Make-It Monday – My Murky Yet Hopeful Future

bitmoji_goalsWhat an experience visiting and pitching to places was! We went to ten places that are key in media in all of Canada. When we first got there, I felt like I definitely knew what my path was going to be. I was planning on getting a job near my house and then write during the hours I wasn’t working. While there, I felt I really wanted to be part of this thing that is media in Canada. I was a little down discovering that I didn’t get that job because it makes me stressed out about money again, but I think it’s ultimately a good thing for my future.

One of the things I learned is how useful I could be as someone with a background in project management. I think that is the right path for me to take. I could end up an Assistant Director or someone who manages programming schedules or nearly anything because time management and getting talent to deliver things on time is one of the areas that is a constant struggle.

But my work life is a little like sand right now. A strong wind can blow a structure apart only to reform elsewhere. Entropy is this week’s theme and it’s quite a fitting one given that I’ve quite a bit to figure out.

I sent in a short film script to the broadcast students, sent a short script to a new contact, did script coverage for a local film maker, and learned my feature could really get made if I can find a producer that would be interested in it. Good things are happening though the future isn’t clear yet.

I’ve also made progress on editing my novel. I’m going to be changing some things based on what I learned about TV. I may even get in touch with one of the companies I really liked and could see my stories being told through. I have some further questions about something they said.

So I’m going to keep working hard and making contacts that could help me get somewhere that makes sense for me in the industry.

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

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.


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.


Theatrical Tuesday – What Genre Do I Write?

TuesdayI finally remember what I wanted to post about the other week. And this week’s theme is soul, so it’s the perfect time to discuss this.

For a novelist, genre is of key importance. Indeed, it seems you must choose one main genre such as Romance or Horror and forget about writing a children’s book unless you use a pen name for something else you’d like to do. This limitation harkens back to putting your books on a shelf. It’s all about branding yourself as a novelist.

But I’m a free spirit and I don’t want to write a specific genre.

This is what I love about screen writing. If I feel like writing a horror today and a romantic comedy tomorrow, I can.

Now, I mostly write horror, fantasy, and sci-fi anyway, but every now and then I get an idea for a kid’s TV show, an action movie, a thriller, a sports story, or a historical fiction piece and I want to be able to write it all.

My plays tend to be more dramatic works that have a specific goal beyond entertaining. My movies aim to entertain while subtly saying something about life.

I think the whole idea of being shackled to a specific genre is tragic, though I do understand the why. If Stephen King wrote a normal children’s story, most would have in their mind an idea that it is inappropriate for children. Under a pen name, he’s free to explore that idea, but it would be like a brand new writer on the scene instead of an almost prolific and well-known one.

Today I’m pitching a dramedic TV show about retired life and tomorrow I’m pitching a small creature horror film to local industry experts. I’m nervous and excited about it all. We’re getting closer to the end of the year and my future is still murky though it’s filled with positive potential.

In closing, I write just about every genre and I love it!

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

Warrior Wednesday – The Book of Five Rings pt 2


Image created using Bitmoji

Today, I’m continuing my examination of The Book of Five Rings, which is known by many martial artists, but has implications for all areas of life. In case you missed the first part, I’ve linked it below.

I: Earth

II: Water

The second part of the Book of Five Rings is titled “Water”. Musashi talks about being the same person in all endeavors. He advises that we should be able to peacefully acknowledge all things without letting them distract us from what should be at the center of our focus. We should be able to maintain a state in between relaxation and alertness at all times. It’s like he’s saying we shouldn’t be locked in fight mode, but we shouldn’t be so relaxed that we are unprepared for a fight.

How might that translate in the day-to-day life of an office worker? Always be looking at what other job opportunities are out there and continually learn new skills even if you love your job. This means you will have no trouble if the company suddenly goes bankrupt or your division gets down-sized. I learned this lesson the hard way.

In your love life, this suggests to me that you never get lazy. Always show your appreciation for your partner because you both deserve someone who puts the effort in that strong, healthy relationships require. Always be willing to talk about anything that may come up, but never assume your partner won’t get upset. At the same time, sometimes tears and anger do more for strengthening a relationship. Don’t ignore things that are annoying you, but don’t nitpick either.

Musashi considers water to be the foundation of his Two-Heavens style. He says it’s important to be aware of the body of the big man and the small man. We should always be aware of the good and bad in all things, but don’t let them distract you from completing your objective. He again recommends studying the arts and even when in the midst of a hectic battle, you must keep your mind calm. Battle in today’s world could be applied to the political climate.

Observation is strong, seeing is weak, he says. I think what he means is that observing something takes your full attention and seeing doesn’t necessarily. When you observe something, it is a process of active learning. Seeing is passive. If you have observed, you will be able to predict your enemy’s attacks even if they’re hiding their sword. If you only see, you wait until you see the sword and by then it will be too late. He says we must see both sides simultaneously. He recognizes this is hard when thrown into chaos, but the master does not change their eyes under any circumstances. If you cannot see beyond your side’s position, you are not objective and we must be in order to make the best decisions.

Musashi then talks about Niten strategy and says to leave your sword where it is after you miss. He advises waiting for the opponent to make their next move before you do anything else. At other times he advises to deliberately open yourself up to attack and let your opponent think they have an advantage.

Musashi advises to practice these things daily. He also frequently says we need to investigate everything thoroughly.

Then comes the story of the warrior Musashi can tell is different than the others. The man sleeps with a sword suspended above his bed with the tip aimed at his head to never forget the fine line between life and death. When you keep that as a focus, you know what to spend your energy on and what is just noise. But living this way attracts praise from those in power and envy from your peers. It takes much courage to endure the lies that spread so easily. Torture may come in the form of a false arrest, job loss, denial of funding grants, and more.

Put all of this into action and you will be better today than you were yesterday. Musashi says to practice for 1000 days and refine with 10,000 days of training. Practice is learning the dance steps and training is knowing how to apply them in different situations. For fun, I calculated how many days there are in 80 years. It came out to 29,200. This means that anything that you want to excel at will take many years and much of your life. No one is guaranteed any days. Be careful what you choose to spend your time on. It’s too valuable to waste.


Review – Inevitable (Blink format)

There’s a book called Inevitable. I’ve only read the “blink” for it. Blinks summarize books for those of us who are busier than the average and I find them helpful to get a taste of what other ideas are out there. 

Anyway, it posits that the future is not one of utopia, but one of protopia where each day we will see a small improvement over the next. It’s saying that no invention will be static as it will constantly be improved upon. They base this on trends like how quick we are to delete apps after installing them.

Let’s face it though, some apps just don’t do what they sound like they are capable of doing. Or they create extra work. Anyone try a diet app where you have to put in everything because your sport or the measurements of your food aren’t in there? And hey, the next day you have to enter it again because it didn’t automatically get added to the list of options, meanwhile there are whacked out measurements for things that are obviously from across the globe? Or the financial apps that can’t understand more than 50% of your transactions? So you spend time on configuring, only to have it still not work the way you hoped?

Anyway, I think this all only applies to some nations like North America, the UK, some Asian countries, maybe Russia because there’s a whole lot of the world where children are starving and people are dying of preventable diseases. 

So maybe this book predicts what life will be like for those of us living in developed nations, but what cost comes along with it? And when will people get sick enough of the state of the rest of the world to do something about it? Will this mean developed nations will no longer have veterans living in the streets?  That there will no longer be a need for breakfast programs?

They also seem to forget that physical books continue to exist despite the advent of e-readers. People like the feel and smell of books. They also like not having to deal with battery issues. 

And having AI be in charge of what information we learn seems scary to me. The book suggests that AI will do the majority of the thinking while humans do the touchy feely stuff. Some humans are incapable of empathy or genuine caring. Could you see someone like Tesla consoling a widow or providing companionship for a cancer patient? 

It also talks about medical care and things like diagnostics. The AI would gather all the data and the human would diagnose. That’s not really different than now. How do they think blood tests are run today? The thing is, many blood tests are not 100%. You can have Celiac’s disease and have it not show in a blood test. And they don’t know how much gluten needs to be in your system for you to react to it. There are countless other examples of this, especially in the autoimmune realm. The doctor has to make an educated guess at what is going on in your body, but if the AI is the only one with the knowledge and no humans are specialists anymore… 

Now, I agree that AI will be useful for parsing through the inordinate amount of data on the internet. It already is. But it might still have issues we see now where what you find depends on what you searched for. Will the AI know everything that relates to a topic and the degree of relevance? It might not understand context. 

I really don’t agree that most things that are bought are intangible. We wouldn’t need trucks, trains, boats, and airplanes to deliver food, oil, furniture, books, clothing, plates, appliances, etc if they were intangible. Hey, maybe we’ll just become robots so we won’t need any of those things? The eBook still hasn’t killed paper books, so their point is really not sold to me.

I do see potential in lending libraries for tools and such, but I don’t think everything will work that way. Photographers aren’t going to be sharing their camera equipment with others. 

Digital art is cool, but doesn’t have the warmth that paint on canvas has. AI can’t write like a human because it doesn’t feel heart broken, scared to die, etc. It doesn’t have a soul. It’s not driven to create because it feels as if its heart will burst if it doesn’t put words to a page.

While Uber is great, it’s still cheaper for me to own a car than it is to use them for everywhere I need to travel in a week, so I don’t see people ceasing the purchase of cars. That would take a huge disruption in the travel industry. We still have more people using cars running on fossil fuels than electric. Hell, our homes that do run on electric have such high bills it makes it hard for people to afford food. 

Currently, our economy is built on money. People care more about this than the environment. The great barrier reef is dead because of this. We probably could’ve stopped it, but that would’ve meant not making money and spending it on the environment instead. They suggest people won’t own anything, even rights to their own creations. Yes, I’m sure I will be fine with spending thousands to put a book out only to have no say in whether people can copy it… That sounds wonderful. It also sounds like a way for me to starve to death.

They talk about virtual reality substituting for real human connection. That might happen if it seems real enough that our bodies can’t tell the difference, but oxytocin is something only produced through touch. I’m not sure VR can overcome that. 

They mention that screens have dynamic content and so are open to question while books are static and thus not. All the best books are open to question because the words on the page can be interpreted in multiple ways. Or they say timeless truths about the human condition.

They bring up privacy as something that won’t exist. It already doesn’t. If you are doing something high profile enough, the NSA can get through all the red tape and find you. Many places have CCTV that can be tapped into if you’re important enough. Check out the documentary, “We Live in Public”. And online tracking? Google already knows what you’re interested in. It’s already happened. There’s already breaches of personal data from social insurance numbers to health insurance. The world would need health care equality for this to end. 

What do I see in the future? Human organs printed from stem cells that don’t get rejected, for one. A cure for cancer. 

What do I wish for? An end to religious and other wars. Humanity uniting to bring everything to an equal footing and then the potential for the human race is limitless.