So it has since February of this year, almost a full year later since my last post. Where have I been? Well, here - in the blogosphere, that is. But purely voyeuristically, visiting other websites, generally of ill repute (politically that is). Lenin's Tomb has always been a favourite. And other more unsavoury ones as well. It's a sad addiction, I fear. But it is easier, when you have only a few moments or not the energy to spare to write ones own posts. But, why so little time or energy you ask - assuming that there is a "you" out there and that this "you" has gotten this far in a completely self-indulgent post. The short answer is that it's been a busy as hell year. After completing the Writers' Lab component of the Feature Film Residency Program at the Canadian Film Centre, I was trying to get something happening with my screenwriting (and hopefully, directing) career.
I had some success too.
I was accepted to the CFC on the basis of a script called Where Elephants Go - it's a historical epic set during the Civil War that followed the Russian Revolution. The story is about a Bolshevik who deserts the Red Army, disillusioned as a result of the brutality of the war. On his way home he comes across a Jewish village destroyed by the Whites and reluctantly agrees to escort the surviving children and their teacher to the relative safety of Petrograd. En route he spins a tale of a magical place in the mountains of Persia and of a group of Elephants who descend the mountains to go and save the people of Russia. The film follows the parallel journies of the Bolshevik and his charges and the elephants.
Anyway, the film has everything going against it - it's a historical piece, it has children, it has animals and it is almost entirely outside in the winter. So, I was very excited when one of Canada's most important film producers, Roger Frappier of Max Films optioned the script. Roger has an impressive string of film successes in Canada - Jesus of Montreal, Decline of the American Empire, Maelstrom, Seducing Dr. Lewis, et al. My fingers are crossed that it will get made.
Meanwhile, another script has gotten the interest of the Feature Film Project at the CFC, which has facilitated the production of a number of features from the Dark Hours, through Siblings, Cube, and Nurse, Fighter, Boy. After some logistical hurdles in assembling a full production team, we go for an interview in January to see if we'll be accepted into the development component of the program, on the road to full production. Keep your fingers crossed.
I also gained representation with Lesley Harrison Artist Management, and wrote a film pilot that has garnered some interest from an established production company. Lastly, there is interest from an established Canadian director to adapt a short film script I wrote into a feature in the new year. In addition to this, I directed a script that I wrote - 2 Kings - and helped to organize a conference - Art Changes Everything - and an outdoor film screening, both with Artists Against War. There is also a major project still hanging in the balance that I don't want to speak any more about, for fear of jinxing it.
But it hasn't only been a bumper crop year in terms of trying to kick off my writing career. My personal life has also been, well, busy. Completely unexpectedly, my lovely wife and I purchased a home this past summer. Right at the height of the real estate bubble - d'oh. I think we still got a good deal and it's a beautiful house - stunning in fact. It has required some renovations - that we were happy to pay someone else to perform.
Lastly, but more important of all, I became a father this year, on November 28, with the birth of a baby girl, Beatrice Marguerite Palmateer-Whitney. She was born at 3:27 pm, after a relatively short labour of 7 hours, most of it spent in a birth pool - my wife was in the birth pool, that is. I was there for support, not a swim. It was an incredible and life changing event and I've fallen in love with this beautiful little creature.
As all this was going on - and I was working as a waiter - I still managed to write three feature length screenplays and a one hour television pilot. Not bad, if I do say so myself.
So, anyone who's interested, there's my excuse for being absent the past 11 months or so. I won't be foolish enough to promise any sudden conversion to blog-meister. I'm no Richard Seymour of Lenin's Tomb. But I will try to toss out the occasional film review or editorial commentary about the ongoing collapse of capitalism. Or culture. Or my life. Whatever.
Or maybe I'll be writing another identical post as this next Christmas.