since I don't keep in touch with them anyways.  I think I use it for miscellaneous registrations, but I'm not even sure about that.  Give me a break.  This was all set up before I knew about filters.

I think I'm beyond hope in consolidating these different faces out of fear that closing one might lead to unintended consequences like, "Oh, crap!  I forgot to update my info with this site and now I can't log in to do so because that email address is no longer valid!"

I want to express this to writers because if I can make this mistake, others can too.  Case in point: I sent the draft of a script to a friend I'd like to direct.  Because it's a writing project, I used my Writing address.  No worries.  But then I sent the same script to an actress friend to see if she'd be interested.  I sent it to her via the personal one because she has it.

It felt weird.  It felt like sending classified information from your home computer instead of the government-issued one (like that would ever happen).  But the "send" button had been clicked upon and there was no going back, only moving forward.

Another instance occurred when I emailed a freelance proposal to a potential client with the Jobs address.  We tried setting up an initial meeting but not all of my messages got through because I would sometimes switch between Jobs and Writing.  Bad move, Mario.  It's never good looking like a scatterbrain to a client.  At least, it wouldn't look good to me.

I do encourage writers - anyone, really - to have different email addresses depending on different, specific needs.  You can sync them into one mailbox, and forwarding and filtering makes things more organized.  But you have to be clear about the face you're using with each.

After tonight, my new rule goes something like this: the Writing address is for submissions and freelance proposals only.  It's also attached to a Google Voice account that serves as an office number; I don't like just handing out my cell phone number.

I might sound a little anal here micromanaging little things like this, but I also believe it pays off in the long run.  If you're about to hit the pavement for a job and talk to a recruiter, you're likely to hear that you need a professional-sounding email address rather than partydude666@hotmail.com.  The same goes for submissions.  Even if there's a rejection heading my way, it's best to put on as appropriate a face as possible.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Boiling Frogs

They say that if you want to kill a frog, you put it in a pot of cold water and slowly bring the heat up to a boil.  The danger is gradual and the frog doesn't notice it's dying.

Last night, AMC gave us the pilot episode of Fear The Walking Dead.  Because I'm on the Left Coast, I saw the reviews before the episode, and felt a little nervous sitting down to it.  A slow pacing was the greatest criticism, that it didn't jump into the crisis as fast as the pilot episode of The Walking Dead had done back in 2010.  This is true.  In the entire hour, we see only four zombies, two of them up close and one of that pair really up close at the end of the episode.

However, we need to take a step back and look at what the series is trying to achieve in a broader sense.  We're seeing the early days of the apocalypse, and if every episode can be summed up in one line, last night's pilot is: "We have a problem."  Fear The Walking Dead will, I believe have more in common with the Max Brooks novel World War Z than Robert Kirkman's comic books, especially the early parts of Brooks's novel where the crisis unfolds slowly.

This gives us a good dose of reality.  I remember the start of the Swine Flu Pandemic in 2009 with a few news reports here and there coming out of Mexico.  It didn't seem like anything to worry about at first.  But then more people died, things got tense, and for a while, people worried whether or not it would be the next Spanish Flu.  Ultimately, 200,000 died from it.  Relatively small compared to 1918, but still a large number.

History lesson aside, I think audiences need to be patient with the show.  I don't mean, "Oh, let's wait for them to find their footing."  I mean we know there's at least one season lined up.  Let's see what the writers can pull out of the bag.  I will concede the show has an uphill battle ahead.  As one reviewer put itFear The Walking Dead "can't rely on the huge popularity of its big brother to keep it afloat.  It has to prove that it's a show worth watching on its own merits."  But we still shouldn't discard it simply because of slow pacing.  Let's not forget the first season of Guillermo del Toro's The Strain.  Sure, it had more vampires than AMC gave us zombies last night, but society stayed in denial, and things spiraled out of control by the end of the season.

I'm thinking of the Fear The Walking Dead trailer here: scenes of people rioting, of police shooting zombies in the streets mingled in among the crowds of innocent people looking for safety.  Complete and utter chaos.  I've said it before.  I'll say it again.  This isn't a show about finding answers.  It's about the shit hitting the fan, and the chefs boiling their frogs.