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Week 9

August 8, 2011
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The week was highlighted by a tiny amount of work, helping out on the set of a low budget music video. It introduced me to a small media company in the city that are thriving and surviving. They have a lovely office, their own equipment, good attitudes and are growing on their own. They were kind, helpful and answered my questions when I had them. Also, I didn’t break anything or start any fires – as can happen when dealing with lights.

Also, they’re all big comic guys, so I was in the right space.

Two meetings this week. Shave tomorrow. Research to get out of the way.

READING

I’ve become an immediate fan of MOBILERSS for the iPad as a way to pull my Google Reader feed anywhere. The layout is intuitive, sharp and easy to manage. I can carry the news with me anywhere and it connects to Instapaper.

I’ve taken up FROM HELL, by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, which I think I’ve owned for five years before giving it a, now, third round attempt at penetrating it. Thankfully, this time I was successful.

FROM HELL is a Victorian Mystery, Crime, and analysis of Victorian Culture that takes leaps and bounds around conventional story telling. There’s glimpses of extreme violence, perversion, corruption, death. There’s a bizarre glimpse of the future, deities and a twenty page poetic speech on the nature of London, slavery, the occult and the subjugation of women that characterizes such a society. The story of Diana’s spirit shackled and enslaved by the architecture of St. Paul’s Cathedral is touched on in Moore’s spoken word album was fascinating to see laid out by Campbell’s art. Some panels rely on the use of negative space while others overwhelm with darkness and architecture and filth.

Also, Moore’s characterization of the Ripper are stark and memorable, and while he chose from a suspect list in the dozens, he chose wisely and built something massive and PROBABLE from that choice.

I’ve also been reading the Checklist Manifesto and I have begun what will I’m sure be a long and arduous love affair with Don Quixote.

WATCHING

I started Season 5 of 30 Rock and have already become one of “those people” who watched both East and West Coast live feeds.

Caught up on Breaking Bad… though I am missing the newest episode… now… Thanks PVR.

Cartoons. The Boys from Brazil. Animal Kingdom. In the Mood for Love. God, there’s been more. I just can’t think of them.

Haven’t been to the theater to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes or Cowboys and Aliens yet. Probably will this week. I’ve never seen the Planet of the Apes, so I’m locking those down.

The thing that stands out most this weekend is the Series 5 opener of Doctor Who. Say what you will about the series – I tried to explain my appreciation for it last weekend to no avail – but this, THIS was a goddamn revelation. Not only are Matt Smith and Karen Gillan amazing, but the esteem, the energy and the manic just flow from this beautifully shot opener. Stephen Moffat has really stepped up the entire game on his first outing – new credits, new Tardis, new cast, new attitude – and it all comes together swimmingly. It was amazing television and it hit that nerve in me that makes me want to make things.

WRITING

I’ve made the agreement with myself that I should get all my properties in pitching/working order by the end of the month. The new season starts next month and I’ll be in the position to write specs by October, I hope, so it’s time to step up all my independent stuff and get it to the position where it can be advanced, pitched and put into play by other people.

So I have until August 30th to get 3 dramas, one sitcom, two animated series, one live action kids science show and two lifestyle shows in a position to pitch.

I’ll continue using code names on the blog until I lose patience with doing so. Can’t be too careful, but also can’t take self so seriously that everything is waiting to be poached.

CRIME has tipped over and begun spilling out. I’ve upgraded it to the appropriate moleskine ruled notebook where it will grow and be worked out until I can do something with it. All the angles have started folding on each other, so now I’ve got to put some names to faces.

I’ve also been putting a lot of thought to British Panel Shows and why they work so well over there and not here. It could be because the market has pooled so much talent around London and that geography effectively limits distance otherwise. It could be that they put comedians of a variety of levels and esteem on simultaneously and just let them compete for speaking time. It could be that panel shows tend to be more high brow or political in most cases.

So why don’t we have more of that up here? In Canada, obviously because we have less political comedy because our satire laws are much more strict than in Britain and the US, making it impossible for me to liken, say, Stephen Harper a baby killer, without finding expressed, quantifiable evidence that Stephen Harper is similar to a baby killer.

Our panel shows would be forced to do a full regional blend, meaning you’d lose the audience’s interest between segments and the rest of it during the international sections.

A tragedy, it is, I guess, it allows us to focus on what we do better – run cheaper production, animate and export, export, export.

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