With the first drafts of both scripts out, I woke up this morning prepared to do something different, only to spend the day doing something not so different after all. Rob dropped me an email to inform me he’d spoken to a couple of the production’s participants. They had a few notes. But, Rob assured me, they were very positive about the scripts and, to reinforce the point, started off the notes session by relaying a few of those positive comments. Now as someone who has been doing this for a while, I know that “starting with the positives” is the animal wrangling equivalent of approaching slowly and speaking in a calm, soothing voice. It’s designed to relax the intended victim, lull them into a false sense of security. Then, the second they let their guard down, they’re ensnared, bagged, and shipped off to some zoo where they’ll spend the rest of their lives waiting for the man with the yellow to bring more bananas and wondering how it all went wrong. Or working on a script rewrite. Like most defenseless animals, writers are easily spooked and one whiff of danger is enough to send them scurrying for the relative safety of the high branches, or the bathroom, so that positive opening is very important. “Hey, good job. The script was really well-paced and a lot of fun. I just have a few thoughts…” or “A terrific first effort! Great dialogue. Now, if you could just make a few adjustments…” or “Nicely formatted. Your grammar is beyond reproach. As for the rest of it – well, you may want to cancel that weekend trip.”.
Starting with the positives can only mean one of two things: 1) They generally liked the script or 2) They generally hated it. Those initial positives tell you nothing. It’s the negatives that will give you a sense of what they really think. For instance, if their notes are few and/or capable of being easily incorporated into the next draft, then chances are they generally liked the script. If, on the other hand, your notes session: a) at any time finds you raising your voice in defense to the point where you sound like classic SNL’s Mr. Bill, b) runs roughly as long as it took you to write the script in the first place, and/or c) includes the phrase “What were you thinking?”, then chances are they didn’t love the script and you’re going to have your work cut out for you. Fortunately for both Paul and I, on this day, it was the former. About a half dozen notes on each script.
Unfortunately, Paul deferred to me on the rewrites as he was busy doing…I’m not sure what. I think it involved driving somewhere or watering something or promising to help a friend bury someone. I don’t recall. Anyway, not a big deal. I talked to Rob, we bounced some ideas back and forth, and I addressed the notes. I even found time to finish up those character breakdowns. Now, all I have to do is write up the story springboards and it’s smoooooooooooth sailing.
Hey, speaking of smooooooooooth sailing, the news went public yesterday: John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War is headed to the big screen:
On the one hand, I’m thrilled for John (a Creative Consultant on SGU, an enormously talented writer, and an all around nice/funny guy); on the other hand, I feel bad for the pressure he’ll no doubt be under having to decide who will accompany him to the premiere, me or his wife.
Well, it seemed so remote and unreal only days ago but now, I’m seriously beginning to stress out about this potential move. Again, nothing is written in stone and I could end up staying in Vancouver, watching Ace of Cakes marathons and eating cheese out of a can, but all indications point to the very real possibility that I will soon be calling Toronto home. Of course, to call it home, I’m going to need a home and, with four dogs in tow, I’m going to need that home FAST! I’m trying to get a sense of the city but the more people I talk to, the more confused I get. High Park, The Annex, The Beaches – they mean nothing to me. Even less so Etobicoke which I can barely pronounce. I’m not that demanding but, at the end of the day, it’s all about the dogs. As such, I need: 1) A house, 2) with a fenced in backyard, 3) central air conditioning for those hot summer months (the pugs and Lulu don’t do well in the heat), 4) a security system (in the event I go out, I want to make sure the gang is secure), 5) furnished (as the last thing I want to do between spinning, breaking, and writing is shopping for spoons), 6) in a nice neighborhood, 7) not too far from work, and 8) within reasonable driving distance of a good daycare. And, I that’s it.
I’ve been using google maps to chart my prospective routes from the various neighborhoods to the studio and back, and spent last night searching for a potential daycare. That led me to some Toronto pet forums which led me to some threads on the local dog-friendly areas which, in turn, led me to a post about a pug that went missing while playing at a park. THAT depressed me. Then, when I continued reading and learned the pug was on medication it desperately needed and that it’s owner had accepted her pug wasn’t coming home but hoped that Rosey’s darling attitude would ensure that whoever had taken her would treat her well, that’s when I got REALLY depressed. And then, when I continued reading and saw someone’s reply “Please keep us updated on Rosey.” go unanswered – and that the last post in the thread was back in 2004, that’s when I got BEYOND depressed and seriously considered just throwing in the towel and spending the next couple of years here, taking cooking classes, writing the occasional script, watching Ace of Cakes marathons and eating cheese out of a can.
After dinner, I went spelunking in the crawlspace and uncovered a couple more treasures:
Okay. Let’s end this post on a positive: Volunteer rescue team tracks down elderly AWOL pug