PS

November 26, 2008

PS My son Christopher is co-writing “A Time to Drum” with me. He adds the layer of humour that I sometimes cannot find. He, after all, is a Highland Drummer. He has been there, at drum pad practice with the little kids who make unicorn horns outta their drum sticks. He’s the real thing, Christopher is, and a great writer to boot. This story is well layered, real, funny, and poignant. It just needs to get written in screenplay format.

PPS Off to the eye doc now to see how the eye is healing after last week’s surgery. Maybe on the drive some things will sort themselves out. Eg. Maybe the funding light bulb will come on. Wish me luck.


Brrrrr

November 26, 2008

H’lo there…

I cannot get used to the cold here in PEI, nor in Steve’s house in general. My fingers are so icy cold they keep slipping on the keys as I type. Makes lunches brief, at least. There is only so long I can eat standing up with my upper body stuck in the oven for heat. (yeah, our oven is a wall model) Brrrr. That is what I have to say about PEI in the wintertime. And current home heating prices. And boyfriends whose bodies run on different thermostats from mine and his son’s. We freeze. He stays warm. Brrrr.

Well, the pitch for the doc is coming along well. Mark is a very good visual writer, and his ideas are contagious. We are tentatively using the title ‘Drummerboyz’ for the doc…it’s the drumming version of Riverdance, ha ha, high energy, elite Highland drumming featuring lots of kilted men for the Diana Gabaldon fans. Remind me to edit the page on my website, now that the Highland Games doc has been narrowed down into a good cohesive storyline. I can hardly wait to get going on this project. Hope the Development funding comes through (say your prayers, folks).

In other news, I am troubled by the lack of funds out there for scriptwriting. Seems as an emerging artist I cannot apply for funding under the Canada Council. Telefilm initially said yes, I qualified for their funding but after working for three days on my application, upon review of it they turned it down saying that I didn’t have enough screen credits. Apparently having a show air over a dozen times on tv is not enough – you must have more than one show on the air in order to qualify. Funny thing was that I had actually raised that question with Telefilm and was assured that multiple showings counted as accumulated screen time.  But I guess it is their prerogative to change their minds on this. After all, they do hold the funding cards. Of course none of that matters now – what concerns me is that I don’t really know where else to apply for the funds that would buy me the time to write my Feature “A Time to Drum”. It’s a great story – about a rebel drummer – featuring lots more kilted men for the Diana Gabaldon demographic. Ha. Seriously, though, this ain’t light hearted fare. It’s a beautiful story with lots of depth, about giving up and losing hope, only to have hope thrust right back at you because somebody out there needs you enough to keep you going. It’s about fighting back, and resilience, and not giving up on your dreams just when it seems maybe the world wants you to. It’s about this really cool drummer named Billy, who has always lived in the shadow of his older brother, who died as a teen but who lives on as real as the next guy, at least in Billy’s life. It’s about the healing power of the traditional drum circle.  “A Time to Drum” is about stepping up to the plate when you are needed. It’s about life. So someone out there, if ya know where I can get some funding to get this thing written, it would really rock. People out there in this heah world, they a needin’ that kinda story. The kinda stories I write. The ones about forgiveness and healing and the light that comes outta the darkest days. They a needin’ me ta make them thar films. Yup. They do. I believe that. I believe in me.

Ciao

Susan


A Monday Kind of Day

November 24, 2008

Hiya –

Okay, so I am definitely not in the mood to write anything original right now. Hence the title. I’ve been working all day on the pitch document for the Highland Games / Drumming Feature Documentary, and my mind is about as toasted as it can get. Just noticed that Alanna posted the website! That’s kind of exciting! I’ll have to spend some time looking at it more closely and then of course try to get all of those films made. Note: The Highland Games Doc is evolving into something else…but you’ll have to wait to see the updated document. I am working on this project with Mark Sandiford of Beachwalker Films, and won’t update my post til he and I have settled on the story. We are just working that out as we speak…suffice it to say that I am really excited about this project, though. I think it has great ‘legs’, as they say in the movie biz. Lots of potential, excellent characters and riveting entertainment and subject matter, and great timing. After all, rumour has it that Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander series will be filmed in 2009…so my doc featuring Scots traditions, drumming and men in kilts oughtta pick up a few of her viewers. What is it about a man in a kilt, hmmmm….?

More on that lateh, babeh…

So tonite is Summerside’s big Santa Claus parade. Normally I would stay inside where it is warm and cozy, but since my office is currently at home, I ain’t had a chance to leave the house all day. If I were in Van, I woulda gone out after lunch and shamelessly grabbed a Starbucks coffee. But here, it’s too damn cold to leave my space heater, much less the house, and there ain’t noooooo Starbucks for many many miles. Didya get that? Many. I am now a certified specialty coffee junkie. A coffee snob, if you prefer. Can’t help it – Christopher worked at a Starbucks for a while and he got me on to some cool drinks. Also, it is something to look forward to, that trip for your daily Starbucks. Maybe Santa will bring me an espresso machine for Christmas. At least then I could take a break and make a coffee. Still wouldn’t get me out of the house, but let’s face it, it’s too damn cold here in the maritimes anyway. (although I must admit I usually try to find an excuse to leave the house at least once a day…tonite it’s the Santa Claus parade. With nieces as cute as mine, how could you miss it? Need a break from working on the doc anyway…)

Not much else to say, except that my eye still hurts (yowie) and I am counting the days to see the good eye doc again to see what he has to say (that will be Wed). Fer now, I bid y’all adios. Happy filmmaking.

Cheers –

Susan


A Friday Kind of Day

November 21, 2008

Hi y’all,

Not much news today, got a bit of work done this morning, then invited to have lunch with family, which is one of the reasons I totally love the idea of having my own business. You can justify sneaking away from work for an hour and half or so to spend some time with family or friends. Just as long as you catch up later, right? After a nice homemade pasta and lots of puzzle making with my adorable niece and God daughter, Lana, I did the Aunt Susie thing and joined my sister at the hospital where Lana underwent some bloodwork. For three years old, she is a trooper – not a tear, whimper or whine, just a natural curiosity about what was happening to her. She hardly even noticed the wandlike lighty up noisy thingy the nurse asked me to wave in front of her face. What a picture we must have made, four adults all trying to get this little girl’s attention as blood was drained out of her arm. No wonder she didn’t cry, she was too confused and distracted – the promise of Princess and Dora stickers helped.

Afterwards, inspired by that strong little girl’s character, I happily went on my way, broke as ever but thinking optimistically about my new company’s future. Got a few errands re: car insurance, etc. done, stopped in to see Stevie (forgot to get him his peppermint tea, one strike against me), came home and caught up on messages and the like. Made a few new contacts, set up a few more meetings for next week, etc. Am trying to get a marketing person on board, someone who can really help me develop and sell my product. Hoping to hear from a local guy next week – wish me luck. He sounds amazing on the phone, together and organized, where of course I likely sounded like a bumbling idiot. Got a lead on a Marketing mission to Fort McMurray that I may be able to get some funding to film. Am really optimistic that some corporate vids will come through and get me started – they will offer great practice as well as I build up to bigger and better projects. Contacted the Cancer folks re: Relay for Life promotional coverage as well. That would be an awesome project. I have been involved in the Relays in the past, and they are dynamic, fun, inspirational…

Tonite may go see Quantum of Solace – research, you see. And Daniel Craig is easy on the eyes. Heard the plot was thin but whatever, I will just study the lighting and shots. Oh yeah – and Daniel Craig. Ah, the life of a filmmaker wannabe…at least I can write off my movie receipts at tax time. I knew there was a reason I went to film school.

Christopher is at this moment car shopping with his Dad. Can’t wait to hear what they buy. His Dad woulda bought him a car when he was born, if he coulda. Just hope the kid keeps it under 60 kms at all times. Avoids fender benders. Avoids anything accident related. Keeps it clean of old Starbucks cups. I am such a Mom.

Cheers –

Susan


Home on PEI

November 20, 2008

Well, I am finally home on PEI. No more excuses now not to go full out and make this business happen. Well, not too many, anyway. Eye surgery is slowing me down, blah. Happened on Monday in Halifax. Thank God for Steve, whose new moniker is Doc Steve. Not only did he have to put eye drops in for me but he also had to listen to me wail. He watched a lot of tv, which is something he never does. I knew he was getting bored when I woke up from a drug induced snooze to find him watching Desperate Housewives, minus the audio. Guess he had his own fantasies about those women, who needs the distraction of a storyline, ha ha? At least he was entertained.

Before that craziness happened, I was happily plodding along having meetings with potential partners and I even had the good fortune to stumble upon a short film shoot. Mugisha Enterprises of Charlottetown hired me to help complete their camera team, so I had a blast, slating and pulling some focus and even getting to cam op a couple of times.

Otherwise, I have had many moments of wondering why the hell I came back to PEI. Guess the short answer is Steve, another may be that I truly do believe that I can make some films here. I see that there is an active little film community around, mostly in Charlottetown (about an hour’s drive), associated with the Island Media Arts Co-op (IMAC), which is head up by a great go-getter by the name of Corin McFadden (his brother Will starred in Bobby’s Peace, and also worked on the camera team of the short film). I have high hopes that interested parties like Corin and Will, as well as Brian and Patti, the makers of Consequences, will help effect change in the film environment around the Island. I will not last long here if I can’t get my own company up and running, and make some films and make a living. As it is right now, the new meds I have to take for my ridiculous eye problem cost the whole paycheque from Consequences. And I need those every month. Plus car registration, insurance, etc…I need some income. Steve has been great, considering he is not getting much back from me right now, given the recuperating from eye surgery thing. He didn’t even get to Binnacle, his fave sailing shop in Halifax! Guess my wailing and moaning and whining convinced him he oughtta stay close by. Hmmm, not much wonder he locked the windows before he went out for ice. (there are certain levels of pain where we humans contemplate the fact that non-existence might be better than existence).

Anyways, Steve puts up with a lot from me, considering how worried I am about this next stage of my career. Funny thing is, though, that I am also really excited about this next stage as well. I have a meeting set up with Mark, my Doc Co-Producer, for this weekend, and I am very optimistic that we will hash out a lot of details and put together a dynamic pitch for Superchannel that will have the execs dancing on their desks, glad they found us. ‘Cause we are going to make an awesome doc and I know the ride is going to be superb. In the meantime, I gotta fix my eye cause I have already lost some sight and although my other eye is super eye, that would just be the universe’s biggest joke on me, taking away my vision just as I am getting started. Film is a visual medium, after all.

So I will be optimistic and hopeful, and maybe someday will see if my eye doc in Halifax will let me feature her in a doc I would love to do about women immigrants. I think she is Polish…she probably has a pretty cool story. This doc would feature my sister’s kids, Jane and Lana, whose birth Country is China, also friends I know from Kosovo, as well as some of the Iraq and Iranian women I met in Vancouver. Strong women, all of them. Worthy of their own doc.

Okay, gotta get some work done, still haven’t tracked down meeting space for Mark and I on Sunday. Have to go out and register my car with my last $ 40 (God, are you hearing this? I just need a bit more to get me by, okay?) and take some pics for my new website.

bluemountain entertainment, here we come!!!

Susan

PS Was a good drive home across the Country, ‘cept the fuel pump died in Quebec so Steve and I got an extra night in a cozy hotel in Cabano. Ever go there? What a pretty little town! Glad I got to see it, even if it did cost me a shit load of money I didn’t have. Gotta look at the bright side.

PPS Christopher dropped a class in his jazz percussion, bummer, but he sounds like he is doing okay. Keeps taunting me with texts from Vancouver like ‘it’s warm here again today, ya oughtta come and hang out’. It usually is punctuated with a smiley emoticon with its tongue stuck out. Note: I have not been warm since I got back to PEI. It is freezing here and too expensive to turn the heat on at home…makes me type faster, ha!