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PATTERNS = Memos from the Muse

September 15, 2015



Apologies for the sparse posting this summer, my friends. Work, travel, and Life got in the way (as they so often do), but I intend to hop back on the blog-horse for regular features and updates over the next 6 months at least. As always, your patience with my scheduling weirdness is infinitely appreciated. And speaking of weird…

In my creative and my personal life, I see patterns. 

Something as seemingly random as a rush hour commute with all-green-light intersections takes on prophetic business meaning. Pairs of butterflies circling the deck every morning for a week becomes a relationship omen. Monthly jolts awake after the same bonkers dream, only to see the same goddamn numbers glaring back at me:

(And the less a superstitious double-Gemini says about the thrice-annual shit-show of Mercury Retrograde, the better — back up those files and don’t sign contracts for a month, kiddos…the pattern of ‘Karmic fun’ starts tomorrow!)

Sure. It could just be my monkey brain’s way of making some desperate sense out of absurd, everyday, garden-variety chaos. But what fun is that? Especially when some of the greatest creative and scientific minds in history were/are ardent believers that recognizing patterns and potential connections between objects and events was the key to attaining higher knowledge and artistic excellence???

And that brings us to today’s topic: MEMOS from the MUSE.

Over the past six months or so, a common theme has reared its strange and fantastical head in the stuff I’ve been working on, as well as projects I’ve been brought in to help shape: the WHIMSICAL. The damn term keeps popping up in personal writings, in random conversations, highlighted in reference material, or even blurted out during conference calls. And it always came, it would seem, with the same qualifier: DARK.

How can you NOT smell a pattern like that? If the Muse keeps tickling your brain-balls, then it only makes sense to hear Her out over rib-eyes and a nice cab-merlot, amirite?

So I do what I like to call ‘tracing it back‘.

Follow the breadcrumbs of influence. Find the Alpha of the thought that’s recurring, which might help you predict the Omega of the path that you’re on — IE: the end result of the pattern — what it’s been trying to tell you from the start.

I recalled the shows and movies and books I loved as a kid.

I pondered the stuff I’m drawn to, and the tales I’m now driven to tell.

I revisited the last studio gig I agreed to, and the direction I gave to the team:

The music on that Hellboy 2 short is by my genius composer cousin, Tobias Tinker. We’d been making musical magic together for 7 years…and then that was that. I went off on walkabouts. He made more cool shit.

Last month, I flew my weary ass to his home in Berlin to see if our mutually-creative fires could be rekindled. It only occurs to me now that another 7 years had passed since our last big jam. And there we were, discussing the score on a massive (and massively daunting) audiobook project

‘What’s the vibe you’re after?’ he asked.

Dark, of course,’ I said, ‘but there’s something else…’

I sat up, and I think I felt the ghost of a gear click into place as I spoke the word. And then, in one afternoon, we built the following piece around our masterful narrator‘s silky boom:

A pained music box. Flourishes of harp. Mysterious choir. Moody strings.


A month later, I couldn’t help but smirk when discussing part of a (secret = SHHH!) reality TV project’s score with its producers. There was a scene near the end that needed a special sonic touch —  ‘heavier’ than the rest of the program, but still retaining a hint of playfulness and ‘hope’.  I referred the editor to a section from Howard Shore’s score for The Fellowship of the Ring.  

You can probably guess what two words were exchanged. ;)

That brings us to just last week. A designer on a seriously epic (and another SECRET!!!) game thingie asked me for input on the soundtrack.

Let me say this — if you were privy to the IP in question and what these cats have planned for it? Then you’d barf up the same goddamn tags I’ve been chucking since springtime. But that might mean very little to someone not lost in the vortex of signs and symbols…you know…like yours truly.

Thankfully, since I’d been bashing my head on this whimsy trip for months (nay, a lifetime!), there was an easier way to communicate. To share the PATTERN, whispered long ago through the Chaos by the Muse…

To be useful in this moment.

Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away = bombs of whimsy, yo!

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen = fanciful theatricality and fairytale decadence to legendary excess!!

The Dark Crystal = ground zero for ‘dark whimsy’ from my childhood!!!


What are some of YOUR dark and whimsical favourites?

And what patterns have played a role in YOUR creative and personal lives?

Sound off in the Comments…right below the kitten in a top hat…

Because WHIMSY!


IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN! 7 Must-haves for the TWIN PEAKS Revival on Showtime

October 7, 2014



(by Brooke Burgess)

I am full of secrets. It’s true. But there’s one thing about my journey as a storyteller that has never been a mystery:

Twin Peaks was (and is) one of my biggest creative influences. Ever.


You want proof?  These things I tell you will be true:

  • I watched the whole series when it aired. Live. Yes…yes I am dating myself, but this old Owl is not what he seems.
  • I saw the feature film – the much maligned, yet now overwhelmingly respected slice of suburban horror, Fire Walk With Me (FWWM) – six (6) times in the theatre. At least one of those viewings was sober. Honest.
  • I’ve since owned every available edition of the pilot, collected series, and film (except for Japanese laserdisc. I know, I know…slacker).
  • The TWIN PEAKS Entire Mystery BluRay is on my Christmas list. If Santa doesn’t love me, I will steal a player just to see the 90min of delected scenes from FWWM, which I have signed four petitions to help bring to life.
  • I wrote an award-winning Fringe Festival play in 1996 whose climax paid direct homage to a scene from the film. People gasped in horror. There was weeping, and much gnashing of teeth. I was happy.
  • David Lynch’s obsession with creating mood and tension and surreal ‘hyper-reality’ states with audio became my own. I did my darnedest to slip some of his tricks into early game work at Electronic Arts.  Maybe you should try hunting down one of these
  • I attended the 1998 Twin Peaks Fan Festival in North Bend, WA. I had donuts, cherry pie, and many a mug of coffee. Oh…and I spent a whole night with this man from another place, learning to speak backwards.
  • BROKEN SAINTS, in many ways, was a 10-hr homage to Mark Frost’s serialized storytelling chops, and Lynch’s A/V style. If you think that’s an exaggeration, then you haven’t seen the intro to this.
  • My new children’s fiction books – THE SHADOWLAND SAGA – are structured like a limited run TV series peppered with quirky characters, absurd humour, a layered mystery, and chilling otherworldly dreamscapes. The first book (The Cat’s Maw) has no fewer than three nods to Peaks dialogue. And yes..there will be a contest.

Read more


September 30, 2013


Milton's Secret

As featured in this project post, my friends and collaborators at Hulo Films in Vancouver have been working with acclaimed producer/director Barnet Bain (What Dreams May Come) and celebrated spiritual author Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) to bring the inspirational children’s book Milton’s Secret  to life as a live-action feature.

I was honoured to be brought in during the early phases to help shape their transmedia strategy, contribute to branding (‘When life gets heavy, find a better way to carry it’), and offer story notes.  Now, with the script receiving kudos from all corners, the project securing support from the Harold Greenberg Fund, and Hollywood legend Peter Fonda signing on to star, the next phase can now be revealed.

In a little over a week, the official INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN for Milton’s Secret has already raised in excess of $100,000!  The goal in the next 30 days is to raise the $1M necessary to match gov’t and tax credit contributions, allowing this special work to be completely independent of the studio system.

Check out the following short for the straight skinny from Barnet Bain, Hulo producer Stephen Huszar, and Eckhart himself.

There are heaps of great incentives for all levels of contribution — limited edition scripts and videos, mindfulness tools, and even red carpet events — so please consider ‘kicking something into the kitty’ to help bring this inspirational story to eyes and minds around the world!

IN DEVELOPMENT: Dance of the White Tiger!

January 24, 2013


Muay Thai Motion Picture Mayhem!

A belated Happy 2013, one and all!  Another year brings a firm resolve, fresh inspiration, and exciting new projects to share.  I’ve been teasing feature film developments for what seems like an age, and with the challenges inherent to raising capital in the world of indie film, it’s high time to attempt a more traditional narrative.  Something with multi-quadrant audience appeal, international market support, and potential franchiseabilityOne of those rare industry blips where the rewards clearly outweigh the risks.  And, it should go without saying by now, something with multiplatform aspirations carved into its atomic structure from conception.

A little over two years ago, I committed to a ‘work vacation’.  It was to be an exotic change of scene, with the hopes of finishing the first draft of a Telefilm-funded screenplay I had pitched, and getting my physical health in line after years of late nights, table-sized Canadian portions, and ungodly levels of caffeine and sugar.

I would end up choosing Thailand.  And, for two incredible months, I would write…and learn the ways of Muay Thai. 

Read more

‘RISEN’ : A Transmedia Strategy Overview

November 21, 2012



Apologies for the stretch of incommunicado, folks – I blame it on a frenzied mix of travel, research, and project launches – but I wanted to keep you posted on what’s baking in the transmedia oven.

You might’ve noticed a feature I have in development in the PROJECTS section called Risen.  Well, it’s still very much alive;  there’s a third draft of the screenplay nearing completion, a graphic novel ‘package’ with artist attached, and cross-platform strategizing fully in progress.   And now, you can peer behind the proverbial curtain and see some of the lever and pulley action that goes into prepping an original IP for the transmedia stage.


At a remote mountain sanctuary, a disabled orphan receives a revolutionary implant to restore his health.  But when the young man finds himself able to manipulate the digital world with his mind?  Then it’s a race for answers – and for civilization itself – against rogue military, an obsessed scientist, and the terrifying Consciousness awakening within him.

Read more




PLATFORM:  Graphic Novel (96 pages)

GENRE:  Psychological Thriller / Horror

CLIENT:  In-House IP / Arcana Comics

Featuring the pencil and inking talents of hot newcomer Dane Cypel, the rich colour palette of Sara Machajewski, and based on an original concept by rising genre star Curry HitchbornBECOMING is my return to graphic novel storytelling after completing the original version of Broken Saints in 2003!


When a troubled student at a remote university challenges his professor to share his ‘secret knowledge’, he is drawn into a horrifying game of life and death.  To play, he will learn that the only rule is PAIN, and that the only key to salvation is the desire to KNOW…and the WILL to overcome.  


(*trailer features original music by yours truly and Tobias Tinker – cut and conceived by BB)


Milton's Secret


PLATFORM:  Interactive APP / Feature Film (2013)

GENRE:  Developmental / Lifestyle / Family


  • Script Review
  • One-Sheet Design
  • Transmedia Campaign
  • App Design
  • Investment Pitch Package


Following in the footsteps of the Conscious Parenting movement – and tapping into the life-changing principles touted by celebrated author ECKHART TOLLE  The Conscious Parenting Guide will be a groundbreaking ‘lifestyle application’ that harnesses the unique tablet interface to foster personal and situational awareness for families. Our platform will use these unique interactive experiences to drill to the core of consciousness; across a broad spectrum of ‘gamified exercises’, users will focus on breath control, listening skills, and expanded ‘body awareness’ to navigate group and individual challenges.  Over the course of the program, they will share their experiences, journal personal progress, and be encouraged to download new exercises and reference material to further their growth.   Like any muscle or skill, we firmly believe such engagement over time will yield strength and proficiency – in effect, a deeper understanding of themselves, each other, and powerful tools to cope with emotions, stress, and personal conflict.

What’s YOUR Story?

June 6, 2012



Special thanks to Hulo Films for the shoot/edit, and Tobias Tinker for the tunes!


May 3, 2012



Welcome to the latest instalment in my new Transmedia Case Study series, where we examine the triumphs and epic fails in executing a Big Media property across multiple platforms.   In the inaugural feature, we were treated to an example of transmedia done right – so now it only makes sense to balance the scales and give perspective on how an intellectual property (IP) rich with potential can both fall flat, and miss out on some major TM opportunities…

For me, this was a heartbreaker.  I’ve made no secret for my love of all things GREEN LANTERN. I was raised on the character, weaned on the socially conscious Lantern/Arrow era of the 70s, and the goofy Challenge of the Superfriends show in the early 80s:

I’d never be a tortured billionaire playboy.  The odds of being bitten by a radioactive insect in the Big Apple were astronomically against.   And, though adopted, I’m pretty sure my cultural roots don’t reach across the stars to the House of El.

But I had willpower…and the potential to overcome great fear…and dreams of being a part something greater than myself.

It appears I wasn’t alone.

Read more




PLATFORM:  Feature Film

GENRE:  Contemporary Sci-Fi


LOGLINE:  Sheltered in a remote orphanage, a disabled teen (JACOB PRICE – 16) has terrifying visions of a technological apocalypse.  Little does he realize that the real battle will be waged within his very cells…and that the future of the human race will be HIS to decide.

With an original short story treatment, multi-stage development financing from Telefilm Canada and Saskfilm was secured for this teen sci-fi high concept.  Reminiscent of ‘thinking man’ cult hits including The Lawnmower Man, The Matrix, and Chronicle,  three (3) screenplay drafts have been successfully completed and reviewed by major distributors.  You can view the digital pitch package here, which includes some sweet concept art by David Cameron Sloan. UPDATE: Or check out the motion-comic proof-of-concept right here!



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