Monday, May 21, 2012

Banff World Media Festival

Funny story.

A long time ago, in a far away land known as Edmonton...I worked in a legal library and my job included anything from shelving books, updating filing, updating statutes, tracking them back to British law, conducting lit searches,  database searches in Quicklaw-LexisNexis to find precedents in case law, scads of name it.

Everything was a rush. Suits abounded. We chewed on stress like bubblegum. Without it, I couldn't function.

Then my husband and I moved to this small, wonderful town of Cold Lake, where he landed his first teaching job and I scooped up an elementary school library position. I went from highlighting lines in Vriend v. Alberta to reading picture books aloud to young children. Talk about culture shock.

Anyway, during my time at the law firm, writing fiction was a merely a hobby of mine and most of my creative energy went toward the very cool little band I was with at the time, Dark-Eyed Junco. But I was intrigued when one day it was announced that a lawyer at the firm, Greg Ball, was leaving to pursue other things.

Screenwriting things.

Greg Ball and his writing partner, Steve Blackman, had written a pilot episode for a legal drama and pitched it at the Banff World Media Festival - successfully. The resulting show, The Associates, ran for two seasons. Ball also earned writing and production credits for shows like NYPD Blue and Bones. Here's an article on The Associates worth reading.

How I wish I'd been into scripts back in the day - I so could have picked his brain. ;) But I should get to the whole point of my rambling - the method Ball and Blackman used to pitch in Banff.

They were winging it all the way. Discovered at the last minute that meetups with executives / producers had to be scheduled in advance, could only afford to stay at a motel and not in the beautiful Banff Springs Hotel, almost got kicked out when it was discovered they didn't pay for the entire festival. They crashed the party, took risks, and won.

Here's the full scoop on their adventure in a Writer's Guild of Alberta article.

Now, this is an odd, inspiring story to me on many levels. My writing partner, Dawn Ius, and I are about to embark on our own Banff World Media excursion - this June - to pitch several TV series treatments.

Here's hoping we have even a portion of Ball and Blackman's success.

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