Posts tagged ‘philosophy’
September 15, 2015
Apologies for the sparse posting this summer, my friends. Work, travel, and Life got in the way (as they so often do), but I intend to hop back on the blog-horse for regular features and updates over the next 6 months at least. As always, your patience with my scheduling weirdness is infinitely appreciated. And speaking of weird…
In my creative and my personal life, I see patterns.
Something as seemingly random as a rush hour commute with all-green-light intersections takes on prophetic business meaning. Pairs of butterflies circling the deck every morning for a week becomes a relationship omen. Monthly jolts awake after the same bonkers dream, only to see the same goddamn numbers glaring back at me:
(And the less a superstitious double-Gemini says about the thrice-annual shit-show of Mercury Retrograde, the better — back up those files and don’t sign contracts for a month, kiddos…the pattern of ‘Karmic fun’ starts tomorrow!)
Sure. It could just be my monkey brain’s way of making some desperate sense out of absurd, everyday, garden-variety chaos. But what fun is that? Especially when some of the greatest creative and scientific minds in history were/are ardent believers that recognizing patterns and potential connections between objects and events was the key to attaining higher knowledge and artistic excellence???
And that brings us to today’s topic: MEMOS from the MUSE.
Over the past six months or so, a common theme has reared its strange and fantastical head in the stuff I’ve been working on, as well as projects I’ve been brought in to help shape: the WHIMSICAL. The damn term keeps popping up in personal writings, in random conversations, highlighted in reference material, or even blurted out during conference calls. And it always came, it would seem, with the same qualifier: DARK.
How can you NOT smell a pattern like that? If the Muse keeps tickling your brain-balls, then it only makes sense to hear Her out over rib-eyes and a nice cab-merlot, amirite?
So I do what I like to call ‘tracing it back‘.
Follow the breadcrumbs of influence. Find the Alpha of the thought that’s recurring, which might help you predict the Omega of the path that you’re on — IE: the end result of the pattern — what it’s been trying to tell you from the start.
I recalled the shows and movies and books I loved as a kid.
I pondered the stuff I’m drawn to, and the tales I’m now driven to tell.
I revisited the last studio gig I agreed to, and the direction I gave to the team:
The music on that Hellboy 2 short is by my genius composer cousin, Tobias Tinker. We’d been making musical magic together for 7 years…and then that was that. I went off on walkabouts. He made more cool shit.
Last month, I flew my weary ass to his home in Berlin to see if our mutually-creative fires could be rekindled. It only occurs to me now that another 7 years had passed since our last big jam. And there we were, discussing the score on a massive (and massively daunting) audiobook project…
‘What’s the vibe you’re after?’ he asked.
‘Dark, of course,’ I said, ‘but there’s something else…’
I sat up, and I think I felt the ghost of a gear click into place as I spoke the word. And then, in one afternoon, we built the following piece around our masterful narrator‘s silky boom:
A pained music box. Flourishes of harp. Mysterious choir. Moody strings.
A month later, I couldn’t help but smirk when discussing part of a (secret = SHHH!) reality TV project’s score with its producers. There was a scene near the end that needed a special sonic touch — ‘heavier’ than the rest of the program, but still retaining a hint of playfulness and ‘hope’. I referred the editor to a section from Howard Shore’s score for The Fellowship of the Ring.
You can probably guess what two words were exchanged. 😉
That brings us to just last week. A designer on a seriously epic (and another SECRET!!!) game thingie asked me for input on the soundtrack.
Let me say this — if you were privy to the IP in question and what these cats have planned for it? Then you’d barf up the same goddamn tags I’ve been chucking since springtime. But that might mean very little to someone not lost in the vortex of signs and symbols…you know…like yours truly.
Thankfully, since I’d been bashing my head on this whimsy trip for months (nay, a lifetime!), there was an easier way to communicate. To share the PATTERN, whispered long ago through the Chaos by the Muse…
To be useful in this moment.
Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away = bombs of whimsy, yo!
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen = fanciful theatricality and fairytale decadence to legendary excess!!
The Dark Crystal = ground zero for ‘dark whimsy’ from my childhood!!!
What are some of YOUR dark and whimsical favourites?
And what patterns have played a role in YOUR creative and personal lives?
Sound off in the Comments…right below the kitten in a top hat…
January 7, 2014
I’m about to edit a book. Seems like a straightforward mission statement, right? But for me, the prose editing process generates a special, singular kind of fear. I’ll get to that in a second.
When you’re launching an initial assault on the blank page, there’s a leap-into-the-void, roll-the-goddamn-dice, what’s-the-worst-that-can-happen? kinda quality to the whole thing. That’s why I actually enjoyed the NaNoWriMo exercise – you show up, put your head down, and commit to your daily word count. That’s it. So, if your outline was strong enough, and your characters were clearly defined, and you respected your narrative roadmap (no matter how many shortcuts or off-road excursions you indulged in along the way), you’re gonna end up with something. And, unless you’re a complete tool, said thing will resemble an actual ‘story’, with words and paragraphs and dialogue and chapters and a beginning, middle, and end. Groovy.
But then comes the hard part. You see, in keeping with my oft-stated transmedia philosophy, Storytelling (on singular or multiple platforms) is akin to the mining, cutting, and polishing of a precious gem. Writing in prose has only reaffirmed that for me. The story outline is where one surveys the land and takes soil samples. The first draft is digging and sifting until you find the raw stone. Which makes the hardest part – the detailed cutting and polishing phases, which give the stone its unique beauty and shine — the edit.
December 17, 2013
Seasons Greetings, friends and followers — I truly hope the season finds you happy, healthy, and sharing/basking in goodwill with all!
It’s been quiet in this space for a few months, and there’s a reason for that. As some of you already know, I’m working on something new. Honest. Not a sequel (to this), or a one-shot (like this), or even another screenplay. This labour of love is the first in a five-book fantasy series for ‘middle grade’ readers (8-12yrs) — think Narnia or Potter, but more contemporary. With (appropriate) horror. And pirates. And lots and lots of cats.
October 15, 2013
(the following is reposted from a submission of mine that was featured on Tiny Buddha last month, and again on Life As a Widower. It’s a true story from my childhood, though my folks would probably say I was leaning into ‘literary license’ territory. 😉 That said, this is the unedited version of the tale, which includes a pictorial peek at my old stomping grounds. More importantly, I want to commemorate the completion of the outline for a long-in-development series of four children’s books, directly inspired by the events recounted below. For all of you taking part in this year’s NaNoWriMo…know that I’m there in the literary trenches with you – BB)
I’ve always been a ‘cat guy’. This was long before my Buddhist friends told me stories of how cats are true earthly masters, here on earth to show us the Way. Or, to demonstrate the meditative perfection of the feline purr. Or, how the life of a cat is seen in some traditions as reward for ‘good Karma’.
When I lived in rural Nova Scotia, the house was blessed with two cats named Midge and Mooch: tabby mixes, who would come and go as they pleased, and were kind enough…if not overly affectionate. I kept asking for a cat of my own, and my folks eventually buckled. For my seventh birthday, I received a black and white kitten with golden eyes and a salmon-pink nose. He took to me instantly. Love at first meow.
September 30, 2013
As featured in this project post, my friends and collaborators at Hulo Films in Vancouver have been working with acclaimed producer/director Barnet Bain (What Dreams May Come) and celebrated spiritual author Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) to bring the inspirational children’s book Milton’s Secret to life as a live-action feature.
I was honoured to be brought in during the early phases to help shape their transmedia strategy, contribute to branding (‘When life gets heavy, find a better way to carry it’), and offer story notes. Now, with the script receiving kudos from all corners, the project securing support from the Harold Greenberg Fund, and Hollywood legend Peter Fonda signing on to star, the next phase can now be revealed.
In a little over a week, the official INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN for Milton’s Secret has already raised in excess of $100,000! The goal in the next 30 days is to raise the $1M necessary to match gov’t and tax credit contributions, allowing this special work to be completely independent of the studio system.
Check out the following short for the straight skinny from Barnet Bain, Hulo producer Stephen Huszar, and Eckhart himself.
There are heaps of great incentives for all levels of contribution — limited edition scripts and videos, mindfulness tools, and even red carpet events — so please consider ‘kicking something into the kitty’ to help bring this inspirational story to eyes and minds around the world!