@VFS Film School Term 2 Recap

Written 12/31 – apologies for the delay in posting!

Hello again, from just this side of 2012! I’m typing to you from the passenger seat of my grandma’s boatlike Buick LaSabre (which is for sale for $9000, if anybody’s looking for a gangster ride). After a lovely week of vacation in Pittsburgh with the family, the gf and I are heading to Amish country to visit friends and ring in the new year.

I swore to myself I’d recap each term I spent at Vancouver Film School and in Vancouver in general, so here we go with Term 2! It was a busy one, but I have the feeling things are about to get truly insane.

While I continued taking a class on film structure, this term we focused on Crime Dramas – Chinatown, Bonnie and Clyde, and Seven to name a few. These lectures are long, but students took over and I loved hearing from my classmates, seeing how they navigated character arcs, visual themes, and the narrative structure. Next term: Comedies!

I also took an elective in Animation, which is one of the thriving industries for television writers these days. It wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I enjoyed writing an 11-minute spec script of the children’s show Kid V. Kat, which is about a feud between a boy and his sister’s maniacal alien cat. I also developed my own original animation idea,Trout the Scout, about a Daria-like pre-teen who is forced to go to girl scout camp to learn to be “normal.” She faces conniving fellow campers, extreme physical activities, and even the social hellpit known as Skit Night.

I continued to develop my original feature film, the wedding comedy Best Friends For Never, and am about to start “taking it to pages.” First I had to create a 5-page beat sheet, revise it endlessly through workshops, and then pass my story board. Now it’s a go!

My favorite class has (unsurprisingly) turned out to be TV Spec. First, we all had to watch 3+ hours of each and every show we were allowed to “spec” (write an episode for) including comedies and dramas like The Big Bang TheoryModern FamilyThe Walking Dead, and yes, The Good Wife.  A ton of my classmates decides to spec either Modern Family (about the only comedy I find funny), or Bored to Death, which has unfortunately just been cancelled. Once a show is old or cancelled, your spec for it becomes unusable. It’s a tough situation, and I’m not sure what those folks are going to do – continue to write an unusable spec? Thankfully, I’m writing The Good Wife, and loving what I’ve come up with so far. The episode covers two cases, one of which parallels the Penn State scandal to a degree. My instructors and classmates were vital in figuring out how to strengthen my episode, and I’m really excited to start writing it in earnest.

While all of these things are still in early development, I have one project that took me entirely by surprise and is steaming ahead at a crazy pace. Two Production students approached me after hearing me pitch a short film I had written and asked if I would help them write a script for a short film idea they had. It is called “Butterfly.” The collaboration went at breakneck speed, but after multiple revisions we had one extremely strong 11-minute script. In fact, it was so promising that the Production girls convinced their classmates and instructors to greenlight it! We (they) found a talented cast of talent over four days of auditions, enlisted 19 (!) film students as a crew, and will film over four days in mid-January! It’s unusual for the writer to maintain any control at this stage, but they’ve sweetly let me attend the meetings and I’ll visit some of the sets, too.

So, we’re definitely filming but could still use a bit of support, so if you’d like to spread the word or send a small donation, you can visit BUTTERFLY’s fundraising page at IndieGoGo.

The other big (non-school related news) is that the gf and I have adopted a rescue puppy! Her name is Billie, like the singer, but we also call her Goat. She’s a mini Dachsund/Chihuahua mix, and was saved by a Canadian rescue group that adopts dogs from kill shelters in California. While Billie is absolutely enamored with us, she is still working on socialization skills. This trip, though, she fell in love with my mom’s Irish Setter, Seamus, and Seamus has been modeling dog skills and teaching her a lot. She just learned how to play tug! We are pretty proud mommas.

Billie snuggling.

This is my first holiday season with the gf and I am feeling extremely blessed to have her, to have been able to go home for the end of Hannukah, and for the overall health and happiness of my family and loved ones. I wish the same for you!




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