Acting Up To Next Week

While I’m waiting for pending movie gigs to sort themselves out, I’ve been diving into the writing of my spec script.  As I’ve said before, there’s no warm body I can curl up with, or drug I can take, that feels better than writing a great script.

I spent the majority of my time over the last week mapping out the story structure.  Wrote Act I in a few hours.  Spent a few more yesterday refining it before starting on Act II.  There remain some holes in Act III and IV that I’m not quite sure how to navigate.  They’ve been there since the story design phase.  I decided to just start writing and see what discoveries I could make along the way.  Things have a way of working out once you give the characters a say in the matter.

I feel like I have a limited window to get this done.  The series goes to camera next week.  I might also be tied up on a movie by that time.  Not only that, but the longer I take with it, the lower my chances of having it actually picked up.  The producers will be so far into their production cycle, that there may not be an opportunity to fit it in, even if they do like it.

It all boils down to a hard deadline of finishing a draft by the weekend.  Got a full day ahead of me, let’s see where I wind up.

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Humbling Towards Ecstasy

I sat on a picnic table outside the soundstage yesterday and it was like a family reunion.  The place was crawling with film creatures who I’ve known forever.

I felt strange being there.  They all seemed happy to see me, but I just didn’t feel that great about myself.  I was there meeting with a producer friend of mine who has a movie going to camera next week.  She starts prep on her next movie later in July.  There’s another TV series shooting and a massive big movie later in the fall.  Seems like lots of work this summer.

It’s been a long dry spell for a lot of people.  They’re happy to be working and I’m genuinely happy for them.  I think that’s why they were so warm towards me.  They were in my shoes only a couple weeks ago.

Still, I couldn’t shake that feeling… like I was crashing someone else’s party.  Or maybe it was pride messing with me.  Whenever I’ve been in that building, I was a producer or production manager.  I was on top of the food chain.  Now I’m picking over what’s left of the vacant crew positions.

They did offer me something last night and I’ll be going over the details with them later today.  The job involves a fair bit of independence and I’ll be working with some high profile people.  The hours might be a little more flexible than a typical crew position (mostly because I won’t be working with the crew).  Should allow me to stay on top of my writing and other projects while making some key Los Angeles connections.  I am thankful for the opportunity.

Mostly however, I’m disappointed in myself for allowing ‘prestige’ to be such a factor in my headspace.  I thought I rid myself of that, but alas, I merely disguised it as something else.  I shed my corporate identity only to become a prideful artist — too proud to ask someone else for a job while I waited for the development of my own projects to run their course.

I’m going to take this time to learn humility.  When one lets go of one’s ego, one becomes free to find his path.

Paper Mache

Well… now I know at least.

The news hit me like paper mache.  I read the email and it just kind of bounced off me.  Didn’t even ruffle my feathers.  I was watching a football game and had a stew in the pressure cooker.  A temporary blip on my radar.

My non-reaction slowly gave way to deeper, more serious thoughts.  I re-read the email and gradually began a process of taking my next steps.  Gotta find something to do this summer.  Simple as that.

I know a lot of people from across the country.  These people know even more people.  Somebody’s gonna need help with their projects.  I’ve got a lot to offer.  Just gotta put the word out.

I found myself starting with Vancouver.  Toronto’s next.  I’ve also been touching base with folks here at home.  The act of actually actively promoting myself has me feeling good… like I’m not in purgatory anymore waiting for news.

I still have my projects and I’ll still write the spec script I committed to.  I’m just not gonna wait anymore for a handful of people to dictate my next steps.

Mostly that’s where my frustration lies.  I’ve spent so much time sitting back waiting for movement on my projects, that I became paralyzed by my belief in them.  There’s got to be a better handle.

I’m scared shitless.  I’m also excited.  It’s time to see how good I really am.  Nothing is tying me down to a single location in this world.  Maybe this latest development is a good thing… I mean, what other choice do I have?

Tryout

This guy is sitting next to me in the window.  I’ve seen quite a bit of him lately and I’ve been meaning to say ‘hi’.  It’s nice to have a familiarity with the regulars I figure.

So he turns to me out of the blue and says he can guess what I do based on how I look and what I’m wearing.  Seems like a good way to break the ice.  I’m game.  He looks at me and can see that I’m wearing sandals, cargo shorts, and a t-shirt that says, ‘Timecode Pictures’ on the front.

“Accountant,” he says.

The preseason Rider game was a good time.  Sun came out but the wind was gusting to 80 km/h.  Lancaster’s grandson, Marc Mueller, looked good in his debut.  In his first play from scrimmage, he dropped back, looked field side, then came back to the boundary and threw a screen pass that went nine yards.  Edmonton ran on the next play to convert the first down.  He was sacked for a 10 yard loss on the next play, and then with the composure of a seasoned pro, he came back, threw a dart 24 yards down the middle into tight coverage for a first down.  The crowd cheered, despite the fact he was playing for the enemy.  He completed his third attempt and that was it.  Edmonton brought in the next QB for a look.  The crowd was disappointed.  Mueller finished the game, 3 for 3 for 45 yards.  Edmonton’s starting QB (who played most of the first half) was 3 of 9 for 33 yards.

I finished watching the CBC series I’m planning to spec write for.  Bit of a wrench thrown in the works.  Season II ended with everyone’s roles being turned upside down.  Perhaps the producers weren’t expecting it to be renewed?  They set it up so that a number of characters may simply never have to show up again.

Even so, I think I can still salvage my idea.  At the very least, I’ll write it so that the plot can remain in tact while the locations and minor characters can be adjusted.  At the very very least, it’ll give ‘em a chance to see my writing chops.  It’s all in the name of getting my work in front of someone.

Put me in coach, let me show you what I can do.

Special People

Huge rain today.  It would only take a minute to soak you to the bone.  Walking through it dressed head to toe in rain gear had me feeling a bit smug.  Looks like this will keep up all day.

The Riders open their preseason at home tonight.  I’ll be sitting in the stands, in the rain, watching them with others from the Romanian Syndicate.  Been waiting six months and I’m excited about the team’s prospects this year.

Special Teams will win us at least three games this year (as opposed to losing four games last year).  Head Coach Greg Marshall told his starters that if they’re tired and need a break, they can take it on Offence or Defence.  Effort on Special Teams is paramount.

Makes sense too.  Giving up a touchdown on Defence isn’t the end of the world.  You could even say it’s expected, provided it doesn’t happen too many times.  Same for scoring touchdowns on Offence.  But Special Teams… a touchdown on Special Teams is usually a game changer, a back breaker, a coup de holy shitzkinville!

The game will be special for another reason too.  Marc Mueller, the grandson of legendary Roughrider Quarterback Ron Lancaster, will make his professional debut on the visitors’ sideline.  He’s a home town kid.  Quarterbacks the University of Regina Rams.  Signed a contract with the Edmonton Eskimos in May.

Ron Lancaster played his final game in Regina in November 1978 and was booed off the field by some.  It was an embarrassing and classless act.  The following week in Edmonton, Lancaster came off the bench and led the Riders to one final come-from-behind victory to cap a brilliant career.  Even though their team lost, Edmonton Eskimo fans gave Lancaster a standing ovation, knowing that they would never see him again in pads on their field.  He threw for 50,535 yards, and 333 touchdowns over 19 seasons.

Just as Edmonton fans gave the grandfather a standing ovation in the final moments of his career 33 years ago,  Regina fans will be equally enthusiastic for the grandson’s success at the very beginning of his career.  Though the odds are against it, I sincerely hope the kid has a long career.

Hypothetical Reality

I read another chapter out of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’.  There’s a line at the end of chapter 10 that resonates with me, “Sometimes it’s a little better to travel than arrive.”  Last week I read three chapters in one sitting and I feel like I cheated myself.  Big damned hurry to get to the end of the book.

I wised up though.  Could easily have sat for another hour, tearing through pages, but then I would have missed too much scenery along the way.  One chapter… sometimes even one paragraph… it’s best to let those words steep like tea leaves into the mind.  The book is that good.

The concept of creativity within the process of Scientific Method was put forward.  Seems a contradictory idea.  Problem.  Hypothesis.  Test.  Analyze.  Conclude.  I’m stating the process a bit crudely, but it’s a universal approach to scientific advancement.  Not much wiggle room once you’ve begun the process of testing an hypothesis.

Yet, it is hypothesis itself that comes from the spark of creativity and inspiration.  This spark is what separates the greats from the average.  There is no utilitarian way to dream up hypotheses.  An army of scientists can run them through the process once they’re proposed, but nothing happens until the idea is thought up in the first place.

It’s my understanding that scientific theories are never seen in the scientific community to be absolute truths.  They merely stand until something better comes along to disprove them.  These theories define what the physical world is to us.  In other words, they define reality.

With so much scientific discovery going on everyday, so many scientific theories falling to better theories, reality becomes a moving target.  The more we look into reality, the more we change it.

It can drive some people crazy.  Perhaps in our big damned hurry to understand what reality is, we fail to take the time to contemplate what reality really means.

Recognition

There’s a face I think I recognize sitting a couple chairs down from me.  It’s an attractive face that goes with an equally sleek body.  We nodded an hello to each other when she first walked in.  Is she… I’m going to ask.

No.  I’m not going to ask.  Alright, if I catch her eye, I’ll ask.

I’m terrible at recognizing faces.  I think it’s a brain thing.  I googled facial recognition once and found a whole schwak of psychology related to it.  There’s an actual part of the brain dedicated to facial recognition.

I think mine’s broken.

I think mine’s broken, and also it’s lead to embarrassing situations.  In times passed, I’ve misidentified individuals and acted a little too ‘familiar’ for someone who turned out not to be familiar at all.  I guess my problem ultimately is rejection.

I can be fearless in situations that would paralyze others, but talking to someone who might be a perfect stranger knots my stomach.  Correction… talking to a perfect stranger, for no good reason, who happens to be beautiful, knots my stomach.

What a dumb thing to be scared of.

I talked to PJ on the phone yesterday and we made a deal.  She’s been dragging her ass getting her comps done for her PhD.  I made a commitment to write a spec script. There’s work that needs doing, and we both have a tendency to blow our deadlines off.  To this end we made a pact to hold each other accountable to a July 5 deadline.

Feels good.  Feels like I’m on a mission.  I remember being in a certain frame of mind when I was writing ‘Highwaymen’.  It’s happening again.

I recognize that feeling.

Crappy Deadlines

I like eating crappy food.  I figure I can get away with it as long as I exercise and throw in the odd vegetable looking thing.  To that end, I ran around the university campus last night and I’ve been hitting the gym a couple times per week for the last little while.  I’ll look good, I’ll feel good, and I’ll get to eat crap.

You know what else feels good?  This.

Hi Jarrett.

Thank you again for the outstanding job on the video.  I really can’t thank you enough.  I am so delighted/thrilled with it.  Thank you 🙂 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finished a video for a client yesterday.  It seemed acceptable to her.

With that project off my plate, I felt one of those treasured clear beginnings and endings meandering into my headspace.  What to do with it?

I was up until 1am last night watching episodes of a TV series on CBC’s website.  I was actually working, studying the format, learning the names of the producers, and getting a feel for the show.  The series has been renewed for another season and I intend to write a spec script in the next few weeks.  Hell, I’ll even set a date.  How’s…. July 5 sound to you?  Even if nothing comes of it, the experience will be a gooder.  I’ll learn lots, and improve my craft at the same time.

I can write that script AND stay on top of shepherding my other projects too.  I just need to commit to the deadline is all.  Actually… now that I think of it, I should set deadlines for all my projects’ milestones.

Why didn’t I think of that sooner?

One Simple Idea

It’s a beautiful sunny Monday today.  I’m sitting in the window of Atlantis and I’m watching the world meander passed me.  My headspace is in a good place, got a bit of work to do with a client later, and then maybe after that, some research & writing.  I think I’ll even run for a kilometre or two this evening.

I’m going to make a list of all the things I want for myself and ask myself why I want them.  So much of it is out of my hands.  With so much more of it, I’m simply not doing enough to gain them.  I think I get too distracted by shiny objects.  I want all of them and I only have so much effort to go around.  Spread evenly amongst all of it, that effort doesn’t go very far.

Mostly, I just need to keep it simple.  Boil all of the shiny objects down to their essential elements.  Things are never just things.  Each represents an idea.  A motorcycle represents ‘cool’ or ‘freedom’ or ‘rebel’ or something.  Green lighting a big series represents ‘financial security’, or ‘status’, or perhaps even, ‘lifestyle’.

When I drill a little deeper, I realize that I am not completely myself because I don’t have a series.  I can’t live the lifestyle I want for myself, and I am unwilling to compromise.  I’d rather suffer and sacrifice in the pursuit of that lifestyle than accept anything less.

To be clear, I’m not looking for a treasure trove of glamor, riches, and fame.  I just want to have the means to grab a flight and see my daughter on a whim.  I want to not worry about cash flow forecasts.  I want to feel like I’m contributing.

I am this close.  Can’t give up now.  One simple idea to unlock everything.

Cameo

Went to the gym this morning and threw up after my workout.  That’s what I get for not eating anything prior to starting.  Just as well.  I didn’t move very far from the couch yesterday, except to cook up the last of Grama’s homemade sausage and watch more TV.  I figure starting the day off with an intense workout would be a proper penance to pay.

I finished Caprica last night.  Not bad.  My head hit the pillow with dreams full of it swirling in my mind.  It’s not as good as BSG or Firefly.  Too much going on in too compressed a period of time.  There are episodes where major characters drop completely off the map, not to be seen until several episodes later.  It’s also weird to see a character as a protagonist in one episode, only to play a minor role to some other protagonist’s story in other episodes.  Sadly, the series was cancelled after only one season.  I would have liked to see the producers get another crack at it.  Season I of most great TV series are seldom the best of those series.

Watching it got me thinking about Highwaymen again.  Of all the things going on my career, nothing would give me more satisfaction than to green light that series.  Writing drama is something I’m keenly interested in pursuing.  If I can’t get my own series going, I suppose spec writing an episode of someone else’s drama would be my only other chance to break into that genre.

Highwaymen came up in other facets of my life too.  When I stopped by Mosaic on Friday, I ran into Bobby Jurasin, a legendary Roughrider defensive end from the late 80’s and 90’s.  He remembered me from when I was with the team.  Memories of drinking beer with him and others from the offensive and defensive lines during training camps came flooding back.  I also remember the day he was cut.  It was like his heart got ripped out.  Greg Marshall, the Riders’ current Head Coach, was his position coach at the time.

I got Bob’s email and he’s excited to read my script.  I’d love to cast him in some cameo role.  At the very least, I’d enjoy picking his brain for war stories someday.

It’s getting on to Sunday evening, and I’d like to get into some reading.  Too much TV in the last few days.  The guilt is killing me.