Archive for the ‘CBC Television’ Category

Stuart McLean 1948-2017

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

stuart-mclean

It’s certainly a sad day in the humour-writing world after learning that Stuart McLean, the three-time Leacock Medal winner, wonderful storyteller, and creator of the Vinyl Cafe had passed away. To me, he reflected, and perfected, a very Canadian sense of humour that was gentler, often self-deprecating, never mean, frequently moving, and always funny. He explored that terrain where tears meet laughter, and he did it very, very well. When I somehow won the Leacock Medal in 2008 for my first novel, I remember giving thanks in my impromptu acceptance speech for Dave and Morley’s quiet and uneventful year. You see, Stuart McLean did not have a Vinyl Cafe book out that year or I suspect he would have won the Leacock, not I. His legions of devoted readers and listeners are bereft today. I’m one of them.

Here’s the CBC piece that ran on The National last night, including a very brief reminiscence from me.

 

Nine years later…

Friday, January 1st, 2016

2015

Yes, you’re right, it’s time to cast my mind back over the last year for the annual counting of my writerly blessings. I started this yearly tradition back in late December 2007, one year after I started this blog. And every year since, I’ve reminded myself, and anyone who happens upon this humble blog, that, nine years later, I have been very fortunate in my life as a writer. 2015 was no exception:

  • I slowed down a bit on the book talk circuit but still managed to put in well over 100 appearances in support of No Relation and then, later in the year, Poles Apart. I spoke at book clubs, literary festivals, writers conferences, libraries, community organizations,  schools, and many other venues. I’m convinced my book sales are heavily influenced by how many talks I give. And we all know how important book sales are to a writer’s ability to land publishing deals for future books. So I’ll be on the road again in 2016. Happily, I enjoy this part of the writer’s life.
  • The Best Laid Plans TV series won two Canadian Screen Awards. My wife and I were at the ceremony when Jonas Chernick won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Peter Moss also won for Best Director.
  • Last spring, I again taught the Humour Writing course at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. (Incidentally, I’m due to start teaching the eight-week course again later in January.)
  • In July, I was one of the writers aboard the Ocean Endeavour for the twelve-day Adventure Canada  cruise up the coast of Labrador all the way north to Ungava Bay. It was an extraordinary experience, not just geographically with ice bergs and polar bears, but the people, staff and passengers, were amazing. I’ll never forget the experience.
  • In September, I had the surreal experience of boarding a flight in Toronto bound for Vancouver, reading a few chapters of my first novel, The Best Laid Plans in the early part of the flight, then watching an episode of the CBC-TV series The Best Laid Plans on the Air Canada entertainment system, and finishing off the day by watching the debut performance of The Best Laid Plans – A Musical, at the York Theatre in Vancouver. I loved the musical produced by Touchstone Theatre and Patrick Street Productions. Efforts are underway to have the show tour. I’ll keep you posted.
  • I signed an option agreement with PDM Entertainment, the same production company that produced The Best Laid Plans TV series for CBC, for the film rights to No Relation, my fourth novel. The wonderful actor/writer, Jonas Chernick (Daniel Addison in the TBLP TV series), is writing the screenplay. There’s a long way to go yet, but the first steps have been taken.
  • While at the annual Writers’ Trust Gala, I was introduced to one of my literary heroes, John Irving. I managed to construct several complete sentences in a row while my heart pounded beneath my tux.

This is not an exhaustive review of 2015, just some of the highlights for me. Looking ahead, 2016 is shaping up to be another busy year. In the next two months I have about a dozen speaking gigs scheduled, including trips to Whitehorse in a few weeks, and Galiano Island off the west coast in February.

I’m also working away on my sixth novel, tentatively entitled, One Brother Shy. I hope to finish the outline in the coming weeks so I can start writing the manuscript before the month is out.

Happy New Year!

Nice TBLP segment on CBC’s Our Toronto

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

This was shot a few weeks ago but aired today on CBC Television as we get ready for episode 1 of The Best Laid Plans miniseries tomorrow night, Sunday, January 5th at 9 p.m. on the CBC national network. The more Canadians who tune in, the more likely it will be that the series will continue beyond these initial six episodes. (Yes, that’s a shameless request for an hour of your time Sunday night. Hope you enjoy it.)

Seven years later…

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

2013

While it seems impossible that seven years have escaped since I created this blog, the date staring back at me on my iPhone must be right. It’s New Year’s Day, and time for the annual accounting of my literary blessings in the gift that was 2013. Here are at least some of the highlights that made 2013 such a great year in my writing life:

  • I squeezed in 137 speaking engagements, readings, talks, etc. in 2013, up from 121 last year. I really don’t know how I fit everything in but it would not be possible without the patience and forbearance of my wife and two sons. My travels took me all over the country including, Vancouver, Calgary, Whitehorse, Ottawa, Montreal, Banff, and every region of Ontario.
  • Work continues on the stage musical of The Best Laid Plans but there’s no word on when it might be finished, let alone staged. Stay tuned.
  • In June, I was shocked to be named the winner of the 2013 Libris Award for Author of the Year, presented by the Canadian Booksellers Association. I’ll be forever grateful.
  • Up and Down continued to sell well, and the second edition hit the U.S. market in late June.

It was quite a year. Looking ahead to 2014, I’m really focused on:

  • The Best Laid Plans TV miniseries on CBC starting in a few days;
  • starting to produce the chapter-by-chapter podcast edition of my fourth novel, No Relation (look for Chapter 1 in February);
  • the publication and launch of No Relation in May;
  • writing my fifth novel, Poles Apart (I hope to have it finished by the end of the summer (he says optimistically)).

My undying thanks to so many who have made 2013 such a banner year in my writing life. Here’s to a wonderful 2014 for us all.

A behind-the-scenes look at the TBLP miniseries

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Here’s a very cool mini-documentary offering a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Best Laid Plans miniseries airing on CBC Television in January 2014.

On the set of the TBLP TV miniseries: Surreal

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Peter Moss (blog)This past Monday, my wife Nancy, older son Calder, and I drove up to Ottawa to spend the afternoon on the set of the TV miniseries based on my first novel, The Best Laid Plans. I really didn’t know what to expect. You see, like most of us, I’ve never been on the set of a TV series. But the experience exceeded all of my expectations. Simply put, it was quite surreal. Having carried these characters around in my head for so many years, it was strangely exhilarating to come face to face with Daniel Addison and Angus McLintock. I never dreamed I might one day have lunch with Angus and Daniel. But this past Monday, that’s exactly what I did.

The photo above shows the wonderful Director/Producer of the miniseries, Peter Moss of PDM Entertainment. Bringing TBLP to the small screen was his idea from the start, and it will be his vision we’ll see when the miniseries airs in January, 2014, on CBC Television. The scene he is directing in the photo is when Angus confronts Dean Roland Rumplun about being assigned to teach English for Engineers yet again. It’s a great encounter.

We toured the set, met some of the 65 crew members, visited the wardrobe  truck, donned headphones to watch the shooting of a scene, and generally walked around on air for a few hours as what, for months, had been a nebulous concept took on concrete form before our eyes.

The miniseries has been brilliantly cast. Kenneth Welsh, a fine and respected actor takes on the role of Angus. Jonas Chernick will be a terrific Daniel. Jodi Balfour from Bomb Girls takes on the role of Lindsay. Barbara Gordon is Muriel, Raoul Bhaneja plays Bradley Stanton, Sarah Allen is Rachel,  Peter Keleghan is Eric Cameron, Leah Pinsent is Petra Borschart, Sonja Smits is the Prime Minister, Mark McKinney is the Leader of the Opposition, and the amazing Eric Peterson plays Muriel’s protector in the seniors’ residence. What an amazing cast! I’m thrilled with this stellar lineup of Canadian talent.

The scripts have been written by two revered Canadian writers, Susan Coyne and Jason Sherman. The story could not be in better hands.

Matt Code, the Associate Producer, actually showed us some footage shot on Parliament Hill last week from what they call the “dailies.” The scenes shot in Centre Block and particularly in the Parliamentary Library that we saw were nothing short of stunning.

Here are few more shots from our day on the set. I’m afraid I don’t yet have a shot of Angus, but as soon as I do, I’ll post it. It’s all very exciting.

With Jonas Chernick (Daniel)

With Jonas Chernick (Daniel)

Peter Moss directing Jonas Chernick in Centre Block on Parliament Hill

Peter Moss directing Jonas Chernick in Centre Block on Parliament Hill

 

Getting set up to shoot the scene in Dean Roland Rumplun's office.

Getting set up to shoot a scene in Dean Roland Rumplun’s office

 

Yes, Angus gets his own trailer

Yes, Angus gets his own trailer

 

In the wardrobe truck

In the wardrobe truck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New TBLP cover promoting the TV series

Friday, June 28th, 2013

McClelland & Stewart has added a little flourish to the cover art for the next printing of The Best Laid Plans to tie it in to the upcoming CBC TV series. Here’s the result:

CBC “green lights” TBLP TV miniseries

Sunday, March 10th, 2013



Last week we received some very good news from the powers that be at CBC Television. After reviewing the six scripts written by the accomplished writing team of Susan Coyne and Jason Sherman, CBC has given PDM Entertainment the green light to start production this summer of the miniseries based on the first half of my first novel, The Best Laid Plans. CBC has asked that the series be ready to air in January 2014 before coverage of the Winter Olympics begins.

No word yet on casting but that will need to happen in the very near future along with location scouting and shoot scheduling and everything else that goes into creating a TV series. Fingers crossed and touch wood, but it seems that this might actually happen. (And it’s kind of cool to have it talked about in The Hollywood Reporter!)

 

 

Five years later…

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Time to look back on my writing year, as I’ve done annually since starting this blog back in January, 2007. It was another year of counting my literary blessings. Here are a few highlights that made 2011 such a memorable year for me:

As you can see, it was a very happy fifth year in my life as a writer. I am one, very grateful novelist.

Looking ahead, there’s more excitement coming in 2012. First and foremost, my third novel will hit bookstore shelves in September. Beyond that, who knows?

 

Quill and Quire on CBC-TV TBLP miniseries

Friday, November 25th, 2011