Alright, so I admit, this Banff thing is a mite intimidating. Suits, beautiful people at the top of their game, gadgets, loglines, sizzle reels and names dropping more than testicles during a baby boom. This festival is fancy, competition is fierce, and Dawn and I have often found ourselves floundering.
But we're getting the lay of the land, finding our feet (despite Dawn's cute / impractical-for-mountian-ranges shoes) and hell, this is our first Banff experience. It's supposed to be nerve racking. As one panel speaker said at the "Rookie in the Rockies" intro session, "If you're not scared, there's something wrong."
As a writer, used to banging out words in my PJs while my dogs snooze on the couch, Banff is a look at the business suit side of the film and television industry. The number crunchers. The movers and shakers. The meeting breakers and career makers.
I should be disheartened. There's little movie magic in conversations that revolve around algorithms, trends in digital content, network executives wondering how to deal with YouTube and Netflix - but you know what?
There IS magic here.
There are newbies, like us, who are learning the ropes and tossing each other life lines as we go. Networking opportunities abound. And in every session we've attended so far, Dawn and I have been relieved to hear - loud and clear - a message that all writers will appreciate.
It's all about the story.
The media tie-ins, multiple-format platforms, social television integration - the audience and the money won't be there without characters people care about and tales that transport us from the daily grind.
So yeah, Dawn and I may not quite blend, we may feel as out of place as an elk in a china shop. We aren't fancy. But damn, we have stories to tell and we're here to make sure they get heard.
Here are a few vlogs of our adventures thus far: