PERSONAL: Reading Update April 2014

I gave a brief reading update early last month, where I upped my Reading Challenge for the year to 30. Since then, I’m right on track, making some pretty strong progress.

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WRITING: Playing With Prose

The moment I found screenwriting (I was fifteen), I happily crossed out  ‘novelist’ as a potential career path. For most of my childhood, I’d eyed it with trepidation: I knew from a young age I wanted to write for a living and it was the closest thing I could see to a dream career, but at the same time I’d had no lust for that form of writing – even as I loved books. Something about it didn’t appeal to me. I’d rant about how literary fiction spent time ‘describing the curtains’, my shorthand for the indulgences that bored me about the books I found too dry. And the life of writing manuscripts and getting rejected over and over sounded exhausting.

Later on I’d hear the same about screenwriting and be energised by it, which is one odd element of my personality I’ll never quite understand. But that’s a different topic.

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In early 2012, I put the final touches on the crown jewel of my screenwriting portfolio: a 100+ page webseries behemoth called The Inhuman Condition. The script won me the Best Upper Year Script award at my school’s annual TARA Awards, and was bought by Smokebomb Entertainment, who would go on to produce a trailer and pilot the following year. Not only is this project where I’ve done my best writing, it remains my favourite.

This month, I get to finally share it with you.

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PERSONAL: Reading Update and More

Last year, I made a resolution to diversify my media intake. I love television, but I’ve for too long scorned pretty much every other form of media. Especially key as I’ve been digging into writing features for a year now.

So how’ve I done as of two months in? Pretty well, I think.

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WRITING: How I Develop Projects

Every writer has a different process for falling in love with a new story, character, world. For some it’s instant, like lightning; from the moment a character appears, they loom large, taking up all available space until the writer relents and digs in. For others it takes a catalyst. I bet some can choose which to fall for and when; I envy them.

For me, it’s about visualisation and music connecting me to character.

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TV: On Identification and HBO’s “Looking”

“You’re a pervert now. You gotta wear those colours with pride!”

I’ve watched the pilot for HBO’s Looking a few times now. Not because I planned to review it, or because I’ve watched it with other people, or out of particular fondness for a member of the cast.

I keep rewatching it because I identify with it, so much so that it’s forced me to reconsider my view of what it means to identify with a piece of fiction.

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WRITING: Achievement Unlocked! Third Feature Drafted!

Last night (or more accurately, 7am this morning) I completed the first draft of my third feature script, More. Something I’ve learned that has been consistent with every one of those three scripts: an utter exhilaration upon completing that first draft. It’s like nothing else in the process, really; the outline always feels incomplete, and any draft after the first will never, ever feel final. I hear that even with shooting drafts, as films are revised and changed even in the editing room. What’s the saying – art is never finished, just taken out of our hands? So the first draft finish line, to me, is my favourite part of the whole process.

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2014 Incoming

I try to get these posts done pretty soon into the new year. Last year it was out on January 4th, after all. January 2014′s almost over and I’m just trying to write this now, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted, last year… But that’s not just it.  I hadn’t had a webseries pilot shot or a professional project released. I hadn’t been to Banff for the World Media Festival or co-founded Compass. I was, in a lot of ways more than now, master of my own destiny, because everything was a lot smaller than now.

This is the first year where big things feel like they’re on the way. Which makes it a lot harder to predict where I’ll be, come December 31, 2014. Will I be in the same place or fall even further back, disillusioned and disappointed? Will everything have changed and evolved into something amazing? It sounds the height of arrogance to expect that, but the past year has been so eventful, it’s hard to know what to expect. What’s realistic.

Either way, if 2014 is half the year 2013 was… It’ll be one hell of a year!

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Farewell, 2013

It’s been an amazing year, truly unbelievable, turning me from just another wannabe to a legitimate working screenwriter. A look back at the year that’s passed under the cut, with a ’2014 Incoming’ post due early on in January. Are you ready for the new year?

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PERSONAL: A Love of History

I have become obsessed with studying history. I’ve got a stack of thick tomes about the minutiae of events long-past, and I relish every opportunity to curl up with them.

Before the second year of university, I had a lot of vague, unspecific knowledge about world history, but – if I’m frank – I knew basically nothing about anything. And I didn’t care, either. It was only during my history courses at Ryerson with the brilliant Arne Kislenko that I developed a way of seeing history and contextualising it. Seeing the arc of history in a way that made sense to me. I’m at the beginning of a long road, now, and I love it.

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