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Thomas Nealeigh



  • "See You On the Backlot"

Magazine series:

  • Adventures of a Single Dad, Single Source News, 2006-2007
  • Jack Info: the Dayton Files, Single Source News, 2002-2006

Plays & Scripts (produced by various companies):

  • Flawedville
  • Dreams of Coney
  • Carnival of Blood
  • Tax Me Deadly
  • The Greatest Show Unearthed
  • FreakShow Deluxe
  • A Christmas Carol Radio Drama
  • Three Years At the Front
  • The Pigeon Coos At Midnight
  • Joey Danger, American Super-Spy
  • A Night In Fullerton
  • The Coffee Shop
  • Jack Info (audio drama)

Comic Books:

  • Jeremy Sifter: For Hire - in the series 'High Octane Theatre,' Infiniti Productions, 1996

Hobbies and favourite books/authors:

Nealeigh's hobbies include watching horror movies, training in various martial arts & sword fighting styles, studying history, collecting oddities, reading comics and riding Harley Davidson motorcycles.

According to Nealeigh, his favorite and most influential authors and their books include (not in any particular order):

  • Ray Bradbury (whom Nealeigh once met and conversed with in Fullerton, CA)
  • Philip K. Dick (Nealeigh used to live in a Fullerton, CA apartment where PKD once lived)
  • Jim Steranko (Nealeigh says this comic artist and writer, a former carnival worker and escape artist, has been more influential on how he has chosen to live his life)
  • Dashiell Hammet
  • Mickey Spillane
  • Andrew Vachss
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs - Barsoom series
  • Matt Wagner - Grendel series
  • Daniel P. Mannix - "Memoirs of a Sword Swallower" and "Freaks: We Who Are Not As Others" (Nealeigh calls these books the 'must-haves' for anyone interested in the American sideshow)
  • Aye Jay - "The Golden Rule of Schmoozing" (A personal friend and mentor of Nealeigh, Aye Jay was a circus performer and carnival worker - as well as the first official Ronald McDonald, and served as head-boss clown for the McDonalds Company for years. Jay helped Nealeigh with some details of "See You On the Backlot," and Nealeigh describes Jay's book as 'life-changing.')

When did you started writing and why?

Nealeigh says he originally began with writing plays "because there was nothing out there that I liked, and I wanted to create a show that I would be interested in being a part of and seeing." While he had studied journalism and written articles for local newspapers, his creative writing started with a short story called, "The Coffee Shop." "My friends who read the story liked it," says Nealeigh, "and it led me to writing comics. But I've used elements of that story in my other writings, including a five episode tele-play about a private eye called 'Jack Info.' While the tele-play never got produced, I created an audio drama version that ended up being nationally broadcast. During graduate school was when my professors really pushed me to write a lot. They gave me the confidence in my work to put it out there or other people to see." Nealeigh's play-writing is what eventually led him to form FreakShow Deluxe, and finally create the kind of shows he had always hoped to.

How and where you find inspiration?

Nealeigh claims his inspirations come from his own experiences and everyday events. "The most interesting thing I do every day is meet new people," Nealeigh says. "It never ceases to amaze me how different people's perspectives on situations - on life - about how amazingly varied their views are. It's the differences that make things exciting. That's what inspires me."

How you go about research?

"The best way to do research for writing, or anything, is firsthand," says Nealeigh. "I would much rather speak or correspond directly with someone who was there, read a journal entry of a participant, or walk the actual streets where the event happened, rather than trust a book, newspaper article or something on the internet. There's also your own experiences. I made a decision very early on that I wanted to try and experience everything I could in my life. I call upon what I've been through in my writing all the time. It's what led me on the paths I have chosen - from being an actor, to traveling where I have... it's all been for the experience!"

Creative writing tips:

When asked to give tips to other writers, Nealeigh hesitates. "Uh... mmm. Huh. Let me get back to you," he says, sipping from his ever-present cup of hot black coffee. When pressed, Nealeigh is more forthcoming. "The first rule is that there are no rules, other than being fair to your reader. You have invited them to go on this journey with you - it's your responsibility to see them through to the end of it, and that everything about it fits. Understand there are guidelines for structure, and if you know and understand them, you can get around them -- but you cannot pretend they do not exist." Nealeigh thinks for a moment before adding, "... and coffee. Lots of coffee."

Writing projects you are currently working on, including anything you’re doing not intended for publication:

Nealeigh is currently working on some new plays, a couple of feature scripts, an illustrated children's book, a series of "Jack Info" novels and assisting his friend and boyhood hero, Dr. Creep, who was a television horror show host in the 1970s & 80s, write his autobiography.

Promotional services such as giving talks or writing workshops, and contact details:

As a companion piece to "See You On the Backlot," Nealeigh offers a 45-minute presentation about circus & carnival sideshows in American culture suitable for schools, libraries and any private or public gathering. In addition to discussing various aspects of the sideshow, Nealeigh teaches the audience a simple magic trick, plays a standard con game with a volunteer and performs a variety of "working acts" including the Human Blockhead, an animal trap act, Bed of Nails and fire-eating (as permitted).

Nealeigh is also available for speaking engagements - both formal & informal - on a variety of topics. In addition to being a motivational speaker, Nealeigh offers workshops on play-writing, beginning & creative writing, writing from a historical perspective and instruction in the sideshow arts.

Additionally, Nealeigh's production company, FREAKSHOW DELUXE, is available for bookings. From their half-hour version of the classic 10-In-1 sideshow, to vaudeville & burlesque shows, to their own full-length musical "Flawedville," FREAKSHOW DELUXE shows are a blend of old and new, and suitable for audiences of all ages.

For information on any of these presentations, workshops, lectures or shows, contact Thomas directly via email at thomas@freakshowdeluxe.com.

Thomas Nealeigh
FreakShow Deluxe LLC
4647 Kingswell Ave., Suite #137
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 270-2518