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Meet J.T. Madicus: Novelist, filmmaker, and medical activist

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn everything we could about the impossibly prolific J.T. Madicus. Here's our interview with Madicus.

Meet J.T. Madicus: Novelist, filmmaker, and medical activist

J.T. Madicus is already differentiating himself as a novelist. The author of Final Diagnosis: No Second Chances combines his real-life knowledge of medical science with his love of fiction to create a medical drama/thriller novel that actually teaches its audience medicine. No Second Chances is the first novel in the Final Diagnosis series, which will span 5 novels total. Additionally, the first novel has already taken life into the form of a film and is set to premiere in Summer 2020.

Embedded within the captivating plot of Final Diagnosis: No Second Chances are real-life medical scenarios where the reader can watch the heroes analyze, diagnose and treat patients. The characters and the plot are fiction, but the medical cases are real. You’ll be learning medicine, but it won’t feel like any kind of study that you’ve done before! 

The entire Final Diagnosis series tackles hard-hitting themes and the realities of the American Medical Industry, including the suffering of medical students, with a third experiencing symptoms of depression at some point in their lives; the astronomical suicide rate of doctors and medical students; the potential catastrophic shortage of doctors; and the truth behind diseases, insurance, and the medical community.  

The novels and the upcoming film are consistent with J. T. Madicus’s philosophy to revolutionize medical education and bring it into the 21st century. The psychological tension, depth of characters and the fast-paced plot will be entertaining to the average reader as well as the medical expert, perhaps even inspiring the next generation of medical professionals.

A modern renaissance man

J.T. Madicus is an American entrepreneur, educator, author, and producer. Through his books, films, and businesses, he advocates for modern solutions to the problems facing our world, particularly in the fields of healthcare, education, and sustainability.

The author of the Final Diagnosis series of medical drama thriller novels, J.T. Madicus’s novels embed real-world medical tidbits within a compelling narrative with a flavor of espionage and action. Beginning with Book one No Second Chances (October 2019), the Final Diagnosis series epitomizes J.T.’s mission of making medical dramas both realistic and entertaining.

After writing the novel, the transition to screenwriting seemed to be a natural progression for J.T. Madicus. J.T. adapted his novel for the film No Second Chances, which was shot with a professional cast in Poland in August 2019 and is currently being submitted to film festivals across Europe and the United States. Loosely based on his novel of the same name, No Second Chances is a medical drama and psychological thriller. Created with medical professionals as well as the general viewer in mind, the medical science included in the film is both real and accurate. This results in a film that not only entertains but also gives insight to doctors in the field.

J.T. Madicus’s work in the film industry isn’t limited to screenwriting. He also produced and co-directed (alongside Gabriel Rodak) his film No Second Chances. Personally assembling an all-star cast of actors, including Pawel Sakowski of Game of Thrones, J.T. also managed a team of over 100 cinematographers, artists, extras and production specialists.

A multi-platform educator

J.T. Madicus is also the man behind the popular Future Doc House YouTube channel. With a commitment to show “medical lectures you understand,” his entertaining and accessible medical videos have amassed tens of thousands of viewers and subscribers from across the world. Medical students from universities across the world praise the videos for making complicated subjects fresh and exciting, for which J. T. Madicus AKA Future Doc House employs a range of visual aids ranging from diagrams to bayonets!

A committed educator, J.T. Madicus also authored the rigorously researched non-fiction book Is There a Doctor Aboard? An Urgent Call for Change in Medical Education and Government Policy. Committed to inciting change in the medical industry, J.T. Madicus utilizes his media appearances and the QUPI legacy foundation to persistently lobby for the healthcare and medical education systems to abandon outdated thinking and make the rapid reforms necessary to combat the ever-worsening global doctor shortage.

Additionally, J. T. Madicus is the creator, founder, and chairman of QUPI.com, the world’s largest medical question bank. With over 10,000 practice questions and a cutting edge, customizable interface, QUPI helps thousands of medical students from the United States to India and Europe practice their medical knowledge, pass their exams and become doctors. 

A deep-dive with the accomplished J.T. Madicus

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn everything we could about the impossibly prolific J.T. Madicus. The only question we still can’t answer is when does he have time to sleep?

Tell us about the history of your entrepreneurship. How did you start your journey?

While studying at medical school, I became frustrated with the inefficiencies in how we train doctors. I wanted to help fellow students recapture the joy and curiosity that drove them to study medicine in the first place. So I started recording video lectures under my Future Doc House stage-name, and also began working on QUPI, the medical question bank app. Everything else has spiraled out from there!

What other businesses have inspired you?

Of course, I am Californian so I am impressed with the Silicon Valley success stories. The culture that tech innovation will solve our problems is, I believe, on the whole, a good thing, and it is an attitude that I try and capture in my work. An example is Elon Musk. A talented yet controversial figure at times, he truly does drive at the heart of innovation and deserves credit and my admiration for it.

What was the one movie you saw that made you want to go into a career in film?

There are many celebrated directors that I admire. Ron Howard and Quentin Tarantino to name a couple. But the films I always found most fascinating were ones like Fight Club and Sixth Sense where there is a twist at the ending that changes your entire perception of the narrative. 

Filmmaking has always been in my blood: When I was younger I was once given an old Sony camcorder from the 90s and used to enjoy recording things on it just for the sake of it. In High School I used the old camcorder to make this wonderful short with my classmates for French Class, and was given an A – I guess that encouraged me to keep going!

What TV shows do you think have best depicted the journey of an entrepreneur?

Breaking Bad? Just kidding! Silicon Valley is hilarious and does spear-head the more absurd side of this Silicon Valley culture I praised above. Although I must say while not a tv show. The film Wolf of Wall Street also strikes a chord in me as I did sales for many years and now run a marketing firm.

Where did the concept come from for Final Diagnosis: No Second Chances?

Originally, my intention was to create a novel that would make learning medicine fun – instead of a dull textbook, it would have the plot of a thriller and contain real medical lessons. In the end, while it kept the core of its promise to accurately represent the medicine, the characters took on lives of their own.

What have been the greatest successes of your career so far?

The first success was when Future Doc House videos started getting attention and the YouTube channel started picking up thousands of subscribers. Out of the blue, some of the clips were getting tens of thousands of views, and medical students around the world were commenting that these videos helped them to finally understand concepts they have been struggling with. That was the mission! 

The next success was when I first held the printed novel of No Second Chances in my hand. I also remember sitting in a bar in Poznan, Poland surrounded by the actors for the No Second Chances series, watching some rough-cuts of the pilot. This was when it became real to me – ideas that were originally only in my head were now brought to life!

Talk us through your creative process.

I am never not creating. My brain spins at all hours which sometimes drives not only my colleagues but my wife crazy! The characters in No Second Chances are real to me now – almost as if they actually existed – it sounds nuts but I’ve heard a lot of writers say similar things – I want to find out what’s going to happen! 

I always begin with the attitude that there is no problem that cannot be solved through creativity, provided you keep at it. The most important thing I learned is to keep surrounding yourself with passionate people who enhance your creativity and keep pushing you to do better.

What tips do you have for new writers?

Let your creative vision take you where it wants to take you. I never set out with the explicit intention of creating a medical drama-thriller series. I just wanted to make medical education fun again, and my creativity ended up taking me here. 

First, enjoy the process, be unique and daring, you must create the first page and see what others think. If it receives positive feedback then continue writing, if not use the feedback to write or rewrite until it receives praise. It has been a wild journey but the focus remains the same: Create something others will enjoy and that you are proud to put your name on. Ride that horse and see where it takes you!

Tell us about how and when you decided to become an author?

I didn’t get the best grades in English at school but I always knew I had something to say. My family and friends encouraged me to write and eventually, I thought, “What the heck, why not,  what do the Ph.D. English professors who gave me bad marks on my papers know about writing?” So, I just sat down and did it!

What part of medicine do you geek out about the most?

Where to start! I love the complexities and intricacies of surgery, and how it merges such precision and thought with what is really quite brutal when you come to think about it. My best grades were in Anatomy and Pathology and yet, I find Infectious Diseases to be the most fascinating medical subject. It is truly humbling that a microorganism like a virus, bacteria, or fungus can cause us so much harm and even death.

Tell us about your background in medicine, what inspired you to create content around health?

I have experienced medical school in Poland, in the Czech Republic, and in Antigua, and did Pre-med at Pepperdine University in my home state of California. This broad picture of how medical education looks like around the world showed me in clear detail how our approach to training doctors is failing everybody. I was motivated to try and fix this, and this ambition is evident in everything I create.

What’s been your biggest failure?

Any creative person will tell you that failure is such a constant part of the process it’s hard to identify just one. Constantly, you go down false paths and find things that don’t work. But that’s ok – keep going until you get to where you want to be! 

I am a strong believer in the maxim that there is no such thing as failure as failure gets you closer to success. Take the example of my AquaDawn project. The first prototype device failed to produce 1 liter of water, but it succeeded in producing 10ml of water. Perspective is what is more important.

If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life what would it be?

What Dreams May Come. Robin Williams is a gifted actor with a powerful message that really speaks to me. The dreams we have are a projection of our paradise, I find this fascinating and I love how this film explored the concept.

Do you run any other projects we need to know about?

We’ve talked about the medical stuff but I’d also like to give a plug for AquaDawn, an innovation on condenser technology that I think will help combat drought around the world – another passion that living in California and the Caribbean has given me!

Have you worked with mentors in the past? How would you recommend people go about finding them?

Yes, I am privileged to have been guided and encouraged in the creative process of No Second Chances by a number of people who are more experienced than I am. To find mentors, don’t merely choose someone who is successful, but choose someone who also shares your values and gets the importance of your mission. 

That way, by helping you, they are also helping to achieve their vision for the world. The mentor that I am fortunate to have and who has guided me the most is my father who questions and challenges me as he would a colleague. 

What’s your core business mission? How does this relate to your filmmaking and author mission?

My core mission is to put the joy back into medical education and combat the global doctor shortage. By creating entertaining novels and a medical TV series that accurately represent medical concepts being applied, I am helping to achieve this. 

What’s the five-year plan?

First, complete the No Second Chances series – we have 10 episodes in development as we speak! I also want to publish more novels in this world, and have a couple more already in progress. 

With QUPI, we are looking to expand more broadly from the current question bank app/platform into providing other educational resources, and down the line, I envision this as becoming almost like an online medical university – a haven, support, and resource for medical students the world over. Finally, with AquaDawn, I dream of a world where water shortage is a thing of the past.

What authors should be on our radar?

I like authors who care about realism and respect the subject matter that they write about. In the medical thriller space, of course, Michael Crichton is a giant. With regards to thrillers generally, Ian Fleming deserves a second look as there’s often more to the James Bond series than the movies capture. 

John Le Carré is in many ways Fleming’s modern heir. Stieg Larsson’s crime thrillers are gripping but also reveal a window into the author’s social conscience and sense of justice.  Graham Greene knew how to write thrillers that are easy to read yet also unashamedly intelligent, which is something I also strive for.

Who would compose the soundtrack of your life?

Mozart, if he’s not busy. If he is busy, then my wife would prefer Chopin, but I am good with Tchaikovsky.

Tell us about Future Doc House, what was the inspiration behind such a unique project?

I went into this in some detail above but basically I wanted to put the joy back into medical education and help students around the world understand subjects that they had previously struggled with. This is why I started filming brief, entertaining lectures for the Future Doc House YouTube channel, and I continue to do so whenever I have time.

Finally, tell us about No Second Chances, where can our readers watch the movie and how did you go about creating and fulfilling such an ambitious project?

No Second Chances is a series of novels and episodes that follow the exploits of Dr. Tseng, a troubled medical genius and former spy who is kidnapped and held captive in Eastern Europe. Together with a band of talented yet misfit colleagues, Tseng has to regain his former abilities and battle a mysterious international organization. There’s more to it of course, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers! 

The novel was written by me thanks to the encouragement of friends and family. I then worked with a number of talented people to put together the pilot episode of the TV series, that was filmed last year in Poznan, Poland and is currently in post-production. Follow along at http://no2ndchances.com and follow me at JTMadicus.com.

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Frankie Stein is from Italy, but lives in Ingolstadt, Germany. Her hobbies are: reading about science, doing experiments, and travelling. She's been all around Europe and loves Scotland, London, and Russia. Her boyfriend is called Victor and they both love listening to The Cure, reading Byron, and gazing upon William Blake prints.

fstein@filmdaily.co

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