Walking

The music was alright and Sasha was great, but the vibe was off.  Clubs aren’t really my scene, but she felt it too, and she plays in clubs all the time.  It still was worthwhile though.  Spent Saturday night floating on a big boat outside Toronto’s signature skyline on Lake Ontario.  I only wish I had someone to share the view with.

While Saturday was spent on the water, Sunday marked the beginning of my summer walking tour of Toronto.  You really get to know a place by walking around.  It all started Sunday when Frank invited me to the beach.

Ashbridge’s Bay Park deserves a whole article to itself, and so I won’t go into much detail here.  Spent over an hour walking Lake Ontario’s shoreline.  Hard to believe I was still inside the city.  I discovered all kinds of nooks and fire pits and places to sit and think.  It’s only the tip of the Toronto green space iceberg.

On Monday I headed downtown for my usual pilgrimage to Urbana Coffee.  Plus 31 outside and sunny.  Hard to concentrate on work stuff.  At 7pm I headed over to the U of T campus for a change of scenery.  Plugged in my laptop and worked for a couple more hours.  Finished a one-sheet forDick.

Exiting the building, I found enough change in my pocket for the subway, but it was still such a beautiful evening.  Figured I’d walk it a spell.  Walked through Queen’s Park and once I hit Bloor, still felt like walking.  Walked all the way home in fact.  Took an hour or so, but I saw the city in a way that would be impossible by any other means.

At walking speed, you get to hear a place.  You get to smell it.  You have time to notice the small things.  Walked right past a few nooks I’d like to return to someday soon.

I’ve talked to people who’ve lived in Toronto their whole lives, and they still haven’t seen everything that’s here.  It’s actually mind boggling.  There’s so much to see and do in this city.  I’m going to make a concerted effort to scope it out.

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Work Work Work

Toronto hit a muggy 31 degrees yesterday while Regina saw rain and a bit of snow.  If I weren’t so damned uncomfortably hot, I would have felt smug.  To this end, I went out an bought an air conditioner from Canadian Tire.  Fit it in the window and slept in a cool-sweat free bliss.

While the heat motivated the purchase, I felt it was more of a celebratory present to myself.  I was hired by School of Photography to be one of their instructors.  I can teach their curriculum, or design my own.  Hours are flexible and I can freely and openly pursue my writing career without conflict.  Diddo for any other gigs I pick up.

Today has RedShirts on the plate.  I plan to finish the first draft by the end of the day.  I have 7 – 10 pages to go, so the goal is doable.  I’m a little worried about two five page scenes that take up most of Act I.  Not sure if I can get away with that, but I left them intact because there is some action sequences, and the characters have a lot of physical space to move in.  The director can keep things unstagnant with some savvy blocking, which will allow the camera to move as well.

Tonight I trade my photographic eye for a free pass onto a boat cruise party.  One of the performers is Sasha De La Soul and she wants me to get some footage of her banging her drum.  It’s super casual so I can partake of the festivities whilst shooting the odd bit of footage for her.  She actually insisted that I have fun tonight.

Work work work.

Head Shots and Deadlines

Scorching hot outside today.  Frank’s at the beach.  He invited me to join him, but I elected to get some work done instead.  How’s that for responsibility?

The photo shoot earlier today went well.  The client left happy and the fat wad of cash in my pocket is amicable to my mood.  He said he’s got a friend who needs head shots done, and he’ll recommend me.  He actually came to me through a referral from Kylah, who also had me do her head shots.

Have I mentioned her before?  She’s someone I met standing in line to an improv thing last month.  She came out to readDick before I left for the festival and we’ll probably work together again soon.

The meeting with Alexis went well.  Half the talking sounds we made were of the social variety, and the rest was advice.  I promised to send her a completed draft of Redshirts on Saturday.  She said she’ll read it and if she likes it, pass it on to her boss creature.  Submitting a draft to her by Saturday will involve actually finishing this current draft.  Nothing like a good tangible deadline to motivate the wordsmithing.

We’re also getting together on Tuesday.  She needs a tutorial in Final Cut Pro and I’m more than happy to oblige.  It’s yet another way to build a relationship with her company.  Besides, if I do a favour for them, they’ll owe me a favour.

Afterwards, I walked from the Distillery District all the way to University and Queen.  Just wanted to spend some time alone with the city.  It really is great to be back.  I missed this place.

Might have to buy a portable air conditioner if this heat keeps up though.  Sleeping at night’s a bit of a problem.

Promise

I’m sitting in Balzac’s Coffee Shop in the Distillery District of Toronto.  It’s a hot sunny Wednesday and the city I left three weeks ago, feels much different now.  Leaves are on the trees.  Summer is afoot.  Womenfolk are showing off some skin.  It’s perfectly awesome to be ‘home’.

I had a slow day, unpacking and stowing my stuff from Regina.  All but my art now has a home.  Did a bit of banking, took care of some business emails, and even had time for a good long coffee on the deck with Bacia.  In 20 minutes or so, I’ll be meeting with Alexis, an executive assistant with a production company I pitched to.

I’m adding a new strategy to my networking repertoire.  It’s called ‘Schmoozing the Executive Assistant’.  I picked it up reading a Broadway Producer’s blog called, ‘The Producer’s Perspective’.  He said he’s got a pile of scripts on his desk.  Too many to read in a short period of time, but you know who DOES have time to read scripts?  His assistant.

Not only would she take the time to read a script, but she has HIS ear.  If she tells him to read something, he’ll read it – and he’ll give it a top priority.  His advice to those who want to have their stuff read, is to work that angle.

In other news, the drive home was long, uneventful, but certainly delightful.  I don’t need to say how much I like long drives for my headspace.  Didn’t even mind showing up in Milwaukee to catch a ferry – that turned out to NOT be leaving for a whole day yet.  A shrug of the shoulder and two hours later I was through Chicago’s rush hour traffic and bound for Detroit.  Pulled into Toronto at 1am.

I feel great!  I have everything with me that I need to be me.  I have meetings lined up.  I have a paid photo shoot booked for tomorrow.  I have writing to finish up in all my favourite TO coffee shops.  I have my TO faces, places and things to do, all waiting for me, ready to do.

Being away is good.  Coming back from a long trip is even better.  This summer hath much promise!

Penultimate Regina Thoughts

I’ve got the car packed with everything that I’ll be taking back to Toronto.

I told mom to get rid of my kitchen stuff.  I have a bin full of old production binders from past Dacian projects.  But for some winter stuff, everything else can disappear and I wouldn’t give it another thought.  Well, there are my fold-up director chairs.  Not quite ready to part with them.

Packed (or soon to be packed) is my art, my hard drives, my salt lick (for tequila)… shit, I need to pack the tequila… my Roughrider stuff, my camping stuff (which can live in the car) and some other bits of odds & ends.

I’m just about done catching up on faces, places, and things I’d like to do.  I also wrote 10 pages of my new sitcom, RedShirts.  The episode is half way done.  One or two more dates with it should give me a full episode.  We’ll see what comes to mind after that.

It’s currently 3pm on a Saturday afternoon.  I have no idea how the day will unfold.  I was hoping to make it out to Strasbourg to see Dad, but no one’s answering the phone.  Mom and Dave are spending the weekend at their campsite in Craven, Shauna’s meeting me for a beer right away, and I’m hoping to get some quality time in with Courtney before hitting the road Monday morning.

I’m not sure when I’ll be back.

Dick Maintenance

I’ve organized a table read tonight for the new draft of Dick. Have I mentioned this already?  Lemme check.

[some minutes pass]

Yup.  Okay, I mentioned that I’d be organizing a table read, but I didn’t get into specifics.  So, this article will be the edge of your seat read about how I organized the table read.  Ready?  Here it goes…

I called some people I know and asked them if they wanted to come.

Feel free to take break now, calm your heart rate, and maybe grab something to drink.  I would feel terrible if my account of recent events caused anyone discomfort.

I supped with Nadia last night.  Food wasn’t really the point of the meal, we just haven’t seen each other in a while.  It was great to catch up and we made a date to go to Montreal in September for her friend’s wedding.  It’s been 5 years since I’ve seen that city, coincidentally, also on a trip with Nads.  It was New Year’s Weekend, 2007.  We were there two days before we even saw the sun.  It was THAT kind of a party.

Afterwards I drove over to Shawn’s with a burning desire to rotate my tires.  No really.  He has a garage and a jack, and jack stands and he’s handy with that sort of thing.  Not that I’d just stand around and watch him – I’d help myself to his beer fridge too.

We went out front to have a look at my tires.  He had me run my hands along the rear treads.  They felt lumpy – which is a problem for something that’s supposed to be perfectly round.  No wonder they’re noisy.  He suggested I pick up a couple before I leave for Toronto and I’ve been pondering that ever since.

But first I drank a couple of his beers.

This morning I decided to skip new tires.  Went for an oil change instead.  I figure I’ll buy a set of four new tires in Toronto this summer.  These ones still have 10k left on their expected lifespan.  The lumpiness is an inconvenience, but certainly not a safety issue.

Speaking of safety issues, I did manage to read Dick last night before Nadia showed up at supper.  It’s good.  I think it’s about done in fact.  Ready and safe to be shopped around without permanently damaging my career.  I’ll find out for sure after the read tonight, but I think the others in the room will like it too.

Letting Them Know

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately.  Torn between being home in Regina and being home in Toronto.  My life isn’t really here in Regina anymore and there’s career stuff that needs addressing in TO.

It’s been six months since I moved and while I’ve done much to further my writing career, I’ve pretty much let my other skills fall by the wayside.  I’ve produced or production managed over $5 million in production in my career.  I’ve directed a ton.  I shoot and I edit.  The Toronto industry knows none of these things about me.  I’ve actually made a point of keeping those details buried.  They say they like to pigeon hole you in TO.  They say they frown upon anyone who isn’t a ‘specialist’.  That was the advice I was given, and it’s the advice I’ve been following.

I’ve since come to realize that nobody is going to hire me for their writing room if I don’t have an agent.  I am making progress towards that goal.  In the meantime, I need to pay my bills and take advantage of the opportunities this city offers.  I decided to start putting myself out there.

A producer friend needs help with a series he’s about to green light.  I sent my resume to other production companies in town too.  I have a lot to offer the production community in TO and it’s about time I let them know that.

The Latest Draft

I finished the latest draft of Dick this morning.  Gonna give it a quick read on paper right away and see how it feels.  I suspect there’ll be some small tweaks to the dialogue, but in general, I think it has a nice shape.

In adding a couple lines of text here, massaging some dialogue there, and fleshing out scenes in other places, I’ve written an additional 6 pages.  The piece is sitting just past the 91 page mark now.  I also went back to a one-act structure and overall, it should come in at under 70 minutes on stage.  With a little luck, I’ll be able to organize a table read before the weekend.

The most satisfying part of reaching this stage, is that I’ve completed this stage.  Time to start shopping the play around, submitting it to playwriting competitions, Fringe Festivals, and other theatre related destinations.  I can also now focus my attention on other projects.  One thing at a time, one day at a time.

This evening I’ll be hanging out at Crave, helping to organize The Vertigo Series.  Looking forward to seeing more familiar faces, places and things to do.  Less than a week to go in Regina.  Still don’t know how things will unfold.  Kinda like not knowing either.

No Big Drama After All

There was no drama last night at the 4 Seasons, except for the part where I spent three hours working on my play.  The individual in question, whom I have my differences with, was the first to arrive.  He just kind of tapped me on the shoulder and roused me from that place I go when I’m deep into my writing.  His energy was subdued, mine was neutral.

Neither of us said a word about the incident. We just refreshed our drinks and hung out.  It was nice.  He’s still an ass, but as I said, I don’t feel the need to go there with him.

The others arrived shortly after.  No dramatic reunion or anything.  It felt like it had only been a couple days since we last saw each other.  Four hours later, we walked out of the place, and it was really, really nice.

As I mentioned, I did spend three hours with my play yesterday.  Didn’t even open my laptop.  Just pen and my printed script.  I haven’t worked that way in a while.  Forgot how refreshing it can be.  I get a different feel for the story when I’m working with it from paper.  I can see it bigger.  I can connect ideas with greater clarity.

The actual script format I used, lent itself to this sort of work.  Stage directions are written on the right side of the page, dialogue on the left.  Lots of white space for notes as a result.  I’m currently half way through scene 6, which also coincides with the half way point to my play.

Today is Mother’s Day.  I’m planning to finish up Dick on paper then set about translating my notes to a new electronic draft on screen.  After that, a trip to Wal-Mart, then home to be all nice to my mother.  I’m going to phone Kathy and Bacia after that as well.

Also, I think I’ll buy black socks.

Thinking About Thinky Thoughts

I’m here in Regina thinking thinky thoughts about Toronto.  My career doth beckon, but I’ve got people to see and things I’d like to do here first.  I haven’t decided when I’ll head back yet.  I suspect the decision will present itself over the next few days.

It’s a beautiful warm sunny Saturday today.  Regina’s streets are crawling with street folk, coming and going past my window seat Atlantis perch.  I promised Courtney a new draft of Dick by Sunday evening.  Been sitting here two hours so far, and haven’t even opened it yet.

Mind is wandering too much, and I’m inclined to just let it.  I just finished coffee with Rob King, my director/writer colleague.  He pitched Easy Over to a Toronto producer who found the writing, my writing, to be quite strong.  We should know in the next few days if it’ll be picked it up.  A paid writing gig of my own collaboration would be nice.

Speaking of writing, I submitted my application to the CFC yesterday.  They’re taking applications from the best available writers across the country, conducting interviews, and then accepting just eight of them.  I’m nervous.  I’m excited.  I’m anxious to see how I stack up against the competition.

Speaking of competition, I’m getting together with the Romanian Syndicate tonight.  I’m distributing the winnings from our football pool tonight.  It’ll be nice to see most of them, though I’m having a bit of an issue with one in particular.  I’ve known the guy my whole life, and I’m just now starting to accept that he is, has been, and always will be an insecure little man who seeks to pull others down in order to appear better than everyone else.  I realize that I’m flirting with my ‘no bitching’ rule here, but in this case I’ll plead ‘revelation’.  Since we were kids, this guy would beat me down, and I would compete to win his approval – which never came.  At best, he’d just set his sights on someone else in the group.

He crossed the line a couple weeks back with me.  At the time I said I’d be taking things up with him privately when I got to Regina.  It’s been a couple weeks now and I just haven’t had the desire to pick up the phone.  I think I’ve accepted him.  It will always be in his nature for him to do what he does.  I can’t change that.  The only thing I can do, is not give him power over me.  I’m going to this thing tonight, and I’ll focus my energy on more positive members of the group.

Kate met this guy and a few of my other friends from that group when she helped me move a year ago.  Last night I introduced her Shawn, Cheryl, Brad & Beth.  She liked them much better.  We laughed our asses off playing charades, drinking beergiritas, and philosophizing about shit that don’t matter.  No one was clamouring for alpha retard status and we were all just there to enjoy each others’ company.

It was also nice to show her off as my ‘actor friend’.  Made me look cool by association.