(Suzanne Araujo as courier/actress wannabe Glynis Hartley)
It’s what separates the troopers from the pack.
It’s what makes you want it more and brings you back.
It may deflate your ego
Try to bring your spirit down.
It cuts right down to your very soul.
Is just one stupid person’s thought.
Rejection makes you whole.
( “Wake Me When It’s Over”)
I wrote these words as part of my musical “Wake Me When It’s Over” nearly ten years ago. It’s what I believe then and still believe now.
This morning, like most, Iago my bearded collie and my neighbour’s dog Ozzie, a boarder collie, headed off on our daily hike into the woods. I cherish these walks for they give me time to develop ideas and work through problems. Usually by the end of the walk I have a spark and am able to hit the keyboard of my laptop running at full speed.
On the advice of a friend, I’ve begun to take my smartphone along.
“Who knows what could happen to me while hiking out there!”
I’ve always imagined, or hoped, that Iago or Ozzie would run back to town for help, a scene right out of Lassie. However, the truth is if I collapsed Ozzie would jump on me licking my face raw and Iago would circle us endlessly barking for forever.
Ozzie and Iago…a whole lot of lovin’
Anyway, I digress. Damn dogs. They are a big distraction!
So here we are walking along and my phone pings telling me that “I’ve got mail”. I took a quick look and recognized the sender as an employee of our beloved CBC. I knew what it was.
I have four very commercial projects that I’m out there pitching; a screenplay “The Grass Widow”, “Channel 3” a crime mystery series, plus “Thanks a lot Bernie Madoff” and “Scenes From My Dock!”, both comedy series.
The Madoff project I didn’t expect them to bother with since it’s set in New York. “Channel 3” is about a crime reporter who unwillingly gets help from ghosts of people from her past lives. This one has special effects and time travel. The only Canadian thing in it is the multicultural cast. “The Grass Widow”, is a screenplay that features a beloved character from my stage play, the eccentric American socialite Bunny Bevington-Smythe. A majority of the screenplay is set in Muskoka during the 40’s. The final project, “Scenes From My Dock!”, is set in Canadian Cottage Country.
CBC is very specific about their Canadian agenda, as they have told me over and over and over again and over again. Okay, beside the Madoff Project, all the projects hit the Canadian content mark.
Their email began with…
“After much discussion, we are deciding to pass on all 4 projects.”
Wow! I’ve never been slapped like that before. It was like a writer’s S&M session.
It followed with…
“We felt that though the setting of SCENES FROM MY DOCK was great…We have also had projects similar to this in development before which failed to gain traction.”
I sure hope they are not referring to “Mosquito Lake”!
“CHANNEL 3…the TV series angle is also something that we try to stay away from in terms of format.”
“THANKS A LOT BERNIE MADOFF i s a tough one as we are looking for series that are set in Canada. We felt the concept had the tendency to veer into broad comedy…which doesn’t fit in with the tone we are looking for.”
You are the CBC, right?
And finally for my screenplay THE GRASS WIDOW which is totally Canadian, inside and out…
“…we are currently looking for movies that our based on important Canadian literary properties or are centred on events that are of historical importance to Canadians.”
This is cut and pasted. Didn’t she proof read?
In all fairness, I did not expect any of my ideas to make the CBC cut. Another common theme in this particular rejection letter was…
“due to the CBC’s current economic reality.”
It sort of reminded me of the time I applied for a grant from Canada Council to work on my stage play about the wife of Norman Bethune who ended up in a insane asylum. They praised me on the idea and the work, plus they said the selection committee loved it, but…
“We ain’t got the bucks!”
I’m not worried. Right now all these projects and more are either being considered by or I’m in discussion over with private production companies and broadcasters in Canada and the U.S..
Perhaps I should pitch Mrs. Bethune as a project to the CBC. No, wait. She ended up institutionalized in Scotland. Damn. If only they had thrown her into the infamous Orillia Asylum. It was in cottage country and I could have had her visited by Stephen Leacock!