Voice From the Past

shapeimage_2-63I put a frozen pizza in the oven last night, and 20 minutes later it came out cooked. Shocking how that works. It happens time and time again. The sky is blue, water is wet, and food comes cooked out of my oven. You’re all welcome to come over and test the theory for yourself. I suggest you experiment with chopped up bits of a dead cow.

I spoke to Chantel on the phone last night. I can’t remember the last time I heard her voice. She used to work with me at Dacian as a producer, and I was always intimidated by her ability to completely mask every thought that ever went through her mind. I’d look at her and all I saw was a sea of nothing. She laughed at my jokes, she excelled at her job, and she became a part of the motley assortment of characters moving through my life at the time.

So I heard her voice as we caught up on where we are in our lives. She’s an account exec at an agency in Regina, and she was giving me advice about the marketing campaign for the sitcom. We talked business, but we also picked up where we left off. It felt beyond great to connect.

This project is bringing a lot of people from my past, back into my life. I’m taking none of it for granted. Let’s hope it bodes well for the future.

The Best of Two Cities

It’s been a little while since I wrote in my blog and I’ve been feeling an increasing need to acquiesce to its calling. So here I am, up in the loft of my Beaches apartment, writing.

A lot has happened since Jazzy and I landed two weeks ago. I celebrated a birthday with many of my Toronto peeps. I had a houseful over, and my head didn’t hit the pillow ’til 4am. Andy crashed on the mattress up in the loft and everyone else made it home safe. Friends, booze, music, and stories. Couldn’t think of a better way to mark the beginning of another trip ’round the sun.

I lost my iPhone 4 and replaced it, almost 5 years to the day, with and iPhone 5c. I would have preferred an iPhone 6, but practicality ruled the day – not unlike 5 years ago when I desperately needed to replace my damaged Samsung with something I could take with me to ReelScreen in Washington DC, so I could set up meetings.

It wasn’t love at first sight, but this new phone is growing on me. She’s yellow. She’s fast. She does everything I need her to do, and then some. I named her ‘Jitterbug’. Let’s see how the next five years go.

After much planning, rethinking, second guessing, and planning some more, The Riderville Radio Sitcom is nearing a launch date. The website is up and running. You can check it out to hear the demo. The Kickstarter page is also ready to go, but I’m holding off on launching it until I can coordinate my efforts a little tighter with both Harvard and the Roughriders. I find myself walking around these days, completely inspired – a head full of ideas for story lines I want to pursue, and characters I’d like to write. It’s a fun place to be.

Last night I attended an event put on by the Directors Guild of Canada, where executives from Bell, CBC, Rogers, and Shaw were all present, and there to hear pitches. My invitation to the event came free of charge because I’m a member in the Director’s caucus. The casual lounge atmosphere, open bar, and inspired location in the Blue Room at TIFF, made for a fruitful evening. I set up meetings with CTV, Harold Greenburg Fund, and exchanged contact info with several other colleagues. This exact same opportunity at the Banff Television Festival, or Reelscreen in Washington DC would cost over $2,500.

I miss Regina, but I’m happy to be back in Toronto. If I can exist for awhile with one foot firmly planted in both cities, I will not complain. Here’s looking to a fruitful 2015!

Sipping A Celebratory Beer in O’Hanlon’s with a Face Full of Beard

Photo on 2015-01-07 at 7.25 AM #3I fell into a conversation with the bartender at O’Hanlon’s yesterday. I was having a celebratory pint after concluding my meeting with Harvard Broadcasting. The bartender asked me what I was celebrating, and I told him about the sitcom. He asked if he could hear the demo. I said sure and pulled out my laptop. He asked if it was online. I said yes. He had me type the address into their computer, and had the demo play to the entire bar over their sound system.

It was something special to hear it out loud, in such an iconic public space. The line-up of people asking for my autograph afterwards didn’t quite materialize, because the bar was empty, but at least the bartender liked it. Later in the day I played the demo for Rob Vanstone at the LeaderPost. When the time comes, he said he’ll be happy to write a story about it.

At supper Grama shaved off my beard while Jazzy filmed the undertaking on her phone. My face feels amazing, and I no longer have to be strategic about how I sip coffee. I can’t stop rubbing my cheeks.

Jazz and I are currently sitting in a corner of the lounge in the Regina airport. Our 6:15am flight has been delayed to 8:40am, so I’ve had a bit of time to sit and muse.

Toronto awaits. I leave Regina with some reluctance. The last three weeks have been quite the run. Somewhere in between development on the radio sitcom, and all the familiar faces I took in, my stay here has been one big serendipitous leap from moment to moment. If Toronto can promise the same over the next few weeks, I will not complain.

Getting Around to Coming Back

Photo on 2015-01-05 at 4.56 PM #2I don’t usually come up with a title to an article until after I’ve written the article. Too much pressure to conform to the authoritarian presence of a headline. Fuck that shit. I write whatever it is that’s on my mine, and then I figure out what to call it.

If I had a title prepared for this article, it might look something like a question mark. I really have no idea what words are going to spill out of my fingertips next.

I can start by saying that a lot has happened over the three weeks I’ve been home for the Christmas break – a good chunk of it work related. The radio sitcom now has a whole Kickstarter page ready for launch. It will remain offline until a few more ‘i’s are dotted and ‘t’s crossed. A number of third parties need to contribute their blessing before we can launch.

To this end, I’ve met for the second time with two of those third parties. A third meeting is in the works tomorrow. Coffee with Rob Vanstone of the LeaderPost is also happening tomorrow.

Things haven’t unfolded exactly as expected. The closer I get to a firm commitment, the more open minded I’m going to have to be, in order to accommodate everyone’s input. I think partially, that’s why I’m writing right now. Got to sort through all the sentiments expressed today, and find a place to stack ’em.

[Jarrett looks up from his corner of the coffee shop to see a familiar face]

Alright. So maybe this is an omen. The executive director of the Saskatchewan Motion Picture Association just walked in with her son. In a previous meeting today, I was advised to sit down with SMPIA to discuss the special needs of my project. We chatted briefly and she wants to help.

Beyond career stuff, I feel like my headspace has benefitted from spending so much time around loved ones. I landed in Regina, feeling like I was searching for something. I will be leaving on Wednesday, feeling like I found it. Still can’t describe what it is, but perhaps that’s just it. To be able to form words around that mysterious thing, would be to snuff out the epiphany of its nature.

I drove out to the farm on Saturday. Took in that endless Saskatchewan sky, so big and vast, I couldn’t help but make room for all the thoughts I thunk along the string of highway markers. Yoga for the mind. The best kind.

Mike and I drank beer and looked through old photo albums. We made a few more memories and took nothing for granted. When I left on Sunday night, it was no big deal. I filled up on what I needed from the place. Someday soon, I’ll be back.