December 31, 2008 18:49Vanilla
2008 was, as Queen Elizabeth once famously said, an "annus horribilis" -- which, for those of you who don't speak Latin, means "horrible anus." After being surrounded by a long string of deaths, estate entanglements, failed marriages and job losses, it seems the coming year can hardly go any worse.
Yet on my own career front, things are hopping, and I'll be spending January 2009 getting no less than three feature film projects lined up for development. Which doesn't mean any of them will end up on the new-releases shelf of your local video store any time soon (or ever), but at least they're over the first hurdle.
Among them is Sex Tape, my Telefilm-backed project that I just signed a first-stage development contract for. The contract was the usual mumbo-jumbo of legal clauses and ass-coverings, but then I came across one particular paragraph that caught my attention.
Article 7c reads: the Project will not contain any element of serious and gratuitous or explicit and excessive violence, and any element which is predominantly characterized by the undue exploitation of matters of a sexual nature, or matters of a sexual nature and one or more of the following subjects: crime, horror, cruelty and violence, or any other sexual offence under the Criminal Code or any matter which is libelous, obscene or in any other way unlawful.
Well where's the fun in that? I'm concerned I may already be in breach of contract based on the title alone. I was so tickled to get a green light on a movie called Sex Tape during the Harper administration, and now I'm being told I can't put anything really horrible in it. Gratuitous sex and violence is what good cinema is all about. Trust me on this one, I've seen a lot of movies.
I can't help but wonder if Article 7c is a recent addition to Telefilm contracts in light of the Young People Fucking kerfuffle when the Conservative Government's collective head exploded over what Canadian tax dollars were bankrolling. Never mind that the offensive part of that film began and ended with the title, it's not like any of Harper's minions were ever likely to attend a screening of the thing to confirm their moral indignation was merited. Much as good cinema runs on gratuitous sex and violence, good politics runs on gratuitous moral indignation.
I guess I'll just have to water my story down in the name of getting a smiley-face government-office rubber stamp of approval. Sex Tape is now about little bunny Froo-Froo who hippity-hops her way down to the mayberry bushes to eat some magic truffles that make her wigglely-wagglely ears turn all pink and polka dotted, much to the amusement of all her cuddle-bunny friends who are ever so busy nibbling their way through farmer McTavish's cabbage patch, the naughty wee rabbits! Then, and only then, is little bunny Froo-Froo caught performing fellatio on Reginald Q. Raccoon down in the glory-holed toilet stalls of the bus depot for twenty bucks and a rock of crack. But it all ends happily ever after when little bunny Froo-Froo gives birth to a litter of coke-addicted mixed-race bastard pups who are all sent to the animal shelter for euthanasia and wind up getting sold under the table to a team of pharmaceutical research technicians for product testing and vivisection.
December 09, 2008 05:23Three Funerals And A Film Deal
I was standing over an open grave in a snowy country cemetery out in the wastelands of rural Ontario last weekend and I got to thinking, "I should really take a vacation from funerals." Three funerals in three weeks, it starts to feel like a routine. I know so many people who died this year, it's like living through the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1919. Twenty-two days left in 2008 and I'll count myself lucky if I get out of it alive myself.
Let’s ignore all that, shall we, and get some updates out of the way. The body count may be out of control, but life marches on. My career is taking off, even while the number of friends and family who might be pleased by that fact dwindle.
Turbo Dogs started running on Saturday mornings on NBC recently. Two of my episodes are somewhere in the mix. Supposedly the CBC is airing it too, but I have no clue when. No one tells me anything. I suppose I could look it up myself, but I'm lazy. And there's a limit to how interested I am in watching computer animated cartoons aimed at five-year-olds, even when I was one of the writers. Someone will send me a DVD eventually. But if you have any five-year-olds handy, don't let me discourage you from plopping them down in front of the boob tube bright and early Saturdays while mommy and daddy stay in bed and get busy making more pre-schoolers to fill the ranks of that essential pre-branding demographic broadcasters lust after like a salivating pedophile chaperoning a pajama party.
Looking like lot of fun for older kids up to my own advanced age is Kid vs Kat. Apparently only a few episodes aired earlier in the fall as a teaser to the regular run that hasn't begun yet. But a couple of clips on Youtube have surfaced, including one from a development episode I wrote, and they look pretty damn cool. Of course, I can already tell the end results have been toned down from my original scripts. A bit. For instance, in this clip, Coop no longer attempts to hammer a wooden spoon through Kat's heart with a meat tenderizer as originally intended. Gone, it seems, are the days of the Looney Tunes ramming dynamite up each other's asses and lighting it with a flame thrower. And I don't think Standards and Practices will let those happy days return anytime soon. Still, I encourage you to keep an eye out for KvK on YTV, and scan the opening credits for my name, which will be on four of them.
Last month I was one of five writers in Quebec selected to attend the "Feature It!" Telefilm workshop and get some seed money to develop a feature film project with your tax dollars (unless you're not a Canadian tax payer, in which case I don't owe you shit). The workshop amounted to four days in a Delta Hotel hanging out with writers, producers and distributors, listening to lectures and talking business over bad hotel food and worse coffee.
It was sort of like being inducted into a cult, complete with long hours, sleep deprivation, and utter lack of private time -- including in the toilet where the wheeling and dealing continued unabated. I'd never personally witnessed film industry people talk shop during a bowel movement before, but I can now cross that one off my bucket list.
The project I was shilling is the crassly titled Sex Tape which, surprisingly, is not targeted at the same demographic as Turbo Dogs or Kid vs Kat. I'm in option talks with it now, and looking to make the next funding deadline which will kick it farther down the road towards the eventual goal of getting it in front of cameras and making everybody enough money to pay Telefilm back.
For reasons that remain nebulous to me and pretty much everyone else who attended the Telefilm workshop, we were required to take a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. Quote my results, "Shane, your scores indicate a preference for introversion, intuition, thinking and judging. That gives you a temperament of NT."
I think that means I'm a sociopath. Or something. I'm not really clear, and I meant to ask someone before I stabbed them all and danced naked in the moonlight wearing only their blood and a modest loin cloth of stitched-together scalps. Oh well. Guess I'll never know for sure.
Not that I've ever had much luck with any of the tests meant to determine just who or what I am. I took one in college that told me my personality was overwhelmingly feminine, and that I didn't have a single creative synapse firing in my logical clockwork brain. And the last IQ test I took saw me score a mere 136, an extremely irritating four points short of genius level. I demand a recount!
If you want to take a personality test I consider much more informative, try this one to determine your nerd-geek-dork leanings. I like this test, because it finally defines the very real differences between what makes a nerd, a geek, or a dork. They're actually quite separate concepts. In case you're wondering, I'm 74% Nerd, 48% Geek and 39% Dork. For once, that sounds about right.
Speaking of nerds, geeks and dorks…COMICS! Yes, the comic book. A medium that truly embraces all variety of spaz. After many beer-soaked visits to our comic jam dive of a bar, a new issue of What the F***? is now complete. Due to a tragic inking mix-up, the infamous "Fucking Raccoon" page did not make this issue and it will likely be another year before we finally get to see the end results in all their rascally glory.
Still, there's gobs of good material to be had in issue #8, including work from the far-too-young and far-too-talented Nicolas Plamondon, the newest member of the gang who I refer to as "the cute goth chick" behind his back. Mostly because I'm a prick who wishes I could draw so well. But also because he's got it coming for misplacing the raccoon page so close to deadline.
Three bucks postage paid will get you the latest from Chompers Comics, 700 Richmond Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3J 2R9 or you can go online here to get more information about back issues and some of the contributors.