Creator Q&A with Jimmy Doom
The multi-talented performer and prolific writer shares a few answers with us
Jimmy Doom publishes hisnewsletter on Substack and he’s a natural subject for this Q&A. As you’ll see, Jimmy has spent plenty of time in front of microphones, cameras and keyboards. Please enjoy Jimmy’s answers and here’s Jimmy!
Are you the same Jimmy Doom who has an IMDB entry and who was in Kill the Irishman, among other films?
DJ'ed in college, caused some Howard Stern Style ruckus there, got kicked off the radio station, joined a punk band. After a show with my band an indie director offered me a role in a short. I almost turned him down because at 25 with no experience I figured I would be a detriment. The guy's name was Kevin King. He wouldn't let me say no. So I did his film, and then got cast in another, and eventually was able to make a real career out of it, which leads us to your second question: That is me in Kill the Irishman and Ash and Bone and dozens more films, along with some music videos by prominent artists like Travis Scott and Damian Marley.
What was the most interesting experience from your punk band days?
It's impossible to whittle it down to one experience. Certainly a highlight is the reception we got from kids in Muskegon, Michigan. Little working class town, and the crowd was completely into it. There was an apartment above the club (The Ice Pick) so kids could hang out and talk to you after the show. The performance room was wall to wall rabid fans of aggressive music. So they get a mention. But there were hundreds more.
When you were a kid what did you want to become when you grew up?
When I was a kid I dreamed about being an actor, thought it might be more realistic to become a lawyer. Then I got into some juvenile trouble and my grades were garbage, mostly due to a tumultuous home life. Auditioned for a play in high school and was not cast, later being told the decision to not cast me was because I was a troublemaker and "loose cannon."
What exactly is a Roulette Weal and what led you to create a Substack newsletter featuring original short fiction?
I called my Substack Roulette Weal because I knew fiction on Substack was a gamble, and I knew that trying to create it every day might cause some damage, and Weal is another word for bruise or swollen red mark. It's a play on words I liked at the time, though if I had to do it over I'd probably name it Jimmy Doom's Fiction Factory or something. But at the time I didn't know I'd be capable of 900+ daily stories.
I had been on Medium, and when the pay cut that was presented as not a pay cut sent me away I landed at Substack. It was a risk, and still is, but I'm glad I took that risk.
When writing, do you have a preference between pen and paper writing vs. computer and keyboard?
Pen and Paper used to be all I did as a kid and young man, but I'm laptop or phone now, unless I'm writing a poem for a friend.
After publishing 988 stories daily on Substack, I'd say that my life is one big writing exercise. My next story is on my mind constantly and I speak "orphan lines" (dialogue with the character unwritten) and snippets and embryos of ideas into a voice recorder.
Why do you reserve pen and paper for poetry?
That's just a fluke. I wrote more poetry before I owned a printer and to perform it live I had to be able to carry it. It wasn't an artistic choice.
Do you do any writing exercises to help sharpen your skills?
Chuck Palahniuk's book Consider This is a brilliant guide for writing, and I sip from his suggestions often, though I don't adhere to any single writing style. or a rigid set of rules. Elmore Leonard's Rules for Writing is also helpful.
If I have a "rule" it's: give the reader a reason to care about the character. And give the character relatable flaws and weak spots.. America wouldn't have cheered so loudly for Superman if he wasn't also Clark Kent.
How do you feel after completing 1000 short pieces and do you plan to continue the streak?
I think it's a pretty big accomplishment, but it doesn't matter what I think. The people who read them liked the vast majority of them. The number is secondary to that.
How does anyone keep a streak going? Keep showing up, keep working, keep trying to improve and not go crazier in the process.
Have you done any acting recently? Is it something that still interests you?
I just wrapped a few projects. Port Sanilac is one of them. Lighthearted but somehow intense Zombie comedy.
As for the second part of the question, that's probably not the best question to ask an actor. Very few people who have had acting success stop liking ACTING. They might get tired of the business, the bullshit, the outside pressure, possibly even the internal pressures. But it would be rare to stop liking the actual portraying of characters, hitting a mark, delivering that line of dialogue in the moment, ducking a punch, becoming a different person for a few hours or a few weeks. It's the best job in the world when the cameras are rolling or the stage lights are on.
What was/is your favorite place to live and why?
Detroit will always be my favorite place. It would take an entire book to make sense of it to an outsider. Detroit has changed a lot. Not necessarily for the better. But It's home. I loved it when everyone called it The Murder Capital of The World. I still love it now, it's just a bit more gentrified and downtown is a little more homogenous.
Pretend you wake up one morning and learn that the Internet has been destroyed. What's the first thing that you do?
The Internet is destroyed? I'd probably cheer. Certain skills I've learned over the years would instantly become more valuable. As long as there are still movie theatres and books and TV or even just radio, I could deal with it. The internet has its charm, but it's also a giant petting zoo full of assholes who bite.
Thanks to Jimmy for his great answers! Be sure to check out!
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