Warrior Wednesday – Beginner’s Mind

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One of the concepts we bandy about at martial arts is The Beginner’s Mind. Basically, the idea is to approach something as if you are a white belt and know nothing.

I use it often. At school or while in some other learning environment like a seminar, even if I have learned much of the content before, I clear my mind and pretend I know very little. By doing this, I can listen and absorb things because I don’t dismiss anything. Now, I don’t completely ignore what I’ve learned before. I use that previous knowledge to help me fill in a gap. For example, we were discussing how to get a play script sold and the way the teacher was explaining things seemed a bit convoluted to me. That’s when I used what I knew from film and TV classes to figure out that while in TV and film you need to find a willing producer, with plays, you need to be the producer. To be a producer in TV and film, you need to go to film school. Not so for plays.

I also use this technique when going out on a date because I’d rather assume I know nothing about someone than that I know everything. I may not remember everything discussed, but I’ll know far more than I would otherwise.

It’s helpful with a new martial art because while you’ll know some aspects due to the body only having a limited amount of ways that it can move, the devil can be in the details. Coming to jodo after karate was difficult before I knew about beginner’s mind because I spent so much time in karate trying to square up my stances only to find I need to have an angled stance in jodo. Iaido is more square, but not low, wide, and deep like karate. I actually had to stop doing jodo altogether for awhile because I couldn’t leave my learning from karate behind to allow myself to take on something new.

Beginner’s mind is something I also use to connect with people who are in a different lifestyle or stage of life than I am. It lets me avoid assuming things about people in my classes like their ability to be successful is really only limited by their will to persevere and has nothing at all to do with their age or current level of writing ability.

Now, I only recently came to this last bit about those younger than me. I have been rather stupid lately in regards to things like the Tide Pod epidemic. I’m sorry for that and I’m going to continue to try and be a better person.

One of the things that has made me realize that was the recent trip to Toronto to pitch our projects. At the home of Orphan Black, the woman we met with had us each say a bit about ourselves. I really enjoyed learning more about my younger classmates as many of them have had such a variety of life experiences. Many have traveled more than I have. Many have lived through things like the loss of a parent. I thankfully have not had that experience though I’ve lost many people in my life. The point is that age is mostly just a number. I do think there is a balance between assuming someone younger is inferior in any way and in giving them free reign to change national policies, but that’s not to say they have nothing valuable to contribute to a discussion. It’s more that they don’t know what they don’t know yet.

I haven’t been able to do this yet with music, but maybe someday. Language learning is another area this may help with, but I’m not there with that either.

I feel that The Beginner’s Mind fits quite well with entropy as one must basically blow up all they know and rearrange the pieces to either expand what was already known or to capture what one knew little about previously.

R~

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Symphonic Saturday – Music and My Trip

L4BB3-67RLK3J_RoyRWhat an incredible week I’ve had! I have so many pages of notes from our Toronto pitching trip. Some things didn’t go so great. Something got overlooked and my first film pitch was to a woman who was upset by the content, but gave great feedback on it anyway. I’m now thinking of it being a mix of live action and animation because that would reduce costs and be different. It would also make use of local talent given how many high quality animation studios exist in Ottawa. At my other film pitch, I was told there is a problem with one of the story elements, so I’ve reached out to a medical science organization in the north to see if they can help me find the information I need to fix that piece. He also said that he could see my film being made! Given he works for a distributor that works with a lot of horror films, I’m super stoked! I got up this morning fired up to get the pieces together to fix some parts and make a plan for the next version.

Last night, we used the bus DVD system to watch a couple of movies that my classmate brought. The first was Kubo and the Two Strings. Knowing my love of music and sword based martial arts, you can guess why I picked it. Also, many in my class love animation, so I thought it would be a good pick. I think most really enjoyed it.

After that, we watched Jurassic World. It’s another with a fantastic soundtrack. It always takes me back to high school because we used to play the theme song in music class. It was a wonderful cap to the week as I feel like my life is finally on the right path and it’s the one I started in grade 9 when I joined drama club in high school.

I may have been lost for a while, but I found my way back. This year has been a fantastic journey. I have so many new ideas, twists for old ones, and more! I learned so very much about the industry and what I can bring to it. I saw places like Temple Street Productions where I felt my kind of stories could definitely fit. They gave the world Orphan Black and have received a ton of awards for it. I have to check out The Killjoys as I heard about that one repeatedly. That’s one of theirs too.

One of the things that came out of this was that many love if there is a source material like a novel to draw from in order to make a TV show. TV is way bigger in Canada than movies are, though we do well with horror and the odd other movie like Maudie. When I started this journey, I was partly thinking that screenplays are faster to write than novels are. Now I’m seeing that it’s not one or the other for me, but both. It means that nearly all of my projects will take longer. I have to figure the book piece out for my other stories. I shouldn’t set things in Ottawa if I hope for them to do well. A fictional place is better or an American city because it’s more portable and appeals to a global audience.

Over the course of 3 days, we met with First Generation Films, Bell Media (CTV, Comedy, Space, HBO), DHX Media, OMDC, The Saint Agency, CBC (Comedy, Drama, and Digital), EOne (TV), Temple Street Productions, Mongrel Media, and Corus (Global/Shaw, Showcase, History, and more). My TV show was pitched to CTV and CBC. My film was pitched to The Saint Agency and Mongrel Media.

I met the Teletubbies at DHX.

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I have a gazillion notes to type up, a guitar story to write, and a guitar I haven’t played in several days, so I’m off.

R~

Make-It Monday/Theatrical Tuesday – Coping with Stress

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I meant to post yesterday.

This is an insane week for me, so posting will be sparse and brief. Actually, maybe even non-existent as television and movie companies don’t allow electronic devices thanks to apps like Facebook listening.

Yesterday was Easter Monday in Canada. To some, it meant a holiday. To others, it was a Monday with sale chocolate.

Classes were running. I felt a bit dizzy and I decided the best thing for me to do was to take some time to prepare for the week ahead. I don’t usually miss, but there is a lot of stress right now and sometimes one needs to practice some self-care.

So I hemmed my jeans and did some folding. I did laundry and planned my outfits for the pitching trip. I also practiced my feature film pitch.

With the hectic week ahead, I didn’t travel home to see my family. I’m hoping to soon as I haven’t seen them since Christmas. I’m going to teach them Skype.

Since it was April Fool’s on Sunday, I tried to have my dad tell my mom that I was flunking everything, I was going to starve, but I found a job dancing, and Bruno says I’m talented. He relayed most of it and judging by his laugh, mom made a good face.

On Monday, I also completed the next stage of a job application. It was an online assessment. I hope I did well! I’m happy to have made it this far.

I didn’t sleep well last night as I was freaking out about thoughts of the transit system not getting me to the school on time for the pitch trip. My local bus is one of the worst in the city for suddenly not existing. And especially so when there is bad weather. We’re expecting freezing rain tonight and maybe some snow. I decided that the sensible thing would be to Uber or Lyft to school early, so I can ensure I won’t miss the bus. It won’t be cheap, but if I order it early enough, I won’t have anything to worry about.

I still have to rewrite my feature film’s cue cards. I’m so happy I got blue cards from my teacher!

Well, I’m off to finish packing. You might not hear from me until Friday or Saturday.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Striking Out

sword

Image created using Bitmoji

It’s a tough week for me.

A week filled with nerve-wracking things like pitching my TV show and my film, while also having actors read through my play for the fund-raiser.

Yesterday, we pitched our TV shows. Mine went well and the panel really liked the idea of it.

Last night, my 10-minute play was read by actors. I noticed some problems with it that I’ll need to fix before I submit it to any contests, but what an experience! The woman casted as my hockey mom character was bang on! And it was just a cold read through, which means she hadn’t ever seen the script before. I can’t wait to see what she does between now and rehearsal and then the reading on Monday! The others were great too, but I really felt that she brought it off the page the most. Oh, my teacher’s husband was awesome too. He’s a professional voice actor and has one of those voices that could make just about anything sound good.

But that meant I was at the college a little passed 9 pm last night. I didn’t get home until slightly after 10 pm and hadn’t had supper yet. It was around 11 pm by the time I had eaten.

Today, I’m fighting one hell of a headache. It’s one of those ones where I can’t tell if it’s actually my neck hurting, lack of sleep, lack of food, an allergic reaction, or something else like the stress of pitching my feature film earlier today.

Speaking about the feature film pitch, it didn’t go great. I realized it should be longer, but tried to add things in after the part I had memorized and that made it seem like my story arc is a mess when it’s not a mess in the script. We’ve been told by some people not to compare our films to other films and to do so by others. It’s falling out of favour supposedly, but I think I need to for mine to help set the mood for my pitch properly and reduce confusion.

Anyway, I came into this day much like a warrior would, having poor sleep and other really not ideal things going on. That’s life though.

In the end, it doesn’t matter so much that it didn’t go well because I’ll have more opportunities to fix it and I learned key things that will help me do so. Were it a sword though, I would be dead. Instead, I learned a lot that will hopefully help me do well in the future.

With only a couple of weeks until the big pitch trip in Toronto, I’ll be rewriting my pitch and testing it on friends before I go.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Make-It Monday – Exciting Times

bitmoji_goalsI finished the bulk of my first screenplay this weekend. Unfortunately, it’s falling short of the range of pages it should be in. Fortunately, I have ideas to fix that problem. One idea came from going out to a friend’s photography exhibition on Friday. We talked a bit about my movie and my friends suggested something to add; a pet. I really liked the specific idea they had, but it will also help me make my opening scene better while reinforcing the theme. The other idea came from one of my teachers. I couldn’t see the importance of getting more specific about my one character, but now I see showing more of him will not only give me the pages I need, but I can use his scenes to somewhat mirror what my protagonist is going through and foreshadow things to come. I’m excited to write the next pieces of my feature!

I had a meeting today that might lead to some writing work for me. It was a great meeting and I’m looking forward to the possibility of working with the person. I could tell I would learn a lot from the experience and if it goes well, it could be fruitful for all involved.

I’ve been getting my 10-minute play ready to be read publicly by actors next Monday at the Hot House play reading series! If you’re in the area, please come. It’s $5 to help us fund-raise for our Toronto trip next month, which will likely help us get our careers off to a good start.

When I got home today, it was hard to focus. Hopped up on caffeine and with so much going on, I felt scatterbrained, so I sat down and prioritized my work. I organized my scripts for Hot House. I tweaked both of my pitches and got them ready for the next couple of days where we are pitching to local industry experts. I felt a little better once I got both of those things squared away. Now I must work on memorizing them.

Once I get through this week, I have one major presentation left in April and the rest of my workload looks to be mainly things like a portfolio and resume after our pitching trip in Toronto.

My life has so much good potential right now and good things that are happening that I’m feeling truly blessed. My soul hasn’t felt so peacefully energized in a very long time. It’s fantastic to be chasing my dreams! Actually, I feel like my soul is humming at a frequency it’s never reached before!

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – Begin at the Beginning

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As I begin to write my one act play, I’m deliberating where to start it. Do I start like a movie and give a bit of the ordinary world then have something happen that turns the place upside down? Do I have one character come in utterly disturbed and they are the catalyst?

I’m leaning with the latter because it means less set changes, but perhaps I could have them witness something from the “window” and then they all react differently to it. I like that idea too.

Deciding where to start can be hard as a writer because each decision closes doors. It’s important to realize it opens other ones. This forges a path somewhere. Ideally, you should know where you’re headed, but sometimes we don’t.

The important thing is to pick somewhere to start or you’ll never write anything. You can always change it later if it isn’t working.

Many things in life are like that.

Life itself even. I’m constantly evaluating where I am and where I’d like to be. It’s a habit I learned studying LEAN management. Continuous improvement. Often, it takes many small changes over several years, but I digress.

And, of course I need to think about set design. It’s an office, but I think I want it to be a modern, open one.

Ooo, I think I just figured out how to open my play and I think it’s pretty cool.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Make-It Monday – Energy

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This weekend I went to Montreal to spend time with friends while practicing martial arts.

I struggled a little as the seminar was Muso Shinden Ryu and we practice Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. Some things are subtly different like how we block when doing Ukenagashi. Ours is more angled and we use the edge rather than the flat part to block with, for example. If you don’t know the differences, you may go back to your own dojo and do things incorrectly. Hopefully that doesn’t happen to me tomorrow.

At the start of the weekend, my energy was all wrong. I felt pretty depleted from school and tired of most things. Especially social media.

But also, my surroundings haven’t been how I would like them to be and I think that has been disrupting my energy. And it’s not just that I need to get rid of more stuff. That’s part of it, but I realized that I was surrounded by a wall colour I chose five years ago partly because my ex never let me do such a thing. It was like it was more about doing something to spite him than it was about doing something good for me.

So, I’m repainting my walls. I’ve chosen a blue because blue has always been my favourite colour. It’s a light blue-grey called sea spray that is very calming while being energizing. Depending on the time of day, it looks different and I like that. It’s like it’s more than one colour at once. My car is like that too. So are my glasses. I guess I’m drawn to things like that…

While the old paint is still bleeding through the new after one coat, it feels way better than it did. I can’t stop looking at it. Here’s a teaser:

before and after

With a six-hour wait time between coats, it’s going to take a while to complete, but I think it’ll be well worth the effort.

I also feel better after spending time with good friends enjoying sushi, sake, chocolate, and conversation.

I think I’ll take tonight off and get back at the homework tomorrow. I’m going to try and get three things done during this break: a play review (mostly written because of the notes I took while watching it), a book review (still reading it, but making notes as I go along), and a hefty chunk of reading/analyzing of a movie for a presentation that’s coming up. If I get all that done, I’ll start writing my One Act Play and continue with my feature film. After all that is more work on the original TV show.

I got a little stressed thinking about all that, but then I looked at my walls and I felt calm again.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~