The Beautiful Girl - part #2

Journal Entry – Toronto
Sunday, March 23rd. 1980.

Had dinner last night with MFD my favourite colleague who has great instincts for those Morningside-type stories. She recently did a piece about the snow storm of junk mail which fall from magazines when you turn them upside down and give them a good shake.

This item got more mail than ANY story we’ve done so far this year. Even more than the Trudeau interview.

See – Canadians DO care about something.

Over many glasses of wine MF told me that she’s really stressed about our disorganized Referendum coverage as there’s not much else in her life right now but work. If she gets fired she’s worried she’ll become a BMW.

...a Bitter Media Woman.

She also told me this little story:

MF used to book the political columnist from the Washington Post as part of our regular USA panel. Months of pre-interview phone calls led to a long distance relationship before they'd even laid eyes on each other – a real radio love affair.

Eventually this guy invited her down for the weekend. But in a classy Washington Post kind of way (unlike my six beers and a hoagie Alberta technique).

He'd get her a hotel in Georgetown. They’d meet, have dinner, talk face-to-face, and take it from there. Nice.


MF didn’t really want to go. Why ? She was...shy. Always has been. Peer pressure from the office forced her to jump on that southbound plane.

7pm on a Washington Saturday night. The phone rang. He was in the lobby...”c’mon down...can’t wait to meet you – at last.” She froze. The phone rang again...and again ... and again. A few minutes later a knock on the door. MF sat mute. Dressed to kill. Didn’t answer the door - didn’t even take a sneak peak out the spy hole.

Flew back the next day. Never met him. Never spoke to him again. Someone else took over his bookings.

This little story really choked me up. I was part of the gang that forced her to go.

I hadn't really thought it through. The whole thing seemed like an adventure to me. Gotta get smarter. Gotta get a life too. Came home feeling like an...


Stupid office boy.


Journal Entry. Winnipeg
November 8th, 2007

I’ve been writing a lot of show pitches lately without much success.

I am however pleased to report that Fat n’ Furry is still alive and kicking its chubby little legs. Development Hell is aptly named.

At times like these it’s easy to hit the default button and curse the suits for being lazy and dense. But in my experience most aren’t. However they ARE a mutant species of shape-shifters and slow-movers.

What really annoys me are the differences in our hours-of-work. The other day I wrote my first email at 4:43 am. In my present incarnation I work many longer hours than I ever did at a network. Why ? I have to. The pension plan is crap.

However I too have a shadowy place I shape-shift into when I get stressed and crabby. It has a strangely comforting soundtrack -:

“woke up this morning got yourself a gun; Mama always said you'd be The Chosen One. She said: you're one in a million and you’ve got to burn to shine, But you were born under a bad sign, with a blue moon in your eyes.”

Interior car: Don and Tony driving down the Don Valley

Cutaway : Bloor street viaduct / Gardner West exit sign / urban blight – various.

Interior car: Tony’s eyes. Don’s eyes.

Cutaway: car wheels / Union Station / people crossing Front Street.

Exterior: Broadcast building with red checker-board windows.

Interior: conference room / Don, Tony, various suits.

Sync Tony: you like this freaking idea, right ? Sure you do. See ? It’s easy. You just kick up that CTF envelope and we’ll all get along fine. Let's go have a drink at the Bing.





These are the heart beats of the development process. Each one a skill in its own right.

The Inspiration must be creative. But even more so it HAS to be focused and relevant to the audience.

The Articulation must be rigorous. Write the idea out. Again and again and again. Each time the treatment will become clearer and more cohesive.

The Presentation must be compelling. But above all else – passionate.

The Closing. This is where most projects die which is why you need a buddy like Tony.

Closing the deal becomes a kind of signed-in-blood partnership with the network exec who steps up for you and your project.

You need their TRUST.

Because as every Wise Guy knows you never get whacked for keeping your mouth shut and saying "NO".

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