Walking Off Epiphanies

Shoulder aches today. Old football injury.

It’s kind of neat to say that, since I was never very ‘jockish’ but I still have the battle scars to prove I once occupied a stall in a locker room in high school.

My injury was aggravated by leaning on my elbow while watching Netflix on my laptop in bed last night. For what it’s worth, I was leaning on my elbow in a very manly way.

Jazz had friends over last night and she wanted to take over the living room. For some reason, having her dad jawing away at the party was not something she looked upon with undiluted pleasure. So off to my room I went.

Today offers many possibilities, and I remain undecided. The sun is out and the city is rather quiet. I have to run some errands later, and I’m thinking a walk would be a great way to accomplish them.

I have things on my mind that I’d like to work through. Can’t quite seem to wrap my mind around any conclusions though. Sometimes thoughts just need time to burst into an epiphany. They’re best left alone until their time comes.

Still, it’s good to check in on their growth from time to time, and walks are a great means by which to check in.

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Letting my Fingers do the Walking

I don’t want to write about business stuff, but that’s the only thing swimming through my mind at the moment.

It’s been a week since joining the Directors Guild and I’ve wasted no time setting up meetings and making phone calls, looking to build new relationships. Sometimes I feel like I’m working in a call centre, because when I’m not writing, I’m working through my spreadsheet of contacts, making cold calls. It has me feeling rather schizophrenic at the moment because I’m three different people depending on who I’m calling.

I’m a production company when I’m calling potential clients and broadcasters. I’m crew when I’m calling Guild contacts. I’m a writer when I’m meeting with Producers – that is when I’m not pitching myself as a producer/director who also shoots and cuts.

I do all of these things well, and everyone seems to appreciate someone who can wear a lot of hats.

Know what I’m not though? C’mon guess. There’s no part of me that enjoys working the phone.

I’m going to spend the day writing – just as soon as I make some phone calls – and take some meetings.

Zen and the Art of Scheduling

Jazzy has a late start at school this morning, so that gave us time to sit together on the balcony. She read a book and I surfed the web. We both drank coffee.

There’s a list I found on Facebook last week – Zen Things to Do – or something like that. I took to memorizing the items on the list. I have Jazzy doing the same thing.

1. Do one thing at a time. 2. Do it slowly and deliberately. 3. Do it completely. 4. Do less. 5. Put space between things. 6. Schedule time for things. 7. Develop routines. 8. Make time for sitting.

I wrote those from memory. There’s more, but I haven’t gotten to them yet. This isn’t a high school drama class. It’s not enough to regurgitate a list – it must be understood.

So I’m setting out to understand the list I’m setting out to memorize. Before I start a task, I run through the list. When I’m going for a walk, I’m running through the list. When I’m completing a task, I’m running through the list.

I haven’t quite gotten it down into my bones yet. It hasn’t quite penetrated my way of being. It seems accomplishing Zen might take a little longer than expected.

I’ve scheduled completion for Friday at 3:30pm. After that I’ll spend some time on the weekend learning quantum physics.

Gigabytes of Past Memories

I signed a deal this week to distribute InJustice, Prairie Gardens, 100 Saskatchewan Stories, and Thunder Breeding Hills through McIntyre Media Inc. They specialize in putting documentary programming in schools. It’s possible the deal may be lucrative, but I’m not upgrading to gourmet ketchup anytime soon.

What most moved me about making that deal, is that it forced me to go nosing through old hard drives, looking for the master files, and their accompanying documents to those projects. Along the way were gigabytes of artifacts from my 17 year career – projects I pitched once upon a time, then slowly forgot about, or correspondence with people I hadn’t seen in many years, or spaces between the memories of the happenings in my life from so long ago.

I stumbled upon a video I made of Jazzy when she was three years old. Choked me up. I saw old business plans I wrote over the course of many months. I saw evidence of a side of me, I’ve long forgotten, and have since walked away from.

I remembered many of the things I forgot about.

And it made me kind of sad. And it made me wonder why.

Maybe I’m reminded of the passage of time. The past is a great place to learn from, but it’s no place to visit for any extended period of time. I do miss some of the people though.

I also remember a party I had – a celebratory party. My closest friends and family joined PJ and I in our first apartment together on Rochdale Blvd in Regina. I was just accepted into the Director’s Guild of Canada. I was young and my whole career was ahead of me – and being accepted into the Guild was a HUGE milestone.

As I got busy with those other projects I referenced earlier, I got away from working on film sets. I let my membership lapse. Then my priorities changed. And now I’m here in Toronto.

Single dad on the cusp of some great new thing in a brand new city. People are reading my scripts and they’re saying great things about ’em. I can feel how close I am to breaking through.

In the meantime, there’s another party to plan. I rejoined the Directors Guild on Friday, and I’m having people over to celebrate.

Between Episodes on Netflix

It seems that I’ve fallen into marking the milestones of my life by measuring my moments of ‘Clear Beginnings & Endings’. Today I find myself at the crossroads of one such moment.

The vignettes I created for the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame went over well. The organizers talked about bringing us back next year, so that was very gratifying. Sending off the final invoice yesterday marked a conclusion to that particular project.

Yesterday also capped weeks of writing and preparation for my application to the Canadian Film Centre. I might have mentioned it before, but this year I spent a lot of time focusing on the little things. I am hopeful that my attention to detail will pay off.

More than submitting a collection of documents, the application process caused me to take stock of my time here in Toronto. My ‘Letter of Intent’ moved me the most. In 1,045 words I painted a picture of who I am, what I’ve done, and where I want to be. It came in at just over two pages, after showing previous drafts to Larry & Ian. Both expressed a great admiration for what I had to say about myself – which means a lot coming from two accomplished television writers.

They say a story is real life with the boring bits removed. The same seems to hold true for that letter – me with the boring bits removed.

Sometimes I feel like I’m two me’s. There’s the me who went out and did the long list of things I talked about in my letter (and then some). And then there’s the me who needs to keep a limited number of dishes in the cupboard, so I’m forced to clean ’em every four days or so. There’s always this battle waging inside, between doing as little as required to advance my goals, and searching for ways to fill the quiet times with bursts of activity that will give me a competitive edge. I seem to live somewhere in between those two extremes.

I guess I’m so used to beating myself up for not being on the extreme edge of productivity, that I forget I actually have gotten a lot done – enough that people higher up the food chain are impressed with me.

This all went through my mind last night as I sat on the couch and binge-watching Netflix.

Dirty Words

I am writing because I’m feeling angsty about not writing sooner.

Today will be a day full of writing in fact, but I debated two moments ago, whether I should put off this bit of writing in favour on a different bit of writing that needs to happen later – but only if I get this bit of writing written first. I worry the well may run dry if I pour my words too liberally over this bit of prose.

Of course, this bit of prose requires only that I pluck freely from the low hanging fruits of inspiration. I may even tap some of the fermented bits of fallen fruits laying upon the ground.

Laying? Lying? I should look up the correct usage sometime, but alas, the keyboard doth call. 

That other bit I writing I was on about earlier, requires a deeper, more sustained effort. Those words will ring far more important than these words. They matter more, so I will put them off further until I have sufficiently psyched myself up to reach for ’em.

These words are like the warm-up words. I’m getting ’em out of the way so they won’t be in the way when I need to focus on clarity, and precision, and thoughtful thinky words of composition and formality.

Thus far I have communicated nothing, and have taken seven minutes and twenty-three seconds to not say it.

I now debate whether I should continue this exercise or hit the shower. Clean body to tackle the dirty business of word-smything.

I’ll let you know what I decide.

Grey Only Happens When It’s Cloudy

It’s Thursday already! When did that happen?

Jazz and I rolled into to Toronto on Sunday at precisely 8pm. 2,751 ams in 24 hours. Fastest drive ever (via I-94 Chicago). I was in a big damned hurry because my play, Not Being A Dick was on deck at the Toronto Cold Reads Series. 

Coming back to Toronto and being featured in such a way, was pretty super duper alright. Six pieces were read, and mine closed down the night. Last read of the season in fact. They start anew in September and I intend to be a part of it. I met so many great writers and actors from being involved over the last 7 months. I think I’ve become a more betterer writer as a result.

It’s good to be home. It’s much easier to get work done in Toronto. My routines are down. I don’t have the distraction of home cooking, old friends, and loving family around to keep me from being detached and productive(ish). I love Regina, but I’m feeling in my bones like Toronto is where I belong.

Having said that, I’m not getting out much. I walked around a bit on Monday, but the last three days have been grey and rainy. I don’t mind the rain at all, but the colour grey affects my mood. I turn the lights on in the middle of the day just to get a little bit of orange hue in the room. It helps.

I’ve also been busying myself with a project for Tantrum Creative. I’m creating 3D vignettes of nominees for the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame. I finished the first of five videos last night. At this pace, I’ll have everything done by the weekend.

The CFC is strongly on my radar too. May 16th is the deadline for the Bell Media Prime Time TV Program. As previously mentioned, this program is the single greatest way to break into the industry as a TV writer. They take 8 applicants per year from across the country. Highly competitive. This will be my third crack at it.

I spoke to someone from the CFC yesterday and gained a lot of insight into what I can do to improve my application this year. With that said, I have a cover letter to compose, and the sun just came out. Methinks a coffee shop is in my near future. Wish me luck.

Cheers!