Symphonic Saturday – Music and My Trip

L4BB3-67RLK3J_RoyRWhat an incredible week I’ve had! I have so many pages of notes from our Toronto pitching trip. Some things didn’t go so great. Something got overlooked and my first film pitch was to a woman who was upset by the content, but gave great feedback on it anyway. I’m now thinking of it being a mix of live action and animation because that would reduce costs and be different. It would also make use of local talent given how many high quality animation studios exist in Ottawa. At my other film pitch, I was told there is a problem with one of the story elements, so I’ve reached out to a medical science organization in the north to see if they can help me find the information I need to fix that piece. He also said that he could see my film being made! Given he works for a distributor that works with a lot of horror films, I’m super stoked! I got up this morning fired up to get the pieces together to fix some parts and make a plan for the next version.

Last night, we used the bus DVD system to watch a couple of movies that my classmate brought. The first was Kubo and the Two Strings. Knowing my love of music and sword based martial arts, you can guess why I picked it. Also, many in my class love animation, so I thought it would be a good pick. I think most really enjoyed it.

After that, we watched Jurassic World. It’s another with a fantastic soundtrack. It always takes me back to high school because we used to play the theme song in music class. It was a wonderful cap to the week as I feel like my life is finally on the right path and it’s the one I started in grade 9 when I joined drama club in high school.

I may have been lost for a while, but I found my way back. This year has been a fantastic journey. I have so many new ideas, twists for old ones, and more! I learned so very much about the industry and what I can bring to it. I saw places like Temple Street Productions where I felt my kind of stories could definitely fit. They gave the world Orphan Black and have received a ton of awards for it. I have to check out The Killjoys as I heard about that one repeatedly. That’s one of theirs too.

One of the things that came out of this was that many love if there is a source material like a novel to draw from in order to make a TV show. TV is way bigger in Canada than movies are, though we do well with horror and the odd other movie like Maudie. When I started this journey, I was partly thinking that screenplays are faster to write than novels are. Now I’m seeing that it’s not one or the other for me, but both. It means that nearly all of my projects will take longer. I have to figure the book piece out for my other stories. I shouldn’t set things in Ottawa if I hope for them to do well. A fictional place is better or an American city because it’s more portable and appeals to a global audience.

Over the course of 3 days, we met with First Generation Films, Bell Media (CTV, Comedy, Space, HBO), DHX Media, OMDC, The Saint Agency, CBC (Comedy, Drama, and Digital), EOne (TV), Temple Street Productions, Mongrel Media, and Corus (Global/Shaw, Showcase, History, and more). My TV show was pitched to CTV and CBC. My film was pitched to The Saint Agency and Mongrel Media.

I met the Teletubbies at DHX.

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I have a gazillion notes to type up, a guitar story to write, and a guitar I haven’t played in several days, so I’m off.

R~

Symphonic Saturday – Super Music

music1So I’ve realized I really can’t sing well in the slightest. But I’m not worried about it. As a petite human with food allergies, I’m kind of used to working within my limitations. I can still learn to play an instrument and either have someone else sing a song I write or I could do spoken word to music, maybe even rap.

I’m not super gifted in anything. Everything I’ve achieved lately is part of about a decade worth of work learning things like how to write better. In the case of my play, it’s also partly taking an old interest and redirecting it into the writing side of things instead of the acting/technical side, but all of those roles are helpful in writing.

As the last post on superheros this week, I wanted to list some superhero related songs and albums that I’m aware of:

Songs

Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down
Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
Superheroes – The Script
Superhero (feat. Chris Linton) – Unknown Brain
Fake Geek Guy – Kari Maaren (https://karimaaren.bandcamp.com/album/everybody-hates-elves)

Albums

Feminum – Kool Krys (https://koolkrys.bandcamp.com/)

Videos

Epic Rap Battles of History:
– Wonder Woman vs Stevie Wonder
– Deadpool vs Boba Fett
– Goku vs Superman
– Jim Henson vs Stan Lee
– Batman vs. Sherlock Holmes
– Zeus vs. Thor
– Bruce Banner vs Bruce Jenner
– Super Mario Bros. vs. Wright Bros.
– Moses vs. Santa Claus

What other superhero related music do you know? Comment below!

And Happy Easter to those celebrating 🙂

R~

Symphonic Saturday – Unlocked

music1I made, what I think, is some real progress this week with my guitar. For whatever reason, I was able to push passed where I’ve been plateaued for awhile now.

It was like I could ignore the fact that I couldn’t keep up fully with the speed of the song and instead of that upsetting me, I just tried harder.

I’m learning Green Day’s Good Riddance (The Time of Your Life). We learned it in guitar class in high school, but I doubt we were playing it at full speed because it was pretty fast to play along with the YouTube video.

Even though I kept messing up and it probably sucked, I had fun and felt like I’m on the way to improving.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Psst… If you’re in Ottawa and looking for something to do this Monday, March 26, 2018, one of my plays is being read by actors for a fund raiser. Some of my classmate’s plays will be read too. It’s all happening at 6pm at Algonquin College in room N112. The cost is $5. There will also be some baked goods available for purchase.

Symphonic Saturday – Tune Ups

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There is a lot to check when playing a song.

I think those of us who learned to play music first through sheet music spend more time checking things like tempo, tone (brightly), key, and rhythm.

All musicians will check things like whether or not their instrument is in tune. Some people learn to hear this and don’t need to use electronic tuners.

It’s worth regularly checking my instruments and gear to ensure they’re in good condition and especially with electronics, that they are safe to play. I don’t want to discover that my cable is frayed and I’ve caused myself serious harm.

All this checking seems like a lot of work at first, but in little to no time, it becomes habit.

I meant to post this yesterday, of course, but I was feeling burnt out.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Symphonic Saturday – Language

music1I haven’t been doing anywhere near as much as I’d like with music lately because my home is rather upside down while I paint.

I’m really frustrated right now though. I’ve been trying to learn to speak French for about 30 years now. Every course I take is the same thing. It always ignores how humans actually learn to speak their first language and they instead sit you at a desk and get you to write out and conjugate verbs.

This is a big problem for a few reasons.

I need at least a part time job and most in Ottawa require at least the ability to speak French. Or they’d really prefer it, which means if it’s you or someone who can who are competing for the same job, you’re S. O. L.

The thing is, people learn their first language mainly by hearing others speak it. There’s about 4 years plus the 9 months in the womb where they just listen, mimic, and finally start putting words together.

So what am I doing about this?

Well, I’m exploring a new way. I might sign up for FluentU once I’m passed the level where I can learn a bunch for free on YouTube by watching children’s programs. They have good articles about this and I’m glad I discovered them. It’s my dad’s 74th birthday and he’s French, so it’s a cool day to have found it.

Tonight, I’ve been watching sing-along shows to get some music in while language learning. Sure, it’s not Vivaldi or playing one of my instruments, but they’re pretty catchy and helping reduce my frustration while throwing some words at me in a combination I’m not used to.

I don’t know if it’s the federal or provincial government I should be annoyed with for going through several decades of French instruction without learning how to speak it. There is far too much focus on writing and grammar instead of speaking and I think the system needs to be overhauled. Once you can speak a language, learning to write it is far easier.

Yet another reason to home school someday…

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Make It Monday – Frustration

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I’ve been really frustrated the last few days. What has me frustrated? Just about everything.

Music

Yesterday, I tried to play a song on guitar along with the music. It was a song we learned when I took guitar lessons. I couldn’t do it as I didn’t have the right strum pattern for it and it’s actually in 3/4 time with the downward strum on the first and third beats, but then the sheets I have often show a chord change on a second beat when there isn’t supposed to be strumming! I’m thinking something is messed up there somewhere. So I tried another. That one, our music didn’t have the lead in stuff before the chords come in, so I had no idea when I was supposed to play what. I ended up having to go to a super rudimentary song that has two chords and only down strums on each beat in a 4/4 song. At least I was playing along with a song at the speed it’s supposed to be played at, but I felt so far from anything that I want to be playing. I want to make an album someday, so I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Writing

I have so many things I want to write and not enough time to write it in. I want to get my novel done. I want to write songs. I have so many ideas for stories in a variety of mediums that I want to get out into the world. I’m now understanding the meaning of the quote, “The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” -Philip Roth

I think I’ll feel better once I get just about anything done, but most of our projects are in bits and pieces and won’t be finished until the end of the school year.

Weather

It’s cold and damp in Ottawa today and it has my ankles upset, which is making walking anywhere unpleasant. I’m yearning to live somewhere warmer.

Placement

Placement has been a bit challenging in the social sense. My supervisor was too busy most of the days I’d been there and conversation seemed to be more difficult than I think it should have been. It was better this past Friday though. What it has reinforced to me is that I’m really not wanting a typical 9 to 5 office worker lifestyle these days. I think freelancing is more my thing at this time in my life unless I get on staff for a TV show. I find it annoying to go out to write when I can do it from anywhere.

Home

I’m slowly getting rid of things I don’t want or need, but there is still so much junk to go through. When did I get all this stuff?

I have this urge to paint my connected living room, dining room, and hall/entrance. I’m hating my surroundings, basically. I want a neutral wall colour, but when will I have time to paint? I suppose I might during reading week in between homework. It’s the cheapest home reno one can do and I want my place in a sell-able state just in case.

School

I want to knock anything off that I can without group partners, so I can concentrate on the things that will be important for my portfolio. Also, just to feel like I’m accomplishing ANYTHING.

One of the things I’m working on getting off my plate is a book review. I’m reading Write Screenplays That Sell the Ackerman Way by Hal Ackerman. In it he says, “Your aspirations will nearly always be out of the reach of your ability to attain them, but this is the irritation in the oyster that creates the pearl.” – Hal Ackerman

I’m hoping all this frustration is leading somewhere good. Right now, so much of my future is still murky and it’s a little unsettling.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Symphonic Saturday – Dulcet Tones

music1After finishing the writing of Act 1 of my feature film, I decided to squawk out a very poor rendition of Any Dream Will Do on my gunmetal trumpet I’ve dubbed Blunderbuss.

It was a little complicated for where I’m at currently, but fun. Oh, my Trumcor Super Stealth mute lets me play in the condo without torturing everyone else.

I’ve had Blunderbuss for quite some time. Since 2010 in fact. I got him when I visited Montreal in 2010. In Montreal, there is a Steve’s Music that is like an unending music store. One section leads to another and there was an entire brass section. I was in heaven. This Jupiter beauty wasn’t expensive, but it was quite the step up from the banged up one I got from e-Bay several years before.

Blunderbuss

I’m rusty on everything trumpet. I used to be fairly good back in high school. I was part of the brass ensemble. Our band leader wanted us to get into marching, but we didn’t want to go full band geek and refused. We did play at graduations, in the lobby at Christmas, and did some other things like played for the elementary school kids. A lot of what we played was Canadian Brass music and things like O’Canada for some games.

Anyway, I pretty much need to start from scratch. I remember some notes and I can get almost musically sounding noises to come out, but it’s really rough. I’d like to get better than I have ever been at it and see where that could lead.

I think the only way to get better at guitar right now without a budget for lessons is to play along with a song until I get it down path. Then slowly move to another song. Plus regularly practice scales and patterns, of course.

And that’s how the river of life flows today.
R~

Symphonic Saturday – Musical Adventures

music1I’m sorry I didn’t post yesterday. I got into my homework and then it was off to a game night with some dojo friends.

At least, it was supposed to be a game night. We did a little informal game, but then as we became plied with drink, we soon found ourselves trying to play a smörgåsbord of instruments including a 5 string banjo, a keyboard, and a fife.

The fife is played rather flute-like only it has simple holes like a tin whistle and it is extremely hard to get a sound to come out of it. I have a newfound respect for anyone who played flute in my high school music classes. I almost got a sound out of it, but it’s one of the harder things I’ve tried and it’s so different than every other wind instrument I’ve used, that it has temporarily bested me. Or maybe permanently. We’ll see. I don’t like to completely remove an option from the table, but it was a little too frustrating when I could start collecting tin whistles or get a chanter for bagpipes or use the recorder I already own.

I tried the banjo too and it felt so foreign because the strings are all so different from the guitar. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I sort of tried to play a chord, but everything I tried sounded bad to me. I get my dad’s someday, so I can learn to play that later. Maybe I should get him to teach me a few things on it when I’m there next. And the mandolin too.

I’m hoping we do it again. I could bring my trumpet if I can get my chops back in decent shape. I have a Trumcor stealth mute that would make it not overly loud for anyone’s neighbours. I could also bring a ukulele and/or my guitar, and a practice pad for drumming with sticks.

Oh, now all I want to do is play all the instruments I own. Perhaps I’ll just put out the trumpet as it has been a while for that one.

Then I need to make some preparation for B-Movie club tomorrow.

And that’s how it flows today.
R~

Symphonic Saturday – Transposing for Fun

music1I started this day listening to the latest play list, Static, from Fringe Music Fix. I enjoyed it though I found there’s a large electronic component these days with drum machines and whatnot instead of a drummer with a kit. I prefer the real sound.

I’ve been checking blues out recently and I’m not sure it’s blues guitar I want to learn. I think it’s jazz that I want to play actually. That shouldn’t be that surprising given my fondness for the trumpet. I’m listening to some Andy Brown on YouTube today and that’s more the sound I want to learn.

I have a jazz book for trumpet and I could easily use for guitar by dropping the pitch by one step. I say easily, but it’s actually not. I have to transpose it and the fun comes when you have sharps and the like. It’s almost like math in a different language. I’m not sure I’m doing it correctly, but I think I have a circle of fifths somewhere around here to help me out. I guess I’m starting that goal of an hour of music theory per week early.

It was actually pretty strenuous on my mind, which is a good thing. I’m doing this while my clothes are in the wash. Changing them over to the dryer will give me that brief break before I come back and test the song out.

And that’s how the day flows.
R~

Symphonic Saturday – Music to Write To

music1I’ve spent most of the day finishing the script for a TV episode.

Music helped me through it.

I’m finding instrumental movie music can be great to listen to while writing. It’s often inspirational and without the words, it’s not overly distracting.

I found a nice long mix on YouTube.

It took all day and part of the evening too. It was like pulling teeth to get the last couple of pages done. Then the system wouldn’t let me log in to hand it in.

So I took a shower and then it was working again.

Anyway, I finally finished and I have a packed day tomorrow, so off to sleep I go.

And that’s how it flows today.
R~