I’ve been writing today and it’s going well. I keep thinking of things the story editor/consultant told me and it’s making me work harder and take more things into consideration. Some scenes that I am reincorporating but rewriting have gotten a lot more exciting. I have written about eight pages worth of bios for characters (single spaced!) and two pages of outline. But there’s a lot not in the outline yet, and I’m going to have to strip it down again for a more concise outline AND then write scene by scene breakdowns. It’s a lot of work, and I have to get it done by next week to have the next talk with the editor about changes and if it’s ready to write another draft. There have been some major changes, some things got tossed, somethings are new, somethings are shifted a bit, but it’s overall a very different (and I think more interesting and complex) story than the first draft.
So it’s fun but the pressure is on! And I think I’m gonna be working on it all next weekend. I kind of took Sunday and Monday off because I needed a little break. But back at it! I’m trying to keep the core essence of the story there, which is that a woman has a magical power of fire and is seeking answers and justice for her missing mother. And so there’s still that, but I’m trying to work with it in a more interesting and thoughtful way. She’s more of a complex character this time around. She has issues, she’s not perfect, she could be better to the people who love her. I tried to give all of my characters some more complexity in their bios so they weren’t hollow always innocent or evil people, but it will probably shift a bit more. And also realizing she has this power isn’t as instant as in the first draft. She needs to piece it together this time.
I got some really good feedback from the story editor so I feel like it’s pushing me to a really interesting place creatively. Of course part of me wonders if I am on the right track or if I am still holding back or if it’s just too many locations, etc etc. But this is a process so I am trusting the process.
ALSO I found out I got a commission from the Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival and Queer Arts Festival to do a short experimental video for the QAF this summer. So I have some money to work on that, which is SUPER nice, and I have a couple other shorts to finish, one which I am making with my friend Riki. And I have another 2 Spirit video to do by the end of April. So there’s a lot of work right now, and some involves decent dollars and some does not but it’s all really exciting to be making so much work.
The writing right now is my top priority but I’m not really worried about finding time to do the other stuff. It’s really writing that takes a while for me, and some of those scripts are already written or will involve monologues which are easier for me to write. It’s nice to be doing what I was trained to do! And also when all is said and done I will have a more polished screenplay and also three short videos which can go out into the world and find out if people want to see them.
I am also involved in programming for TQFF this year. I started watching some submissions last night and it was a really interesting thing to experience. We’re using Film Freeway so it’s so much easier than the old days when we had to look at DVD’s or tapes. And also it’s just good to see what’s out there, even the stuff I’m not as into. I am pretty busy! But it’s a nice busy. I mean, right now. I might hate it in three weeks I don’t know!
When you are a self employed artist/writer type, there’s not really a such thing as a weekend. But I like being part of something, so every time weekday workers on my FB feed get excited for Friday I end up joining in. Yay Friday!
I’ve got a loose deadline for the next phase of writing, so I have been working on that. I was writing bios for characters part of the week, and also working on an outline, and sometimes I go back and forth between them when one informs the other. I also had a more productive conversation through chat with my collaborator Riki who is working on a video with me. I think we have some solid beginnings for a comedic short that will write itself (I hope!). There is another video that people are asking me for from stills from and it isn’t shot yet, so that is breathing down my neck.
But overall I am feeling productive. I had one sucky day. I was out of Vyvanse, had to do some things, just ended up feeling like a lump. But today and the other days were pretty good. I’ve been upped to 30mg of Vyvanse. So I am hoping I don’t get insomnia or any of the other shitty things that could come with it. I took my night meds tho and am yawning so that’s a good sign.
It’s funny because I had a breakthrough in my script today and was all feeling happy about it, but it’s grim material so it’s hard to talk about when enthused! Awkward. BUT it adds a whole new layer and makes things more complex and I’m really excited to incorporate this next twist into the work.
And I am also yawny and shit. Right now. But it’s been an exciting day! And the dogs are great, quiet, happy, I was home most of the day so they were in heaven. Tomorrow I’m just running out to get groceries and go to my producer’s get together. So hopefully they don’t panic!
So I came home from my trip on Saturday night to a notice from Toronto Animal Services about the barking and not having licenses (but I did have licenses and we worked that out!), two bags of garbage in the living room, poop on the floor, a sink of dirty dishes, so many empty cans of dog food on the counter, a cut up Wellbutrin pill on a plate that looks a hell of a lot like someone was snorting it or injecting it, and an empty bottle of vodka on the floor. No dog sitter to be found. He called me and came by the next day to give back the key and I was so pissed but just wanted him out of my face.
So I’m back to looking for another dog sitter/boarding situation. I was lucky that because this was the first time Toronto Animal Services was called with an excessive barking complaint that I am not getting a thousands of dollar fine. But it still FREAKED ME OUT and obviously I was upset not knowing how much neglect these dogs went through while I was gone.
I’ve been trying to get them used to me being out for short periods of time again. There was only one day they had a hard time, Monday, when I took my laptop with me for a story session with my producers and editor/consultant. I came back to them barking. But the other few days I’ve been out they have been doing pretty good. I went out tonight and came back just 20 minutes past 10 and they were nice and quiet and happy to get some chicken I brought them. So slowly we are getting back to them feeling secure. But I’ve really only been going out for 3-4 hours at a time, sometimes less. They feel better I think.
Other shit is going on, but most of it doesn’t have to do with me directly anyway so I’m not going to write about it. There’s some good stuff in my life and I have some writing work to do this next while, which is fun.
I’m totally crashing! It’s bedtime!
Daylight savings time screwed me over when I came back Saturday night because I was still on Sask time (and so was my laptop) and then the time changed and suddenly it was four in the morning! I was shocked!
So FINALLY (after trying to keep it a secret for weeks!) I can tell you that my producers and I have gotten Telefilm Development Funds to work on my feature Evil Fire, which I had worked on as my thesis project at Ryerson and which won an OUTtv Award at Ryerson and won Best Low Budget Screenplay at Female Eye Film Fest last year. It’s a huge step in my career and the first time this particular project has gotten funds of this nature. It’s also the first time I have had funding for a feature film, which is super exciting. I will be doing two more drafts of this script and then we’ll see what’s happening with it. I also get to work with a story consultant/editor, which is pretty exciting. It’s not a surefire guarantee that it’s gonna get the funding to be produced, but it’s a pretty good chance!
There’s been a lot on my mind around this project the last few months, meetings and contracts and waiting and stuff. Exciting stuff!
Right now I am in Saskatoon getting ready for my opening tomorrow night at AKA Gallery. I’m showing three videos along with artist Andrew McPhail. Today I went to check things out and give suggestions for installation. And I won potato wedges on a free coffee I had won from Tim Hortons, so that was nice, though I have never had their wedges. I’m just here until Saturday night, so that’s nice. Short trip! It’s been super stressful though because people keep telling me my dogs are barking a lot at home. And obviously I am far away and can’t do a whole hell of a lot. I sent my friend Terri to check on them yesterday, and the dog sitter is around enough that they have water and clean pads. So I’m not sure what’s up. I think Posey just is super anxious. It’s stressful for me though because I feel relatively powerless and know at least one of my neighbours has had it in for me and my dogs for a long time. So if the dog sitter can’t keep them quiet consistently I’m worried I’ll get kicked out. It’s fucked up my whole trip and right now I really just want to be home with them. My sleep is fucked, I’m super irritated, it’s hard to like things right now and I keep being pissed by small things. So I don’t know what to do. I tried to see if someone could stay with them more full time than my dog sitter seems to be doing, but no one was available. So I honestly did all I could. Stressful! I might try to find a kennel to put them in next time. It’s hard cause it’s so expensive. I tried to ask another dog sitter about watching them next month but I haven’t heard back so I don’t know. Either way I need to find a more solid dog care option that my neighbours can’t complain about. I work from home so the dogs are used to having a lot of attention.
Anyway, yeah! Stressed out fucked up trip. But I got Telefilm funding! 😀