Pile of Wonder

I have a document tucked away in the bowels of my laptop’s filing system.  It’s a private journal I use to work through my most intimate thoughts.  I’ve made six entries in three years.  It’s where I go to sort through my most fucked up shit.

I thought about opening that document today instead of this one.  Got a load of confusion on my mind.  I may yet stash these scribblings there, but we’ll see.

As near as I can figure, I’ve got too many things on the go.  Too many ambitions I’m not doing enough to realize.  Too many projects that aren’t being promoted.  Too many pursuits I’m chasing and not catching.  Too much starting and not enough finishing.

I’ve always been terrible at promoting myself and my projects.  I’m pretty good at impressing people, but I don’t do enough to stay in front of things.  Impressions fade.  Time passes.  Regrets bloom.

I should be taking a workmanlike approach to momMe.  Instead, I just send the odd proposal off here and there, and things just taper off.  No peddle to the metal.  No full steam ahead.  No plan of action.

I’m still writing the spec script.  It’s good so far.  Working on this movie set me back as expected, but I simply have to find a way to push it through.  I’ve written three scenes in one week.  Not good enough.  Not good enough for someone who’s highest ambition is to write drama.  When the spec script is done, there’s the feature film script to finish.  Doors are open, but I can’t walk through until I’ve finished something.

Highwaymen has seen two rejections thus far, but I haven’t exhausted all the angles yet.  What’s wrong with taking a day to blast a number of proposals out the door to all of them?

I get lonely sometimes, yet I do very little to put myself out there.  I have some very specific ideas about what kind of girl I want in my life.  I only got serious with one in four years, and she wasn’t really all that available anyway.

I feel a burning need to get to Vancouver, but the timing sucks right now.  The feature film business is getting hot here in Regina and experienced people are needed to keep the machine running.  The money’s good and I don’t have any other paying gigs presenting themselves in my immediate future.

Cash flow issues aside, I know that my ambitions are much larger than the types of gigs I’ve been landing lately.  I look in the mirror and I feel in my bones that I’d much rather be creating my own projects than working on someone else’s.

I am a writer, producer and director.  I need to green light my own show in order to feel truly balanced and that’s a hellova thing to require from the universe in order to be happy.  What to do?

It seems the feature film industry will pay for my lifestyle in the immediate future.  I can’t pursue my ambitions if I can’t pay my rent, so the feature film thing stands as a valid top priority.

If I write every day, my spec script will be complete some day soon.  Taking the same approach to my feature film will render the same result.  Doors will open and that ambition will be realized.  So there it is.  Write every day.  Period.

momMe, Crimes of the Art, Urban Future, Girl Talk, Highwaymen and all my other projects are written up (some with demos attached).  I clearly do not have the time available to market these projects full time.  Given the limited channels available, none of them require a full time effort anyway — just a consistent effort.  So what constitutes a ‘consistent effort’?  One morning per week?  One hour per day?  How about I stick to one hour per day?  I can manage that, and write, AND meet my obligations in the film industry.

Where’s that hour come from?  Facebook, backgammon and TV methinks.  Gonna have to bring an iron will to that commitment, but I can do it.  I’m tired of feeling shitty over my lack of progress in other pursuits.

Speaking of pursuits… women.  I don’t have time to put myself out there.  I’m waaaaay out of balance.  The best parts of myself aren’t really the best parts of myself to give to anyone right now.  I won’t be complete until my career starts doing what I have in mind for it to do.  I suspect once that happens, that other part of my life will take care of itself.

And that about sums up the pile of wonder going through my mind right now.  Think I’ll leave it here.  It’s who I am right now.

Writing, Riders, Hopes & Dreams

I spent a chunk of time yesterday hanging out with Damian, the screenwriter from the movie I’m working on.  More than anyone else, I wanted to meet him and talk about the craft.

He’s living a dream come true — something he wrote is being made into a movie with big names attached.  Has the potential to be a hit too.

Damian’s a regular bloke haling from Australia.  It’s his first time in Regina, and I quickly indoctrinated him into the Rider Nation.  Took him and his wife to the Rider game yesterday and I introduced him to the Romanian Syndicate.  The guys took a liking to him.  He said he had a great time at the game as well.

We wound up spending more time talking about hopes and dreams rather than the technical aspects of the craft itself.  He’s not much into musing about the nuts and bolts of story design.  He just writes.

In 20 minutes I’ll be meeting him again in front of his hotel and we’ll be slipping away to the sound stage to shoot an interview.  After that, we’ll be driving out to Moose Jaw to be on set.

I don’t plan to stay long.  I’m behind on my editing and really want to make a dent there by tomorrow evening.

The Riders lost to Montreal by the way, and I really don’t want to get into it.

‘Be’Longing

I’m like that kid from ‘Almost Famous’.  I don’t belong to any particular group of people, but I have intimate access to everyone.  That’s what it’s like to be shooting EPK on a film set and it’s sort of like how I’ve been living my life.

Belonging to a group is distinctly different from being around a group.  When you’re around a group, you’re either on the inside looking in, or you’re on the inside looking out, but either way, you never stop looking.  Belonging to a group doesn’t involve any sort of observation.  You simply ‘be’long.

I have been free to dive in deeper here or there.  During one scene, there was a problem with the garage door.  I simply stepped in and started working the problem, as everyone else did.  Seamless transition from observing to being.  When we weren’t making progress, the AD and I suggested, at the same time, that we should finish this scene and fix the problem later.  That wasn’t my call to make, but I’ve been on set as an AD, PM, and/or Producer so often, that my instincts got the best of me.  Though no one seemed to mind, I made a note to myself to keep those types of suggestions to a minimum.  Things on a film set tend to unravel when individuals stray too far from their job descriptions too often.

Having said that, I was later recruited to help the Art Department out with some photos they needed to take of the cast, to be used as ‘family portraits’ on the next day’s set.  In this case my role was clearly defined, and I was able to get out in front and contribute creatively to the process.  It was a very small part in a great big undertaking in the scope of the movie.  Still, it felt good to contribute.

Today I’m going to start cutting some of my footage together and bring the fruits of that labour out to set tonight.  Part of me feels strange not being there at crew call, solving problems, and contributing to a team effort, but again, that’s my job description.  I’m not crew.  I’m an observer.  My job is to tell the story of the making of this movie.

Lunch With Julia Ormond

Julia Ormond and I finally found ourselves alone together.  It was a moment stolen from the rest of a hectic day.  I held the camera, ready to ask my first question, and then our eyes locked.  Time stood still.

She leaned forward….

…and squished a mosquito that was feeding on my forehead.  Then just as quickly, she was stolen away to resume blocking for a scene.

I eventually did get my interview with her.  It went well.  We’re not dating or anything, but I think that’s for the best.  We care about each other enough to let go of each other.  It’s an understanding we have… the long distance thing just won’t work.

In all seriousness, I had ample time to watch her these passed few days and she is a great person.  One is known for her actions.  The best example I can think of was lunch yesterday.  We’re on location in a farm yard.  Our lunch room was a barn.  She’s a Hollywood star and she waited in line, between one of the Grips and a Locations PA for her turn at the food.

That’s obviously what most people do when waiting in line for food, but not in the ego-driven hierarchy of the entertainment industry.  No raging egos on this movie.  Vincent D’Onofrio waited until everyone had gone through before getting his food and then returning to his trailer.

After wrap, I stood with David Buelow, the Los Angeles producer and chatted about the industry.  We were both being eaten by mosquitoes but he was content to stand there talking to me.  He is quick with advice and told me he’d read my script when it’s ready.  I thanked him, and he said it was no big deal.  Reading scripts is what he does.  Most all are rejected for various reasons, but you never know which ones have a chance until they get read.

Big Day

Yesterday went well.  Put the camera in my hands, and it was like riding a bike.  Didn’t even have to think.  It felt just like any other time I had a camera in my hand and a story to tell.  I’ve shot on rodeo circuits, football fields, hockey rinks, airplanes, castles in foreign countries, and a zillion other places.  A film set is just another place.

The Canon 5D Mark II is tricky to focus when shooting video.  You really have to watch it closely.  The onboard sound is much much better than expected.  It’s so good, I’m planning to shoot the interview with Julia today without any external mics.  We need to run and gun anyway, catching her for a few minutes at a time between set-ups.  Over the course of the day I’ll be able to get all my questions in.

Jennifer Lynch runs a great set.  She’s full of life and humour, doesn’t take herself too seriously, but still gets the job done.  The cast all seem grounded, treating everyone with respect, despite the extreme heat and carnivorous mosquitos.

It was also the Riders’ home opener yesterday.  While most of the crew were torn about being on set during the game, I was able to schedule myself so that I’d be done by game time.  There were a number of Roughrider hats and t-shirts floating around.  Even the LA producer got in on the fun, donning a Roughrider cap to keep the sun off him.

The Romanian Syndicate and I got caught in a downpour and were pelted by hail just prior to game time.  All that heat from earlier in the day brewed up a gooder in the sky.  Didn’t last long, however.  About 10 minutes after it started, the sun was back.  I started off soaked to the bone and was mostly dry by half time.

The game itself was a huge letdown.  We lost 42-28 to Edmonton.  Played poorly throughout.  Hopefully it serves as a wake-up call.  We have Montreal coming in next weekend in a Grey Cup rematch.  Simply need to play better.

So that about does it for today.  Lots to do.  Big day ahead.  A day of bigs even… this morning when I was walking downtown, I ran into Courtney.

With My Eyes Closed

I’ve got a nervousness bubbling beneath the surface.  We go to camera tomorrow and I’m using a camera that I’ve never worked with before.  It’s the legendary Canon 5D Mark II.  Cue the angel song and white light.

I’ve been eyeballing this camera for some time.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s perfect for me.  A digital SLR that shoots 1080p video.  I lugged two camera packages half way around the world (twice) and my life would have been a lot easier had I been working with this camera.

We start shooting tomorrow and I simply don’t know this camera as well as I’d like to, for such a high profile gig.  Usually I can make adjustments on the fly without even thinking — without even looking.  Not completely so this time.

It is a Canon at least.  The aperture, shutter speed, ISO, drive mechanism, white balance, and a few other things are all in the same place as my Canon 30D.  The lens doesn’t work the same as my other lenses.  The autofocus mechanism also seems different.

No big deal, it’s just that I now have to think about something I normally wouldn’t need to think about.  Still, that type of thinking doesn’t hold a candle to the fact that I will be shooting video and recording audio with this camera.  I hit the ground running by following Julia Ormond, Vincent D’Onofrio and Jennifer Lynch around on set.

I’d like to drive the Ferrari around town a bit before taking it on the race track you know?  I have these thoughts that at a critical moment, they’re going to need something specific from me, and I won’t be able to make the camera cooperate.

I need to get a handle on how much video I can record on a single 8GB card.  I need to get a feel for how audio is picked up by the internal mic.  I also need to get this camera working with my own wireless lav.  Hmmm…. what else can go wrong?

I’m at home on a film set, so no problems there.  I know most of the crew.  I know where to place myself so I can get in on the action, and not be in the way.  The director and the producer are enthusiastic about the idea of me being there.

Overall, I got more going for me than against me.  Wish me luck!

Name Recognition

I’m going to be interviewing Julia Ormond on Monday.

That’s my new gig.  EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for the feature film ‘Rabbit’.  I’m responsible for producing all the behind-the-scenes stuff and conducting interviews with key cast & crew.  I’ll also be interviewing Vincent D’Onofrio and director Jennifer Lynch (David Lynch’s daughter).  Maybe by the end of it, we could all become best friends and I’ll be dating Julia Ormond.  She’ll call me ‘Sweetie’ or something British, and I’ll call her… ‘Julia Ormond’.

All my facebook friends would think I’m cool.  I also have my 20-year high school reunion coming up, and I’ll have to be sure to drop those names, casually.

In all honesty, when I watch a movie, I seldom pay attention to who the actors are, or who directed it.  I had to google everybody’s name and that’s when I recognized the faces, and the projects they worked on.  I actually like that about myself.

There are exceptions.  I might have mentioned my religious devotion to Joss Whedon and anything he ever had anything to do with.  It’s also impossible to NOT know what certain Hollywood superstars look like.  Still, as Joss wrote in Serentity, ‘We’re all just folk now.’

I am becoming a fan of David Buelow, the Los Angeles producer on this movie (the Saskatchewan producer also has my eternal devotion).  He’s a filmmaker, not a suit.  He cares about making something, and not the frills of being important.  He treats everyone, even those occupying the lowest crew positions, with respect.  I could learn a lot from him.

I’m having a war with my ego right now.  Part of me wants to scream from the rooftops the significance of my self importance now that I have this gig.  The rest of me is trying to manage a healthy sense of perspective.  It’s been a hard year full of promise.  I get more fulfillment out of creating something that moves an audience than I do from glomming onto egotistical fodder.

Just gotta keep my nose down.  Be the light.  Walk a true path.  Date Julia Ormond.