This little pitch tells you a little about the film I am making about the power of nature to help heal after the loss of a child or sibling. PS Shameless plug – I am still trying to raise money for this film. At the present time I would like to thank the City of Summerside, PEI; ABI Business Services, and Richard Corkum and Associates for believing in this film. Also thank you to the individual sponsors, of whom there are too many to name but I luv u and thank u for believing in me and in this important subject.
Just a quick post to say I haven’t forgotten about you, little blog – I’ve just found myself rather consumed with writing a new series of novels I’m calling the Drifters series. In four months I have written three of these – I would like to write more because I’ve become quite attached to the characters. But that remains to be seen. At the present time I must focus on marketing the books I’ve completed to date – so these three, titled A Song For Josh, Promises, and No Greater Love; as well as my first novel, A Certain Kind of Freedom, for which I was a Finalist in the Atlantic Writing Awards 2011 (for unpublished manuscript).
I am still shooting my Feature Documentary, The Healing Place – a story about the power of nature to help heal after the loss of a child or sibling. It’s going well, and I shoot every few weeks with Peggy Miles, my lead character, and I am also ramping up to start working more with the folks from PEI’s International Children’s Memorial Place, as well as the staff of Wedgwood Manor and the Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association. So lots of work to do! But what a fascinating topic – especially after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have a very dear friend who lives 4.9 miles from the school – 12 minutes – and she has been a constant inspiration for me in my struggle to figure out what it is I am supposed to do on this crazy planet. Even though she and her community are trying to find their own way to heal, she continues to inspire me and I think she would be happy to know that I have found what I love to do – not just film, but writing novels as well. In essence I am just a simple storyteller, no matter what the medium.
So go to Amazon Kindle and look up the first book – A Song For Josh! Read it with gusto and faith, because no it is not the next great Canadian novel but it is a beautiful, sweet love story that hopefully will inspire others. It is also about those of us who believe we are unlovable – it reminds us that all of us are lovable, even when we think we are not. And yes although it is a simple love story, there is some really nice writing therein. Enjoy!
See you next time, little blog 🙂 I’ve missed you.
Hi! Yes it’s been a while – I guess I’ve been busy! I’ve been trying to find funding for some projects, plus I moved into a better space on the waterfront in Summerside. I also travelled off to Vancouver to see how Christopher is settling in, and to have a few meetings with some potential film partners. It was awesome to spend time in my favorite city again, to see Christopher, and to chat about film and get some advice. Then I went off to Toronto to Hot Docs, an International Documentary Conference and Festival, where I enjoyed some amazing sessions and meetings with Doc Distributors and other filmmakers. I also got to spend time with my older brother Joe and his lovely wife Lynda (wow can she bake – best carrot cake I ever had!) as well as my adorable nieces Erin and Keira. Busy times!
So I have started a new Feature Doc called The Healing Place (I borrowed the title from my un-produced hockey movie), about the power of nature to heal after the loss of a child or sibling. I’ve ‘adopted’ a few new partners – Segway Greg and Tomoko Craig are helping me raise the funds to produce the film, which I believe will be a powerful tool for people who need to learn to choose the ‘light’. The only challenge right now is, of course, raising the funds. But we are working on it.
Film is definitely one of those weird and strange business models – I need to create a ‘blue ocean’ apparently, in order to harness a new power in product and marketing. I’m working on that, too. I’ve been reading a lot of business books lately, can you tell???
Anyways I started out this year feeling a little low, then my son suddenly moved back to Vancouver, which got even lower. Then I made the decision to just move on with my life and so I started this new project, which was inspired by the hole he left in my heart by moving. I thought to myself that even though I felt awful about missing him, at least he is still here on the planet. How do people who have lost loved ones continue on and survive through each day?
The other film I am working on is a short drama called Looking For Ghosts. I will tell you about it another day, as I am expected shortly at my friend Peggy’s house (the subject of my Doc) to do some filming.
I promise to be in touch soon – in the meantime, check out bendedbranchpictures.weebly.com to read about The Healing Place. We are on facebook as well.
The newer edition of the video…
Just thought I’d post a word about my son’s single “Silence, Bloodhound!” for which we shot a music video last July 15th, under the shadow of a full moon. We were blessed, because that was the only weekend Christopher had free – he was playing side drum for the College of Piping Pipe Band, and was competing pretty much every weekend for most of the summer. But – we wanted a full moon for our beach scene (shot at Cabot Beach on the north shore of PEI), and boy did we get lucky – we were granted a lovely fiery red Harvest Moon on a clear night, and the footage was lovely and haunting, along with the song.
Today Christopher will have a chance to hear his song played on radio for the first time, as Karen Mair is featuring him (and it!) on CBC’s Mainstreet PEI around 5:30. The tune is also available on itunes so go download it, everybody! Put it on your Christmas list – it’s only 99 cents. And it sounds amazing in the car at night – as Scott Gallant of the Charlottetown band Raccoon Bandit says, ‘Music sounds the best at night in the car in the dark.” And that’s especially true for this song, a haunting ballad about life after death.
So on that topic, I have an interesting idea for a Feature Doc, and think I will explore it and pitch it to some networks. Not going to say anymore about that just yet as it’s very early in the concept stage, but I do believe it’s something I’d be interested in exploring.
In other bluemountain news, well, I just sent an edit off to some friends at Justice Options for Women – the second film I’ve made for them – and probably one of the most meaningful, as it presents the concept of Circles of Safety for Women who have experienced violence in their lives. I was wrapping up the first cut while our community was reeling from the devastating murder / suicide of a young mother and her friend on a highway a few miles from here…so the video was especially poignant. Even more so when I found out that Christopher teaches her nine year old drumming at the College of Piping. I am glad to be able to make videos that are meaningful and hopefully helpful to women at risk.
Well, in other news I have been sending my novel out to publishers (cause did I tell you that it was selected as a finalist in the 2011 Atlantic Writing Awards?) and, as well, I’ve been sending out some one sheets for screenplays in the hopes of attracting an agent. One thing for certain – I realized that my attendance at the PEI SCreenwriters’ Bootcamp was tres important as, when I went through my screenplays looking for synopsis and one sheets I quickly realized that the best ones I had were the ones I’d developed at the Bootcamp – the stories were intriguing and clear, and my writing precise and evocative. So thank you to my good friend Louise Lalonde for running that camp each year – Louise, you make such a difference in writers’ lives! And thanks to Tom Shoebridge and Jennifer Podemski for working tirelessly with writers, and for giving me (and others) confidence and hope in our talent. Y’all rock!
Lastly, a shout out to the IMAC Board of 2011…Scott, Adam, Eliza, and Jonathon – and to Lennie (ED) – great AGM last night, you folks are amazing and I wish you all the best with your amazing new Board. It was an Honour and a Pleasure to have worked with y’all and to have gotten to know y’all. IMAC is a special organization that is close to my heart, and it’s weird to recall that first time I walked through the IMAC doors years ago before I made Bobby’s Peace – shaking and terrified, I sat there telling strangers I wanted to make a film and they must have thought I was nuts (pretty sure I was, in fact), yet that organization welcomed me with open arms and I will never forget the support of IMAC in the years that followed as well. So if you are a nervous wannabe filmmaker or writer out there, get thyself to a local organization or film club, get to know people like you (cause there ARE people like you out there) and make some friends and follow your dreams.
See ya for now, I remain, yours truly,
PS Did I tell you I signed up for drumming lessons at the College of PIping? Yup. With my new friend Peggy. Christopher is our teacher. It is a time for fun and to forget about the stresses of trying to be an entrepreneur in the film biz. I LOVE it! We laugh and have fun, and most importantly – I am learning 13 stroke rolls. Drum roll puh-leeze!!! Hee hee!
By checking in, I mean to say that I feel like I’ve been checking in these days. Ok, this is going to sound a little ‘out there’, but some wise folks out there in the Universe believe that we have our lives all figured out before we get here. To earth, I mean. Yeah – I know. Weird. They say that when we have deja vu moments it is in fact us checking in to see that we are following along the paths we’ve chosen in that other realm. I dunno about that – sounds hokey to em – but then who’s to say that that’s not right? I mean, I feel that there are moments in life when I really truly feel like me. One example would be when on one of my little ‘sets’. Although sometimes I am nervous, but apparently so is Paul Gross! And he makes gazillion dollar movies so i would think he’d be past the nerves. But at any rate, there are also times when I don’t feel like me. I won’t go into those days, I’ll just acknowledge that they exist and that it’s likely we all have those days. But lately – I feel like I’ve been ‘checking in’.
I haven’t actually been having deja vus. It’s more like…I’ve been finding myself feeling more and more like the me I believe I am meant to be. And the universe is giving back. I suppose the biggest example is that my novel (unpublished, has been sitting on my computer since before film school) was chosen as a Finalist in the Atlantic Writing Awards. It’s under a pseudonym because it’s gone to a new jury apparently and they want to keep it anonymous, but it’s there! It’s like the coolest thing ever because I always envisioned myself as a writer. I have a number of screenplays to my name, too, just sitting on my computer cause I don’t know what to do with them. Maybe I should rewrite them as novels. Marlane O’Brien has one that she’s interested in, but it’s a gamble and a lot of hard work finding production companies to take these on. As for me producing them? I dunno…I used to think I wanted to, but maybe now I am outgrowing them. But we’ll see. In the meantime, a really sweet script came to me from Halifax – did I mention this in an earlier blog? Sorry, I’d go back and reread them but I really gotta edit today so this is meant to be a quick post – anyways, there are some cool people already attached to that project, and it’s an awesome poignant comedy, so we’ll see where it goes. Next step is to go over to Halifax and really have a heart to heart with the Writer and Producer to see if we share the same vision for the movie. I’ll keep you posted. Making a movie is a lot of work. I’d be a Producer, not Director on the project. In terms of my directing these days, well…I did post my little practice film I made in January – but there are a few mistakes in it. Just sayin. I need to go back and recut it (which is likely how the mistakes got there in the first place) – but overall it’s a funny little film. Nothing special, just practice with no money. So the enxt thing I need to do in terms of Directing I think is to make something really amazing, with money attached to up the production value. And the script has to be amazing too. So I am now on the lookout for that project. Wish me luck. Need to ‘wow’ some people and to really show what I can do.
Ok so last note about checking in – we had our little Island Media Arts Festival last weekend – it was a lot of fun. Thanks to Dave Ward and Mille Clarkes and Bill Harrington and of course Lennie MacPherson for all of your incredible hard work! It was fun being a part of the festival (I had three films in it) and ‘feeling’ like a filmmaker. At the same time, there’s always that feeling of intimidation when you watch some other films that you know are really great – one example is Harmony Wagner’s ‘VAST’ – just lovely. And she made it for no money too, mostly, so there’s a gal with talent (and a genuine nice person to boot). I am proud of Harmony and for all of the filmmakers in the festival! Makes you just want to keep on making films, and feeling like yourself. The who you are meant to be. For me, I dunno, maybe it’s a filmmaker, maybe it isn’t. I think what I really am is just a storyteller. I think that is what the universe could be trying to tell me.
At any rate, it’s been a fun month, and an exciting one at that. I’m thrilled about the novel, I never expected it, and it makes me genuinely happy to see that some of my hard work is starting to pay off.
Maybe I should get those screenplays off the computer and dust them off as well.
In the meantime, hang on to your dreams, people. Get your ‘art’ out there! And take note of those moments when you find yourself ‘checking in’. You could be trying to tell yourself something.