Michael Halperin

CHESTNUT TREES
10-minute play
2014 Playwrights Festival World Premiere

A feisty, sharp-witted 100-year old reminisces about his childhood in a Russian village and the remarkable adventure that brought him to America.


DRIVING JAMES DEAN
Full length Comedy

1955. An aspiring writer breaks his writers block through an unexpected encounter with the iconic actor James Dean leading to a moment that changes his life.

JUDAISM: EMBRACING THE SEEKER

Harold Schulweis. Editor Michael Halperin KTAV, $18.95 paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-60280-141-7

This book is addressed to Jews and non-Jews, affiliated or unaffiliated, who seek to understand the distinctive character of Jewish faith and identification. It seeks to dispel the whispered rumors that Judaism looks askance at those of other faiths who seek or have adopted a Jewish way of life. 57 men and women who have chosen to join the Jewish community of faith and destiny are asked the motivation for their choice, the reaction of their family and friends, and their aspirations for their renewed lives. Prominent synagogue rabbis, of all Jewish schools, of thought share their dialogues with the seekers.​


BLACK WHEELS

National Education Association African American Booklist 2005-2009

Read Across America Program

Inspired by a true story.

Nat Fowler, a fifteen year old African-American boy raised on his family farm in a predominately white part of Missouri in the late 1800’s, runs away  when he’s accused of murder and joins the U.S Army.  He ends up at Fort Missoula, Montana immersed for the first time in all-black culture with the 25th Infantry where he joins the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps just as the U.S. Army orders the corps to complete a journey of 1900 miles from Missoula, Montana to St. Louis,Missouri in forty days over the most rugged territory in the United States.  During the journey he falls in love, discovers bigotry and hatred, finds friends, betrayal and comrades but also grows up as he enters the 20th century.

"...This novel is a gem....There are nuggets of irony throughout...this book will become popular." --- Susan Allen, VOYA Magazine

“It was heart wrenching for me to ‘feel’ the struggle of these Black men in 1897 struggling to demonstrate to whites that they were equal human beings...[as] seen through the eyes of a Black teenager...The story also angered me because it is a struggle that still continues today...I enjoyed reading the novel.”

Dr. John A. Davis, Chair of African-American Studies, Loyola Marymount University, 

Los Angeles, California

“I thoroughly enjoyed it.  [it] handled the whole racist issue in the West and...the changing and unchanging attitudes...the men’s travails made fascinating reading.”

Robert M. Brown, Executive Director,Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, Montana


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ONE-ACTS:

FREUD AT SINAI
A remarkable encounter between Moses and Sigmund Freud at the foot of Mt. Sinai immediately after the revelation of the Ten Commandments leading to a philosophically comic argument between the great leader of the Exodus and the father of psychoanalysis.

POOR TIMING
120 year-old Moses refuses to die even when faced with three determined angels. Arguments escalate and threats erupt until the angry Creator of the Universe intervenes.

Fiction

HIDDEN WISDOM

Quartet of one act plays based on Jewish short stories


Two comedies/two dramas
90 minutes

Non Fiction

WRITING GREAT CHARACTERS

“Halperin provides tremendous insight into effective ‘character development’ in order to create great characters for screenplays.” 
- Frederick S. Pierce, CEO Frederick S. Pierce Co., former president, ABC-TV, past chair American Film Institute

All great motion pictures, plays, and novels begin with superb characters.  The DVD explores, in an easy-to-understand, down-to-earth presentation, how an understanding of archetypal models from fairy tales, folklore, classic films and contemporary motion pictures leads you on the right path to "Write Great Characters."

• Provides you with an easy, non-dogmatic logical method for character development.
• Helps you open the door to the development of unique and strong characters.
• Gives you the tools to develop strong character motivations and relationships.


Purchase this DVD now for only $19.95

Plays

THE SPARK OF REASON

Full length DramaPromenade Playhouse, Santa Monica

“Love, deceit, betrayal and political corruption are all themes coursing through the veins of the heart-racing play, "The Spark of Reason." A sister's revenge can be brutal. Throw in a lover's deception and a teacher's betrayal to the historic 24-year-old Baruch Spinoza's trial for heresy in 1656 -- carried out by the Jewish community in Amsterdam -- and you've got one blisteringly dramatic play. An eclectic cast will rile your deepest emotions in a staged reading written and directed by Michael Halperin, inspired by a true story.”
- Jewish Journal of Los Angeles


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DANCING WITH WILLIAM BLAKE

Full length Drama


A play with music.  After fifty years of marriage, the death of his wife forces William to reflect on the compromises he made.  Now, late in life, he struggles to recapture a lost moment from his youth as he moves from the present to the past and back again.

WRITING THE KILLER TREATMENT

A treatment reveals your story’s structure, introduces your characters and hooks, and is often your first and only opportunity to pitch your project. This is the only book that takes you through the complete process of creating treatments that sell.

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Watch Michael's YouTube interview on this book​

BED AND BREAKFAST

​Full length Comedy

A journalist/screenwriter and his therapist wife are scammed into buying a bed and breakfast and discover that the pastoral life isn’t very pastoral and not much of a life

DVDs

WRITING THE SECOND ACT

Writers Digest Book Club Selection

Every screenplay needs an attention-grabbing beginning and a satisfying ending, but those elements are nothing without a strong, well-crafted middle.  The second act is where most of the action is: where your characters grow, change, and overcome the obstacles that will bring them to the resolution at the end of the story. It's also the hardest act to write, and where most screenplays tend to lose momentum and focus.


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Watch Michael's YouTube interview on this book

Books, plays, dvds

ALL STEPS NECESSARY

Los Angeles Premiere April 2006
Produced by Inkwell Theater
90-minute One Act

“History forgotten is history repeated, and "All Steps Necessary," Michael Halperin's cautionary tale about the post-Kristallnacht doings at Field Marshal Hermann Goering's house in 1938, leaves no trenchant chill untilled.” 
- David Nichols, Los Angeles Times

FROM PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY 3/8/10?

Throughout history, the Jewish attitude toward conversion has been ambiguous and complex. Schulweis, an eminent California rabbi, brilliantly analyzes the ambivalence toward conversion, citing the continuing Israeli argument about the Law of Return with respect to converts. He clearly explores the positive and negative attitudes toward the convert. The book consists primarily of first-person stories told by 57 men and women who became “Jews by choice.” By and large, they are individuals whose decision to embrace Judaism resulted from a personal spiritual quest rather than marriage. Following the personal narratives, there are eight brief essays, primarily by rabbis, in which they describe their experiences in connection with conversion. The book also includes five poems by Schulweis, an afterword by editor Michael Halperin, and a glossary. For Jews, this is a helpful exploration of conversion and a useful guide to the attitude that should be embraced. For non-Jews, it is a valuable introduction to the elements in Judaism that cause some of their friends and even members of their own families to choose to become Jews.


To purchase this book: www.ktav.com

WRITING GREAT CHARACTERS

Writers Digest Book Club Selection

This valuable book identifies and solves a major problem for writers, creating characters who are so real they literally jump off the page. Halperin has developed an easy to understand, logical system which gives all screenwriters a foolproof and fail proof method of developing great characters. Writing Great Characters is a book for all writers, from the expert looking to polish his techniques to the novice who wants to learn the craft from an expert.
Halperin provides tremendous insight into effective ‘character development’ in order to create great characters for screenplays. 
- Frederick S. Pierce | CEO Frederick S. Pierce Co., former president, ABC-TV, past chair American Film Institute


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FREEDOM, TEXAS


Full length Comedy


A kid from Los Angeles in 1953 ventures to small town Texas with dreams of becoming a radio star and discovers reality smacking him in the face.

JACOB’S RESCUE: A HOLOCAUST STORY


American Bookseller’s Association, Best Book of 1993

Teachers’ Choice International Reading Association

Notable Children’s Trade Book

Children’s Book Council & National Council for Social Studies

Based on the true story of children rescued from the horror of the Holocaust by a Polish Catholic family and kept safe for four and a half years under Nazi occupation.

“Characters are well developed and multidimensional, and the story is a poignant one.”  School Library Journal

" What gives the story authenticity is not only the harsh physical danger, but also the candid characterization, the honesty about how fear made people act.“  

Booklist

 “[an] evocation of...terror and courage.”  Publisher’s Weekly


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