A Streetcar Named Friday Afternoon

I’m currently sitting in the window of Rooster Coffee House on Queen Street East and I feel a blog article bubbling to the surface – so here I go.

Jazzy landed back in Toronto on Tuesday. Her summer in Vancouver with PJ was unassuming, and quiet. So many summers at this time of year I put Jazzy on a plane with a heavy heart. I have great empathy for what PJ is going through right now. For what it’s worth, I haven’t seen much of my daughter. I gave Jazz my Metro pass and she’s been off in all directions, all over the city ever since. We made plans to go out on a date on Sunday night.

My stint on Transporter wrapped up a week ago. I spent this week catching up on a month’s worth of emails and follow-up. Drove all over town crashing production offices and leaving resumes behind. Took a couple of other meetings too. I have no definitive gigs lined up in my near future, but I do have a lot of people saying they want to work with me. I’m not worried about it (too much). I was in this boat a month ago, and after deciding to turn my pyramid of needs upside town, I landed a four-week gig – and all the peace of mind and clarity that came with it.

I got notes back on the third draft of Moment from LIFT’s Screenwriter’s Circle. They all felt it was a page-turner, but some expressed wonder at whether it would be better off as a play. Personally, I think I need to work on my final scene, and then do some trimming. I also have a book on rewrites that I would like to get through.

I think I’m becoming a more mature writer. I no longer feel like the draft I’m working on will be my final draft, but rather something that’s in its current state of completion. There are some screen writing funds that have deadlines coming up. Given the feedback I’ve been receiving, I think I may apply. 

Speaking of writing – a Colorado based publishing company wants to publish Not Being a Dick. All I have to do is sign the contract, and I’ll be a published-for-real writer, with distribution across the continent. What’s interesting, is that I haven’t really thought about it at all. In fact, I barely remembered to mention it in this article.

I signed a distribution deal with a company in May for three of my TV documentary series, and I haven’t heard from them since. It’s still too soon to see if the deal will bear fruit, so I haven’t thought about it very much. This publishing contract sort of has the same feel about it. 

Practically speaking, I need to show the contract to some trusted writer friends to get an opinion, then make a decision from there on how to proceed.

Hmm…

There are a number of theatre companies in the immediate area. I bet you someone there would know if my contract is a good deal or not. Theatre Toronto is a Streetcar ride away as well. I guess I just figured out how I’m going to spend the rest of my afternoon.

It’s 2:41pm. I gotta jet.

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Tied to My Self Identity

Photo on 2014-08-15 at 5.12 PMYesterday I went downstairs and asked to borrow a tie from the girls in Wardrobe. Tied the tie myself and got the knot right on the first try. And then the girls told me to tuck in my shirt. One quick spin later and they were complimenting me on how ‘cutting’ I look, and I must admit, I felt pretty super duper alright as well.

There was a bounce in my step. A starch to my arch. A pride in my belly. I felt classy. Hadn’t worn a tie in a couple decades.

And then someone, trying their most earnest to be complimentary, said I looked like an ‘accountant’.

And I felt a screech as my self identity ground to a halt. I did ‘look’ like an accountant. It was quite troubling. I don’t want to look like an accountant, I just wanna do production accountant stuff. I was deeply troubled. I wanna look like a writer. Or a director. Or somebody who doesn’t look like an accountant.

And then someone handed me a beer as I sat at my desk, and somehow I felt like everything is gonna be okay.

I’m gonna spend the weekend watching football, and reading scripts. Tahirah is coming over later to watch the Rider game, and I think I’m gonna wear that tie again. Under my Rider jersey.

A Singular Moment in our Political Ethos

20130708-100036.jpgI am a voracious reader of newspapers everyday. The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail, The Leader Post (back home), The National Post, and the Toronto Sun (for a laugh) all find their way past my scanning eyeballs in the morning. The headlines are mostly the same, and the takes on those headlines are mostly the same (the Sun being the lone, right wing paranoid exception).

I find myself drawn to the opinion columns. Politics captures my attention first. Articles on transit come next. For these reasons, it’s a great time to be living in Toronto – the place where City Hall has devolved into reality television, and transit has become some sort of ball our politicians kick around for sport.

The city is at a gridlocked crossroads, both politically and logistically. Queen’s Park is now driven by an ‘activist’ left-leaning government in Kathleen Wynn. Austerity measures from past regimes have been exposed for the devastating, socially divisive, and economically stagnant policies that they are. The next mayor of Toronto will be somebody who recognizes the need for collaboration and massive spending on infrastructure to repair the deficit previous political generations left us with.

Federally, the Conservatives have never been more unpopular in the polls, and this is due mostly to their own style of governance, and not the emergence of Justin Trudeau. The next 15 months could see a massive, massive shift in the ethos of our political landscape.

Around the world, austere right wing governments are falling. The first world gap between the rich and the poor has never been wider. America is at war with itself and ill-equipped to deal with the damn about to burst. Climate change is a reality, and our political thinking is two decades behind our scientific prognostications. Social media fuels a democratic activism in the political process that previous generations could only envy (or fear).

History is right here, right now. It’s exciting. It’s scary. And it all makes for a good read.

Routine Weekend Ponderifications

I’ve been asked to come back for a third week on Transporter and I’m thrilled. I’m enjoying my job as well as the people I work with. It’s provided much clarity and the weekly cheques are nice too.

Mostly, it’s the routine that’s been good for my headspace. Too many days, I’d wake up in the morning and have no idea what I would do that day. Work my spreadsheets, make phone calls, maybe do some writing. I was becoming completely uninspired by all the networking I was attempting.

To be clear, I’m glad I planted those seeds. I learned much about the industry here, and I’ve made great contacts as a result of those efforts, but I was completely out of balance. No doubt I’ll be back to pounding the pavement once my current gig is over, but it’s nice to wake up in the morning and have complete clarity over what my day will bring.

This clarity makes my weekends feel like weekends. It makes my creative endeavours feel like gems I’ve carved out from the rest of my week, as opposed to something I do out of obligation to my ambitions.

Speaking of ambitions, I completed the third draft of my screenplay That Moment In Between. I stayed late at the office last week after I finishing my work, and spent three hours writing. Perfect location as far as I’m concerned – free coffee and snacks, a desk, and quiet all around.

I showed the draft to a writing group I joined, and the feedback was positive. There remain some tweaks, and after another pass, I think I’ll be ready to start pitching it. Perhaps I’ll even get to those tweaks this weekend, but not before I take some time to enjoy doing absolutely nothing.