Hanging Out and Catching Up

The news I was expecting arrived on Monday.  It came in the form of moderate to goodish.  There are some hoops to jump through, but I’ll take it.  I’ll take it with enthusiasm.  Much better than the alternative.

I also found out yesterday that I’ve been shortlisted to write a book for a socio-economic policy centre.  Fingers are crossed.  Writing a book is one of my highest goals.  Ideas have slowly been percolating on form and style.  How’d y’all feel about a policy book that makes you smile from time to time?

I’ve been having a great time with Jazzy.  We haven’t done much this summer that could be considered adventurous.  No camping trips.  No big excursions to the exhibition.  No road trips.  Just a lot of hanging out.

We sat on the balcony this morning sipping smoothies that I taught her how to make.  She read her book and I rubbed her feet.  I prepare meals.  We do chores.  Sometimes we walk downtown to the park or the library.  Just normal, average, everyday things.  Makes me feel like I’m being her dad, not a summer camp entertainment director.

This morning in Atlantis I ran into Kaitlyn.  Big hugs and warmth.  She’s spending the year in Regina teaching and then performing in four different plays next year.  She said it’s weird to be an actor in Regina being so busy.

Gotta cut this short.  Courtney just showed up.  She asked me to help her out with a photo shoot project she wants to do.  It’s also a chance to catch up.

Monday Morning

A wasp just crawled up my shorts and bit me on the back of the leg.  Normally I’m content to let them land on me, sniff around, and then move on.  Not this time.  The wasp was making a bee-line towards some very sensitive areas.  Needed to intervene and I knew it would result in a bite.  Wasn’t much of a decision though.  Get bit on the hamstring, or somewhere north of the hamstring?

Some good news arrived yesterday afternoon.  I have been hired to work on the writing team for a series that’s in development.  The fee is modest, but the job is real.  So are the players involved.  The producer is the financier behind some of the biggest film projects in the province.  The other person involved is the writer/director friend who’s been mentoring me on my own work.  My job is to polish his script.  It’s my first paid writing gig for someone who isn’t named me.

Today has much promise.  Still waiting to hear about my other news.  In the meantime I’m setting aside the day to finish the Red Cross gig.  The last of the materials I needed came in on the weekend.  I don’t want to begin the writing gig until the previous gig is complete.  Muddles the headspace otherwise.

Sunday Morning

Every morning should feel like a Sunday morning.  I’m sitting on my balcony looking out over the city with a cup of coffee at hand and the whole day to make something of.

I’ve been nervous about the future.  Just deleted an article I wrote yesterday that was half way between down and not very good.  The short term requires a bit of patience.  I can’t go signing up for Plan B commitments before word comes of Plan A opportunities.  One thing at a time, one step at a time.  That news is only a day or so away.

It’s not a comfortable way to live and to be honest, the details of Plan B are still a bit fuzzy.  That’s what got my headspace all rattled up.  No clear way forward.

Everything I believed about my immediate future at the beginning of August has turned upside down.  The movies that were set to be happening went away, and there’s nothing confirmed to take their place.  I’ve had some good meetings in the interim, but those seeds will take some time to sprout.

What will I do if Plan A dries up?  Something.  I’m not sure what, but something always comes up.  My fretting has been productive in that I’ve discovered some options available to me, just in case.  Just can’t move on them until word comes down on Plan A.

When I learned to see the big picture with such simple clarity, my mood took a turn for the upward.  Made Sunday morning all the more pleasant.  I’m not even going to look at those Plan B options today.  I’m going to write and I’m going to NOT think about career stuff.

I’m going to have a pleasant day.

17 Strokes

Yesterday took a turn for the unexpected.  Jazzy wanted to head out to Dad and Kathy’s, so that was the morning plan.  Thing is, Jazzy didn’t wake up ‘til 10:30.  That left me the morning to get a bit of work done.

By noon she was moving and we walked to the library where she wanted to pick up some books for the trip.  I left her there to run some errands.  Then I picked her up and we walked through City Square.

I haven’t written much about City Square, but Jazzy and I are both watching it come together.  Everyday there are new developments.  More bricks laid.  More structures erected.  It’s gonna be a beautiful addition to the city when it’s complete.

The 45 minute drive to Strasbourg was relaxing.  Dad and I quickly fell into several games of backgammon.  After that, he invited me to a game of golf.  Jazzy tagged along and for several hours, it was three Rusnaks in the same space, at the same time together.  We had the place to ourselves.  No one behind us.  Jazzy had time to hit the ball down the fairway in about 17 strokes.

It was the first time I banged a ball in two years.  Did alright.  Only lost two balls.  With Jazzy in the picture, I was reminded of all the times I used to follow dad around on a golf course when I was a kid.

Chinese food was supper, and another relaxing drive home spelled the end of my day.  Didn’t plan it that way, but it was just about a perfect way to spend a Thursday.

List of Asks

I haven’t had very much to say lately, hence the long passage of writing between posts.  I’ve been doing things.  Interviewed Miss Teen Canada last week.  Hung out with Shawn, Ron, Brad and the others.  Caught up with a couple of old friends.  Took in mom’s birthday and saw family I hadn’t seen in a while.  I watched a movie in the park with Jazzy and her friend Kayla.  Lots of really good things.

Still, my headspace hasn’t been all that positive lately.  Career stuff on my mind.  I’m not one to bother God or the universe with personal requests, but then I got to thinking about the words of others.  If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

So I closed my eyes and I thought about what I wanted.  Tried to be specific because that was part of the words those others were on about.  I asked for my spec script to be picked up, or at least lead to a writing position on a team somewhere.  I asked for a green light for ‘Highwaymen’.  I asked for a green light for ‘Crimes of the Art’ and ‘Urban Future’ and ‘momMe’.  I was about to ask for some movement on my feature film script, then I stopped myself.

That’s a lot of asks.  I felt greedy.  I felt almost ashamed.  People everywhere have much bigger problems than me.  Mine are mostly ego related.  I need a project green lit to feel complete.

I always feel like I can be doing more to realize my goals, but I’m my own worst enemy.  I learn of an opportunity, or send out a proposal and I cringe because I didn’t think of it sooner.  I’ve been developing and developing and developing and writing about developing projects for two years now.  I’ve learned a lot.  Seen a lot.  Done a lot.

No green light.

I’m beginning to question my choices.  It’s an uncomfortable place to be.  People from across the industry are looking at my stuff and saying glowing things about my work.  It keeps me hanging in there.  It motivates me to stay the course.

I choose to take an optimistic point of view.  I just hope I’m not being delusional.


After I’m finished writing this, I’ll be heading over to mom’s to celebrate her birthday.  What can I say?  I’m glad she hatched me.  She reads this stuff, so I’m not going to lay it on thick today… except maybe to say, “Happy Birthday Mom.  I love you.”

I met with a writer/director friend of mine on Friday.  He offered to pay me to read two drafts of his latest script and provide critical feedback.  He also talked about adding me to the writing team of a series that’s in development.  This comes after he read my spec script for Republic of Doyle.  He knows a producer on the show, and forwarded my script.   Hopefully something comes of it.

My strategy to send one of my projects off to larger production companies spawned a nibble.  I had a 20 minute phone call with a producer from Vancouver who didn’t have room on her slate for Crimes of the Art, but she thought I did a good job with it, and hoped we might cross paths down the road.  She offered some free advice on where I might take the series and mentioned if I’m ever in Vancouver, she’d be interested in working with me on her own projects.  Need to meet a few more like her.

They say if you’re honest with yourself and you maintain a balanced headspace, you attract like minded people to yourself.  I was sitting in the window of Atlantis on Saturday night polishing my script.  Suddenly Tahirih, an actress friend of mine, was tapping me on the shoulder and giving me a big hug.  She’s in from Toronto, helping her mom out with the family business.  She introduced me to her friend, who’s also a performer and we fell into this conversational firestorm about creating a project together.  We met formally on Sunday to discuss the idea and my wheels have been turning ever since.  I’ve already written the first couple of scenes in my head.  Just need to get in down on paper by Thursday.

Speaking of headspaces, mine’s good.  It doesn’t take much I’m learning.  Write something meaningful everyday.  Stay fit.  Think healthy thoughts.

Got a birthday to get to.  Take care.

A Fresh Look Backwards

I’m sitting in the window of Atlantis and my mind is trying to strike a healthy balance between looking forward, and reflecting back.  Times have been lean.  Still no word on when the next batch of movies are starting up.  Green lighting a project feels like a distant memory.

Having said that, Canamedia just made a sale of InJustice to FilmOn.com and I just signed a distribution deal with UK based OPTL.  They specialize in Europe and Asia Pacific and seem really keen to push hard on this one.  I looked at their catalogue and it’s a healthy balance between genres.  I’ll be a medium sized fish in their lake, as opposed to being a small fish in someone else’s ocean.  I’m hoping this translates into my show getting more attention (and sales).

My thoughts now turn to other projects.  Crimes of the Art and Urban Future have been commended for their distinctive look and feel.  Some industry types have even described them as ‘brilliant’.  They remain a twinkle in my eye after 18 months.  Clearly I’m not cut out to be the one promoting them.  My relationships with buyers aren’t as strong as they need to be.  I have decided to focus my efforts on working with larger production companies to make this happen.

The elite levels of motor sports often see drivers with sponsors/money attached, shopping themselves around to teams with machines ready to go, but no driver or funding in place to turn the engine.  I previously sent my resume out to production companies around the country looking to pick up work as a writer/producer/director/editor and/or shooter.  I suppose I’m a fish in the ocean when I do that.  Maybe if I come with my own projects, I become a lot more distinctive.

My highest career aspiration remains writing drama for film & television.  I have two one-hour screen plays under my belt and a feature film in the works.  I recently became aware of some funding options that are in place that could help.  Put three development proposals out the door yesterday as a result.  Wasn’t even that difficult.  Turns out I’d been preparing all the required forms & documents on my own anyway.  Might as well TRY to get paid for it.

Today has research written all over it.  Time to get started.

Cool Music

I’m at mom’s campsite in Craven.  She’ll be serving up steak in 45 minutes or so.  After that, I’ll be watching football in the trailer.  Haven’t decided if I’ll spend the night or not.

Earlier, I wandered around downtown for a spell.  The Regina Folk Festival is going on in Victoria Park (3 blocks from my apartment).  Artists from across North America are playing and there have been free shows going on all day.  I couldn’t NOT take in some of the festivities.  It would be like showing up for turkey dinner and eating boiled hot dogs.

I got the idea to take Jazzy through there tomorrow.  Thought it might be nice to invite friends and make a bigger day of it, but then I changed my mind.  Jazzy ignores me when her friends are around, except to trot me out and have me say something funny on cue.  Make lasting memories.  That’s my plan for the summer with her.

There’s a song writing workshop that I think she’ll enjoy.  After that, the concerts will feed into the whole, ‘expand Jazzy’s musical pallet’ mission.  There’ll probably be people there whom we’ll know as well.  Just gotta wander a spell and find ‘em if we so choose.

Music is such an important thing in people’s lives.  We adopt it and make it a part of our identities.  Some of us take our style cues from it.  People form tight knit communities around music.  It’s a powerful thing.

I’ve always told Jazz, “whatever you do, listen to cool music.  It’ll make you a better person, and it will draw cool people to you.”  As she gets older, influences, bad and good, will cross her path.  The ‘Top 40’ crowd won’t be a reliable source of positive influence.  Paper thin pop culture values there.  However, being that girl who’s plugged in to a whole world of new and interesting ideas will give her the strength, courage, and insight to walk her own path.

Epic Balance

Now that the script is complete, my routine has changed somewhat.  I’m splitting time between marketing myself and my projects in the morning with editing my footage from Rabbit in the afternoons.  Feels like a nice balance.  As long as I’m putting myself out there, I can keep worries about the future at bay.

I also need to spend more time sitting in the quiet on my balcony watching the world go by.  Maybe have a note pad in my hand.  There’s something about doing that, that makes ideas about future projects and opportunities flow.  Doesn’t even need to take a long time.  10 minutes is plenty.  The trick is to NOT plan to think… just be.

It’s 11:30am and I’m guessing Jazzy’s still asleep.  Don’t know for sure because I’m sitting in the window of Atlantis, but I did open her door last night at 2:30 and she was still up on her computer.  Nocturnal.  She’s her father’s daughter.

I fixed my toilet yesterday.  Needed to replace the rubber stopper at the bottom of my toilet tank.  Waited over a week for the building people to do it, but it wasn’t happening.  I got them to give me the part and I did it myself.  Was an epic repair too.  Only took three tanks of acetylene, two rolls of duct tape, one minor explosion.  I can now flush in peace.

Well… summer doth beckon.  So does the chair on my balcony.  Got some musing to do, and then some editing after that.

Finishing Things Off Right

I finished my script on Saturday, but never really stopped writing it in my head.  There remained some loose strings that needed tying up.  Wasn’t worried about it though, percolating thinky thoughts have a way of solving problems in ways concerted efforts never will.

All those percolations resulted in some polish on Sunday and I’ll be giving it another pass today before sending it out the door to some trusted advisors.  It’s good methinks – really good.  We’ll see what happens next.

Jazzy flew in on Saturday night.  I left the Rider game early to meet her.  That’s how much I love her.  I did however force her to watch the end of the game with me in the airport on TV.

They didn’t win by the way.  Doing too much of that this season.  They lost three veteran receivers from last year’s squad and the offence isn’t moving the ball very well as a result.  It’s a long season and there’s still time to right the ship.  They have a winless BC squad next and Calgary at home on August 12.  Jazzy’s coming to that game with me.

Once we got home from the airport, Jazzy and I played music for each other until 1am.  She’s into top 40, but I’m trying to round her out with other influences.  Gonna try and keep up our little musical exchanges throughout the summer.

We had brunch at mom’s yesterday with Grama and Papa.  Jeremy and Amber were there too.  Afterwards we walked through the park and I read a chapter of Harry Potter to her out loud.  I sat on a bench and she soaked her feet in the lake.  We capped the night off, roasting hot dogs on the fire at Shawn’s.

It was a near perfect day!