from old blog

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: festival season

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I know it’s been well over that week-and-a-half. When I made my initial writing schedule, I failed to take festival season into consideration. Next summer I will not make the same mistake.

I’m currently writing synopses for the Calgary International Film Festival’s program. Much fun, as far as volunteer opportunities go. Last week I volunteered with the Calgary Horror Con, and met some great people. This week and weekend are all about When Words Collide, a festival for readers and writers. While I’m not volunteering for the festival per se, I am reading one of my short stories for an audience tonight (I think) and I’m a panellist tomorrow morning for a talk about writing as a community activity, and I’m in the dinner theatre play for the Saturday night banquet. Loving every minute so far.

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: script consultation and television pilot

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I’m writing a script for a television drama pilot, due July 15, so there will be fewer Margot D. episodes for the next week and a bit. :( The script is fun to write, though. It’s an adaptation of a centuries-old novel, but set in modern times. Doesn’t sound terribly original, but I like to think that when it comes to this particular material, we haven’t seen it from these angles before. I like what’s happening with the characters, anyway.

This morning I did the script consultation that I won in a draw at Pitchfest. It was supposed to be fifteen minutes, but we talked for forty-five, and the exec asked me to email my one-sheet for Gracie: Alien Abductor, so I sent it along.

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: wibbly wobbly scheduley weduley

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I did not want to put any more interruptions into [The Adventures of Margot D.] for a while. I am back from the conference, I no longer have to devote quite so much time to my screenplay, and I’m not exactly blocked. The Adventures of Margot D needs some words, dammit! I am, however, in a transition period with my schedule. I had to put a number of projects on the back burner over the past month and I’m getting back to all of them with a vengeance. On top of all that, I have a temporary but full-time day job. I love the job. I’m working for friends and as with other nanny gigs, I get to be personal assistant to someone who believes I’m the boss. It is a bit of a time kill, however. Perhaps these few weeks will function as a kind of fueling break that will propel me into awesomeness during my off-hours and afterwards when the gig is over. Knowing the kid in question, I will have plenty of inspiration as well as a fair bit of fun.

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: to pitchfest and beyond

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If I were a dress designer, no one would ask/warn me “What if somebody alters your work?” If I were a dress designer and someone did ask/warn me, no one would be shocked if I answered “They bought it, and they should do what they need to do to make it fit. I loved the process of making it, there’s more where that came from, and I still have a copy of my original version.” A screenplay is not a dress, but they are both lovingly created things that are designed for people to use and make their own. I like to think this is a mature response, rather than a naive one. If future experience convinces me otherwise, then it does. In the meantime, I’d rather do the work and not stress out about anything other than making my deadlines.

I mention this issue because I heard that question several times, by fellow beginners, and because The Great American Pitchfest went well. I met some fantastic people, made some friends, and learned quite a bit. I don’t want to jinx anything by telling more. We’ll see how things play out over time. If the ultimate results from the best of those five minute interviews turn out to be less fruitful than they could be, I would still go again.

Many of the executives were surprisingly young. Fresh out of school young. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised. The big bosses don’t want to spend an entire Sunday listening to people blather on about their scripts. They have other responsibilities. Their newer employees are still trying to prove themselves, and they have probably joined the movie industry because they like to be entertained by stories. Those are the people who would be interested in spending their Sunday listening to pitches. They also might be the reason why there are so many coming of age movies in the world.

If Sunday was crazy, Saturday was cuckoo for cocoa puffs. There was a lunch break but supper was one of the G.A.P.F. tenth anniversary cupcakes on the way to Pitch Boot Camp. That event was two hours of practice pitching, shoulder to shoulder, half of us at any given time presenting our stories and struggling to be heard. I was tired and sore by the end, but that’s why they call it boot camp.

Left Burbank earlier today and now I’m back at the hostel in Hollywood. Flying home tomorrow. Thanks for a great week, L.A.

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: friday and saturday in Burbank

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Pitching tomorrow, or I should say, this morning. Meeting lots of fantastic people and learning plenty. Part of me wants to pitch to Asylum for the hell of it, since they’re going to be among the 135 companies, but I don’t have any current stories that are their kind of thing.

More soon. Wish me luck.

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: thursday in hollywood

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My phone really doesn’t want to upload my pictures right now for some reason.

Dinner last night was at a hole-in-the-wall Japanese place which was quite tasty. David took me on a driving tour to see the sights. That was fun, especially when we hiked to a lookout to see the big Hollywood sign. An evening well-spent, and I wish it could have gone on for longer. To be honest, though, when I got back to the hostel I went to sleep almost right away, so a longer evening might have been spent struggling to keep my eyes open.

This morning I took my map when I went jogging. Yesterday I didn’t because I didn’t want to get the paper sweaty, but I learned my lesson. Maps can be replaced, and this one didn’t entirely fall apart. Lunch with Evan at a burger pub called Stout. Had a lovely local blood orange amber ale. I haven’t seen that guy since about 2004 and he’s still the same lovable cynic I remember. I do hope his deadlines and his new job opportunity work out.

Went exploring and did a little shopping this afternoon. I’m not a big shopper. I usually wait until something is irreparable before buying a replacement, and there are other things I enjoy doing to kill time. Still, I like to get a few small souvenirs for family if I’m travelling somewhere new. Hollywood presents a challenge to my way of doing things. I try not to buy things that I want for other people. I try to find things that they might want. Yet the good stuff here is themed towards my interests. Is a puzzlement.*  I bought something for Adam to use at the office, and a gender-bendy piece of costume jewelry for me. Had to stop myself from getting a whole dining room set of filmmaking-themed table stuff.

All you can eat spaghetti dinner tonight at the hostel. I debated whether I should go on the organized limo tour after, but they won’t be back until the wee hours of the morning and I want an early start. Also, David’s tour probably covered a lot of it and that was free and personalized. My other option was a club on Robertson Blvd but Thursday is specifically boys night. I’m sure they wouldn’t have turned me away, but the Monday event looks like more fun in any case.

I no longer have my privacy here. The dorm-style room is now full, with eight girls in total and I may be the only one who speaks English. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it does make conversation tricky. Most of them are either sitting and reading or hogging the bathroom. Tomorrow and the weekend I will have a room to myself with my own bathroom. Very much looking forward to having my space.

* I have had songs from The King And I stuck in my head for the past few days. Don’t ask me why.

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: first whole day in hollywood

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Jogging on Sunset Blvd was lovely this morning, but I suspect I’ll want to start earlier tomorrow. When it got too hot, I retreated to the more residential streets for shade. As predicted, I got lost, but not for long.

People are friendly for the most part. The guys seem to be more forward than I’m used to (not merely friendly) but I’ve decided to assume they are genuine or want to be noticed for career-related reasons rather than for creepy reasons. Hoping no one will prove me wrong.

I managed to get a private tour of the TCL (formerly known as Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre. It wasn’t supposed to be a private tour, but this is apparently the off season and I was the only one who bought a ticket for that time slot. The ongoing renovations are probably a factor as well. It’s still a working theatre, specializing in premiers. Right now they’re preparing to add a new IMAX screen. So many cinema traditions that we take for granted as concepts originated there. I nerded out a bit.

The tour guide, a British fellow who moved to pursue an acting career, has become an indie filmmaker and writer. When I mentioned that I write horror, he gave me a couple of free back issues of the monster magazine he writes for, telling me they’re always looking for new writers. I’ll send them a query when I get home. Very glad it’s the off season.

Mostly, I’ve been exploring and indulging an addiction to water.

Dinner with a friend tonight. No particular plans for after. Will update again tomorrow.

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: first night in hollywood

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I have arrived! By that I mean I’m staying at a hostel in Hollywood before this weekend’s The Great American Pitchfest. This is my first time here. In fact, I have only been to California once and that was last autumn. It’s new, in any case.

My flights were uneventful. I spent much of the time re-reading What They Don’t Teach You In Film School, in preparation for a weekend of script promoting. Near the end I had some amiable single-serving friends who live around here. If I were a guy, I could have gone with them from the airport. Not fair. The shuttle worked out fine, though.

I have five roommates but luckily they’re the partying kind, which means I get the room to myself for a while. Dinner was a vegan diner (I’m not even vegan) that is open late on Sunset Blvd. Yummy, filling fake chicken wrap with red cabbage slaw.

Not entirely sure what I’m doing for the next few days, and that’s fine by me. I have contacted some people I know here, and hopefully I’ll get to spend some time with them soon. There is one tour I would like to take, and a couple of obvious landmarks, and general wandering and getting lost as one does when one has my sense of direction.

Hoping to jog in the morning, but we’ll see.

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption – screenplay revisions

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I swear I will get back to The Adventures of Margot D. soon enough. In the meantime, I’m on the home stretch with Gracie, my current feature script. The working logline so far is this:

“To save his abductee patients, a young, small-town psychiatrist and a friendly alien named Gracie start a mutiny on her ship.”

The deadline is coming up quickly. Wish me luck.

(moved from old blog) author’s interruption: wrote a guest blog post

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Storm Moon Press asked me to write a guest blog post to promote the anthology. You can read the post here.