Brian’s Journey

Jensen Ackles in an episode of Supernatural where he gets pulled back to 1944 always reminds me of Brian.
Jensen Ackles in an episode of Supernatural where he gets pulled back to 1944 always reminds me of Brian.

This week I’m working at the Canadian Film Centre with some truly awesome screenwriters – Ellen Vanstone , Noelle Carbone @noelcarbs and Tara Armstrong.

One of the things that has come up at this stage of this pilot script is character layers. Now thankfully, everyone agrees that Portia has a lot of layers and a lot going on both on the page and hopefully, someday on the screen. We even agreed that Annie’s backstory with her twin brothers, travelling father, fighting for a foothold in the London press provided a strongly layered character.

The character that seemed to have less going on, literally, was Brian Dawes.

Brian is just the prototypical nice guy in my books. He doesn’t have a lot of conflict and he doesn’t change much between book one and book three. He supports Portia (because it’s right), he does his job well (because he’s good) and he loves his parents (because you should). I remember when I was writing him that I wanted there to be one character who was totally normal, but I think he might be TOO normal.
Like, uninterestingly so.

So, I’m going to spend the rest of January thinking about Brian’s layers and the journey he should make over the course of the books/series:

  • What motivates him?
  • What stymies him?
  • What is his ultimate goal?
  • What scares him?
  • Where does he see himself in 10 years? 20 years?

My next blog post will answer some of those questions and more and hopefully, feed into this script!

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Workshop at the Canadian Film Centre

Last week I had the opportunity to workshop my TV pilot with the teams at EOne and the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) at their North York campus location. First of all, it’s a gorgeous place to spend a week, just take a look:

E.P. Taylor’s historic Windfields Estate in Toronto, otherwise known as CFC’s campus

Secondly, we (Kat Sandler, Michael Stewart and I) met with a fantastic range of writers and producers who took us through the stages of adapting our work for television.

Al MacGee, Lynn Coady, Martin Gero, David Shore, Morwyn Brebner and Michael MacLennan all gave us so much to think about and were incredibly open about their own journeys.

Now all we have to do is write! Next post will be about the pilot shows I’ve been watching to break them down into their act structure (thanks to Al and his day of deconstructing).

Announcement: I’m Writing a TV Pilot!

I’ve recently been given the opportunity to write a pilot for a Portia Adams Adventure TV Series, and I’ve decided to add this process to my website as well, in the hopes that fans find the development of interest.

The journey begins at the Toronto Screenwriting Conference, where I attended several fascinating sessions.

whiteboardStephen Falk gave a great demonstration of how to break down a season into acts that I’m excited to put into action. I got a chance to speak to him after his talk about pilots, and he had some specific tips and tricks for me.
The session with Nicole Clemens of F/X was a little less useful to me specifically, but interesting.
Glen Mazzara’s breakdown of Damien was fascinating. He played the first episode for us but paused every few beats to explain how each scene developed.
The session that really made it hard to sleep that night, though, was Corey Mandell’s TV Series Engine. His By Association concept is one I’d like to try, in conjunction with the 3-act process Falk demonstrated.