Screenwriting & Life... as I've written it so far.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Variety is the Spice of Life. It's also a Movie-plugging, Word-coining Magazine.

It seems like each time I get back into the groove [ed. note: that is, posting here more than once every two months], I'm back apologizing to you for my unexplained, sometimes unjustified absence. That said, I will never apologize again. To anyone. For anything.


Regardless, as a token of my appreciation for your continued reading patronage... and instead of just calling the three of you personally, I present to you this: the variety show of blog posts.

This post will cover a variety of topics (fancy that), that have occurred over the last few months in a variety (fancy that) of facets of my life, and in a variety (okay, I'll fuck off) of fashions. So, without further ado, the variety show of blog posts.

Carol Burnett would be pround [ed. note: she'd also be proud... gotta love those typos].

Episode 1: Show of Hands - All in Favour of Carnies?

So I'm minding my own business and bartending at my usual breakneck pace, flingin' drinks up and down the bar with a finesse and that makes it look like Tom Cruise's first day in Cocktail, and suddenly the circus shows up.

I say "the circus shows up" and some people think I'm just trying to be cute; I do, however, assure you that I'm just cute on my own, and that the circus actually did show up for a round of booze.

Or six.

Now, collectively we're thinking:

COLLECTIVELY: Six drinks? I have that with breakfast.

But when each drink is a thirty-ounce "schooner" of beer (equal to three bottled-beer a piece) and the intake duration hovers somewhere around four hours, you become one thing and one thing only - drunk as fuck.

[ed. note - this was a draft of a post I started writing in either late July or early August... and obviously didn't get around to finishing. Don't take it personally though, I still love you; and probably more than your parents do.]

Episode 2: Life is a Highway... of Fruit.

So I've left the service industry... moved away from home, started, quit, and started a new job, and tried a new piece of fruit.

Firstly, the fruit.

Whilst perusing my local market with Vegetarian Girlfriend and Vegetarian Girlfriend's Non-Vegetarian Friend, I stumbled [ed. note: with the help of Vegetarian Girlfriend's Non-Vegetarian Friend, it must be noted] upon what can only be described as the equivalent to the second coming of fruit: the Grapple. It's better than all the other fruit now that it's here, but noone's really sure if it ever existed before now despite the fact that some religious scholars insist it did.

Too far?.... Moving on.

A Grapple looks entirely like an empire apple. The skin feels a tad more waxy than a regular apple, but that's probably to facilitate the point of the anomaly itself.

It smells and tastes like a grape.

Yep. A grape.

It must be said that the smell is nothing short of intoxicating. The taste leaves a little to be desired, however, if not only because you can still taste apple amidst the grape flavouring. The colour's the same as any other apple, but the end result is outstanding. Pick up a Grapple today.

Anyway, I've moved from my Dairy Capital to a place less familiar but not without its milk. In order to do so, I had to quit my bartending job.

I was fine with that.

I'd found another.

In order to support myself, however, I needed a bartending job that's end result was somewhat similar to the first job's end result. That is, I needed to be making some money.

Sadly, I was not, and so have left that job and instead went unemployed for a ballpark month. Hooray! I figure it was sound logic, anyway.

Alas, I am back with yet another job to make me some Christmas currency before the bomb drops. Thank God for That.

Ok it's time for lunch.

Who am I kidding? It's time for Grapple!!

Episode 3: The Osmonds Can Go Fuck Themselves

Donnie Osmond is a piece of shit. In fact, the whole Osmond "clan" is a rancid pile of regurgitated feces.

Just tell me you think otherwise. I'm begging you.

Anyone who won't man up to being sick and tired of the Osmond family's collective assholish boo-hooing deserves the eternity of Donnie & Marie that they've probably already pre-programmed for themselves on their Tivos.

Every time I turn around someone is shitting themselves [ed note: mostly other lame-ass shit-eating TV personalities] over the problems that the Osmonds have overcome in the last two or three decades, but guess what?

Nobody actually gives a shit.

Got a drug addiction? Know what? That's your own damn fault. Going through a messy divorce? Guess what. So is half the world.

Every time I turn on the television after dinner, it's Entertainment Tonight; and, unfortunately, every time it's Entertainment Tonight, it's Donnie-fucking-Osmond to the rescue of every man, woman and child, begging on bloody knees to know if Marie, his beloved sister, is still being a useless ham-sandwich on Dancing with the Stars.

And each and every time it's Entertainment Tonight and Donnie-fucking-Osmond to the rescue, I want to stab myself in every orifice in my head with a number 2 pencil.

Simply put, the man is a twat.

To elaborate, his whole family are twats.

But listen.

You lost your mom and dad. I understand. The world understands. Collectively, the whole planet has lost a lot more mom and dads than the Osmonds [ed. note: though it is actually too close to tell if this statistic is true or not], and yet somehow we prevail; however, when our careers plummet as a result or in the midst of these losses, we don't get on national/international television and bitch and moan and play sad, coy puppydog with the already fully aware public.

Marie being on dancing with the stars was a slight novelty. So was having a racecar driver, a soap star, a spice girl, and a sultry model. It was interesting that once a week we got to see such a mish-mash of has-beens, currently-beings, and coming-backs perform a task of which none of them are known for - like, say, watching Britney Spears rear two human children. Marie appealing to the public on live television to vote for her because she's had a "rough week" in which both her father died and her son was committed to rehab is a shameless, embarassing joke of a ploy to get people to feel sorry for her.


Furthermore, Donnie Osmond "teasing" us with an ever-increasing convincedness of his own increasing convincingness every ET commercial break with "stay tuned to find out what Marie had for dinner after the show, and why it's helping her dry-fuck the air a little harder," is not a compelling, interesting, or altogether reward-worthy activity.

Is Donnie Osmond getting paid for being on ET?

You bet your teen-idol ass he is.

But why?

How is the world embracing this asshole and his apocryphal family? How can any self-respecting, and currently self-appointed "celebrity" be so publicly shameless?

ME: So, Donald, who do you think is going to win Dancing?
DONNIE: (annoying laugh) Call me Donnie.
ME: What? Why? Donnie is a little boy's name.
DONNIE: (annoying laugh) Call me Donnie.
ME: (staring) O..okay... whatever. Who's going to win Dancing, Donnie?
DONNIE: What? Marie!! There is noone else good enough!!!!!1!!11 (annoying laugh)
ME: What's with the "1"s in there?
DONNIE: I'm just so excited! Marie has this locked!!
ME: Fuck, seriously, just go die somewhere.
DONNIE: (serious face) I actually don't have a soul.
ME: Well, that's honestly not at all a surprise.
DONNIE: (annoying laugh)

This is what happens to you when you're a 'teen idol' for, well, all of your teen years. This is what you're left with decades after embracing a child-then-teen who, by all accounts, was not a lot more than annoying in the same way a bees nest is. This is what happens, 1970's.

Shame on you, 1970's.

What's worse is that, finally, it seems at least a small division of the world is also sharing this disgust for the Osmonds and making a point to try and tarnish their reputations.

NEWS REPORTER: Reports from an unknown source tell us that there is a mystery 'man' behind Marie Osmond that has appeared at every Dancing taping in the shadows and secretly fed her hand-written lines so as to enhance Marie's wit and unabashed cuteness. Reports also indicate that her faint may have been staged!!!11!1!!


Bang-up job, Frank, you really put the nail in Marie Osmond's coffin.

Seriously, Holy Christ. Is this an honest attempt to tarnish a woman's image, or a blithering child practicing words while finger-painting with lead based paint on the front-fucking-door?

I hate the Osmonds. That's a fact. However, I in no way fathom that anyone could fake an on-stage faint, whilst in the middle of all this turmoil, simply to boost ratings and voting support.

That type of action is no less appropriate than genocide.

So, while this report is about as fruity as the seven-dwarf nature of the brothers, if there is any credence to it I stand firmly and say proudly that the Osmonds are no better than Nazi Germany.

As for the 7-dwarf comment, here's the rundown. The Osmond brothers are made up of a guy with a small face/big head, a guy that looks like Louie Anderson [ed. note: ugly as sin], Santa Clause, and a few others that noone remembers. Take a look.

I guess our boy Donnie needed a neck-brace for the induction ceremony.

Jesus, don't even get me started.

Episode 4: That's the Game.

So that's all she [ed. note: "he"] wrote. Keep in touch, Carol.

Not you, Osmonds.

Friday, July 13, 2007

How a Car (and Stupidity) Can *ALMOST* Ruin Your Life

Good afternoon. Good evening, Europe; I hope I didn't catch any of you at a bad time (though chances are a number of you are a) on the shitter, b) being shit on or c) in one of innumerable other 'compromising' positions). Such is life.

Such is my life.

We know I work in the restaurant industry - I bartend. It's decent coin, to be sure, but it's no career and it will turn you into a people-hater of the strongest variety. People are assholes.

Assholes aside [ed. note: hahah], it's a decent living even if the job sucks, and it grants me the freedom to pretty much do whatever the Hell I please in my spare time... when I have some. Regardless, this story starts with money and so that's where I'm going to start.

I wake up Tuesday morning, backflip out of bed as per the first steps of my morning regiment, and plunk into my computer chair to assess the excitement that awaits me in the day ahead.

The sun is shining; that's exciting. I don't work until five. That's also exciting. There's $700 in my wallet.

Pardon me?

I decide, after careful deliberation and several more backflips, that $700 is not really the smartest thing to have in my wallet, and so come to the brilliant conclusion that I must go to the bank.

I'd also like to go to the LCBO.

Now before you get on your broomsticks and start bitching and complaining, just let this one play out. I'm not a drunk, nor do I plan to be. The Supernintendo Chalmers incident was fairly isolated, if you'll remember. Regardless, I've got two places to go: the bank, and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, and I've also got $700 in my wallet and make a decent living at my job. Maybe it's just me that likes recaps?

Sidebar. Because of this decent living I've started to succumb to delusions of grandeur, losing focus of the more important (and realistic) things in favour of a (briefly) exciting life. I've been thinking about getting a new car. However, to be fair, it's not just a new car.

It's this one:

For those of you unfamiliar with this car, it's the Nissan 350-boner-inducing-z. This one's a coupe. The one I was looking at was a standard 2004 350z, silver in colour, manual 6-speed short-shift transmission, with 72k kilometres on it.

I know, it sounds crazy - but it wasn't a brand new car and was listed, used, at $24 900. Alas, here I am trying again to justify this purchase when I've already decided against it. Spending that money would put me in payback-land for the next three or four years and would counter my ability to move up in life by getting a place of my own, finding/making a real career, and regaining some or all of that independence I had and loved during my University years. However, it would allow me to go really fast.

But speed comes at a price, nowadays, and that price for me was my beloved Batmobile; the tumbler, the lex, optimus prime... my 1994 black Lexus ES300:

First of all, that isn't exactly my car; it's the type of car that I own, but this exact car must belong to someone in Europe based on the plates. Second, that isn't my house in the background either - and if that's where I'll end up if I save my money and keep this car, then I may just go buy the Z.

Anyhow, this was a fairly big sidebar so I'd better tighten things up here real quick. I wanted the Z. I didn't and am not going to buy the Z. Instead I am saving this money, making a real push at getting myself oriented properly for a career in screenwriting/the entertainment industry, and am working on simply establishing myself in every sense of the word.

So I get up Tuesday, grab my fat-ass, Costanza-esque wallet and decide I need to go two places: the bank, and the 'licky-bo'.

I'm now driving. For whatever reason I decide I will go to the bank first. It's further from my house, but the LCBO can be done on the way home, I figure, so that's how it happened. I get to the bank, wait in line patiently though rather uncomfortably (the old, unwashed man behind me was standing just a wee bit too close for comfort), and then make my deposit.

I always love making big deposits there. I'll go in with a wad of cash in an elastic band; sometimes in my plastic batman pencilcase because, let's be honest, it's fairly innocuous, and then approach the teller and drop the cashola bomb right in her face. It's something like this:

TELLER #1: I can help you down here.
ME: (approaching teller) Well, I'd just like to make a deposit today (reaching into pockets).
TELLER #1: Okay then (waiting for my piggy bank).
ME: (pulls out a stack of cash the size of a well-read dictionary and overhand slaps it onto the counter) There ya be.
TELLER #1: (A surprised, somewhat alarmed look, then calm, taking the money to count it. As she counts she looks either way, then calmly, under her breath says) Crack......?
ME: (leaning in) I'm sorry, what?
TELLER #1: (coughing, then whispering) Can I buy some crack?
ME: (surprised) What? No! I'm a bartender, not a crack dealer.
TELLER #1: (whispering, disappointed) Damn, I love sniffing crack.
ME: (after a short pause) You're talking about the drug right?

So I make my deposit and head on down to the liquor store. This is where things get a little messy.

I walk in, walk to the back, then pick up, pay for and walk out of the building with an eight-pack of various imported tall cans, and head back to my car. Because I like to wear light-weight 'board-shorts', I often sacrifice the use of my pockets for not exposing the top half of my ass in public, and so I'm holding my wallet, my cell phone, my keys, an eight-pack of tall cans, and a four-pack of vodka coolers. I decide that, at this moment, I need the keys more than the wallet so I reach up, dropping wallet onto the top of my car, and then back down, unlocking the car so I can get my shit together without dropping it all over the parking lot and looking like a tool.

I can see, now, that you're nodding; but not because you think I'm a tool. You can see where this is going, I'm sure, and if you're not off the shitter or are still in a compromising position, Europe, you're just going to have to hang on for a little bit longer.

I unlock the car, put my booze in the back seat, and then get in, start the engine, and drive off on my merry way as my worn leather wallet clings to the outside roof just above me for dear wallet-life.

Now, all this was well and good for me until 45 minutes later. Suddenly, as I'm driving to work, I feel the urge to check and see that I acutally have the license for the motor vehicle that I'm currently driving and, much to my dismay, find that it's not in the car; nor is my wallet. Cue mental backpedaling.

After I'd finished rewinding my mind and realized that I'd probably left my wallet on the top of my car at the LCBO (but just after I'd safely deposited the $700 that was in it only minutes earlier) I called home and had everyone check high and low for it.

ME: Did you check the desk?
ME: Did you check the end of my bed?
ME: Did you check the fridge?
FAMILY MEMBER: .................... yes.

No sooner than I get my American Express, VISA and bank cards canceled, someone shows up at my house with my wallet, drops it off, and refuses to give a last name or address because they just wanted to do the right thing, not find a reward for it.

I know! Unbelievable. Perhaps this is the thanks I get from my car for deciding to keep it around.

Then again, if it was a choice between keeping ol' Optimus around or putting him in a compromising position, it's an easy decision.

Too bad I can't say the same for Europe.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Jesus Loves Green Vegetables!!

Well, it's time for my bi-monthly post. Hooray! Just wanted to, in usual tardy (though not retardy) fashion, update you all on my status in life while we each politely pretend that its static nature is simply a mechanism of my own 'awesomeness' and not a result of succumbing to an idle lifestyle.

I'm begging you.

I've finished "W W J D ?" [ed. note: almost two months ago] and sent it to for judging/my own bemusement. I've also uploaded it to YouTube for simple viewing pleasure. Painfully, it has an intro starring myself (because it had to, eat shit) that lasts forty-three seconds before the real meat and potatoes of the project.

Also, and if you're a little retardy, I've got a straight up copy & paste link for you in case the above linkage slipped by you, unawares. Here she is:

And now that that's over, I shall perform a flawless transition from breaking-news to story-recap.

[insert clever segue]

So, I was in G-Spot visiting Vegetarian Girlfriend last night...

I know, already this sounds like a great time - multiple orgasms while eating mounds upon mounds of green vegetables. Maybe even some fake meat, just to get me worked up even more.

However, I had a good time (and got my daily intake of Vitamins A through D), all was well, and then I was driving home at 2:30 in the morning. Cue: human stupidity.

While minding my business, P's and Q's, manners, and front, back, and sides of my car for fear of imminent death/rolling/flipping, or the like, something appeared to be moving across the 401 with the haste of an intoxicated groundhog.

Thumbing the ejector-seat release (located just above the rear thruster ignition), I pondered my fate VS. such a creature and instead bunkered comfortably into my outstandingly attractive black-leather bucket seat, bracing for the impact/muffled thud of instant death from only a foot below me.

Then what to my wondering eyes did appear but a fucking fat guy [ed. note: not Santa Clause] in a neon orange/yellow vest, hauling a cylindrical pylon across the three lane highway with all the motivation of a half-hearted attempt at suicide.

And then two of them. And then a third.

It was a goddamn squadron of living beings that valued the condition of a pylon as much or more than their own livelihood.

Now, do keep in mind that it is 2:30 in the a.m. People are sleeping. God is sleeping. Hell, if I wasn't driving a big metal object I think I would have been sleeping too - even then I'm sure my brain was thinking about trying both at the same time anyway; you know, just to see if it'd turn out. And if I had I'm sure God would have woken up to the very same feeling that I had the instant I spotted those fat, pylon wielding assholes lurching across the busiest highway in North America:

GOD: [waking up in a cold sweat, suddenly, gasping for air] The power of Christ compels you! [looks around, realizing He's in His own bed and sighs in relief]
ANGEL #1: [over P.A. system] Uhh, God? You should probably come see this. Three obese highway workers just had their shit ruined all over the highway by the Batmobile.
GOD: For fuck's sake, I'm sleeping.
ANGEL #1: Hey, sorta off topic but are we all out of Philly cream cheese? [cue Philly choir]

All that was missing on my end was the cream cheese (because I was already singing the Philly song, and at a healthy buck30). It's really too bad, too.

It would have completed my nutrition guide checklist for the day.

Friday, February 02, 2007

FALSE: Video did NOT kill the Radio Star.

Just wanted to let you all know I'm still alive after my radio commercial recording session this morning. Came home, watched a little TV, some other film clips, and now I'm sitting at the computer alive and well.

As far as I'm concerned, The Buggles can eat shit.

And P.S. - I don't care that you were MTV's first act; get over yourself.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas (Happy February)!! Also: Keep the change, ya filthy animals..

It's just barely [ed. note: and now long after] Christmas. Under only two circumstances should you be reading this; two circumstances and an exception, really:

A) You're on your new laptop and decided to test your wireless internet connectivity on my blog. This automatically entitles you to receiving a gift from me next year.

B) You received, and are already sick of playing, the 90's board game "Nightmare." This automatically entitles you to banishment to the black hole.

EXCEPTION: It's no longer Christmas day [ed. note: seeing as it's now February]. Children the world over cry as visions of gumdrops are ripped from their heads.

I thought, however, given the shamelessly social nature of this 'holiday,' that it would be useful to cover the 'required viewing' bases for anyone unfamiliar with modern society/popular media (read: YOU). This happens, also, to be a cheap and time-affording method for Merry Ho-Ho-ing anyone that I might have missed with the yuletide shuriken that is the gift card.



Let me lay this right out there for you in simple chatroom verse. Home Alone is the gr8est holiday movie of all time. If you disagree, you're wrong. If you object, you're also wrong. Even concurring puts you dangerously close to public ridicule for being such a blatant fool. You'd like to know why, I'm sure, and it's simple. Home Alone has every single thing that a good movie needs.

Let me explain.

When Christ was born, he asked one thing of his storytelling disciples. That one thing was that they never, under any circumstance, sacrifice situational hilarity for the sake of realism - unless said realism already resides dangerously close to too much for an audience's suspension of disbelief.

Home Alone, while clearly a circumstance out of the ordinary, is hardly one that is completely out of reach or out of line with what humans consider to be an acceptable, realistic realm. Let me put it this way: if Moses were to bring Jesus his finished screenplay for Home Alone, the conversation might go something like this.

MOSES: Jesus? May I come in?
JESUS: Hell yes, Moses! Just the cat I wanted to talk to. Sit your wrinkled ass down.
MOSES: Have you read 'Home Alone' yet?
JESUS: Actually I just finished. It's fucking brilliant. Honest. I think they should die, though.
MOSES: Hm? Who should die?
JESUS: The robbers...? The fucking bandits! What, the family? Come on, man. I'm just kidding, it's good how it is. I should buy a boat.
MOSES: What? What are you talking about?
JESUS: Beverly Hills Cop. It's amazing. But you and John Hughes really raped this story. You raped it.

John Hughes raped it; let's be honest. The story in Home Alone is probably the best story you've ever read or watched or heard around a campfire in your entire life. Ever.

With that in mind I here decree the month of December to be Home Alone month, and that Home Alone shall be watched in its full, unabashed state as many times as one can handle consciously, before the day that Christ was (supposedly, HA!) born. Amen.

And speaking of Christ, I'm making a short film about him this week. It's called "W.W.J.D?" and is about Christ coming back to earth in modern day and what he might do with his time. It's going to be a five minute short made specifically for Steven Spielberg and Mark Burnett's reality TV show The Lot. I have 16 days to make and submit this film. Wish me luck (or nothing, since I wrote half of this post two months ago). Love you long time.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm Back From Austin!! OR Holy Shit it's Halloween!! OR Lindsay Lohan's Nipples!!

Firstly, I have to say that I've been gone for awhile. I'm sorry. I've missed you dearly. I was in Texas.

Ok, now pick up the granola bar you just dropped and tune in for a sec. I went to Texas, yes. I didn't post before I went, I know, but I assure you that it was for both our sakes. Why write when the trip hasn't happened yet? Exactly, I knew you'd see my point - you always do.

Last week I attended the Austin International Film Festival's Screenwriter Conference held at the Driskill and Stephen F. Austin Hotels in downtown Austin, Texas.

That's a lot of capitals.

Over the course of the four or five days I was there [because free beer makes you forget] I went to panels held by screenwriting and filmmaking vets alike, partied at private functions & on Austin's 6th street, and had some very, very interesting and valuable experiences.

Was it worth the almost $2000 it cost me to attend? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Absolutely; it was completely and totally invaluable to what now feels like will be my career. I am in debt to many people for pointing me in Austin's direction, for coaxing me to go. I won't name names here because you know who you are, and simply, for sake of brevity.

It was great. You are great.

Next, a definition:

Hal‧low‧een[hal-uh-ween, -oh-een, hol-] Pronunciation Key -
the evening of October 31; the eve of All Saints' Day; Allhallows Eve: observed esp. by children in costumes who solicit treats, often by threatening minor pranks.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm crazy but, doesn't this strike you as a little... odd? The first thing that comes to mind when I read this is, and I don't think I'm alone here, what little bastards these children are [at least by definition]. Halloween at my future house, when I've grown up of course, will be something like this:

KIDS: (knocking)
ME: (opens door)
KIDS: Trick-or-*SOK!*

That's me punching them square in the mask. How's that for a trick?

Trick-or-PUNCH; that's the system. After an hour I may throw in a kick or two for good measure but, generally speaking, that's how it will work. I think, for added effect, I may also dress up as a teddy bear or something equally innocuous so as to lull them into a false sense of security before the attack.

KID: Mommy, it's a teddy-bear! Like Mr. Binkies at home!
MOTHER: (smiling complacently)

Then *BIFF* - bear paw right in the mouth-hole. Try eating candy after getting mauled you little prick. I guess this would be a good opportunity to grab their candy bag, before they bleed all over it, and close the door.

Am I cynical? Perhaps. Am I a capitalist? Indeed.

And that brings me to Lindsay Lohan's Nipples.

Those of you here via Google, Yahoo, or some other pervert-express are no doubt in shock, disbelief, and utter flaccidity that nowhere on this page are Lindsay Lohan's nipples. I assure you this was nothing more than a ploy, and at the behest of others, to lure you here for sake of hits alone. Send me messages of hate.


Now that's a lot of capitals.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Truth of the Matter

I'm sure you're familiar with Plato (the philosopher, not the stuff you ate when you were three). He has this theory that, I think, fits very well into what we're doing here in life, trying to understand one another and in artistic expression.

Plato wrote within semiotics, the study of signs and symbols, of the 'referent,' 'signified,' and 'signifier.'

He has this notion of the 'perfect chair' - the chair that you think of when I tell you to think of a chair.

When I say chair, you think:

Chairs, as our brain (and Google images) will immediately tell us, are wooden, four legged objects with a flat spot to sit on, and an upright back. This, generally speaking, is as close to the
idea of 'chair' as is humanly possible - for no image is as perfect as the imagined image of chair. In this example the actual picture of the chair is the signifier; the signifier is the image of the chair whether on paper or perceived by our retinas. The referent is the actual chair because this is what the signifier, or image, literally refers to. Lastly, the idea of 'chair' is the signified because, at the end of the day, the photo, the actual chair, and all the hard work that's gone into producing both is, you guessed it, the signified notion.

I have a theory -- it's somewhat undeveloped and even a little crude to some, I'm sure, but I have a general theory that's roughly based on Plato's system, and it's the fundamental force behind my creativity and creative expression. My extension to Plato's theory can be surmised, simply, in one word:


Each time I sit to write this notion is in my head. Each time I take a picture, film a scene, and even speak with another person, this idea is at the most forefront of my thoughts. What is the signified
truth of the situation, the moment, the scene, the action? Every single moment and thing and action and inaction can be reduced to the purest motivation. It's simple, really.

Everyone has taken a picture before. We know how to point the camera, click the button, and capture the image - but what separates the casual photographer from the professional?

Truths. Signifieds.

Each time a professional artist acts to portray something (either on film, video, paper etc.) he or she is really trying to capture the true essence of the circumstance, the perfect incarnation of the referent - this is what makes the artwork relatable, universal.

A good picture is one that will show it's subject(s) in a way in which we can all relate to it; it will show its subjects in a universal light. It's this universality that is embedded in all of our unconscious minds, and that creates relativity.

Thus, a good
written scene is also one that's relatable. The perfect truth of a situation lies in capturing the essence of character and the subtle nuance of human interaction and timing; it's about making things real and identifiable.

Relatability, on the other hand, does not hinge, for example, on the audience's intimate knowledge of a specific situation but, more broadly, on the feelings and prescribed notions that come part and parcel
with said situation. If we as the audience are unconsciously compelled to feel a part of the portrayal, then the artwork has succeeded in being true and in turn accurately (or as close to accurately as possible) represents the signified notion.

It's funny how this works, really, and how attuned to it I've become. It's a familiar feeling for me, when watching a movie or seeing pictures or written work that strikes me as
true. I'll smile, sometimes laugh, amazed by the perfect composure of the work, and an intense relation strikes me like a tack hammer. I haven't lived the situation, sometimes, but it's exactly its essence, and it's tangible; it's perfect.


I think, also, it's important to stress the universality of this principle. I could walk into my kitchen and take a picture of a placemat, and sure, it would be a picture of a placemat, but there exists, out there, the most perfect image of a placemat that could possibly exist, and when each of us look upon it we realize that this is
exactly it. This, and nothing else, is a placemat. For every single meal from here until the day I die, this is the laminated piece of plastic that I want to eat off of.

And this, finally, is the struggle that we all face. Life is the pursuit, not only of happiness and fulfilling our desires, but the pursuit of the signifieds; and whether they exist or not, we will always seek them out and step over one another to catch a brief glimpse.

It's writing, however, that gives me the opportunity to
create signifieds, truths. Each time I put the pencil to the page I am striving for something unique, interesting, and captivating, but that is entirely able to be realized and felt by any audience that comes in contact with it. I'm striving for the Truth, and who knows if I'll ever find it.

If it were up to Clint Eastwood, I just may never; but if it were up to Play-Dough... well, I just might have a shot.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Batman is Better than Your Batman

Going through some old files I'd made awhile back I found something that reminded me very much of the irony of my every day life... just thought you'd enjoy it.

P.S. my Batman kicks ASS.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Voodoo, Though Evil, is an Instrument of the Truth

Only eighteen hours after wrapping the outdoor portion of this shoot, and I've already slept for twelve.

Looking back on the experience thus far, I feel as though there are no words to accurately depict the happenings of the past week. Through rain, coincidental accident, and insurmountable frustration we have persevered; but trust me, we're bruised, bloodied, and cranky as Hell.

A week before shooting, I went to each child-actor's house to speak with them and their parents about what was planned, my objectives, and just the general goings-on of the week to follow. One of the more experienced children said something that struck me as nightmarishly as Christopher Walken yelling at a cat:

CHILD ACTOR #1: Hollywood rule number one. Never work with children or animals.

Then he just stared at me.

Like blank-faced, fucking children-of-the-corn stared at me as if time had stopped flowing and thunder was rumbling lowly in the background.

Voodoo kind of shit.

Then his mom laughed, snapping me out of that horrifically foreboding moment, and the day went on without so much as a hitch or another hint of witchcraft.

When principle photography began and I saw Child Actor #1 again, it was as though the incident had never happened. No black clouds rushed in amidst maniacal laughter; no rolling thunder accompanied apocalyptic comments; no children-of-the-corn shit. Things were moving... normally, even.

But slowly and surely, in the background, some evil force worked relentlessly towards my going insane.

Every day a step closer. Every take another chance. Every line another opportunity.

At first, I wasn't aware of it. I was frustrated, sure - flummoxed, even, but I wasn't aware that what Child Actor #1 had said was one hundred percent, no-nonsensingly true. Voodoo or not, that little bastard was right.

Children are the kiss of death.

However, without hesitation or moment's thought for the well-being of his witchcraft, John and I pushed forward, take after take, line after line, ever closer to insanity in the pursuit of completion. And yesterday we achieved that marker: outdoor shooting's a wrap.

Let's hope Voodoo doesn't govern reshoots.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Continuity is The New Hitler

It hasn't rained this much since the Holocaust.

Seriously, look it up.

Filming this week has been a challenge... it's moving forward, but it's been very challenging. A little juxtaposition as to the reasons, if you will.

For those of you who can't read, choose not to, or whose reading glasses are either too far away or mistakenly shoved into the toaster, I will break down the above image for you.

Pictured above is the weather forecast for this coming week - Tuesday the 29th until Sunday the 3rd. Looks nice, doesn't it? Shit, maybe we should film a movie this week?

But wait; filming started last week and... uh huh, yes, this week wasn't at all part of last week so, naturally, neither was the weather. Fine and dandy right? Weather's been okay lately, hasn't it?

No. No it hasn't.

Below is The Weather Network's forecast for last week, the week we've been filming during.

As you can see, things started out on a mostly shitty note, progressing through scattered tornados and a Class 3 Killstorm with chances of Apocalypse. Then, on Saturday, Jesus showed up during the second coming [which by the way is Hell on the eyes]. Finally, Sunday [coincidentally, I assure you] was Revelation - and shit, did it rain like a bitch. I guess He just wasn't happy with another sunny day for the big moment; had to go and ruin everyone elses shit in the process. Thanks God. Thanks a lot.

Either way, it's been a particularly stressful week.

It's been wet. It's been bleak. Kids are annoying. Residents are annoying. And above everything stands one issue greater than the sum of each of its counterparts - an issue that, each and every day, grabs my balls and won't let go until I'm screaming like an angel at premarital conception.

This issue... is continuity.

You know as a kid when you played with your parent's shitty video camera and made homemade movies that, by comparison, turned Canadian TV into fucking gold? Remember those days? Well remember how awe-struck you were by your shitty ability to create "magic" by turning the camera off, removing something from the frame, and then turning it back on again to make that object vanish? Of course you do.

1985 YOU: Holy shit, it disappeared!!

Now try, for a moment, to pull yourself back into the present day. Hard, wasn't it? You're making a film [this time aspiring to at least the level of Canadian television], and the absolute last thing that you want in this film is outdated 'magic' tricks worming their way into the production.

Well, let me tell you something: keeping them out, especially with child actors, is a magic act unto itself.

Without fail, every 30 seconds some prop is in some child's hand either acting as something to shake or something to throw, and always acting as distraction. Within the first 2o minutes of shooting on day 1, the "lemonade pitcher" had been spilled [all over a P.O.S. cardboard lemonade stand, by the way] no less than two times.

Spilled in its entirety.

After cleaning up, re-shooting, re-shooting, re-framing, re-shooting, and re-shooting, I realized that the pitcher of 'lemonade' and the lemons themselves were not yet supposed to be in the film.

CUT, scratch that.

I'd wipe my ass with the film, but since it's strong enough to tow a car I don't want to find out what it'd do to my poor, poor sphincter.

Two more days of filming, but I'm pushing for a few more because of the rain. Continuity may be Hitler... but the rain is his Gestapo.

Hail Sun!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Night Before Filming

[ Ed. note: Ironically, on the heels of this post I found out that John, my camera man, got into a car accident roughly 6 (count'em, six) hours away from Woodstock. Because he could no longer get back to the Dairy Capital in good time, filming itself had to be pushed until Thursday... meaning, in actuality, that this post was not posted on the eve before shooting; in fact, it was three days back... Thursday, here I come! ]

'twas the night before filming when all through the crew
ran over-excitement and nerve-wrought, wet poo.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
with visions of lemons bursting on their heads.

And John with his camera, and I with my script
slept anticipating, just ready to rip.

When up in my mind there arose such a clatter
"What if it won't work?!" and "Should this kid be fatter!?"

Then, what to my stupified eyes did appear?
Why, the ghost of Short Film; and her message? "Don't fear!"

She gave me the finger and then slapped me around,
then kicked me in the junk and I fell to the ground.

Then pointing and staring at/into my face,
she offered some comfort, her words borne of grace.

"Don't be such a pussy!" she screamed way too loud
"You wrote and direct this, you should be real proud."

I blinked once or twice, with her words sinking in,
then sat up from the floor and I raised up my chin.

"You're right Short Film spirit," I said to the ghost
"and if it's that bad, I'll just fix it in post!"

She smiled and then nodded, then went to my desk,
then she picked up my script that lay amongst the rest.

"Wait, hold on one minute," she blurted out fast,
"The Lemonade Stand-Off? I thought you'd wrote Crash!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Turns out #37, and NOT Outlining, is the Devil

This week I started the outlining phase of a new project of mine -- a project that I'm already 37 pages into. Typically, I don't outline; never have. High school essays? Fuck 'em. University essays? [censored]. Screenplays? Apparently I get stuck at page 37 without one.

The outline, as I've been told, is a great (and necessary) tool/evil in the screenwriting trade and, for fear of my eventual professional life, I have jumped like a nimble elk onto the band wagon.

Walking into Staples Thursday afternoon, I went straight to the corkboard - I needed a 4x3 board which by the way, once you're holding it, seems excessively big. I figure if this whole writing thing doesn't work out, I'll fasten wood legs to the corners and have myself one Hell of an absorbent dinner table.

Shit, maybe I'll get a second for that purpose alone, success or not.

That, however, is beside the point. I got me a great big cork board, 300 index/recipe cards, and a couple hundred push pins, and I'm on my way. I'm outlining.

I've made it to card 37.

Monday, July 24, 2006

For the Kids, & all you Crack-Babies

Hello kids. How's the day? Yes, this post is for you.

Wondering if you're a kid?... Well, rest assured - you are; and, if you're not, the situation can be rectified quickly by shoving your thumb into your mouth.

This will be short, so whatever remnants you have from June's bagged lunch, please, feel free to finish them off over this short entry.

Firstly, we're going to have babies. Cockapoo babies - two of them. This is the same type of dog that Molly was, and I think things will turn out nicely. They'd better, anyway.

Second, I've incurred some cost since last time I posted [ed. note: and this before even starting construction on my two lemonade stand props.. shit.].

Last week, and after having been to the dentist multiple [read: multiple] times for fillings in the past few months, I had a root canal. Let me tell you about it.

It wasn't that bad.

People all over the planet would rather call Mr. T a "fucking faggot" to his face than have a root canal yet, for some reason, it's no worse than a filling. This got me thinking: what in sweet Louisiana could be so bad about the process?

And then the bill came in.

(cue "cha-ching" noise)

Root canals, on average cost a whopping $1000 but, thanks to a little black market dentistry I managed to finnagle a total much less than that.

Then, not to be outdone by the bastard known as root canal, my automotive needs spiked this week in an unprecedented move market analysts are calling "fucking shitty." But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Leaving the destist's parking lot I noticed Cop on Bicycle [yes, on a pedal bike]. He was stopped, leaning over on one foot talking with a pre-teen mother and her cracked out baby; no doubt some pressing police matter given the number of slave-children drug-traffickings we've seen in recent months.

I rolled by, casually, and he looked my way [probably more out of fear for his safety given the wirey aluminum frame he sat upon]. Fifteen or twenty feet after Cop on Bicycle were another couple pre-teen mothers and their crack-babies walking along the sidewalk. Now, I'm driving - a big, synthetic materials car - minding my own business when, for no apparent reason, one kid starts tugging his mother out into the road as if to cross. Immediately I get onto the brakes, slowing considerably, so as not to dent my fender on this clearly ignorant child.

The kid makes several back and forth motions, no doubt trying to decide if he should continue crossing, or if there is a fraction of a chance that his shit will get ruined right there in the middle of the street. Because of his angst, I too am letting on and off the brakes wondering if, indeed, this child has the mental capacity of a peanut and will continue in front of this big moving object or, conversely, if he's got enough crack in his system to whisk him to the other side at a rate fast enough to give Clark Kent wood.

For fear of the former I stop entirely, frustrated by the fact that I've already had to think this much. Pre-teen Mother #1 stares at me with a look like I just humped a midget, and I stared right back at her like she and her Crack-Baby were new to the concept of "car." So I stopped, waved them infront of me just hoping that I would be far from their stench soon, and happened to look in my side mirror. Cop on Bike is striding over, catches my eye in the mirror and yells, from his mouth, no less, for me to "pull over."

Instead of fleeing the Law, I pulled the extra foot to the side after Pre-teen Mother and Crack-Baby were out of the way. For sake of brevity, the conversation with Cop on Bike went like this:

ME: (getting out of the car)
COP ON BIKE: Get back in the car!!
ME: (getting into the car)
COP ON BIKE: (at passenger window) Didn't you see Crack-Baby and Pre-teen Mother?
ME: Well, yes, but they sort of just... leapt in front of me like I was stealing their cocaine.
COP ON BIKE: Shit, that's scary. Did you see how red their eyes were? Christ. This is a nice car.
ME: Yep, she's a beaut.
COP ON BIKE: So, can I have it?
ME: Pardon me?
COP ON BIKE: You have a nice day now, sir. (biking away)

Watching him bike away with no ticket in my hand was a good feeling. Coming home to a [roughly] $1200 invoice for my car was not. Apparently my sweet-ass ride needs new brakes.

Maybe I'll ask Crack-Baby what he thinks about that.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Intermezzo: Audition Wrap-up

So, it's over with. Auditions came, went, and are now proceeding into the distance.

Wave to them; wave to the auditions.

So June 28th was the day, and I packed all my shit [ed. note: which was actually only my laptop, MiniDV camcorder, and a pad of paper avec stylo] and headed out to Innerkip in search of the building at where I'd booked my auditioning space.

Did you catch that? I said "search." There is a good reason for this: I had never been there. I had never seen a picture or even had a description of the building - in fact, I turned down all pre-audition offers for familiarizing myself with the place. Why? Who knows.

Heading into Innerkip, which is only populated by a couple thousand people and their dogs (all of whom play baseball), I was certain that in no foreseeable circumstance would it take me more than a couple of minutes to find where I needed to be; that and I was armed with the sheer determination to stop and ask someone should I not find the "Innerkip Community Centre" in said "couple of minutes."

A Couple of Minutes passed, so I stopped at the single convenience store on the single main road of this small burg. An Actress Friend of mine was tailing me so that she could help out for a few hours if I needed her, so she stopped as well. There were a few kids out front with ice cream cones. I approached the bumpkins with squirrel-like caution.

ME: Excuse me, country bumpkin, can you tell me where your Community Centre is?
BUMPKIN #1: *loud hiss*
ME: (turning to BUMPKIN #2) Excuse me, country bumpkin, can you tell me where your Community Centre is?
BUMPKIN #2: Sure. Back down this here road. It's the red one beside that new church thar.
ME: Thanks. (flicks a nickel to them)
BUMPKIN #2: No problem. (he pauses) *loud hiss*

Going back down the road I'd came, Actress Friend in tow, I stopped at the red building beside the new church, and though the sign out front read "Masonic Lodge" was not yet worried because I was forty-five minutes early and sure that a town this size might double-up community activities in the few public buildings they've got. Forty minutes pass
and my cell phone rings; I answer. It's my cameraman, John, who is also meeting me at the Community Centre to help conduct and also tape the auditions for later review.

ME: Hey, John, I know I'm late, I think I'm at the wrong place.
JOHN: Yeah, I'm at the Community Centre and I'm not seeing you.
ACTRESS FRIEND (O.S.): This sign says "Masonic Lodge!"
ME: (to John) What's the building look like?
JOHN: It's grey with a blue roof and doors.
ME: (looking around I spot it and John across the triangular section of field between the road the Masonic lodge is on, and the diagonal road the Community Centre is on) Shit. I can see you.
JOHN: What? (looking around) Oh, shit, there you are.
ME: Yeah, I'm retarded. Be there in 2.
ACTRESS FRIEND (O.S.): This sign says "Masonic Lodge!"

So, from there, Actress Friend and I proceeded over to the Community Centre [ed. note: also past a big sign that we'd passed out our way into town that read "INNERKIP COMMUNITY CENTRE <--"), met with John, and set up shop for the auditions. Then we waited.

Going into the day I'd said that I wanted ten people to show up. Ten. It was reasonable, and though I secretly harboured the hope that twenty would be the low number, I was certain we would have a chance with ten.

The day can be summed up in hour-long chunks numbered 1 through 5.

Hour 1: Two (2) kids - brought by friends. Their kids. With chicken pox.

Hour 2: Zero (0) kids. The janitor walked by.

Hour 3: Seven (7) kids. Kids that had mostly been referred to me by the goodwill of my Mother.

Hour 4: Eight (8) kids. Again, mostly kids that had been referred to me by my Mother or friends.

Hour 5: One (1) kid. It was now pouring rain outside. Like Noah pouring.

All in all, and if you can do your math, I had a turnout of Eighteen kids, broken down as follows: five girls, two sets of twin boys, and nine non-twin boys. The fact that I need one girl and five boys, including one set of twin boys, is a happy turn of events given the turnout (though I'm sure you can imagine the mass of shit that I had accumulated in my pants when, after the first two and a half hours, only one boy had shown his prepubescent face).

Either way, things worked out despite the fact that it took me an hour and a half, later that evening, to wash my underpants of all that shit.

The next few weeks will be filled with calling people back, letting them know, to their delight, that they've got the roles, and then making a couple lemonade stands as props for my film as well as speaking with the city's engineer with regard to road closures and special permits.

It should be a gay old time.

Alas, here comes the pre-production. Wave to pre-production.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The June Post (It's long - bring a bagged lunch)

Consider the opening of this post as a long, audible inhale that would typically precede a thought-out, calculated rant... the type of inhale that's usually followed by a pause, a look of uncertainty over how to proceed, and then, finally, the rant itself.

ME: (a look of uncertainty over how to proceed)
YOU: (the realization that the "rant" is to follow)

From the top: I've booked the auditioning space for my short film by the day I had vowed to do so (thereby retaining what little honour I have left), scheduled advertising space twice over the past and next few weeks to promote this fact to the otherwise oblivious public, spoke with several people about other advertising venues [i.e. schools, workplace], gaining some headway there, & finally, I've officially graduated university.

Two of these have interesting stories, and so two stories you shall get. After all, noone comes here for my day to day life - Hell, noone comes here at all - but I'd imagine if you or someone like you did come here it would be for the clever retellings of some of the more significant day to day happenings in my life. I'd imagine. If you wanted to see what I was eating, you'd come to the grocery store with me... or my mother.

But, with work discussion now out of the way, pleasurable discussion can ensue. Gather children, this won't take long [ed. note: man, was I wrong]. Without further adieu... story #1; the lesser of two upheavals.

As mentioned last month I had this crazy, sort-of eerie premonition that once I booked my auditioning space I would scramble into advertising action. Well, here I am mid-scramble; almost in wind-down mode.

Amidst the chaos I had the brilliant idea that, since my short film stars children, I might go to the schools in hopes of unearthing burgeoning actors, actresses, and paste-eaters.

This was a bright idea.

After going to one school (which we'll call Former Public School), Former Public School's Principal advised me that, although she clearly had a nice, big, leather chair on top of the obedience and allegiance of every child in the building, she still answers to a higher power. I scanned her office for the red phone that would connect me directly to Batman but, after she sensed my bewilderment, was informed I'd need to speak to the Superintendent.

Clearly, when someone says "Superintendent" to or around me, I think of only one thing: Chalmers. God help you if you're already lost [ed. note: luckily God has decided he'd help you today as in all of His divine wisdom He did not neglect to insert a google search bar into your browser window whilst he was blessing the rest of us... good luck].

So, I call Superintendent Chalmers, discuss my plans briefly, and scamper off to work like a good little beaver, but he wants to know more - I am to call him within the week to discuss my plans more thoroughly, and help him come to terms with my concept, my vision, and the fact that despite my current need for children, I'm not one to molest on a whim. Once again, like a good little beaver I call him back another day, but with no response.

Let it be stated once and once only: I despise answering machines. They're confusing; they catch me off guard. Answering machines do precisely what most people can't do on their own: they tell you what the fuck is going on, and then they get an answer to what seems, at first, to be an oversimplefied question: Why the Hell are you calling?

Generally, conversations with the various answering machines I've encountered over the years have gone something like this:

ANSWERING MACHINE: What the Hell do you want?
ME: Jesus, honestly, is that any way to answer a phone? Shit.
ANSWERING MACHINE: 60 seconds. Don't fuck yourself by saying something embarassing.
ME: Okay uhh... shit... John... this is......... Reece... I'm going to need to... uhh....... uhhhhh...

So, mostly, I get apprehensive with the electronic bastard. This might, however, stem from the fact that I feel myself responsible for and capable of relaying every single pertinent piece of information that I need to discuss with the person, all in that tiny electronic time-slot. Calling Superintendent Chalmers I knew that this type of message had to be avoided at all costs, and I was also going to the beach that day so had I got his machine, the plan was, simply, to leave the number at which I could be reached (my cell phone) and have him call back sometime throughout the day.

Now, I'll give you a minute.

Have you figured out why, oh why, that might not be the best idea? Because, I tell you, it took me a lot more than a sentence/drink or two to figure it out, and by the time I did, the shit was swinging precariously close to the fan.

9 p.m. comes around and my cell phone rings: it's Superintendent Chalmers, who is now, amongst my innebriated friends and self being affectionately referred to as "Super-Nintendo Chalmers."

The conversation, in retrospect, was mostly a blur; however, I remember several things. First, I was to email my script to him the next day to an email address that he'd given me over the phone (and which I'd, in decidedly clever fashion, written down on a cardboard beer coaster).

Second, I was convinced in my drunken state that the man was far more relaxed than he had been in previous conversations; that is, he no longer sounded entirely sober himself. This, however, was probably a product of my intoxicated, over-active imagination, and should be taken with a very large and robust grain of salt - and perhaps another beverage.

Regardless, the conversation, given my audience and circumstance, was nothing short of spectacular; the week or two following, however, was a perfect yin to this week's yang: nothing happened. I emailed him with no response - not even the mailsystem telling me I'd copied the address down wrong (because trust me I'd thought of that). And so, with no help from our schools, I plowed on amidst uncertainty. Well, I shouldn't say no help from the schools...

And with that helpful segue, story numero deus.

Thursday, June 15th I became (at least in the public eye) an educated man. It was the day of Convocation for the University of Waterloo - the establishment that I called home for the last few years - and I didn't even really want to go. In situations like this, however, choice is not a luxury, and I was wise to recognize this early on rather than risk familial banishment for depriving my parents of this proud day.

And so, begrudgingly, I wore the gown. I felt like the Messias, had some trouble walking, and despite its loose and flowing appearance, was hot as hell, but I wore it like a champ.

A few moments pass, and a woman stands on a chair in the area in front of the graduating class who have now formed lines reflecting the order in which we will be ushered onto the stage. She informs us, in a relatively polite fashion, to shut the Hell up and get ready to enter the gym. She also tells us that we'll be sitting in rows of fifteen, and that we will be crossing the stage in groups of three and kneeling infront of one of three men. Rows of fifteen. Groups of three. Three goes into fifteen.

So we're entering the gym now, in order, and a woman is counting us as she directs us into the row. One, two... fifteen.

Now, I'm not a math major. Hell, I'm not even a math minor, nor do I even risk the occassional foray into the considerably strong mathematical fortress for fear of serious numerical reprisal. That established, however, I will dare to venture that I can count to fifteen without using hands, feet or bead racks alike.

I suppose that you now see where this is going.

We're standing as our "group of fifteen" in front of the chairs we will eventually occupy, shoulder to shoulder, and all thinking the same thought:

FIFTEEN GRADUATES: Something is definitely not right here.

The whispering started almost immediately, all of us wondering whose ass was unlucky enough to be chairless when we were asked to be seated - a moment which was now edging closer, signalled by the entrace of a procession of old men accompanied by what I think was the theme music played at the the end of Star Wars: A New Hope.

So I'm standing there, watching these old men in their funny hats and horrendously coloured robes walking into the room, and forgetting for a moment about where I'm going to stick my ass for the next two hours, and I spot him. Clad in a worn, bluish robe with white decorative embrodery and graduate cap in the same scheme, the president of the University of Waterloo casually walked down the red carpet with the air of the Pope himself, and a look of fatherly pride spread over his face. We stared in awe, and I found myself asking out loud if it was infact the Pope. He was definitely old - that much I could tell - and commanded some kind of respect and dignity as he had been lead down the path to the stage by a man with a large chrome sceptor akin to something I'd been beaten with as a child.

Holy shit, I'm kidding - don't make any phonecalls.

The Old Men eventually made their way to the stage where most of them sat in the back on plain looking, plastic chairs. Three, however, took their seats on what looked to be thrones made from skulls and human bones (or wood, it was hard to see from where I was standing), and asked us all to sit down.

While considering my chances of getting a chair, I failed to move immediately towards one and was stuck in a half-squatting position, hovering over part of a chair and some homely looking woman's lap. After a moment or two I opted, as most educated men would, for the half chair that was awaiting my (luckily) slender ass, and filled it with relative ease.

I won't lie to you, the next hour was fairly boring. Flanked on either side by a Chinese man in an odd, exaggerated, beret-style pink hat, and a man dressed in red that looked like the young Emperor/Senator Palpatine, the Pope sat, 'knighting' graduates with his companions as they approached the thrones and knelt on crushed velvet foot stools three-by-three.

I have half a chair stuck to my ass, I thought - and so does this person beside me. There are sixteen people in this row.

Three doesn't go into sixteen.

This thought crosses my mind as I sat, rather uncomfortably, on my half a chair waiting for it to all be over with. Then, covertly from the outside end of our row, we were asked to stand so that we could approach and get ready for entrance onto the stage. At this point I'm thinking that the fact that sixteen is not divisible by three is no longer a tangible issue, however if it was going to be, I was glad I wasn't the small Chinese kid on the back end of the row.

We followed the rest of the lines, circling out widely to pick up our "graduate hood," which actually more resembles a piece of cloth that in any other setting would be entirely useless, then, circling back, handed our name card to a woman with a headset seated at a desk so that when the names were announced as we got onto the stage, they'd have them in the correct order.

Now I'm waiting - the moment is upon me; I'm about to become Sir Reece of Waterloo, Champion of Rhetoric and the Professional Word.

But curiosity strikes: which of these old men will be knighting me this afternoon? Senator Palpatine? That goof in the huge pink beret? Hell, maybe it would be the Pope himself; so what do I do? I counted backwards from the front of the line to find out what I was up against. The grads, after kneeling, remained that way for a good ten to twelve seconds, so I was well aware that some kind of intelligent conversation was now required of me. I couldn't just be a face with half an ass on a chair anymore, and I definitely couldn't go into it without knowing the man I'd be up against. There was far too much variance amongst them.

One, two, three, one, two, three... and I was a one. Chancellor Pink-Hat would be the man propelling me to publically accepted glory. This, I thought, I could handle.

I might even ask him about the hat.

Then, out of nowhere, instead of a group of three going onto the stage, a group of one (and one rather accomplished individual, I must say) went forward, thereby disrupting my count.

Again, I assert that I am no mathematical genius but, doing some quick arithmetic, I suddenly realized that it would not be the Chancellor who would confer my degree, but somebody else entirely.

ME: Holy shit, the Pope.

It would be the president of the University of Waterloo, the Pope himself, that would confer my degree, and I had about forty-five seconds to think of something to say. Astonishingly, I realized exactly what the man would ask me when I approached the throne, so that gave me a head start as to formulating a response.

Forty-five seconds came and went, and all of a sudden they were reading my name (correctly, even) to the audience who simultaneously didn't give a fuck as they had been doing for the last hour or so. I marched onto the stage, confident that I had things under control, that I knew what was going to happen, that I would ruin this old man's shit right in front of him. He shook my hand, and then opened his mouth.

THE POPE: Congratulations, son.
ME: Thank you, sir. I'm honoured.
THE POPE: And what will you do now??

Things were going to plan.

You're kicking yourself - I can feel the thudding through the floor. I had anticipated the question and developed a simple, overused, but nonetheless classic answer. You've just won the Stanley Cup, the World Cup, the NFL Championship, American Idol... WHAT could you possibly do NOW?!

ME: I'm going to Disneyland.

And then he didn't get it.

The most popular answer to the question he posed, and he couldn't fathom its significance or even sense a slight familiarity within the response. The conversation continued like this:

THE POPE: Oh? (fatherly smile) Are you working there?
ME: (after considering telling him I'd be the next Pluto) Uhhh... no, it's a vacation.

So instead of getting a hearty chuckle, maybe even one that would throw him right off the throne, I lied to the man in the face of unfamiliarity and received nothing but a placating smile. Disney sounds alright, he thought, if you consider cartoons a viable career; and Christ knows that 80 year olds don't consider cartoons a practical means of income. Shit, they're barely entertainment for a man in diapers: laugh too hard and you need to get changed. Instantly, I'm sure I was the one flaw to this man in the 2006 graduating class. I was going to be working with Mickey.

Do I care? Not particularly - the man didn't get a widely used, tongue-in-cheek, witty (though planned out) remark.

Nevertheless, I was knighted that day. I'm one step up from where I was and maybe a few paces infront of you; it's a good feeling but, you know, it's the damndest thing.

Even as an "educated man" I still don't have a good response to "Why the Hell are you calling?"

But, maybe even if I did, the "machine" wouldn't get it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

For all You do... This Blog's for You.

So much has (and hasn't) happened in the last few weeks that getting to, and writing this blog entry, has been two separate challenges altogether.

Firstly, lots has happened.

Second, lots of stuff hasn't happened.

It's been a combination of these two things that has led to me being A) too busy to write something for you, and B) too melodramatic to feel the urge to use my spare time to write something for you. Thus, having finally shed some of the afforementioned "shit" I've had to do, and a good chunk of the melodrama that has invaded my life, I am once again apt to do something in this sphere (aka "something for you").

We'll start from the beginning.

Girlfriend has since purchased a ticket and taken a flight to the past tense. Yes, that's right. Finito. It's over, Rock; and yes, even something to drink can't bring it back. It was a combination of poor time management skills and, simply, poor timing altogether. We each took separate paths, amicably, and there are no hard feelings whatsoever. So, there's that.

Next, I recently found myself faced with the largest existential gap thusfar in my life. Plainly stated, last weekend Molly, our family dog, had to be put down after 15 short years of unrestrained, effortless love. Needless to say, this wasn't anyone's idea of a "good" way to spend May 2-4 weekend; though we used the remaining "holiday" time to support each other as a family in the best way that we could conceive: take out food, and a couple movies.

Without Molly around, however, things feel hollow. The house doesn't truly have a heart anymore, and being "home alone" has never really felt like it does now. That said, there's truly nothing that can erase the years passed, nor anything that will replace her memories for any of us. We loved her, I think, like noone else I know loves their pet. We loved her like an equal, a human being, and if one thing always held this family together it was her unconditional care and servitude.

Third, and with a good sized lump now formed in my throat (maybe I should have saved "heartfelt" for the end), the stuff that hasn't happened: that is, anything with regard to my summer filming plans.

With every new development comes further unsurety of the process. I need a place for auditions. I've found one. I'm ready to book it.

I haven't.

This is where you, as if interested, ask me why.

The answer? I am afraid.

Quite honestly, I am fearful that no matter what advertising I come up with between now and holding audtions, I will be sitting in that facility on the day of, alone and waiting for someone, anyone to show up. I think fear is a natural part of the process - integral to it's design; however that makes nothing easier. So, this is my vow: by Wednesday, May 31st, and God-fearing, I will have booked a day (before the end of June) to hold my auditions. Once this date is booked I will, no doubt, scramble to advertise this fact around town and, with any luck, hope for the best.

I have a feeling, however, that my luck, as has recently expired, will do well to show up. Thus I shall rely instead on something more concrete (ed. note: not "fate"). That said, all I can do at this point is remain optimistic that things will come together, and do what I can to make them.

This is the bottom, and I occupy it for the time being. I suppose it's all up from here, assuming it is incapable of giving out to some unprecedented new bottom, in which case you'll suffer through another meaningful, painfully unimaginative blog entry.

If nothing else it brings explanation to why I do what I do. Real life is just too boring and uninspired to hang around with it for too long. I have a feeling, though, that creative expression is the quickest path to truth.

This one's for you, piggy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Home, Home of the Strange

If there was any doubt before Tuesday evening, it has been lain to rest: old people and old age homes make me very very uncomfortable (and it almost makes me feel like a bad person).

Girlfriend had asked me several days before Tuesday (so Sunday-ish) which days of the week I had off of work at the restaurant; she wanted me to go meet Grandpa and Grandma. Monday and Tuesday were all I had.

Now, as a procrastinator, I would normally need a couple days to prep myself for this kind of encounter, but a special variable had entered the equation: Grandma was desperate. This is how the conversation with Girlfriend went.

GIRLFRIEND: What days are you off this week? I was thinking you could finally meet my Grandparents?
ME: Monday and Tuesday.
GIRLFRIEND: Okay. I was there on Friday - Grandma still really wants to meet you.
ME: Oh yeah? Well sometime soon, anyway.
GIRLFRIEND: Yeah... she was really upset when I saw her and when I was leaving she started crying and asked me if I'd bring you around. No pressure, right?
ME: Why would you tell me that? What are you trying to do to me?

So the pressure was on; and to make matters worse - they live in an old age home.

If you've never been to a 'home,' but have had some kind of post-secondary education, I can tell you that old age homes are like college residence for the eldery (minus the boozing and hopefully the rampant sex). They're all packed into dorm-style rooms and have roommates. In this case, Grandpa and Grandma were roomates and as we entered the room Grandpa was stretched out on the bed in comfortable college kid fashion. He stood up as we entered, gave me a hug, and told me that he loved me.

Yes, this was our first meeting.

Sparing the details of the actual time spent in the room chatting - because truthfully it went alright aside from the fact that old people are deaf and you have to speak to them like you're on the factory floor - we got up to leave after 15 or 20 minutes. It was okay, I was going to make it. Then Grandpa hugged me again, told me that they loved me, and planted a wet one on my neck.

Sure, it was strange.

And yes, this was our first meeting; but we were out of the room - and strange was about to take a violent turn to bizarre.

Two doors down from Grandparent's dorm was a woman, slowly rolling out of her doorway in a wheelchair with a spray bottle similar to those you might water a plant with, and several nurse aides on either side of her. We made eye contact - it was an evil I was not familiar with.

NURSE AIDE: There's a couple!
NURSE AIDE 2: Yeah, Get'em!

At this point I'm wondering if this is actually happening. I knew from that moment what was probable, but confronted with the situation just couldn't believe it.

Wheelchair Woman let loose with the spray bottle, which happened, ironically, to be set strategically to "laser," rather than "mist" mode. Girlfriend took it right in the forehead. Wheelchair Woman then turned to me, squeezing the trigger.

At this point I'd abandoned Girlfriend who was, for some unexplored reason, squealing in some kind of terrified pleasure; I realized, now, that if you're ever caught in a burning building with me, you should probably play for your own survival; because clearly that's my own perogative, so heads up to the rest of you.

I made it out of there just a little wet, but with a freshly renewed sense of "I'm never going to an old age home ever again." Especially when I'm old and in need of a home. Fuck it, I'll live under a bridge.

Old people aside, it's time for a little update on my filming plans for this summer. I stopped by a couple places this week to get a location for holding auditions. First estimates put my old High School at about $850 for 6 hours over 2 days. By the time I'd picked my face up off the floor the secretary had fiddled with some settings on her computerized form and knocked it down to $56; I think I can swing that. All that's left is to confirm that with her, set up a little advertising for the audition dates, and wait and see what the turnout's like. I honestly have no idea as to how many people will show up, but I'm hoping for more than 5.

Hopefully in a month or so I'll have enough going on for a full post on my filming schedule, but for the moment you're allowed 1 or 2 paragraphs. After last night's 3am close I'm just too burnt out to give you more. Especially after a 9am staff meeting.

On the way home from that staff meeting though, I drove past a pre-teen with a sign reading "CAR WASH." Like most kid-operated car washes I sped on by, but what intrigued me about this one was, as I hit the gas, the kid ran out into the four lane road towards me, doing some kind of shoeless tap-dance. Lucky for me (and my five year streak of never striking anything with a car), he came from the other side of the road and just didn't have the speed to get anywhere near me.

That noted, I hope I'm not reduced to holding a yellow sign reading "AUDITIONS" and tap dancing barefoot in the road sometime at the end of May.

They may just think I'm crazy enough to throw in a home.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Act 1: No Weddings & a Funeral

It started when I woke up this morning - the day, that is. That sounds pretty self-explanatory, but really, just take it for what it is. First of all, let me introduce myself. I am Reece Cantelon; native of Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. I'm 23 years old - 24 this year (Sept. 14th) - and very much alive. I use the word 'alive' with reason.

This morning, after only 4 hours of sleep, I arose to my alarm clock for the first time in what has to be weeks. I work in the restaurant industry, though my hobby and passion is screenwriting, and this affords me a very relaxed timetable for the first half of most days. That said, I work until 1 or 2am most nights so it's a good counterbalance.

Regardless, I stray from the subject at hand. Today I woke up to my alarm, after only 4 hours of sleep, to get ready for a funeral.

I've been to 4 funerals in my life - my uncle's, my dad's old secretary's, my ex-girlfriend's manic depressive friend's, and this one - my current girlfriend's lawyer boss. I've only actually MET or SEEN 50% of the people's whose funerals I've attended. Odd? Maybe. Odder, perhaps, is how I felt sitting there.

At first, sitting in that very uncomfortable pew, I thought of just about nothing. Looking around the church I wondered, and with sincere curiosity, how long the church had been standing, how the Hell they built an organ that big (and was it a trial and error process in figuring out how it works?), was I the only one there that didn't know this dead man, and finally, if Jesus was currently in the building.

Sitting there in silence I mulled these over for several minutes until, out of nowhere, this:

MAN'S VOICE: Would the congregation please rise.

There was no inquisition in his voice. It was expected... so I stood.

Now I'm not an especially religious man, but from where I was sitting I could not see anyone at the front of the church. Voice of God? Perhaps. God doesn't ask questions, I'm sure. He makes a statement with an inference and then stares at you until you respond. But then I leaned right and woops, just an old man with a microphone.

That said, the service got underway. Now at this point, my comfort level plateaued. Before this point I was expected to be someone I maybe wasn't; now I was expected to be someone who'd shut up. That I could do.

So I sat there, listening, having never seen this dead man and wondering several things. Lawyer Boss, as I'll refer to him from this point onward, didn't die by accident or for anything or anyone other than himself. It was suicide.

From a church point of view, I'm sure suicide funerals are a lot like being the only one to lose your bathing suit on a waterslide. Everyone gets a little misty, but you can't help but feel a little uncomfortable being there. That and noone wants to see it.

Lawyer Boss didn't do it conventionally, either. This was the coups de grâce to all suicide stories. He wrapped himself in a blanket, doused himself in gasoline and went out in a blaze. That's it, because I'm sure as Hell that it wasn't glorious in any sense of the word. Spectacular, maybe, but only in the "I'm never going to forget that as long as I live, and I wish that it didn't have to be that way" kind of spectacular.

Then, all of a sudden I zone into what's happening. I'd been staring at the portrait of the Lawyer Boss that I'd never seen, but whose funeral I was attending, (which, ironically, was impossible to see with any kind of clarity as it reflected the sun into my eyes), when I realized the service had started. So I'm sitting there, minding my business, listening to several lines from the Book of Songs read by a Lawyer Friend, when all of a sudden I realize that I'm not feeling so great anymore. People are crying; my girlfriend is upset. I'm sitting there TRYING to be the biggest asshole of my professional career, and still, I'm starting to get a little choked up about this guy I've never met. But I'm getting it under control.

And then they sang Amazing Grace.

I think, more than anything, that funerals do their damndest to make you cry; and I'm telling you right NOW that if I'd been sat down afterwards by every person there and told an endearing story about Lawyer Boss, they just may have been able to squeeze a tear out of me. What that funeral did, however, was inspire me to come back to this blog - to start a journal of my career progress.

I'd started it awhile ago with the intent of knuckling down. I wanted to get my writing career on its way and, to be honest with you, I think that I've succeeded.

There have been no screenplay sales - no contests won (other than a poetry contest at my university), and no real contacts made in the industry; but I think it's on its way.

For the past 2 weeks I have been working diligently on a brand new screenplay, the concept of which was built from the ground up (as most concepts are). I've got several other screenplays in the works, but this is the one I will market myself with.

Secondly, I am filming the first short screenplay that I wrote this past year this coming summer. Auditions will be held in the coming month, probably near the end of May/start of June, and filming commences the first week of August. It's an exciting time for sure. Make no mistake about it... this is the beginning of my career.

After the funeral ended I did a few little errands that I had around town before coming home to write this blog. Everywhere I went people asked me where I was going in my fancy clothes. This is how each conversation went (there were 3 or 4 exactly the same).

CURIOUS PERSON: Wow, you're all dressed up; lookin' good! Are you going to a wedding?
ME: Actually, I just came from a funeral.
CURIOUS PERSON: (a look like they just shit their pants stuffing their foot into their mouth)
ME: It's okay; it wasn't mine.

I thought the line was good, so I just kept using it. Either way, I am now convinced you should not wear pink, in any amount, to a funeral unless you just came from, or are going straight to a wedding immediately thereafter.

Having said that, I want to thank you, Lawyer Boss. Though unconventional to the end, you have certainly inspired me to live, to write, and to succeed...

I'll be your (pink) blaze of glory.