Moving Day

Journal Entry -- July 1st, 1979 - Driving from Calgary to Toronto to take a job with CBC Radio.

"Hot, hot, hot. Man is it hot ... these prairie miles are killing me. Elevators and half tons and fat old Ukrainian guys in ballcaps. Had a grilled cheese sandwich and a tomato juice at the Husky in Swift Current -- got into Regina about 3-ish. Five hundred and five miles door to door...hope mum and dad are OK, they looked old and sad and kind of ....small. The C-town boys wished me well and said they'd visit for beers in the big city. Marg did too. Hmmm - not sure about that. Should be way past Winnipeg tomorrow...maybe make T-Bay...four days to go...rock AND roll."


September 13th, 2007

For almost thirty years I've been fighting to find a place in this industry. At 53, I think I've found it. It is a damp little basement where mould grows on the bread in the bread box but it gets eaten anyway and the upstairs neighbours flop around like dying salmon - lucky bastards.

Freelance writing. Vacation relief. Short term contracts. CBC Radio. Morningside. As It Happens. CBC Television. The National. The Journal. Managua. Delhi. Washington. Berlin. London. Toronto ... and since '93 Independent Production.

A few years ago I almost made a million dollars. Really. A little TV show my wife and I created sold 'round the world. When the US Discovery Channel picked it up at 25k per half hour for US cable rights we did well. After all, we had 26 episodes in the can with another 39 financed and ready to go. Do the math. And that was just the US market - we retained ownership to the rest of the world. Once you sell a show in the US the dominos start to fall. Discovery UK, Oz, South Africa, Germany, Japan ... all the big markets pick it up. And then there are all the smaller sales. Israel = 1500 per ep. Argentina = 500. Even the goddamn Azerbijanies buy shows (they're slow payers by the way - ie: never).

After the distributor took 30% plus expenses (Note to file: ALWAYS cap expenses and make sure expense money is NOT spent in year #1 of the distribution deal and keep your deal to 2 maybe 3 years) we still did well. A year later we were getting divorced however after losing it all when a different project went down like the Titanic leaving us holding the bag for 400k (note to file: do NOT sign personal guarantees on company interim financing loans). But that's another story - an interesting one, but I'm too tired to re-visit it now.

These days I try and keep up with all the treetop CRTC policy positions and lobbying efforts of the various craft guilds but to be honest - as I try and feed my kids, I'm more concerned about whether History gets to keep on running CSI - New York and JAG ... whether the new Global management team will try to push the already healthy profit margin at Alliance Atlantis channels up..up...up by laying off staff and cutting licence fees. And whether the CBC will turn the Documentary Channel into a window for the in-house production unit. I think they will. I know it's ALL part of the same "big picture" discussion. But long term policy issues don't put short term cash in my pocket.

My divorce lawyer had a sign over his desk that read -: "faecesi venio" Translation ?

Shit happens.

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