New Year’s Resolutions

It’s New Year’s Eve, 2013.

In the coming year, I think I’d like to read more. I always feel good about myself after reading a script, a novel, and/or some in-depth exploration of a topic. Perhaps I can find the time to read by turning off Netflix a little more frequently.

I’d like to spend 2014 writing a lot more often. Finding the time has always been my excuse, but really, the world won’t end if I spend at least two hours at the top of the day writing something. 

Trading on my writing will be another priority in 2014. I’ve been waiting around, trying to get into the CFC, but no more. Toronto is full of broadcasters, agents, and production companies. Everyone knows someone, and someone has got to be interested in optioning something I’m doing. I just gotta knock on a lot more doors.

I’m going to meet a ton of new people over the next twelve months. It’s always great to meet people. As said previously, everybody knows somebody, and relationships make the world go ’round. I want to fall into conversations with perfect strangers in coffee shops, then never see ’em again. I want to have meaningful exchanges with people who can influence my career. I want to share laughs with new friends.

I’m going to go deeper with friends who mean a lot to me, and worry a lot less about those who pollute my headspace.

I’m going to teach Jazzy something new every month – even if it means having to first learn something new, before I teach it.

I’m going to do my best to be a better person, both to myself, and to those around me.

I suspect that if I can accomplish all these things, 2014 will be a pretty good year.

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Five Generations

Jazz and I spent the days leading up to Christmas going through old photos from Grama’s album to make the above video for the family. I knew it would go over well, and I couldn’t think of a better gift I could give for the holidays. I wasn’t expecting how much making this video would move me.

A story emerged unexpectedly over four generations from 1910-1976. Life and death. Joy and sorrow. A real slice of life. A peak into a series of moments frozen in time from my family’s history. I felt like I was touching that history with my finger tips every time I scanned a photo. I felt like I was seeing the thoughts captured in time, behind the eyes of those who thought them.

Most of them are long dead now. The video was proof that they once lived – fully and completely. I also think the experience was coloured somewhat by some unhappy news that landed unexpected.

We tend to think we have all the time in the world to connect with the loved ones in our lives – and then word comes down that the clock is ticking – that time is rapidly, running out.

Possibly anyway.

We won’t know the prognosis for a few days yet. Jazz and I will be on the highway, bound for Toronto when that news arrives.

I don’t quite know how to deal with it. It’s like if I change my patterns, it will be like I’m admitting the possibility that someone will die. If I just stay the same – keep doing things the same – maybe this will all go away. False alarm. Close call.

My life is 2,754 kilometres away. How’m I supposed to grieve from there? How’m I supposed to be from there? To act differently perhaps would be to admit that something was wrong with the relationship in the first place. To act differently, would be to BE differently when nothing was wrong to begin with.

I think I’ve said everything I’ve ever felt a need to say. I just wish I had all the time in the world to NOT say it.

Natural Disaster

Toronto has been pelted by an ice storm that’s caused much havoc in the city. Trees are shattering from the weight, children are skating on the streets – in ice skates, power is out throughout the city, public transit is a nightmare, and roads are in terrible condition.

The house has no power. Jon & Fiona have bugged out, as has Kathy. There’s a branch crashed through the roof of the garage, and another one down where the cars would normally be parked.

Jazz came up to me last night and asked, “Dad, is it bad that I feel like I’m missing out on all that chaos?”

“No Jazz. I feel the same way.”

From the safe frigid confines of Regina, we’ve been monitoring the situation online. Friends are sending text and Facebook updates. The news channels have been covering Toronto extensively, debating whether the Mayor should declare a state of emergency.

I kinda sorta wish I was there, suffering along with the rest of my fellow Torontotonians. I’ve never seen an ‘ice storm’ before. I feel a little bit like I’m cheating – like I took the easy way out. Ice storm survivor’s guilt.

Fortunately, when I woke up this morning, I saw the temperature in Regina hit -49c with the wind chill factored in. Skin will freeze in thirty seconds. Atomic motion will cease shortly after that.

Toronto gets hit by the odd freak of nature every once in a while. It makes the news and people across the country watch in droves.

Regina regularly gets hit by a natural disaster. It lasts for months and no one across the the country cares. It’s called ‘winter’.

I guess it all evens out.

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Sausage Making in the White of Serenity

1photo 2photoI am sitting in Mom’s living room, having just sucked down my third cup of coffee. Jazzy is on the couch knitting something for nobody in particular and I’m arguing with my mother about all the dumb questions she asks me. Feels like Christmas in Regina.

It really is good to be home. Regina is covered in a blanket of white snow, and there’s not a hurry in sight. Grama and Papa spent the night and they’re planing to lead the charge later today, making sausages.

We played Canasta last night. Jazzy was partners with Grama & Papa, and I was partnered with Mom. We lost. Fucking goddammed 7’s wouldn’t come up, and they kept drawing wild cards. All four rounds they made two canasta’s of wild cards!

I choose to retain this bitterness because it fuels my artistic angst.

I haven’t even been out to see friends, although that’ll be changing in a couple hours. I have lunch with Courtney coming up and then drinks with Jim at La Bodega after he’s done work. I’ll spend the in-between time doing my best to avoid internet type distractions (read an article on Facebook about a guy who had his hand grafted to his ankle after it was severed in an accident) and look to get some writing done.

I’ve hatched an idea to adapt Highwaymen to a feature film from a TV pilot. This means reimagining the story by adding 30 pages. As a film, I think the idea has more legs because a football movie set in the CFL will go over very well in these parts. No need to convince Toronto-based broadcasters that Canadian football would be a ratings hit. I might even be able to crowd-source some of the funding, because people in the Rider Nation will pay for anything football related.

Hmmm….

I’m heading back for home on January 3. What are the chances I get a good start on a new draft of the script?

Two Weeks and 29 Hours

I’m in the midst of a ‘thing’ with my blog. The burning desire I used to feel to document every moment of my life has subsided somewhat. Perhaps I’m more interested in living my life than I am in reflecting upon it. Perhaps I’m a lot less narcissistic than I used to be. Perhaps I’m becoming too cautious about what I say, lest I bruise my career in some way. Perhaps I’m just bored with it.

Or perhaps I just need to go back and read old articles to see if my impression of past musings hold up to reality? There are a lot of ghosts in them thar paragraphs. Old projects. Long dead friendships. Travels. Memories.

It’s worth keeping up methinks. I’m sure I’ll work through it, whatever this ‘thing’ is.

***

The world has been treating me well, these past couple weeks.

I’ve taken a number of meetings with industry types. There’s a handshake deal in place to develop a documentary series with Angel Entertainment. I also submitted a pitch for another documentary series to a broadcaster in Toronto. Both projects excite me and capture my imagination.

In the meantime, I completed the latest draft of Room 31. The tone has shifted significantly from being a half-hour comedy to a one-hour drama with Dr. Who type absurdity. Most of the additional pages came from developing a B and C story arc, then weaving scenes from those arcs into the A story plot.

When I think back to previous drafts, I am amazed at how much of the original script has been obliterated. Writing is rewriting. Ideas I had for later episodes have all found their way into the pilot script. It’s very dense now – every scene is squeezed to the last drop for bits of story. I anxiously await feedback because it’s very close now – close enough to begin showing it to producers and broadcasters.

***

I’m writing this from my mother’s living room. Jazzy, Aubree and I made the trek into Regina via the United States on Friday. Unlike past years, we didn’t stop for the night. Aubree spelled me off once we cleared Minneapolis. She drove for five hours and then I took over again in Jamestown. Unfortunately we hit some weather an hour later, so I stopped at a small-town gas station to wait things out.

Shutting my eyes for three hours probably did me some good. We kept the car running for heat because it was -20 outside. At 6:15am I opened my eyes to witness the snow plough driving by. Figured it was a good time to get moving again.

We dropped Aubree off at her parent’s place, and pulled into mom’s driveway 20 minutes later. 29 hours in the car. I haven’t done much of anything since.

Probably could use a shower now. Let’s leave it at that.

Into the Machine

Ten minutes ago, I walked out the shipping/receiving door of the legendary CHUM Building on Queen Street West. I submitted my application to the short film I’ve been working on these past few weeks. I am now sitting at the bar across the street, reflecting on the whole experience.

I think I am most struck by how well it all came together – how easy it was. All it took was a good script. Industry folk are drawn to a good script. Throw in a few long term relationships, and we have a complete team.

Now, I realize good scripts aren’t exactly ‘easy’. I am merely describing how well the process goes, once you plug that ‘good script’ into the machine. BravoFACT short films are well known in Toronto, and are a respected as a mechanism to practice one’s craft and move on to bigger and better things.

My casting session last week was one of the most satisfying experiences of my career. Alan got us into the DGC boardroom. I worked with a casting director who’s name I got through one of Alan’s contacts. She knew neither of us, but she liked the script a lot. The agents she sent it to also saw great potential in it for their clients. A few of the actors who came in, commented on how much fun it was to work on. Of course, they could simply have been sucking up, but the quality and experience of the actors who came in, were beyond my expectations.

Natalie Krill is my lead. Jefferson Brown plays opposite and Matt Bois rounds out the cast. All have been guest stars on major television productions. Hearing my words come out their mouths was amazing. They did things with ‘em that were completely unexpected at times.

I am excited for what the future brings. Start with a good idea, write something, then put it in the machine. I’ve got a few ideas like that.

Split Personality

It’s been a little while since I published my last post. Lots has happened since, but I just haven’t had much of a desire to share it because I’m starting to feel a strong need to separate my professional life from my personal life.

The time has come for me to relaunch Dacian’s website so I can go back to being me again on my personal blog. I’ve been a little confused lately about who my audience is, and why I’m even writing for them. Ultimately I want to be writing for myself. Anyone interested in dropping by is more than welcome to partake of my thoughts, but corporately, I need to craft a separate identity.

I used to wake up in the morning excited to open up my computer and explore my thoughts with myself. Blogging was always my way to check in with myself and see how I feel about the world. Lately I find myself censoring myself because I direct clients to this site.

It’s not like I have a major donkey porn habit to confess, or massive bitches to get off my chest. I just feel too restricted. One shouldn’t feel that way when expressing personal thoughts.

Of course, I could always write a personal diary, but for reasons I haven’t chosen to explore, the idea doesn’t appeal to me.

[Jarrett gets off the phone with PJ]

I just talked to PJ and offered her a barter deal. She’ll redo Dacian’s website and in exchange I’ll craft something for her thesis project. Awesome.

As for changes to this site, I’m going to write about the same things I always have, they’ll just be more personal. The photo workshop page can go. The portfolio stays. The CV can stay too. I guess the biggest difference is that within a fortnight, my corporate audience will  directed to www.dacian.biz