Fortune Cookie Time Management

I pulled into Toronto Wednesday night, bleary eyed but in good spirits.  Spent most of the drive lost in my thoughts.  What a tangle.

Even though I had a travelling companion, I spent most of the trip in silence.  Just didn’t have anything to say because I didn’t know what I thought about anything.  Spent most of my time in Regina being just as silent.

I recently read an article by Ken Davenport in his blog about a young producer who was asking an established Broadway producer for advice.  “I have this show,” he said, “And I’ve been trying to raise money for it.  And I just can’t do it.  What should I do?”

The producer responded simply with, “If you can’t raise the money for your show, you don’t want to produce it badly enough.”

RedShirts, Highwaymen, Not Being A Dick, Hog Town and That Moment In Between, all show great potential, and I’m simply not doing enough to realize that potential.  I feel that truth in my bones and I’ve been in denial about it.

I realize producing a play is very different from producing a movie or television show.  In a previous article, Davenport confessed that he is as prone to procrastination as anyone when it comes to getting his Broadway shows off the ground.  The trick he says, is to simply book a theatre.  I totally get how that can be a perfect remedy, but I can’t simply ‘book’ a broadcaster to play my ideas.

I can however, be doing a lot more to get my ideas out there.

My time is finite and I need to be better at using it to further my goals.  To this end, I need to look at myself closely and break the time I spend down into a number of realistic categories.

The first category is Personal Time.  This is the time I take to play backgammon (my rating is an impressive 1872 btw), watch TV, hang out, and/or wander aimlessly.  I’m embarrassed to say that I spend most of my time in this category.

The second category is Project Time.  If my overall time is finite, then this time is even more finite (finitier).  The more projects I actively pursue, the less time each project gets.  There are no guarantees about if and when a project green lights, so it’s prudent to have a few on the front burner.  Still, I could do more to find a better balance.

The third category is Short Term Cash Flow Time.  I need to pay my bills while my projects simmer.  This time has two sub categories, ‘pursue the gigs‘ and ‘work the gigs‘.  I can do corporate gigs, teach workshops, work on movies (I’m now a member of the Directors Guild of Canada), and/or work for other companies.  The time I give to this category is directly proportional to my cash flow needs.

So there it is.  Perfectly straight forward.  I need to get better at first measuring, and then managing my time.

Fucking yuck!

I hate to even admit that to myself.  Sounds like a phrase right out of a self help diagnosis fortune cookie.  It’s true though, and if I’m going to make something of my career, I’m gonna have to make some adjustments.

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Hypnotized by the Motion

I am currently sitting in the window of Atlantis Coffee, as I have done on countless occasions previously.  Jazz and I pulled into Regina last night at 6pm, after driving 2,773 kms in 25.5 hours.  We made pretty good time, but the drive left me feeling a bit stoned.  Highway lines can be a bit hypnotizing that way.

It’s good to be home.  It’s good to see the faces of loved ones.  It’s good to see the places I love.  Unfortunately, this trip will be a brief one.  I’ll once again be Toronto bound come Tuesday.

This trip is a perfect metaphor for where my headspace is lately.  I’m not really anywhere right now – and I’m making good time getting there.  Leap and the net will catch you – and I’m still free falling.

I’d really like to land somewhere soon and I’m fine with wherever that winds up being.  The feeling of solid land beneath my feet will be a nice change.

The Black Door

I knocked on a black door on the 2nd floor. A woman opened it and asked me the password. “Syndrupolous Flotsam,” was my response.  She let me inside.

Another woman was standing in the hall next to a closed wooden container.  I approached her and asked for a lemon.  She opened the case and told me there were no lemons about.  I was disappointed.

At this moment, another woman approached me.  “I have the last lemon,” she said, “and I am the one you came to see.”  I followed her to the third floor where she led me into a room.  Cards were laid out on the floor.  She told me to read them, while carrying a particular memory in mind.  Any memory would do, so long as it was mine.

Fifteen minutes later, I joined her at the end of the room.  She sat in one chair, I sat in another.  She had her window to look out of, and I had mine.  A white sheet divided the space between us.  We could now hear each others’ voices, but we could not see one another.

She presented me with three options.  “Would you like to tell me about your memory, would you like to hear one of mine, or would you like me to alter yours?”  I chose to tell her about the last time I saw Julianne.  The story was somewhat sad, but I was smiling when I told it.

That was just one of the highlights of the party on Thursday night.  Frank, Jazzy, myself, and Edita, Donna’s niece, attended.  There were live bands playing, free food, cheap booze, amazing people creatures, art, lights, dancing, and conversation everywhere.  It was the kickoff event for Summerworks, a theatre festival taking place in Toronto this week.

Jazzy had her ‘soul’ read earlier in the evening.  She took the pear.  It was an amazing time and I’m soooooo glad I get to share these types of experiences with her.  We’re in Niagara Falls this weekend staying with friends.

Supper is calling and I must wrap this up, but I’ll be back with more harrowing adventures of Jarrett & Jazz.  Stay tuned!

Not Waiting For the Phone to Ring

Last week I spent most of my time occupying myself with odd tasks while staring at the phone waiting for a call. There still hasn’t been any news, but I was not enjoying pinning so much of my happiness on a single moment in time that has yet to arrive.  Over the weekend I got back to something more balanced.

In the last three days I’ve written a 2nd draft of Redshirts and a 7th draft of Highwaymen. I resumed putting them out the door, sending emails and making phone calls.  My headspace feels better.  Writing and moving my projects along are things I have control over.  There’s just no guarantees about when they might green light, if ever.

I still want this producer gig.  I put my best foot forward.  I am prepared to place my projects on the back-burner for 10 months while I commit to being a part of someone else’s team.  I have much to give, and even more to learn from that situation.  Nothing but good things will come of it.

Life doesn’t stop moving for one single thing.  Writing for the Argonauts netted me two tickets to Monday’s game at Rogers Centre.  Jazzy and I wound up sitting with some ex-players.  One is the head of the CFL Player’s Alumni Association.  With my recent article being published in cfl.ca, he mentioned he might be interested in having me do some writing for him as well.  We exchanged contact info.

Another former player, Michael Collymore, brought Jazzy and I along with him to the HSBC VIP section of the stadium.  He had an invitation and was welcome to bring guests.  I wound up watching part of the game with John Bowen, play-by-play man for the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I exchanged contact info with him and one other person I met.  Maybe we can find ways to work together down the road.  At the very least, they may know people who know people who could open doors for me, should I ever need them opened.

Afterwards, Jazzy and I went down to field level.  The Argonauts let their fans onto the turf after games to take in a perspective of the stadium that most other fans could only dream of.  We watched the roof close, snapped photographs, and just kind of took things in.

When I woke up that morning, I never dreamed my day would unfold the way it did. All I did was smile, shake some hands, put myself out there, and let things unfold. I feel like I’ve been taking that same approach with everything else I’ve been up to this week.

Published In The Meantime

It’s been an interesting week.

On Tuesday I very nervously interviewed Matt Devlin, play-by-play man for the Toronto Raptors about a football story for the Argonauts.  Devlin’s done NFL, Big 10 Football, Major League Baseball, and of course NBA.  An incredible resume and there I was, making a feeble journalistic attempt to interview him.  Talking to him wasn’t really the intimidating part – transcribing his quotes correctly was my main concern.

I spent a few hours afterwards writing the article, and then submitted it the next morning to the Argos Admirals blog.  I was informed the next day that argonauts.ca was picking up the story, and this morning I just found out that cfl.ca is running it!  I am now published on two major Canadian Football news sites!  Fuck yeah!

Here’s a link to the article; http://www.cfl.ca/article/devlin-catches-up-quick-on-recent-set-of-cfl-on-tsn-broadcasts

I also found out this week that my screenplay, That Moment In Between, made the quarterfinals in Scriptapaluza, a Hollywood scriptwriting competition.  I was selected out of 4,700 other writers.

On the flip side, I am still awaiting word on the Producer gig.  My second interview went well, but I’ve yet to see how well.  I’m anxious.  I’m nervous.  It’s a bit difficult to make plans for the time being – which is par for the course for me.  The big difference seems to be how heavily it’s weighing on me.  I really want this gig and I can’t seem to bring myself to make contingency plans.

I’ve spent my time instead finishing the editing for McKenzie’s short film and tweaking the one-sheet for RedShirts.  I’ve set today aside to do a bit of writing.

We’ll see how the next few days goes.