Reign of Act III


I worked 14 hours on the set of Reign yesterday. A week ago I was on Suits. The difference between two shows, is that for some reason, after finishing up on Suits, I limped around like an old man for two days, and this morning my gate was surprisingly agile. Weak ankles. My mother’s contribution to my DNA. The gift that keeps on giving.

I’m in Liberty Village today. Just finished a meeting and moved over to a coffee shop. My parking is paid ’til 6pm, so I decided to make the most of being out of the house, to get some work done on my laptop.

I started on Act III of Machiavelli & Tymes on Wednesday night. Feels good so far. I was a bit timid about getting to it because I’m not convinced I know where I’m going with the story anymore. In past articles I decided against beginning this act with an epic action sequence. After further debate in my mind, I decided to stick to the original plan – so alas, the act kicks off with a character jumping out of a helicopter in a wing suit.

I got tired of sitting around NOT writing while I tossed alternatives for the story around in my head. Writing makes me feel good. There will be rewrites in the future. Might as well get this out on the page to see what I learn. Already I discovered little twists and quirky moments that I never would have arrived at if I just sat around intellectualizing a road map.

Speaking of road maps, my day looks like this;

1. Work the DGC Hotlist.
2. Clean up my inbox.
3. Work on Act III.
4. Conference call with the CFL.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I was asked to help out with a commercial the CFL will be airing during the Grey Cup. Myself and two others from the Argos Admirals are being given media accreditation for access to the Eastern Final. We’ll have access to all parts of Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton as we document the experience with our iPhones. Never been to Tim Horton’s Field, so I’m looking forward to the experience.

Alright, that’s it. That’s enough cool things to say about my day today. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

My Day Will Go On

TitanicI spent the last twenty minutes or so, sitting with a coffee in my hand, just staring out the window. Musta been months since I last did that, and it really is negligent of me to have let the routine lapse for so long. Those quiet few minutes in the morning, with nothing but me, my thoughts, and the day’s beckonings, put me in a proper frame of mind to tackle what awaits.

Last night was pretty special too. I spent several hours on the couch, teaching Jazz Photoshop and After Effects, so she could complete a school project for her Media Studies class. The above photo is a poster she designed for a fake Coke campaign. I actually laughed out loud when I first saw it.

I love teaching Jazzy new things. Makes me feel like I’m at my Dadish bestiness. She’ll be getting her G1 in April, and I look forward to teaching her how to drive.

Today I’ll be heading downtown to work on a couple of projects. I’ve decided that working from home is incredibly, incredibly wearing on my headspace. I’m working on a pitch with Nimble Content, a division of Holiday Films, and since the relationship has been established, I asked if I could come in today, find an empty workspace, and finish up some personal projects while drinking their coffee.

Perhaps this could even be the beginning of some sort of routine – rotating through the offices of different companies I’ve reached out to. I stay visible, I feel less inclined to waste time on the internet, and I get stuff done. The ultimate networking.

So that’s the day ahead. Let’s see what comes of it.

Memorable on Remembrance Day

I was driving downtown, listening to Remembrance Day on CBC Radio 1 when Mom called. She just wanted to check in and see how I’m doing. It’s good to be in her thoughts.

When I found a coffee shop on King St. E., I opened up Facebook and saw a message from PJ. She asked about Jazzy, and then passed along some comforting words related to my Dad. Once again, good to be in my ex-wife’s thoughts.

On Sunday I presented Acts I & II of Machiavelli & Tymes to the Toronto Cold Reads. I even managed to cast Jefferson Brown as one of my leads. He’s the actor I booked a year ago for the same role, back when M&T was just a BravoFact short film application. So many people had so many great things to say about the script. My goal is to complete it by the end of November.

I signed my contract today with Next Stage Press. My play Not Being A Dick is going to be published and distributed throughout the english speaking world! Very excited about that.

Today I plan to finish a 3D video for a client. Jazzy helped with some of the Photoshop work for that. Afterwards a trip to FreshCo for some groceries. Grama’s cabbage rolls are thawing out in the fridge and I need tomato juice to cook them in. I can’t remember how long I’m supposed to them boil for, so if anyone would care to leave a comment, I’ll repay the favour by emailing you a cabbage roll.

And this paragraph concludes my little to-do list of happenings in my life. I’ll try to come up with something a little more exciting tomorrow. Perhaps an epic cabbage roll adventure awaits. Feel free to send me an advance for rights to the story.

Three Years Later

photoThree years ago today, I began my life in Toronto.

I pulled up in front of my new apartment and Frank was there, sitting on the step, having a smoke with Robbin. The next thirty-six months of my life would see many surprising twists, turns, mistakes, and small victories. I feel like I’ve changed a lot since that day.

Things came too easy, too fast, and I mistook good fortune for everyday living. My sale to CBC was taken for granted. Some of the people who came and went from my life, were not fully appreciated. The life I left behind in Regina, was dismissed too easily. My ambition to break in as a TV writer was treated like something that would drop in my lap with a minimal effort.

I’ve long felt that life is a river that flows. We ride the current towards our destination. If the current moves away from where we wish to be, then so be it. The Universe will give us what we need.

And while I still believe strongly in that philosophical point of view, I failed to grasp something equally profound – a yang to the River’s yin.

There must be an active component to riding the River. Anything worth having, must be earned. It must be worked at, failed at, worked harder, and ultimately understood on a much deeper level.

While the CBC sale was an unexpected twist of good fortune, I should have taken that gift and used the money to buy time to establish myself in the DGC. While the sitcom I wrote seemed headed for production, I should have seen that script as an opportunity to learn more about my craft. When I thought a green light for my TV series Highwaymen was inevitable, I should have battened down the hatches and not factored theoretical producer/writer fees into my cash-flow reality.

I’ve been riding that River through Toronto for three years now, and I can look back and see my regrets – my missed opportunities – with great clarity. I can also now see the blessings in front of me with equal clarity.

I have attached myself to an incredible group of working writers. We meet every three weeks or so, and I seem to fit in well with them. Other writers have come into my life, read my work, and helped me to become better at my craft. I’m on the verge of completing the first draft of a new one-hour TV drama.

After four months, I find myself on the cusp of being established in the Director’s Guild. I’ve worked on Bark Ranger, Greatest Christmas Party Ever, Transporter, Lost Girl, Inland, Suits, and Reign. I have an interview on Monday with the team from from a series that starts up in a couple weeks.

Client work has also been on the uptick. And while some of it seems rather ‘unlofty’ compared to my other ambitions, I’m not afraid to admit that I enjoy the work. I look around at other established writers/filmmaker types, and they’re all taking the gigs they need to take, so they can keep their cash-flow healthy. Why should I be a snob about it?

I have amazing people in my life. There are a number so Saskatchewan peeps who’ve made the leap out this way. There are even more Toronto creatures who’ve drained pints with me on a regular basis. It can be lonely sometimes, being so far away from the prairies, but ‘home’ has now become the people I surround myself with.

And lastly I have Jazzy, the greatest blessing of all. She’s my beautiful little girl. She inspires me. She’s my family.

Everybody’s Doing It

Yesterday I was in the cafe where Jazzy works sometimes. One of the owners is Byrum, whose stage name is Slakah the Beatchild. He’s a well-known and respected producer in the hip hop community. I asked him if he ever has problems motivating himself.

“Hell yeah.”

On Facebook later in the day, I read posts by a number of writers who were all taking the time to write and comment on other posts, instead of pounding out pages. I don’t think I uncovered anything I didn’t already know, but it made me feel better to know that I’m not the only creative type with procrastination issues.

I do well when I’m called to work on set, or show up in a production office. Someone needs something from me, and I fulfill that need. When I’m on my own, I have only myself to answer to, and I’m a pretty lax boss when it comes to me.

I managed to feel reasonably good about my day yesterday. Methinks blogging in the morning helps me organize my thoughts for what I need to do over the next few hours. There’s something about stating an intention, and then following through on it.

On that note, I did manage to spend a few more hours on Machiavelli & Tymes. I rewrote parts of the teaser and then got on to some client work. I even managed to hire Jazzy to help with some photoshop stuff I need done for that same client.

Today I’m heading downtown. I registered for some workshops being offered by the Directors Guild, and I have to pay for those. I’ll take the time to start on Act III for M&T and afterwards I’ll work on more client stuff. I also have some follow up stuff to do for Moment in Between.

Saving the Day in Daylight Savings Time

I went to bed late and woke up at 7:30 this morning. It was light outside. The world seemed off somehow, though I was appreciative for the early start. After hitting Facebook, I realized that daylight savings time had kicked in.

This extra hour in November is a little like finding $10 in an old pair of jeans. It still doesn’t make sense to me, but I appreciate that I have a bit of extra time this morning. Today of all days, I’m going to need it.

Nothing pressing going on, but I completely wasted my weekend NOT getting to any of the goals I set for myself. I need a good day today in order to feel better about myself.

To be clear, I had a fairly productive week. I locked an assembly cut for a client. I worked on Reign for 14 hours, then five hours after we wrapped, I shot a conference for another client. The cash flow is healthy, and my headspace is better than average. I even slipped away for three hours on Saturday to take in a TAD workshop at Pinewood Studios. I learned much, and made a couple of good connections.

My goal today, more than anything, is to spend an hour on Machiavelli & Tymes. I haven’t touched it in three weeks and my writers’ group meets on the 11th. I want to have a first draft ready.

Jazzy’s heading out the door for school right now. The shower doth beckon, and I have shit to do. Here’s to saving the day in daylight savings time.