Minding The Eras

RidervilleSeasonPassFaceI hired three more writers from Toronto Cold Reads Series to help me with the sitcom. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done on the business and marketing side of the project that requires my attention, so I sought out some people I know. It’s a load off my mind, and it feels good to be collaborating with colleagues who bring a different perspective to the table.

None are Rider fans, nor do they know anything about football, but they are great writers who’ve studied the craft. I’ve said from the beginning that I want this series to be about great stories first, history second, and football third.

With episodes taking place in 1956, 1967, 1973, 1987, 1999, and 2007, there’s a lot that needs to be learned about each era. To this end, I’ve been scanning old newspapers that cover those eras. I then send these archives to the writers, and speak with them individually about what newspaper stories jump out at them. From there, it’s a bit like The Writers’ Challenge at Toronto Cold Reads. Craft a story based on elements drawn from a goodie bag of random artifacts.

We should have all the scripts complete by August 10. We record the episodes at Royal Saskatchewan Museum Auditorium on Aug 23, 24, and 25th.

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Characters in Search of a Point

My days have been full of writing – at least with thoughts full of thinking about writing. I’ve committed to delivering a 1st draft of the second episode of the sitcom today. The routine seems to be me procrastinating for a spell, then digging in, writing for a few hours, procrastinating some more, then forcing myself to keep writing. You could say I’m on schedule to meet my target.

This last episode was a tricky one. I had a basic premise, but it took me awhile to flesh it out. I tried breaking it into an outline, and that was helpful, but there remained a lot of holes that I wasn’t quite sure how to fill. I decided to dive in and write the teaser. Then I deleted everything I wrote, and came up with something different. From there I abandoned my second attempt, and rewrote my first attempt. The dialogue was completely different, but the setting remained the same. I also repurposed a few gags from my initial attempt.

It’s like I had to spend time with these characters, improvising different scenes, so I could learn what makes them tick. I worry sometimes their voices blend too much into my previous characters. Thus far, I think I found the handle.

In other news, my distributor sold my documentary series, InJustice, to a broadcaster in the Middle East. I had Jazzy on the phone on Friday, going through my hard drives, tracking down the files they need. They’re paying in US currency, and with the Canadian dollar so low, I appreciate the exchange.

Today has more writing in store. I also need to set up some meetings, while following up on others. Lots to do. Deadlines to meet. Wish me luck.

Nothing

I have nothing to say at the moment. Just sitting here, trying to force words out my fingertips. The sun is out. The weather is nice. The backyard’s only occupants are myself and Mila (the dog).

Things are happening. Good things. I choose not to write about them at the moment, because there must be more to my life, than the good things I pursue. Something equally good must come from just sitting here, saying nothing, doing nothing, and letting it all sink in.

Shit.

I think I accidentally just said something just now.

Backyard Solitude

I’m sitting on Mom’s deck and I have the place to myself. They’re out at Craven and I’m enjoying the solitude.

One of the first things I noticed, is how much space there is here. I mean, I spent part of my high school years growing up in this house, but after living in Toronto for nearly four years, my sense of scale has changed.

I don’t need, nor want a lot of space to live in. Our place it Toronto is a perfect combination of space, compactness, livability, and colourful neighbourhoodiness. It’s not often that I get tired of seeing the inside of my apartment, but when I do, I have a plethora of backyard and neighbourhood options to bask in.

Here in the burbs, in Regina – which look like the burbs anywhere else in Canada – I find that when I tire of seeing the inside of the house, the backyard is a terrific option. The neighbourhood, not so much. If I want to go somewhere interesting, it’s downtown for me.

It’s great to be back though. Summers in Saskatchewan are the best. You can function in 35 degree heat. In Toronto, bending over to pick up something off the ground, feels like work in the same kind of heat.

The best part about being back, is that my people are here. I watched the Rider game last night with the fellas from the Romanian Syndicate. Felt just like old times, though perhaps a bit less fighting. Unlike past trips to Regina, I find myself to NOT be in a big hurry to visit with everyone I want to see. I have all summer, so I’m just going to live here, like I actually live here. There’s plenty of time to get my time in with everyone.

It’s good to be home.

Feeling the Miles

56-LP-1CompressedI’m writing from Roca House, near mom’s place. I have my favourite place to sit and the joint is really starting to feel like a second office.

Regina has been a whirlwind thus far. I’m dividing my vocational time between pounding the pavement, promoting the sitcom, and socking myself away somewhere, to research and write episodes. The latter part is going a little slower than the former, but today will be about reversing that trend.

The research has been inspiring!

I scanned 12 pages of the September 1956 LeaderPost, so I could gain a better insight into how folks lived, thought, and talked back in those days. Tweak the headlines, change the dates, and you have a mirror into who we are today. That was my most profound take-away from reading those pages.

I’ve been exploring ways to drop artifacts from those stories into my episode. I’m pleased with the results thus far.

Catching up with old friends has been satisfying as well. For the most part, I do not feel the passage of time, nor the miles between us, when I get together with someone. Maybe Facebook is the problem (or blessing), or maybe its just that I’ve fallen into the habit of keeping all my friendships at arms’ length.

[a solid minute of contemplation follows]

That last sentence feels very honest. I can’t decide if it’s a sad statement, a healthy statement, or a personality hang-up.

Someday I’ll set about exploring that aspect of myself. In the meantime, there be some writing to do.