Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Friday, January 30, 2009

Conversations over Beers

I met last night with Dave - fellow Ink-tern and new writing partner - to hash out some ideas for our little animated show.

Over email we'd snatched and strapped down a few concepts from the aether, chatting back and forth as it slowly formed some semblance of a pattern; Watching as letters and concepts bobbed their way to the surface of our own internal alphabet soup.

But we'd gone as far as we could over the web and so it was decided that now was a good chance to sit down, face to face, and chat about where we wanted to go with this.

And so we ended up in a nice little bar/diner on Yonge and College.

Now, as someone accustomed to working things out in my own head, I have to say that I very quickly found that having someone sitting right across from me - someone to bounce ideas off in real time - has already been quite a boon.

Together, over a few pints, we hammer out the equator of the world. Banging out the landscape - both political and terrestrial - as we fling character lines and backgrounds at each other, laughing and improving on what comes out; Polishing the stones before chucking them back at each other, a silent challenge to make it 'better'.

And we do.

When something falls flat we refuse to let it lie there, seeping into the gutter - we scrape it up and get our hands dirty, remolding. Re-shaping. No idea escapes our careful - if glassy-eyed - scrutiny.

Laughter and dinner follows, a chance to get to know each other, to learn about our habits - what we see in the project, what excites us about it. It's an important step, understanding what will keep us tied to it and excited over the long haul (assuming there is a long haul); A way for us to balance what we know with what the other will bring.

The beginnings of a team, a way for us to have each other's back.

Overall, it's a productive first meeting, a positive start. There'll be more to come, but for now we've got lots to get us started and keep the juices flowing.

I think we're on to something here.

Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Behind the Veil

What do you do when you've spent the majority of your political career campaigning for an Elected Senate? When you've railed against the status quo and called for Senate Reform at every possible junction?

If you're Prime Minister Stephen Harper, you choke down your beliefs - fight back the catcalls of being a sellout for power - and install 18 new senators to do your dirty work for you. You take a deep breath, plug your nose and become the system you railed so passionately against for over a decade.

It's okay though, it's easy to justify - to make it right in your own head - at least now those pesky senators won't fight back when you try to push shit through behind Canadian's backs.

You know, like when they stopped you from sneaking Bill C-10 into law and exposed your whole charade in a rather embarrassing and public debacle.

It's okay tho'... it's all part of the plan. Putting the pieces into place.

Of course getting that plan into motion it took a bit of a finagling on your part. You had to taunt and tease the opposition, push them into forcing an election (ignoring your own assurances and continuous demands for a 'fixed election date'). Showing just enough of your hand to ruffle feathers and send the house of cards tumbling.

You had to dance around the threat of a Coalition while sowing fear and discord amongst the populace with Radio and TV ads, doing everything in your power to show Mr. Dion as a out of touch milquetoast and Mr. Layton as a power-hungry car salesman. All the while you swear up and down that the Liberals and their plans would take us into a deficit.

At the same time you stand there and boldly say things like: "The only way there's going to be a recession is if they're [the Liberals] elected and that's why they're not going to be elected."

You assure us that the Conservatives are the ones to guide the ship through the storm.

Then you have Jim Flaherty announce a $25 billion 'not a bailout' for Canadian Banks in the middle of a busy election process - where it was, for the most part, ignored.

And, barely a month later, another $50 billion 'not a bailout' for Canadian Banks - again, no discussion and quietly left to die on the lips of the press.

But then he tables your new budget and guess what? We're now DEEP into deficit territory.

Sixty-Four BILLION dollars deep.

In the middle of a recession.

Luckily it'll only be a "Temporary" deficit - at least that's what Mr. Flaherty called it (2 days before Christmas when no one would care).

Luckily.

Tell me, how long will it take to pay back $64 billion dollars in the middle of a recession?

And what exactly makes it temporary? The fact that 'one day' it'll be paid off?

Of course he makes sure to sweeten the deal for the average Joe(anna) - this last Tuesday Mr. Flaherty stood triumphant amongst his peers, basking in applause as he announced $35 billion dollars in 'stimulus' packages. You know, for our faltering economy.

The one that wasn't in a deficit before. The deficit that only the LIBERALS were capable of causing.

But I digress...

And so we get a tax break here, $200 million or so there (to keep the status quo and shut up us writers who were kicking at your door only months ago).

Yet where's that money coming from? Where's the math? And how'd we NEED to get $64 billion into debt?

There's a great article on the whole situation HERE. I suggest you read it.

I'll post a nice little excerpt from it:

"According to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty: "This program is an efficient, cost-effective and safe way to support lending in Canada that comes at no fiscal cost to taxpayers."(Ibid)

Yet Finance Minister Flaherty contradicts his own statement when he acknowledges that the project will drive up the public debt:

Under the proposal, Ottawa plans to sell a combination of government bonds and other public debt instruments to raise the $25 billion. Then CMHC will ask the banks and other financial institutions to ascertain how much debt they would like to sell to the agency, using a process known as a reverse auction. ...

Flaherty said the action would "make loans and mortgages more available and more affordable for ordinary Canadians and businesses."(Ibid, emphasis added)

The official Ministry of Finance statement confirms that the operation will be financed by the Treasury. Prime Minister Harper claims that "it will cost the government nothing" because the net public debt from an accounting point of view remains the same. While the operation is casually described as a transfer of assets from the banks to the CMHC, what we're dealing with is a cash injection equivalent to 4.6% of Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is financed through a massive public debt operation.

The necessary funds (requiring the issuing of government debt in the form of T-Bills and government bonds) are transferred to the CHMC, which in turn upon completion of the mortage purchases, channels the funds to the chartered banks."

Key Points:

The Government is Financing Its Own Indebtedness

No Parliamentary Debate


The most serious public debt crisis in Canadian history

Face it folks "The fog is thickening" in the Canadian government - and it's not going to clear up any time soon. With more Conservative senators on the docket, with more back channels on the go and a populace unaware - we are going to be in some serious trouble here.

Money is being taken from us. It is being spent and we're not being shown where it's going. Yes, it's par for the course with the Conservatives as of late, but this is different. This is bigger.

This is not something to sit on.

Honestly, I'm not sure what I can even do - but I need to put this out there at the very least.

Cheers,
Brandon

P.S: Oh, and by the way - that 'not a bailout' is going "... to be increased to $125 billion from $75 billion" in the first half of this year. (source)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Making it easy for you - Watch TV online, Free AND Legal (Yes, legal!)

If you're not watching Being Erica and you happen to be on the Canadian-side of the 49th Parallel, pop on over and watch the first 3 eps all free and on the up and up thanks to the generous streaming bandwidth of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Yes, that means that the people responsible for making the show are actually getting paid when you watch it for free.

Or at least they're supposed to.

Actually, I'm not sure of all the legalese and such but, hey, if you're aware of how this all works feel free to pop on by and share the info - I'd like to know how it plays out and if writers/directors/actors, etc actually can say 'yeah, I got .034 cents' or whatever when you watch our shows online.

Cheers!
Brandon

Being Erica

Being Erica: Episode 1
http://www.cbc.ca/beingerica/videos.html#clipId=988363483

Being Erica: Episode 2
http://www.cbc.ca/beingerica/videos.html#clipId=993316054

Being Erica: Episode 3
http://www.cbc.ca/beingerica/videos.html#clipId=1003616777

Episode 4 is up tonight at 9 on the CBC.

The Border

There's an INSANE number of videos here - but they're all free as well.

Both Seasons of The Border - in HD - free for you.

Here: http://www.cbc.ca/theborder/watch.html

The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Jon Dore Show, South Park and more!

http://watch.thecomedynetwork.ca

Seriously, a TON of great stuff, free and clear. The only thing is that you have to watch some brief commercials and be aware that some clips will expire after a while (watch them while they're fresh!).

Okay, so that's a good start.

Anyone else have legit places to watch good quality TV online for free? (ie. the people responsible for the programs end up seeing some money when we watch).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In order of Importance

The audience is hushed, a crowd watching as he stands there, waiting for the cheers to die down.

He stands there smiling as the crowd fades and the camera zooms.

"Today is a historic day..." he begins, the crowd on edge, his every word absorbed by the congregated.

"we have 2 incredibly important events to report to you today! One: Barack Obama has become the first Black President of the United States of America!"

Cheers, clapping; it dies quickly though, the crowd still leaning forward, waiting for his second pronouncement.

"and Two..."

Hushed silence. A young girl gulps.

"We have a NEW JONAS BROTHERS Video for you!!"

The crowd roars its approval, temporarily deafening Much VJ Tim Deegan.

Note to Palin/Clinton 2012:

Hit the nurseries, raid the public schools if you have to, but whatever you do: Get your Boy Band on lock NOW.

Cheers,
Brandon

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Change of Tactics

So in order to shake things up a bit, I'm going to try working with a partner for a little bit. Try developing a little animated series with him and see how that goes. Change my perspective entirely while working on something new.

I'm not really sure if it'll solve my problems but I think that trying something new can't hurt things.

I've never worked with a partner before, I'm not quite sure how it works.

Have any of you ever had a writing partner? How is it best to structure something like this? Let alone getting into the legal stuff.

See, Karen's always said that no matter what we do we should get the legalese out of the way, make sure we're all going into it with clear expectations and understandings of what's being expected, etc.

But, with that said: I have no real idea what's expected other than 'thou shalt write together'. (Which, apparently, is even negotiable...!)

What sort of things should we absolutely NEED to get on paper? What kind of expectations are considered reasonable?

How do we do this thing right so that we don't end up with it getting all hair-y and teeth-gnash-y down the road?

Cheers!
Brandon

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Speed Bumps

Up for 6am - my first solid attempt to get up and running and back into my ol' groove. My body is less than pleased.

I've come to understand why people drink coffee in the mornings.

Apparently, I fell asleep at my keyboard.

Woke up at 7:30, looks like I konked out mid-sentence.

Great.

It's funny, I'm looking at this script - it's one I started back before I'd gotten around to figuring out how to do an outline - and I realize now just how chaotic it seems. I've got some really cool lines and ideas and threads here but it's all mish-mashed together. Luckily I'm only 3/4 through the first draft - but man, yeah... I'm reminded of the old way I used to write and just how unfocused it was.

I'm going to take this thing back to square one, right back to outline - well, actually, MAKE an outline. It's a bit frustrating, but at the same time, it's good - forcing me to look at the story from another angle.

Though that brings up a whole new set of problems.

One of the risks of being self-taught is that, well, I picked up a few bad habits along the way. And while I've been able to rid myself of most (finally getting a dang handle on the outline process, seeing its merit) there're still a few hangers-on. These mostly have to do with mindset and craft.

Being able to separate Character and Plot and then re-weave them deftly and with purpose.

Since last year I've been on a quest to take what talent I have and build under it a solid foundation of structure and craft.

Slowly, I feel like I'm making progress but the one constant side-effect of it all has been a bit of a blow to the confidence-levels of my writing; Things that seemed to come to me naturally before seem somewhat alien to me now.

I know it comes from that change in perspective, an overhaul of the way I tell a story, but it's a weird feeling of disconnect from my writing, a feeling like I'm unable to see the whole story I want to tell, even when trying to work it out in the outline.

I talked to Karen about it and I'm not really sure I communicated it properly - it's hard to ask for advice when you're not sure what question you need to ask. I feel like I've been driving her up the wall as of late - she keeps telling me I have to be more 'specific' about things, about what I want/need, etc. But it's all seemed rather amorphous to me, 'what I need' being akin to trying to grab and hold a fistful of water.

Still, she's been a blessing and a half. Trying to help however she can, being that calm voice when I'm not entirely sure what kind of help I need (tho' I've considered a straight-jacket some days...).

Trying to look at it with some distance, I don't think it's about me seeking validation - though that was my first thought (that maybe I'm just needing someone to say 'you don't suck').

I think what's really bugging me is that so much time has passed and that feeling hasn't gone away.

That disconnect and, because of it, that uncertainty is still there.

I figured after maybe a couple months it'd be better, I'd adapt. But so far, I haven't and it's wigging me out a bit. Making me unsure. Making me focus on the 'why' as opposed to the 'what next' on an exceedingly (and frustratingly) personal level.

I'm still banging away at it, still writing but it's just one of those things at the back of my mind. A scaled beast slithering while I look for that fabled soft spot in which to sink my blade. There is an answer, there is a way, I know it. But damn, it can be seductive, whispering 'you can't' whenever I come up to a wall. Hissing in my ear as I fight to scramble up and over.

Just keep writing. I know that's all I can do.

But damn I wish I could figure out how to get this beast off my back.

Cheers,
Brandon

Friday, January 09, 2009

Do NOT F*ck with the Plumber

And so with the emergence of the master, the Sink Chronicles come to a bittersweet end.

On a side note: the house has never been cleaner.

See, interesting thing - when my Dad offered to pop by and fix things (and I accepted) I forgot one little detail: My fiancée and my Dad have yet to meet.

Can I just say that she was less than pleased with me that this was how our first meeting was going to go down?

So... uh, yeah.

The house is clean now.

Like, uh, hella clean.

"Brandon-Took-A-Toothbrush-To-The-Chrome-Oven-Handles" clean.

Life lesson #784: Consult with Fiancée regarding said matters before making plans/confirming on the spot. (Why do I have a sinking feeling this is going to be a hard lesson to learn?)

Anyways.

At 8pm last night my Dad drives in, all smiles, toolbox at the ready. He envelops her in a massive hug and welcomes her to the family. She's a bit taken aback at first (he gives big hugs) but soon is all hugs herself. He smiles at me and we embrace like soldiers preparing to take the hill.

A seasoned pro, he slides to his side by the sink, looking at what remains of the old pipes and chuckling with sympathy as I recount my adventures thus far. I hand him my parts and he fits it all together in a heartbeat, tightening it in place with his battle-scarred hands - until it pops off the threads.

Somewhere, deep inside, my vindication-meter burbles to life and starts climbing.

He nods to himself, an understanding reached at some subconscious Human-Pipe level. He holds it up to me "The threads are screwed". I take it in hand, looking at it, they look fine to me - nothing in the way, no cracks, no nothing. "What do you mean?"

Dad sits up, a sage Plumber Buddha. Taking it in his hands, holding it to the light he motions me closer. "See how the thread edges are rounded like that? It can't dig in and hold a grip - that's why they're popping off, you're tightening it up but the threads can't take the pressure".

Huh.

He reaches around into the bag of goodies, pulls out a new pipe (with dishwasher attachment!) - apparently he stopped off at Home Depot and, well, bought one of everything.

Back down under the sink, he starts to laugh.

"Did you get a bit frustrated?"

"why?"

He undoes the lock-nut, pops out the strainer-basket. I hunker down beside him, see the dented threads and cringe. Riiiight. He smiles and pulls a new strainer-basket out, unboxes it and installs it. By himself. He holds the basket in place with one hand, setting and tightening the lock nut with the other.

I note out loud that his strainer-basket looks decidedly sturdier than mine - he grins. Apparently I bought the 'pretty' one.

Great. My face reddens. He pats me on the back: "You had all the right parts, you had it set up right, but you're new at this - don't know what's quality and what's not. Don't beat yourself up about it. Now you know". I fight off a smile as my vindication-meter bursts its seal and starts a flood of its own.

With his free hand he installs the new tailpiece, it sticks in place like it was welded there. On with the extension piece (that was mine!) before readying the new P-Trap.

She pipes up (pun!! ha!), noting that our old one has a crack in it - wondering how it happened. He looks at it, nodding again, noting the corrosion. "Could've been anything. These old pipes, they can wear down on ya. I've seen'em get paper-thin in some places - just a touch'll do'em".

He screws the new P-Trap into place, tightens it all with the pliers and looks up.

"Let'r rip".

And so I do. Water streams from the faucet, gurgling as it bounds down the pipes (and not onto the floor for once!). We watch.

He runs his hands along the pipes, checking for leaks, checking for water.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

My eyes bulge. He smiles knowingly. It's dripping alright, but from someplace else. Someplace new. Off with the water, he unscrews the P-Trap - turns out our old P-Trap wasn't the only thing that was corroded. Dad runs his fingers around the threads of the pipe jutting out from the wall. He turns "So, how long are you going to keep this place?"

Turns out the actual pipe sticking out of the wall has a hole in it, eaten right through it - right above the threads. Wow - I never would've even caught that. He reaches into his bag, pulls out a length of pipe. "I can cut it off and weld you on a new one, or I can Goop it".

She decides to forego any active welding - something about being uneasy around fire and particle board (Pfft!). So dad hooks up the pipe and coats the threads and nut and hole in this 'Goop' stuff.

"Try it again"

Once again we're off - water flows (much like the Spice), not a Drip to be heard.

We wait and listen for anything, any sound. Nothing.

Smiles all around. At last, finally, the task is at an end. Our journey complete, we celebrate with a few bowls of freshly cut Asian pear (which Dad had never tried before and LOVES).

It's over.

Until she asks if he could take a look at the leaking washing machine.

Dun-Dun-DUN!!

But that's a story for another time.

Cheers,
Brandon

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fixing the Sink

"It's a 10-minute job, tops!"

Famous last words - hell, I might as well've said "I'll be right back" in the middle of a Horror flick.

My fiancée's (gawd I love that word) sink decided to start leaking in the midst of making dinner on Monday night. Sure enough, looked like water was leaking down the pipe.

Now I'm not a plumber - if you asked me 3 days ago the difference between a P-Trap and a Tailpiece you would've gotten some pretty blank stares - but this WAS a chance for me to show off my useful handyman skills (the joy of being the son of a contractor :P).

And so began the Sink Chronicles.

Monday Night

With water dripping on the floor, an angry woman at the stove cooking dinner and feet more than a little drenched I made a desperate call to my Dad. Hunkering down, peering into the darkness I could vaguely see the outline of the dripping pipe.

Now, I've picked up a few things over the years but the delicate art of plumbing just hasn't been one of them. And so I kneeled there on the tile, feeling around in the ambient light, twisting and turning various things with the gentle guidance on the other line. Are these things supposed to twist that easily? Hrm... apparently not. Ooops, more water. More frustrated sighs from behind. Can I get a towel please?

Turns out all the expanding and contracting from hot and cold water over time had loosened the 'nuts' that held the pipes in place. Hrm... okay, made sense. Easy stuff. I reached in, tightened them up by hand and all would be well, right?

Run some water. Drip. Dripdripdrip.

Right.

I take pictures and email them across, expert analysis says I've probably got a faulty washer. I should consider replacing the Tailpiece washer - maybe set me back a buck and change at the local Canadian Tire. Hrmm, sure thing. So I go about unscrewing the Tailpiece Nut that connects to the 'Strainer Basket' at the bottom of my sink. The nut all but disintegrates in my hands as it splits along the thread. Uh oh.

Well, since I'm going to Canadian Tire anyway, might as well pick up a new Nut as well. Maybe grab a pair of Channel Lock Pliers just to make sure everything's all tightened off proper-like.

Just a quick jaunt over to the store, 15 minutes tops. No problem.

I get back from the store - now emboldened with my pliers and washers and nuts - just a matter of time.

Huh. Can't get the new nut on. Turns out my Tailpiece has a welded-on Dishwasher attachment. Turns out you can't just slip on a new nut and washer. Turns out I need a whole new piece of pipe.

I look up, it's 9:15pm. Canadian Tire's now closed.

Oh well, tomorrow's a new day. I'll get the new part, screw it on, life will be good.

For now, I wash dishes in the bathroom sink.

Tuesday Night

Canadian Tire doesn't have the part I need, have to hop on the street car to the Home Depot at Gerrard Square. There's 30-40 minutes gone. I grab a new tailpiece pipe with dishwasher attachment - the metal nut seems decidedly sturdier than the one that all but crumbled in my hands. I pick up a shiny, chrome-plated extension tailpiece - figure I might as well replace the hack-job extension made by whoever the hell put this thing together in the first place.

Should be simple.

Another 30-40 minutes to get back, it's now after 9. Back under the sink I go, unscrewing pipes, slipping things together - easy-peasy. Tighten it all together with the pliers, looks good, looks solid. A new sink is born!

I turn on the tap.

It doesn't drip.

It pours.

What the hell??! Off with the tap, out with the cloth, soaking up the water. My fiancée stands in the hall, watching, a growing look of concern. Flustered, I pull the pieces apart once again. What went wrong? Seals are in place, pipe fits on just fine. How's water getting out? I call my dad again, he walks me through what I've already done. Step by step I check it off. It shouldn't be leaking, there's no excuse for it to be leaking. I re-tighten everything as hard as I can and try again.

It's still leaking.

But I notice something - the nut's not sitting level. It's at this weird angle - an odd angle. I touch the nut - it pops off the threads. A surge of anger spikes in the pit of my stomach. Excuse me? What the...? I run the water again. Sure enough, the water is leaking from the connection of the strainer basket threads and the tailpiece nut.

A clue! Finally. Excellent. Something I can use. I pull off the pipe again, running my hands through the nut, checking for any gaps or problems - feels fine. I run my hands along the threads of the strainer basket.

Uh oh.

A dent. Small enough to miss (it being on 'not visible' side of the sink didn't help) but big enough to keep the threads from gripping properly. All right! I shine a light up into the backside of the threads of the strainer basket - cracks. Big cracks. There's the problem!

It's after 11, I'm shooed out of the kitchen, already formulating my plan of attack. All I need is a new strainer basket.

I wash dishes in the bathroom sink.

Again.

Wednesday Night

I hop out of work a bit early, a skip in my step - been planning my approach like an aged Football coach on the eve of the Superbowl. The strainer basket should be an easy fix - held in place by a single (massive) lock nut. All I have to do is unscrew it, pop out the basket, pop in the new one and screw it all back together.

I spent the morning researching it, it's 'making-toast' easy.

Through the slush I trudge back up to Canadian Tire - I was smart enough to call ahead and make sure they've got what I need (yay!). Through the aisles, past the humidifier filters, to the slightly dusty plumbing section. I've got my pick of the litter, I go for the classic chrome - simple, effective. It sets me back 20 bucks but I don't care, this is my victory lap. I savour the weight of the box in my hands, it's got a good heft to it, also grab myself a set of needle-nosed pliers (at the behest of my dad) - to keep the whole shebang from turning as I tighten the lock nut.

Dodging puddles and errant cars (really, guys, it's not THAT much snow!) I make my way home, chatting it up with dad on the phone, a hint of the sweet taste of victory to come.

Into the house, I shoo her from the kitchen - it's my time to shine. Down onto the floor, pliers in hand I grip the lock nut and twist with all my weight. It gives. But only just a tad - and apparently in the wrong direction. Crap. Twist it the other way, more and more. Off with the nut and back to work on the rest. Finally, with a solid tap from below the old strainer basket pops loose, freed from the clutches of the kitchen sink.

After cleaning the edges and preparing the gasket for what's to come, I slide the new strainer basket into place - its polished sheen standing out against a sea of lifeless gray. From below I slide the base into position and prepare the new lock nut. Pliers at the ready, I get her to hold on and keep it from moving while I tighten things up down under. Soon enough it's on and done - it's over, the strainer basket is installed, my work is done!

All that's left is to screw on the pipes and bask in the glory.

And so it goes, the parts fit together as was intended and soon I look at my work, content. Ready.

I turn on the water.

Nothing. A small spark ignites in my stomach.

I increase the water pressure.

Nothing. A hint of a grin slides along my face.

Full blast now. And I see it.

Drip. Dripdripdripdripdripdripdrip!

In rivulets it runs down the side, my eyes focused, unbelieving. I whisper a curse word. Something sounding like 'puck'. The water's not stopping, it's not stopping.

I hit the tap, it shuts off. Why's it still leaking?! I don't understand, I wrack my brain, looking for excuses, looking for an answer. Strainer Basket - New. Tailpiece and washer WITH the dishwasher attachment - New. Tailpiece extender, chrome - NEW. How THE HELL --

Waitaminute. Something... something's wrong.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

I take a towel, run it along the length of the pipe. Dry. It's all dry. Except for where it's dripping. Oh no. I test it again, no water leaking from anywhere. Except there.

OH COME ON!

I take it apart, and I can't help but see it: The hairline crack in the P-Trap. The one thing I hadn't replaced. The crusty old brass pipe that just couldn't keep it together. The crack smiles back at me, wild, insolent - I throw it. Hard. Curses - curses in languages I've only just learned, some I've only just made up. She runs in, confused. I try to explain but it stares back at me, from the ground, cackling. Cackling.

My Daddy's coming in tonight. He'll fix it. He'll make it right. I know he will. He'll show'em all. Who's cackling now? Huh?? Who?

I wash dishes in the bathroom sink.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Looking ahead

129 Days remaining.

Just did the math and if it all holds up, if the May 14th submission date doesn't change, I have about 129 days until my next CFC application is due.

Sooo, about a 1/3 rd of a year.

Considering where things are at right now, that'll be just about right. *fingers crossed*

The hardest thing this time around is creating my own Pilot - my spec script is close to done and I'll have a ton and a half of time to make that birdie sing. My pilot, well, that's the head-and-a-half. Toss in a dash of wedding planning and even a few attempts to get some freelance scripts on the side and I'm going to be one busy beaver.

As of right now I'm in hardcore research mode - learning all that I can about my chosen world. It's a definite departure for me in pretty much every possible way. Usually I'm all about writing the dark stuff - horror and 'genre' stuff. This new project is an ensemble character drama, very, very gritty/realistic.

Actually, everything is different this time - I'm coming at it from a whole different angle. This concept started out as a 1 line pitch that survived a group of about 50. I walked around pitching this list of ideas to as many people as I could, strangers, friends, etc. and this one was undoubtedly the winner. From that pitch I sat down and created a 3-page pitch document which I've shown off to a few choice people who also went 'wow, good idea'!

Definitely makes me feel like I'm on the right track here.

The old way, I basically sat down and wrote a script then spent months and months polishing that stone to a silvery sheen. This way, I'm spending months polishing the concepts and the characters, creating the outlines and beat sheets before finally sitting down to write the script. Definitely a change of pace for yours truly.

Even more so considering I only really learned how to do all that in the last year.

Looking back on what I knew the last time I applied to the CFC, well, I can understand why I didn't get in - frankly, I wasn't ready. The amount I've learned in the months that've followed has indeed made me a better writer. Am I there yet? I dunno, but I'm a damn sight better off than I was.

And so, research. Lifting up rocks, delving into caverns, learning all about this world and how it's going to work. Putting the bones into my characters and seeing if they'll stand on their own two feet.

The funny thing is that the character I'm having the most trouble with, feeling the most disconnected from is my antagonist - my 'asshole' character. I've been scouring my data banks, thinking about all the macho assholes I know that I can draw from and I realized that, well, I don't know any.

And not that I'm complaining or anything but it's kind of an interesting observation: I've taken such pains to surround myself with decent, honest, intelligent, GOOD people that I'm finding it difficult to find realistic dialogue/mannerisms that haven't been regurgitated from other shows.

Needless to say, that won't do.

Luckily, the characters that I've created have been getting pretty good responses overall (which is good for a character drama) and I'm hard at work on character studies in the hopes that I'll know these people well enough to tell decent, honest, stories about them when the time comes.

Speaking of which, I'm also starting to put together springboards - as many as I can - with the idea that I'm going to try and start pitching them in the same sort of fashion: to strangers and friends. I'm hoping to see what people grab onto, what makes them go 'ooh!'. Sort of my own impromptu writer's room where it can be guaranteed that only the very best suggestions will survive. (Tho' don't ask me about the state of my ego :P)

In other news, we're starting to try and figure out WHEN we're going to get married -- and It might be sooner than you think. I'm pushing for this summer (yeah, none of this 'engaged for a year' crap :P). I figure once you both know you want to get hitched, why wait around? 6 months should be more than enough time to set it up and get'er done ;)

But that's only my opinion. Who knows how it'll all turn out?

Cheers!
Brandon

Thursday, January 01, 2009

She said YES!

There in the midst of Nathan Philips Square, as the countdown finished and the screaming began - as the fireworks exploded overhead.

"Will you marry me?"

I'd tried to get down on one knee but we were pretty crushed against the masses so I held her close as we looked up to the sky, ring presented with the explosions reflected in the glimmering facets.

Eyes wide and smiling, her breath still hanging in the air: "Yes!"

And so we held each other, kissing amidst the crackle and thunder, our words lost amongst the cheers.

Sure, not exactly to plan but definitely the response that I wanted. And, really, that's all that matters in the end.

Today's been a storm and a half - we've basically been on the phone all day with family and friends, letting them know and soaking up the well-wishes. (Thank you everyone for your kind words!) Truthfully, I'm still a bit overwhelmed by it all - a bit nervous to boot.

This definitely falls into uncharted territory... but I'm looking forward to it.

A new beginning for a new year. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

May you all have a Safe and Prosperous 2009.

Cheers!
Brandon