Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm still alive...

Ok... so I haven't blogged in a while. I'm REALLY busy though!

Let me summarize... I work at a University as a computer geek! (day Job), all the students are coming back in the next week. I have 5 Dept. to look after (mostly by myself), and they all want something NOW, or 5 Min. ago. Sooooooooooooooooooo... No time to blog... And really it is no time... 'Cause the other exciting part of my life right now is that every other waking moment I am learning to write for TV! I have been reading, and writing as much as I can! Thankfully I have a number of friends who work in the industry who are wonderful and fantastic enough to share their wisdom and scripts with me so I can learn the formatting and pace of TV Writing.

I have finished the 1st draft of the Re-write on Blood & Roses I started after the last contest results came in. It is obvious that there is something not quite right in the script. It makes it to the finals but is missing something the judges are all looking for to make it a winner... Sooooooooooo, re-write... and the 1st draft is done. Hurray! I have also been working on finishing Ghost Hunter. I have about 20-30 pages left on that one before I will turn it over to my script angel Xandy for her harsh and poignant critique (which is always right on the money). She, is a script saver! But... unfortunately for me, or rather fortunately for me, I had a brilliant idea about the story while waiting for the bus a coupe of days ago, so now I have to re-write a GIANT section of the script... so Maybe it's more like 50 pages.

Next, I have 2 spec scripts to write. 1 - 1hr TV Drama. and 1 - 1/2 TV comedy. I will likely do a Vampire Diaries for my drama... Looks like such a good series! and right up my alley. And an American Dad for my 1/2 comedy. I have been, for the last week and a bit, expertly guided into the wonderful world of Animation writing by Xandy's equally accomplished husband Stephen. Both have worked on some of my Favourite Saturday morning cartoons like The Batman, Ben 10, Superman: The Animated Series etc... Such good shows... So much fun! And I'm learning soooooooo much my brain can hardly contain the knowledge. I am also getting some good Q&A from both of them. I hope their investment in me pays off. I will certainly do anything and everything in my power to get to my goals... I have given myself 5 yrs to have one of my scripts produced into a Feature. I have my award speeches mostly written in my head...

"I'd like to thank the academy for this great honour, 5 yrs ago as I sat blogging about my writing career I never could have imagined the moment when I would be standing here..." So on...

I kid... but I do have a set, set of goals... (I actually carry them around in my wallet). I will accomplish every last one of them, and you know... I have set some pretty impossible goals out for myself before and blown through them like a F5 Tornado - Baby!... Soooooooooooooo... What if I do have my eyes set on that golden statue? I've got some good stories to tell. Now its on me to get them down on paper, and make them sparkle and shine like the Trophy itself. If I can do that, nothing can stop me...

Anyway... way off track... After I'm done the specs, I have to write my Pilot... Which I have also been working on. The universe is outlined, the characters are good... The working doc. is quickly turning into a Bible for the show. So it'll be a good reference to work with once I get down to outlining the pilot. Teh pilot will be quick paced and grab you before the teaser is finished... Once Esprit is introdced you'll fall in love and that will be the end of it... You'll be an addict! I promise!

So anyway, gotta jet...

KEEP WRITING!!!!! You know you want to!

- G

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Awesome Q&A with Canadian born Actor Noah Danby!!!

TGL - Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Noah Danby. Originally from Guelph, Ontario Canada (props to the hometown!), Noah has had an action packed career as a series lead on Painkiller Jane, as a regular on Stargate SG-1, and appearing on Sci-Fi hits like Smallville, The 4400, and Mutant X and in features like the upcoming release of Uwe Boll's Darfur. Thank you for taking the time to do an interview with us at

Writers often wonder what impact their words have on the people who bring them to life. As an actor, what makes a great script great? Is it well defined characters, good dialogue, or is it a script with more room for you to play?

ND - Well I think it’s all of the above but it all starts with a story. Dialogue can change according to the circumstances. Room to play is important but a lot of the time, trying to find what works with what is written is also challenging and fun. Well defined characters, is more like icing on the cake but at the very base of it all a story that people would take 2 hours out of their day to watch and listen to is what you want to go for. If you have that you’ve just up’d the anti for everyone working on the film and watching it.

TGL - It seems, at least from the sidelines that one of the major differences between TV and Features is that there is more collaboration between cast, crew, and the writers on a TV set. Have you ever have to opportunity to work with the writers to develop your characters and if so, what kinds of input can a writer expect from an actor?

ND - From my experience it all comes down to time. For feature films, there is a lot of time for development. So an actor can and should spend that time developing that character into something very different and unique. While with TV most of the casting is done the week before you go to camera so an actor is more inclined to spend his rehearsal time coming at the script from his or her own perspective rather than that of a fully developed and original point of view.

TGL - There was a really great episode of Painkiller Jane when your character Connor was suffering from hallucinations and almost took out the entire team in a hail of bullets. When you’re presented with material like that how do you take the written word and give it such emotion? Do you stick to the script word for word, or use it more as a guide and use your skill as an actor to provide the impact?

ND - I dare say that was some of the best material that Matt Hastings had ever shot. Those words came from his mouth not mine. After reading the script I had decided that I was going to bring everything I could to that particular scene and I did. We shot and shot and I went to that dark place for almost 16 hours. Wearing a body cam for 7 hours and then taking it off and shooting the rest of the material with the Vipers we had on set. But to answer your question. I don’t think anyone knew what was going to happen in this scene until they saw me do it for the first time. I ended up going above and beyond what was given to me in the script. We ended up shooting way past our time constraints for that day but Matt simply turned to the line producer who was questioning his decision and said “What do you want me to do, This is the best fucking footage I have ever shot. I have to keep rolling.” Out of all the work I did on that show that is definitely one moment that stands out.

TGL - You’ve done Sci-Fi, Action, Comedy, pretty much the entire spectrum. What type of script is your favourite? What captures your attention about it?

ND - My favorite material to work on, is the story that inspires. That, after watching, you think to yourself…”Yes I can!” Those were the movies that had the largest impact on my life and the least I can do, is return the favor.

TGL - If you could pick a role, any role from any movie or TV show ever made, what would it be? What aspects of the character, story line, and dialog makes that the role for you?

ND - My next role, is always the one I am most excited about playing because the possibilities are endless and it’s mine! ALL MINE!!!!!!

TGL - What advice would you give a screenwriter who’s just starting out in the biz? If you could offer any insight from an actor’s perspective what would it be?

ND - Work on your craft every day. Remain Disciplined with it. Like a workout or eating. LOL. Don’t sit and wait for inspiration because then it will pass you by.

TGL - What projects are you working on? Where can we catch up with you next?

ND - You can see me in the upcoming season of Flashpoint, The Bridge and in the Feature film Darfur. I am currently in preproduction on a reality TV show called Bounce set to start shooting this September.

TGL - Thank you again for taking part in this interview, we look forward to the release of Darfur, and talking with you again.


Ok... So work is starting to pick up and I'm falling asleep on the couch after dinner so I'm struggling to find the time and motication to write anything... That being said, I got another 10 pages done last night, and a bunch of re-writes from Act 1 done too. Sooooooooooo... Long story short... 30 pages to go and the new draft of the feature will be done. then... Re-write, polish, re-write, polish... over and over again...

Still no results from the 21st contest... That's ok... It's not even 9am in L.A. at the moment, but I'm getting anxious to hear the results. I know I've done really well. Making it to the finals is quite an acheivement... So anything else is just gravy! You know? But the words... CONTEST WINNER - Rogerson, Gordon - BLOOD & ROSES would be sweet!

To quote Stuart Smalley (SNL Character)... "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!" *grin*

So... what to do... Well... I have an hour for lunch which I will spend reading the latest edition of Candaian Screenwriter Magazine, and wolfing down my Toasted Tomato sandwich. And the other 45min writing... I would like to get at least 5 pages done today! If I can do 5 pages a day for the next 4 days and finish up on Saturday and Sunday... I can sit down and write episode on of my Pilot series starting Monday! Hurray!!!!

I will write a nice blog about the Contest experience when the results are in.


- G

Thursday, August 6, 2009

No News

Ok... well the title is a little misleading... I have a modicum of news... My news is that I have gone back to the feature I have been writing for the last 8 months in order to push through and get the last 40pgs written.

Now that the foundation for the Pilot is finished, I've decided to focus on finishing the project I was working on when this new brilliant idea popped into my head. I am going to finish the feature, then write the first episodes of "Cabal". Reasoning... nothing concrete... just you should always finish what you start. I'm kind of like a cat or a bird in that respect.. I get distracted from what I'm doing by the shiny new idea... It's hard to finish something if your mind keeps coming up with NEW somethings just as fun... SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... I am forcing myself to finish the feature "Ghost Hunter" (working title) before moving onto the series. :)

I would also like to mention that Blake Snyder author of Save the Cat! and Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies passed away a couple fo days ago. I never met him, but the lessons he shared with the Screenwriting community have played a big role in my writing career.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Interview with Director\Producer Michal Page

Today we're doing a Q&A with Michal Page, Director\Producer. Michal has worked in the Film industry for 14 yrs, and has an IMDB entry as long as my arm.

TGL - Hi Michal, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us, please tell us a little about yourself.

MP - My name is Michal Page. I've worked my way on set through the ranks of an Assistant Director to a Director/Producer & Production Manager. I've also dabbled in Acting but HATE IT. I've been in the 'biz' for over 14 years and known on set as 'Scoops', 'Dinky' or 'Dinkster'...and can be found in the credits usually with my name spelled wrong. I like long walks on the beach, surf n' turf, the REDWINGS and today I woke up completely hungover with little elves hammering away at the inside of my head and my stomach churning from some sort of cheap hooch and I truly feel like the most pathetic being on the planet. I get in the shower which has lost virtually all water pressure for some reason. I think back upon the previous evening's poor decision-making in which I ignored the voices in my head telling me to go home at a respectable hour, preferring instead to stay until the bitter end....huhhhhhhhh and as I stand under this little trickle of a lukewarm shower, a dark sense of gloom settles over me. some sort of regretful shadowy feeling. I think what the HELL did I do last night? Did I make out with a handsome and/or geek total stranger in some dark booth or in the ladies room? No. (dang) did I dance on the bar? No, no that's not it. (dang dang) Did I drunk dial an ex? Oh shit, no it's worse. I drunk POSTED a zillion strange men on Craigslist's Women Seeking Men. Shit. Shit. Now I will have an inbox full of dick pics and notes from lascivious stalkers...and what if I didn't spell check?? the spelling and grammar perfectionists will have at me next. and wait.. what exactly did I write? Oh god, I didn't reveal my long and agonizing stint of celibacy did I? How will I get to work in time to destroy all of the computers because I know my coworkers read CL all day. Surely they will know it was me. I'm packing my bags because now I need to change my identity and move out of the country but I will still remain hilariously awesome - just somewhere else.

TGL - Bahahahahaha *roflmao*... But seriously "Dinkster" How did you get into the Movie Making Business and what has kept you working in the industry over the years?

MP - Honestly, there was no magical wish I made nor did I know anyone in the biz....I was going to Ryerson University and just happened to walk into a lab at school and came across a flyer from a Production Company that needed PA's (production assistant) for the up coming Feature Film being shot in Toronto. I went for an interview and the interview I felt went okay - but as I was walking out to my car - this guy came running up to me in the parking lot and said, 'I'm sorry to run up to you like this, but I heard your interview...My name is blahblah blah, I'm the 1st AD (assistant director). I was wondering if you would like to be my TAD (trainee ass't director - in charge of getting the cast processed (hair/makeup/wardrobe/signing cast in&out etc etc, basically a glorified gopher) on set for the duration of the film?' I was like, 'HELL YA!' Well, I guessed I did something right, I did the entire film and they asked me back to do the next and then the next....Back then you only needed to finish 3 films as a trainee and 3 reference letters from 3 differ Guild members to get into the DGC Union (Director's Guild of Canada). I entered the union as an Associate Member and shortly after became a full member...Now, over 14 years later - I still the love rush of shooting and I am still plug'n away as an Assistant Director but now also have been a Production Manager, Producer and have even Directed. What keeps me in the biz? Passion, cool people, free food and travel on someones dime other than myself...Could anything be better? :p

TGL - Writing is a very personal experience for most writers. They put pieces of themselves into each scene, and character. When you have a script in front of you and you are thinking about how it should play out on screen, how do you interpret the Writers vision? What are some good tips for writers to keep in mind when they are creating a scene...

MP - Tips? For me, when I write things and want to bring it to life...I make sure to surround myself with a Production team that shares the same vision. It's So important to have a DOP (director of photography) and a Director that know how to not only bring the story out through actors, but also through all the other lil' effects you need to bring to life without words and scenery.

TGL - How much creative license is taken with a script once it leaves a writers hands? Is there an effort to stay true to the concepts and vision, or do you find that Directors take creative license with a script in order to bring their vision to life?

MP - Well if you have a great team that shares the same vision you'd stay pretty close to the story and vision on how you want to tell it - but unfortunately, budget always plays a HUGE roll in making that happen.

TGL - Creating well defined characters that stand on their own is sometimes difficult in writing. Separating one character from others is challenging in that you almost need to have multiple personalities yourself to develop a unique voice. As a Director\Producer how much is in the script? How much is Direction? And how much is Acting? Is it a chorus of all three, or a solo act?

MP - Again, the casting process is a complicated one. But all Producers, Director's and Casting have a huge part in who is cast and who can bring the 'vision' to life as how you'd want it portrayed... (so 100% pre production prod.dir.cast) but once cast, the actors, I think, are over 80% responsible for how the character comes to life. That's why it's SO important that it's made clear before hand who you want - nothing worse then not goin' to these meetings on who you want and what you want in pre-production - then, gettin' to set for Day 1 of shooting, and the actor can't act their way out of a trash can.

TGL - If 100 new scripts were handed to you, and you had to pick only one to develop and produce, what would you look for? What script characteristics make a project jump out at you?

MP - Huummmm - well the 100 scripts would have to be dropped off to me in person so I could see who I'm dealing with...Then, I'd pick the most good looking dude in the know, cause we'd be spending A LOT of time I better have some eye candy... Bah hahahaha!

TGL - There’s a big difference between what the US calls a Big Budget Movie and what Canada calls Big Budget. I heard that an average feature budget in Canada is around $2 Million vs. $25 Million in the US. How much attention to the financial side of things should a Writer pay when trying to market a film? Can a $25 Million dollar movie be made for $2 Million in Canada? Or are we just not putting as much production value into our home grown box office?

MP - Well you can't shoot a film like X-Men, Hulk or Superman on a 2 mil budget...Be realistic. I mean, you can put a plastic model Superman dangling on some fishing line but would you really want to? I mean, unless the Director or Lead Actor is George Clooney. Eye candy is SO important. :p

TGL - Are there many differences in working on a Canadian project vs. a US project?

MP - Yeah, the food...and a pay cheque. Oh, did I also mention George Clooney possibly shirtless?

TGL - Do you ever have the writer on set for last minute re-writes or consultations? Is that the standard or the exception?

MP - It's rare. If the production office happens to be close by, yes....but usually if re-writes are needed they will be faxed to the 2nd AD on set in the mobile AD/production office...or if minimal - the Director/Producer/Writer will conference call on set.

TGL - What advice do you have for writers who are looking to make it big? Got any secrets you wanna share? ;) Is there anything you’d like to say to the people who are reading this interview?

MP - Advice? Yep, don't expect to make it big. Having dreams and thinking positive of making it big is one thing, just don't expect it. Huummm - what would I like to say about anyone reading this interview...? Well, you just got a taste of how awesome I am and should we meet on set one day, I like my Starbucks '1/2 decaf venti, sugar-free vanilla, skim milk, 180 degree latte - in a double cup w/ a sleeve' and served with a smile...

TGL - Michal, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. As always it has been a pleasure.