Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First staff writing credit! (And first writing credit, period!)

XIII is wrapped! Actually it was wrapped two months ago, but I have a baby so things seem to get left to the wayside when you're trying to prevent a little person from picking up and eating any piece of dirt or cat puke they come across. Not even joking, today we caught Ava playing with our cat's vomit. She'd already smeared it all over herself, but I don't think she ate any (at least I hope she didn't). 

Back to topic, XIII was intense and crazy (like most TV shows are, especially in the back half), but in an exciting making-TV-by-the-seat-of-your-pants way. I worked with some world-class writers and crew and it resulted in a serious boost to my career. The showrunner, Roger Avary, gave me a chance to prove myself in helping to fix a problematic script. He liked what I did, and I got promoted to Story Editor for the last four episodes! Story Editor is the first rung on a TV writing staff, so for the first time I was actually paid to write (well, re-write, but whatever) TV. I joined the Writers Guild of Canada and got a fancy new title (see photo of me proudly displaying said title). Of course, I still had to do all my duties as a Script Coordinator, but I was fine with that. I got to be in story and production meetings, go on location scouts, and people actually listened to what I had to say (or at least pretended to). In fact, I was expected to have an opinion. Needless to say, this required some getting used to. 

Now XIII is wrapped and I've been spending some quality time with my wife Holly and 11-month old daughter Ava (who saw so little of me during production), writing my own stuff, and trying to figure out where to go from here in terms of my career. I'm hoping that my work on XIII will translate into more work on other shows. From what I understand people liked what I did, and there are a few irons in the fire, but you never really know until you've signed a contract and are actually writing (and even then you don't really know). So we shall see.

It's an exciting and somewhat frightening situation that I'm in now - I'd worked my way up as a Script Coordinator, so that I'd managed to forge a half-decent resume and was starting to get regular work. Now that I've managed to get a promotion to staff writer, which is amazing and exactly what I wanted, I'm unfortunately at the bottom of this new new rung of my career. I'm not complaining (I mean, 3-4 years ago I was selling memberships in a gym), but it's going to be a challenge.

In the meantime, I'm going to go play with my daughter and follow her around, grabbing small sharp objects out of her hands before she quickly shoves them in her mouth and tries to swallow them (as she does the crawling baby equivalent of running away and laughing at me while I chase her).

Let me tell you, rewriting is hard, but baby-proofing is harder.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

XIII

Hello there! It's your favourite neglectful blogger. I always promise to update often, but it never happens - but then quality is better than quantity though, isn't it? ISN'T IT?

It's been about 7 months since my last update, and I'm no longer on Transporter, though that show is (apparently) still shooting. Well, not shooting right now exactly, because they're on hiatus. But regardless, neither I nor the writers I was working for will be on the show when it returns from torpor. Transporter was a really great experience, and I worked with some fantastic writers, but sometimes a production has other issues.

However, this happened to come at a perfect time - about 2 weeks after the hiatus started, my daughter Ava was born! So I was able to be around and help my wife in the first months of my daughter's life, which was just amazing. And if you thought you didn't have time to write before - try having a baby. For the first 6 weeks I couldn't even think about sleeping, never mind writing. I have no idea how people go to work right after having their first. I couldn't have done it. But after 6 weeks, Ava started actually sleeping at night, we became more accustomed to her rhythms, our lives started returning to (somewhat) normal, I could think again (as much as I could before, anyway), and I got back to writing.

One of the most invaluable things about working with TV writers is that they will sometimes read and give notes on your scripts, and then you're getting professional notes from people that actually write for TV for a living. I asked a couple of writers I've previously worked with if they could read my pilot, and they did and gave me excellent notes, and so far they seem very happy with the direction that I've taken the re-writes, so I'm going to start re-writing ASAP.

And about two weeks ago I was starting to get the itch to go back to work, and by a stroke of luck got hired as Script Coordinator on the second season of the Canadian series XIII! It's on Showcase in Canada, and M6 in France. It doesn't have a US broadcaster yet as far as I know. However, the showrunner is Roger Avary, the co-writer of Pulp Fiction, and he's a really nice guy (as is everyone else on this show), so I think this is going to be a really great experience. Hooray for sane shows!