Ottawa or Bust!

October 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Film Festivaling

(I just wanted to say the word, “bust”.  I’m cheeky like that.)

I’ve recently arrived home from two days at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival where I discovered Artistic Director, Sean Wilson has the exact same head as Rick Mercer.  Not the same face, mind you.  Just the cranium.  The shape, the hair, and the disproportionately child-like size.  It was pretty cool, I must say.

I was actually in Ottawa for three days, the first being made up of a lovely evening out at McDonald’s with my “Little Brother Figure”, Aaron Bradford.  I’m pretty sure he’ll thoroughly hate this paragraph.  When I first met Bratworst he was in high school, with long, blue hair, and had just let his friends shave his eyebrows off.  He said, “They made me.” but I highly doubt they physically pinned him down.  People called him “Marilyn Manson” for a year.  Now Bradford is all grow’d up, I suppose, and not actually that much younger than me, now.  He has a good hair cut, he can grow a full beard, he wears pants that fit and he has begun showering regularly.  It’s working for him.  Back in the early days when I knew little about animation and Bradford knew little about changing his pants, I starred him in a video series for a large Youth organization.  It was called, “Bradford’s Magic Photo Album“.

Evening #2 for me involved a screening of the Moving Stories Film Festival and a very friendly Hospitality Room.  Paul (Quarrington) had arrived at the Hospitality Room earlier in the day and thought it very inhospitable that it was closed.

I enjoyed hearing an audience respond to my film that evening, although it was very noticeable that we were at a writer’s festival, and not a film fest.  Nobody claps at readings and thus, nobody clapped at the films.  …It felt kind of like church.  I did, however, hear one person sheepishly air-clap and whisper, “woo-woo” after mine.  That rocked.

I met Charles Hodgson, of Podictionary.com, the pod cast which explores a word root every day!  I now have a CD and a book I am very interested in delving into.  It’s not often you meet a real, live etymologist.  In fact, it’s not often I use the word “etymology”.  Where does that word come from?  Charles would know!

Day #3 was for masterclasses.  I attended “Adapting Books: From Page to Screen” with Judith Keenan and Paul Quarrington, moderated by Tom Shoebridge.  Intriguing, entertaining, and informative.
Quarrington was trying to salvage his voice for a concert that evening with his band, The PorkBelly Futures, so his comments and answers were interspersed with swigs of Buckley’s Cough Syrup.

From six to seven I attended my own masterclass workshop, entitled, “Animating Books: From Page to Screen”.  I was joined by Gary Thomas of Crush Inc. and it was moderated by Chris Robinson, Artistic Director of the Ottawa Int. Animation Festival.  (Who, by the way, if he reads this post because of the Google alert that comes with the tag, is NOT a “Cranky Fart”.  You heard it here.)

I really enjoyed being on the small panel of two, but only wished it could have gone longer.  We screened our work and that took up some time.  I realized once we were up there that both Gary and I are animation cheaters.  I mean, our current, featured work was barely “animation” at all (not that we don’t animate, but what we were showing involved a lot of live-action).  But then, perhaps animation by its nature is “cheating”.  Yep.  That’s what I’ll say.  And if you disagree, you can fight me.

Then on to a nap, during which I was not able to sleep, in spite of my cushy hotel bed (two of them, actually.  I love the superfluous second beds.)  I wasn’t able to fall asleep on either of them.

I got up and eagerly jotted off to the big show, “Writers That Rock”, with a lovely line-up, including the most creativity I’ve seen in some long time by the hilarious Bob Wiseman (Keep an ear to the ground for his live performances, wherever you might be), and closing off with the PorkBelly Futures with Paul Q., who, by this time had a line-up of throat medications displayed for the audience, taking appropriate swigs and drops and suppositories, depending on the difficulty of the given song.
Despite his struggle to stay coherent and conscious (enough Buckley’s will do that to you), they all sounded great.

As the evening wrapped up and people headed out to be hospitable, I tried that “sleeping” thing again, with some success.

And that’s that.

Now it’s time for one of those “real jobs”, I guess.

Until the next festival…