stuff, written by me

Tag Archives: productivity

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. I have too many things on the go. I think my resolution for 2015 is going to have to do with simplifying my life, but it certainly isn’t going to happen in the next 12-15 months.

I’m managing a few special projects at REEL CANADA (the same part-time basis as before, but a few more hours per week this fall than anticipated), and I’ve got a new gig that I’m excited about which threatens to swallow up a lot of my upcoming time (more on that soon).

Then there’s the fact that I want to move into a bigger apartment, which (considering Colin’s work-related travel schedule – and these days, mine too) has to be very strategically timed, so the search has to happen in hurried bursts of activity. Maybe I should hire a realtor. And, I’m determined (determined, I say!) to complete at least one of the writing projects which have been on the back seat of my life for years and which I told myself I would make time for once I quit my full time job and went freelance.

Plus there’s the producing, which I am grimly resigned to giving most of my time to, even though it’s the thing that doesn’t pay. Here’s where those projects are at.

The Demon’s Rook

I love this movie and the adorable sweethearts who made it. That’s why I’m thrilled at how well it’s been doing since its premiere at Fantasia this summer. The film got great responses out of FrightFest (London, UK) and Scream Fest (Los Angeles). It’s playing Sitges (Spain) next. FEARnet, Bloody Disgusting and Fangoria have all posted really positive reviews. We got a great sales company on board (Raven Banner, the same fine folks who helped get Manborg out into the world), and there’s been some interest from US distributors recently, which I can’t talk about yet but am very excited about, obviously. Next up, I’m looking forward to digging into the director’s next script, for a witchcraft-y horror film. He gave it to us way back in the summer, but the pre-and-post-TIFF weeks were too hectic, so I’m going to read it now, while I’m out in the woods at the cottage, in the perfect setting.

The highlight of the Fantasia experience with The Demon’s Rook was not just getting to see the film on the big screen for the first time, but also getting to hang out with the lovely director, James Sizemore, and meet his beautiful wife and adorable parents. Not to mention DoP/editor/producer Tim Reis and HIS beautiful girlfriend and adorable parents. And the dozen or so other folks who came up from Georgia to support them. What an incredibly sweet group of people. I feel really lucky to be working with them.

Bye Bye Blackbird (working title)

This is the noir-ish murder mystery thriller that I’m working on with Peter Lynch. The script is so close to being done that I can almost taste it, and I’m super excited! I mean, it’s been “done” for a long time, but it’ll be at a polished, “ready to be sent out to people” level in a matter of days. We’ve been talking to funders, to other producers who might come on board to help us, and to sales agents. Everything seems to be progressing well enough that we might actually shoot this sucker next year – perhaps not as early in the year as we’d hoped (the original timeline had us in production by February) but soon enough.


If you ever saw a copy of the Ultra 8 Pictures brochure that we printed for Cannes, you might remember this one as the project with the creepy closeup of a witchy looking woman as its central image. It’s a supernatural thriller, and writer/director Terrance Odette passed a rough draft to me the other week for some preliminary feedback. I had lots of notes, but overall, I thought it was great. We even have some interesting funding prospects for this one, but I don’t want to jinx it by saying too much. Suffice it to say, I have very high hopes for this one.


This is a really smart body horror film by a German writer-director who we’ve been trying to hook up with Canadian partners, to do a German-Canadian coproduction. Finally, it looks like everything might be in place. Ultra 8 is not the lead producing entity on this one – but the person who likely will be taking the lead is a really good local producing powerhouse, so I’m quite excited about the opportunity to work with him. I can’t say too much yet, but we’re aggressively pursuing cast at the moment and we’ll be able to officially announce something soon. Woop woop!

The Void

After a successful market experience at Fantasia, I stepped back a little bit from this one. It’s a fantastic project, but there’s not much for me to do while the script is being worked on, and I’m damn busy with other stuff! Plus, it’s the only project I’ve been spending time on where there’s no agreement – written or oral – on what Ultra 8 Pictures’ role (by which I mean, mine or Colin’s) actually is, so it seems prudent not to prioritize it until we all have time in our overloaded schedules to sit down and discuss what needs to be done.

Why Horror? 

This documentary about the psychology of horror films and why we love to feel scared did some great work at Fantasia, Festival of Fear and TIFF. With a little bit of help from team Colin & Kat, they bagged a bunch of interviews with visiting filmmakers and got a lot of great shooting done. I can’t wait to get back to Toronto after Thanksgiving and meet with these guys, so that we can figure out where they’re at and what help they need next. Oh, and Why Horror? just launched a Kickstarter campaign. You can find it (and contribute!) HERE.

And their poster is rad, too:

Why Horror poster clean

I think that’s it. I need a nap.

I’ve been back in Toronto for two days, and am experiencing the fantastic benefits of east-to-west-travel jetlag. I haven’t felt so productive in ages!

Whenever I fly from Canada to Europe, I find myself exhausted and out of it for two or three days, sleepy at odd hours, unable to get up when I’m supposed to – all the classic symptoms of jetlag, especially if you “lose” six or seven hours in transit.

But when I come back home from over there, the effect is very, very good. “Gaining” time is somehow much easier to bear than losing it, so when I’m transported to a timezone that is five to seven hours earlier than where I left, I end up falling asleep early (I usually push it to 9 or 10pm on my first day back in order to try to achieve the best effect) and then wake up the following morning feeling well rested and bright eyed around 6 or 7am. It’s fantastic. I am by no means a natural morning person, but I feel incredibly productive and positive when I get up early and can say “wow, look at all I’ve accomplished, and it’s not even 9am”. And honestly, even if all I’ve accomplished is having breakfast and a shower, it still feels like a victory.

the internet agrees: it's easier when you're going east to west!

the internet agrees: it’s easier when you’re going east to west!

Of course, getting up that early means I’m exhausted by 10pm, so the effect really kills my nightlife, but honestly I’m mostly a hermit these days anyway so the pros of having more AM hours to get shit done far outweigh the cons of going to bed at grandma o’clock.

Since I stopped working full time in an office, it’s been harder and harder to keep to a regular schedule. Relying on myself for discipline and motivation has never been my strong suit (I’m working on it). I work a lot of hours every day but sometimes I don’t start those hours till 1pm, and then I’m up past midnight still hammering away at my keyboard trying to meet a deadline. Even though I often feel like I hit my creative stride later in the day, I’d still much prefer to get the majority of my work done before dinnertime, so that I have the option of relaxing in the evening instead of still being at it until bedtime. That’s the other problem of working for yourself. No separation between work time and personal time. Although to be honest, that was kind of the case with REEL CANADA too, so it’s not a huge change.

Since getting back on Monday, I’ve gotten up early enough to hit the gym and start my workday by 9ish. It feels amazing, and I really want to keep it going. In the summer, when the sun rises earlier and I’m generally feeling less sluggish and more peppy, it might even be sustainable? If only I didn’t need a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to kickstart this kind of change. First world problems? Jetsetter problems?