Rookie of the Year

Media Release

For Immediate Release

SOMEONE NO ONE EVER HEARD OF IS HIGHWAYMEN’S ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

October 16, 2010 (Yellowhead, Sk) The Yellowhead Highwaymen have announced stadium anthem singer Jorje Vancesca as the team’s 2010 CFLFFL Rookie of the Year.  “Our 2010 crop of rookies are still growing in a test tube in Gluko Von Ivanburg’s lab and the other guys we brought in weren’t eligible because they had NFL experience,” said Highwaymen owner/coach, Captain Jarrett Rusnak.  “That left what’s his face as the only other option.”

Vancesca, in his first year with the team, takes the field before every game to belt out a salsa version of ‘Oh Canada’.  “Sometimes he’s still on the field when our captains come out for the coin toss,” began Rusnak, “and a few times they passed each other and kind of nodded a hello to each other.  I never actually saw it, but somebody told me that they were talking to someone who thought they saw it happen.”

Vancesca will be presented with a token plaque presented by one-time 15 seconds of fame recipient, Dick Assman.  The ceremony will be attended my no one special and will take place probably sometime next week.

After being in the hunt most of the season, The Highwaymen currently sit 12 points out of first place and are too busy planning their year-end garbage bag day to bother commenting further.

-30-

Spotted

The most awkward part of modelling for an art class is the exact moment when my robe comes off.  Once I’m naked in a room full of people, I’m naked.  No where to hide.  Nothing to do but pose.  But that moment leading up to it… that’s the cross roads between people just being in a room together, and people being in a room with a naked me.  It changes things.

Standing in front of people nude for the expressed purpose of being eyeballed intensely, scrutinized, and reproduced on paper is completely unnatural.  I know this because I am a keen observer of human behaviour.  Add to it that on paper,  from various perspectives, my body at times was rendered disembodied, floating in space, and the surrealness just gets better.  Look… there’s my knee with my hand resting on top… where’d the rest of me go?

So there I am.  Standing there.  Sitting there.  Not moving.  Jazz music is playing in the background.  Women are staring at my dick… and drawing it.

There were a couple of 45 minute poses that I was asked to do, in addition to a number of poses shorter in duration.  Have you ever stared intently at a spot on the wall without moving for any period of time?  That’s the hardest part.

My mind started writing episode two of ‘Highwaymen‘ in detail.  Completely lost track of time and place.  I’m seeing images.  I’m hearing dialogue.  I’m searching for alternatives for the inciting incident.  I’m considering how everything reflects back on the theme of the episode.

Suddenly it donned on me that I was writing a TV series nude, not moving, in a room full of people, just staring at me.

Welcome to my life.

When is the Question

I watched season I of ‘Friday Night Lights’ over the weekend.  Twenty-two episodes in 72 hours.  The series has been critically acclaimed but audiences haven’t really warmed up to it.

I was curious about the series because I’m pitching my own football show and I wanted to know what I was up against.

I liked the series.  However, despite being a ‘football’ show, there’s very little football in it.  There’s also a massive cast.  Every single character wants something, and has some kind of problem getting it.  In some cases, those wants are profound.  In others, it’s a bit of a weak effort… more like the writers followed a writing principal that says stories need conflict, but they don’t really have a good reason for putting it there.

I realized I need to make a much more thorough effort of mapping out the series arc for ‘Highwaymen’.  I need to treat it like a four hour story, rather than a series of half hours.  I have some strong ideas about some things.  I’m drawing a blank for others.  I need to write characters who don’t exist yet.  I need to tie them into the overall series arc, not to mention the theme.

Where to begin?  ‘WHEN to begin’ is a better question.  I need some sort of positive movement with the pilot episode script.  These things take time.  I’ve made inroads to a production company with a sterling track record for producing popular TV series in Canada.  I made a connection at TSN as well.  Select members of the football community and the media also have been acquainted with the project.  It’s a matter of patience… again.

I guess I need more information if I’m going to write the rest of the series.  I need to talk to football people and pick up old war stories.  I need to dig deeper into my philosophy texts.  I need to learn more about psychology, and schizophrenia.

That’s a lot of work, and there’s not much of a point doing it until the pilot script gets a decision maker’s blessing.  Still, I really want to do it.  Nothing gives me more satisfaction than writing a great story.

All Good Things

The Roughriders are playing Toronto in a couple hours.  The sun is high and warm.  Every other person is wearing a green jersey.  I’ll be meeting up with the boys from the Romanian Syndicate before the game, and then Jeff is treating us all to a bbq.  “It’s good to be dating the butcher,” as we all have been known to say.  Could this beautiful October Saturday afternoon get any better?

Started the day off at the gym.  Ran 2 kilometres then pumped my arms up.  I’m sooooo buff now.  Can’t wait to look in the mirror whenever I get the chance.  Go ahead, feel free to complement me if the urge strikes.

The girl behind the counter at Atlantis was smiling at me.  At first I thought it was my buff arms, but then I remembered her from the audition on Wednesday night.  We did a scene together and then later, I cracked a few semi-funny jokes.  She laughed.

I was really on the fence about that audition.  As I mentioned previously, I had a personal stake in one of the roles, and I am certain that I’ll learn a lot about writing, directing and acting from Dan MacDonald (the Director).  Dan was also a writer in the Playwright festival with me earlier this year.

Still, I’ll be a lot older than most of my cast mates (should I get the role) and as a professional in the television world, I’m not really a ‘student’.  Having said that, I’ve never done anything like that before… Well, in 1994 I played a minor role in an university production, but that was so long ago, and I had my head shoved sooooo far up my own ass, that I didn’t get as much out of it as I could have.

I really hope I land the part.  There’s a lot of up side to it, and the down side is all my own headspace stuff.  I’m glad I did it.  Next up is nude modelling on Thursday.

Looking Down Life’s Shirt

Nice way to start the day.  Walking to Atlantis this morning I ran into Tamara on the street.  Really warm pleasant words followed.  Later, while sitting in the window, Rich walked in and we had a nice chat.

Kind of a pattern going on.

Last night I attended a book launch by a couple of local authors.  Ran into some theatre creatures I know.  Nice warm conversations with every single one of them.  Later, as the evening was winding down, Michelle walked in, looking to pick up a copy of one of the books.  We went to school together back in the 90’s and she’s married to a guy I used to work with.  Long conversation followed that happenstance.

Kind of a Yin to my other thinking’s Yang.  All that pleasantness is a contrast to some of the other shit going through my mind.  I’ve talked about it all before in this space, and I ain’t about to start bitching, but focusing on the positives and downplaying the negatives is not working fast enough for my liking.

[a moment later]

A beautiful women bent over at the table next to me and I totally looked down her shirt.

The River

I auditioned for ‘Eurydice’ last night at the U of R.  The play is written by Sarah Ruhl and is a modern take on an ancient Greek myth.

Eurydice marries Orpheus, the greatest musician in all the world.  On the night of their wedding, she dies and goes to Hades (the Greek Underworld).  She has no memory of her life because dead people can’t remember things.

Ruhl adds a new character to the mix, Eurydice’s father.  He’s waiting for her, and through love and patience he helps her to remember.  After so many years apart, they get to resume their father/daughter relationship.

Orpheus in the meantime works out a deal with the devil to get her out of Hades.  All she’s got to do is follow him out, but he can’t look back to see her.  On the way out she has second thoughts, realizing that she’s going to miss her dad, and also that Orpheus is kind of a dick sometimes.  She calls his name, he looks back and the deal’s over.

Of course, her father, being unable to withstand the pain of losing her, dips himself in the river so he could forget his life.  When Eurydice returns to him, she is now the one who has to help him remember.

Kinda reminds me of the relationship I have with Jazzy.  Don’t get to see her much.  Gotta make a conscious effort to NOT think about her, or my headspace gets messed up.  She’s in a good place right now, and so am I.  So is PJ.  We see each other every few months.  We rekindle.  She goes away again.  That’s our reality.

I find out next week if I get the part.

The Big Idea

I was having one of those days yesterday where it didn’t seem like I would ever get it in gear.  Sat at Atlantis most of the afternoon picking picking picking away at the Cuba proposal, but not really getting anywhere.

I just kind of sat there thinking, thinking about my projects and how they can be like women in my life.  Too many and they fog things up.  Can’t really make any commitments cuz they don’t want to commit either.  Add new ones to the mix and I get a little more dizzy.  More attention to divide.  More possibilities to ponder.  More of myself to give away.

But I can’t just sit around waiting for something to happen either.  Gotta keep moving.  Gotta keep creating.  Gotta keep churning more projects out the door.  Gotta make a living.

So I’m sitting there staring at the clean white page, reading and re-reading the notes and comments and collaborations I’ve assembled.  Gotta make a mark.  Just one word, and then another, and then another.  Soon I’ll have another proposal ready for the market.

But I couldn’t.  Just sat there thinking.  Never ending cycle.  Long distance relationships with the future.  When’s my ship coming in?

A bit further down the window in Atlantis I overheard a conversation taking place.  I didn’t hear all the words, but I got the impression that some big idea was afoot.  A great big dream, almost too big to fit inside a city the size of Regina.  And that’s exactly why I was drawn to it.

A woman was pitching the great big idea to a strapping young filmmaker.  Idea was too big for him.  Too little money.  Too little time.  Too much faith required.

When he left I introduced myself.  Barged right into her privacy and introduced myself.  The big idea, the great big idea too big for Regina that I was looking for a couple weeks back dropped right in my lap… and I ain’t letting go.

Pays well too.

Highwaymen Reach Out to League

Media Release

For Immediate Release

HIGHWAYMEN REACH OUT TO LEAGUE GOVERNORS

October 5, 2010 (Yellowhead, Sk) In an unprecedented gesture, Yellowhead Highwaymen owner/coach, Captain Jarrett Rusnak, has reached out to his fellow league governors to sponsor a mission to Matrimonial Blisshinstein in an effort to locate and rescue CK Barnagel owner, Richard Kies.  “Vibrant young man go to that place and disappear, only to reemerge years later broken, old, and tired.”

Kies was reported missing over the weekend and a search of his home uncovered clues to his possible whereabouts.  “We found brochures to Matrimonial Blisshinstein located under a pile of empty pizza boxes,” began Rusnak.  “We were also alarmed to discover his stack of porn magazines, DVDs, and penis enlargement devices tossed in the recycle bin.”

There is little in the way of agreement on how to proceed in the matter.  Matrimonial Blisshinstein is a closed country and has no diplomatic relations with any other nation.  Extracting Kies forcibly could cause an international incident.  “Right now we’re looking at our options, but we’re just a bunch of guys, not CSIS,” said Rusnak.

Sixth Sense offered to conduct a memorial service, and Team Tillman is slated to deliver the eulogy.  A memorial torch remains lit outside Golf’s Steakhouse.

-30-

Beginning, Beginning, Beginning

Monday morning at Atlantis.  One more clear beginning and ending.  Cuba is next on the slate.  I plan to have a development proposal ready by Wednesday.  From there I’ll focus on my play.  In the meantime, I’ll be babysitting ‘Highwaymen’, trying to get it in as many hands as possible.

Rich got married this weekend.  I tried my best to wish him and Deb well, but the message came out garbled.  A divorced man wishing a freshly married man a long life of wedded bliss seemed a bit ironic to me.

On one hand, after many years of wandering aimlessly through the ‘single’ wilderness, I find myself ready to fall in love with the right woman.  On the other hand, marriage has that whole, ‘till death do us part’ thing.

Rich and Deb are in a different place in their lives than PJ and I were in ours.  They’re both old enough and wise enough to know what lies ahead.  They’ve had time to figure themselves out as individuals, and they’re clearly ready to commit to this brand new beginning in their lives.  I think they’re gonna be alright.  They also ran out of bacon at their breakfast the next day.

I sent a bluntly honest message to someone I considered a dear friend on the weekend.  It probably ended our friendship.  That relationship had caused me a lot of pain over the months, and I finally accepted that it was not going to change for the better.  One is known through her actions, not her words.  I am sad for the loss.  I also feel a weight off my headspace.  May happier times find us both in this brand new beginning.

Flashbacks to Film School

Sunny day, about eleven degrees out.  I’m in shorts and a t-shirt.  Life outside Atlantis’ window is bustling.

I’m just making a quick stop before hitting the office hard to finish the Arts Board application deadline that’s due today.  Got all the creative stuff written, just some odd bits of business left.

I need to think of one more thing to say before I can call this an article.  Perhaps if I challenge myself, I could unify these dribblings into one theme.  Probably not though.  How do you unify Arts Board Grant applications with sunny days and desperate searches for content…

Okay, now I’m thinking about some of the completely forgettable film school stuff we were forced to watch, that was held up as examples of great Canadian experimental filmmaking.  If those guys can get funding, why not me?