“Hey, Songwriter is inspiring, irreverent, funny and full of fantastic pop trivia. Every chapter sparked great ways to approach, re-think and create better songs. The positive effect on my creativity and output was exhilarating. Read it. Use it. Steal it!”
-David Ramos, Composer, Johnny Cash: American Rebel
"Pete McCormack is an unstoppable creative force. He will inspire and elevate your writing."
—Daniele Bolelli, History on Fire
"Pete possesses the greatest breadth and the most intellectual speed of any creative soul I know, and I know many. He has pushed and inspired and kicked my ass into songwriting, album production, novel writing and even the definition and exhibition of lovingkindness."
—Vince R Ditrich, author of The Liquor Vicar
"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it."
"You wanna fly? You gotta give up the shit that weighs you down."
I've been fortunate to have a creative writing life (and a creative film and music life). Still, I wish I'd done some things differently. D-uh. But seriously, I do. I wish I'd collaborated more, inspired more artistic creativity in other writers, shared more about the writing and film business and my own writing process and what I've learned and haven't learned. I even reget I wasn't more talented.
Then I said, "Hey, stop wishing, you'll never be more talented." So, I created this website and a YouTube channel and wrote books on writing and songwriting to share what I've learned and not learned and am still learning from other creative people. I'm not the best presenter on YouTube but there may be some things that help get you over some hump in the middle of your humpy creative journey.
One thing's certain, on some level it doesn't matter who you are or what level you're at, beginner or pro. Artistic creativity is built into the human species and vital to the journey forward. Let me know what fires up your writing and creativity (use it) and what holds you back ( conquer it).
There are writing and songwriting tips, prompts and ideas below—and below that examples of what I've done. Whoever you are, something here will ignite your artistic creativity and take you further. Take what you need. Hope something helps. You deserve it. If there's anything I can do to help inspire your journey, let me know.
My Last Friends on Earth
Secrets of GLYKO
My Last Friends on Earth
Return to Trikkandor
My Last Friends on Earth
Book 1 and 2 of the YA trilogy My Last Friends on Earth are complete. Three kids, forced together by a crazy world—and helped by a foot-tall Queen, a hug flying tiger-eagle, a secret nectar and a Trikkan who eats his own cheek—are trying to stop an alien force from finishing off the human species. How much fun is that? Yeah, a lot. Except for the misery and death. But the jokes are good, and so is the action. And hey, that's life on Earth 103 years in the future..
When divorce destroys a ten-year old kid who's obsessed with hockey, he blames NHL legend Ken Dryden for all of his family and hockey troubles. It made sense at the time and I get a lot of love for it. The most flow I've had writing. Here's to childhood and family and friends and resilience.
This book was strangely fun, stimulating and inspiring to write, quoting all those writer legends who actually know what the hell is going on. May you become one of those writer legends! If not, get an education. I beg you. A few details and chapters here. The whole book will be up soon.
First novel. The first query letter was rejected. A week later, having accidentally sent the same query letter twice, the same publisher who declined said, "Sure, send us three chapters." Done. Nice to know somebody liked a neurotic 19-year old kid who masturbates too much. No, not me! The character. Geezuz.
Hey, Songwriter was written in the same joyous flow as Hey, Writer. Rewarding, surprising and who knew how much famouse songwriters stole from each other? Well, their lawyers knew. Loved writng the book. Still love the pop trivia. A few chapters here. The whole book will be up soon. Seriously.
Ali is the GOAT for so many reasons. The ten boxers Ali fought in Facing Ali? Legends. Loved those fellas. The film was short-listed for an Oscar. Yeah, I am proud of it!
Uganda Rising was a privilege to make, with huge responsibility. A note of caution, the film is heavy and there are some brutal images. Click poster for an excerpt.
I Am Bruce Lee
I am not Bruce Lee. He was an original who made being a mystic and a fighter beyond cool. Legend among legends.
John Mann was a pure artist. His brave journey with Alzheimer's taught me so much about dignity and love. And Spirit of the West are the best.
Sports On Fire - HBO Series
See Grace Fly
The first full-length film I ever directed and only fictional feature so far. Great experience in independent filmmaking. Grace and her brother rocked.
The concept for Sports on Fire was simple: when sports and history collide the whole world watches. The stories, interviews and revelations from all six episodes enthralled, fascinated and educated me. What a treat. Currently streaming on CBC Gem.
I made these two short films for the wonderful Echo Storytelling Agency. Anybody in your life that you love? Tell them now—you know, that you you love them. You never know. #TellThemNow got over a million views in the first two weeks after launch and was featured in media around the world, leaving my name out! I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum who steals lines from Marlon Brando.
My first album. 24-Track, 2-inch tape. Fab players. Big dreams. This is not the original cover title. It was called Breathe. But that's my daughter and she has my heart. Plus she can totally shred. Not bad at soccer, either. Total gem.
These New Work songs are productions in process. It's one thing to write songs. It's another to record and produce a song to a standard that feels good. New work, same dreams. And occasional, precious rushes of elation. And yeah, a little depression. But fuck it, I'm back and still trying.
Shine is a rough mix of my dream of letting go of love with style and hoping it sounds like something from Motown. It doesn't. The Funk Brothers I ain't.
Album 2. Recorded in a studio, a living room and a shed on something called DAT. Got a great story from Abbey Road out of it. Got to tour Canada. This is the original cover and title. Seconds later the train came and I was killed. Hence, no third record.
Inner-Galactical is about when the biggest amount of dark matter in the universe is in your heart, and not even NASA can understand. This astronaut is choosing to not call Houston back. Fortunately, he has a little recording studio in his capsule, and an affection for Space Oddity and Rocket Man.
Innocent Man was inspired from research I did for a potential series called No Justice. Special nod to the Innocence Project, who fight for the release, exoneration and dignity of wrongfully accused prisoners. Should've got any actor for the video.
I'm not getting any younger. Let's create something.
Writer, filmmaker, musician. Recently completed my third novel, number one in a YA trilogy called My Last Friends on Earth. The story takes place a century in the future. My other novels, Understanding Ken and Shelby, were written in the previous century. I've penned several produced feature screenplays in between. Some I even liked.
I recently wrote Hey, Writer about the writing life, the creative process and how to get sorta close to the top of your game and kinda sorta stay there. I've done the same for songwriters: Hey, Songwriter, even though I've never written a hit, to help you write your next or first great song.
My documentary Facing Ali was Oscar short-listed in 2009. Spirit Unforgettable won Audience Choice awards at Toronto's Hot Docs and VIFF in 2016. I've won quite a few other awards, too, but I can't remember exactly what or why.
I created, wrote and directed a 6-part HBO Canada documentary series called Sports on Fire. Other award-winning films I've written and directed include Uganda Rising, I Am Bruce Lee—at the time Spike TV’s highest watched documentary ever—and a scripted feature called See Grace Fly.
I’ve done ad work for Echo Storytelling Agency that has garnered millions of views on multiple platforms.
My music has been used in film, T.V. and Digital Media but I still dream of writing that perfect pop song, also known as a mental illness.
Also, I live with my husband Tom in Maine, and our two cats, Sally and Whisper. No, I don't. But Stephen King lives in Maine. So does Chris Van Dusen, and my kids love him.