TV Shows I Miss

The way we watch TV has certainly changed since Netflix began streaming and creating its own content. We now have many others just like it, also creating content, acting as TV show suppliers and TV studios.

There are a few shows that I wouldn’t mind seeing again*, but most will not only never make it to DVD but will fall far, far under the radar of Netflix-like broadcasters. Let me know what show you miss, too.

*Firefly is not on this list only because the entire season is on DVD and on Netflix. This isn’t a list of shows I’d like to see remade or continued –most of these shows were terrible– but it would be fun to see them again.

Hope Island (1999-2000)

Hope Island was my “comfort show.” Centers around Daniel, a troubled minister who is forced to live on Hope Island where he is the new minister of the local Protestant church. The characters were quirky, the town idyllic, and often the one who saved the day was the one you’d never expect.

 

Catwalk (1992-1994)

Catwalk starred Neve Campbell, who became more well-known for her Party of Five and Scream roles. This show took place in Toronto, and followed the careers of a struggling 20-something band. It was aired on YTV and was surprisingly gritty for that network.

 

Live Through This (2000)

A little like Catwalk, Live Through This was a show about a rock band. The Jackson Decker band, big in the 80s, decide on a revival tour that’s run by their twenty-something kids.

 

Opposite Sex (2000)

You might recognize more than a few faces in this show: Milo Ventimiglia (Gilmore Girls and Heroes), Chris Evans (Captain America), Allison Mack (Smallville). Three boys wind up being a test group of males who are integrated into an all-girl school. Ridiculous premise, yet the actors made the show hilarious and watchable.

Raven (1992-1993)

Jonathan Raven, a former ninja in the Black Dragons, has killed his clan and is now living in Hawaii helping those in need. Also starred Lee Majors of Six Million Dollar Man and Fall Guy fame.

 

Werewolf (1987-1988)

Eric was bitten by a werewolf, and now must find the origin of the bloodline to kill him and end the curse. He’s being hunted by a werewolf hunter (of course) and in each episode (much like the Incredible Hulk) Eric finds himself in trouble where he conveniently turns and the werewolf saves the day.

 

The Crow: Stairway to Heaven  (1998-1999)

Based on the Comic book series by J. O’Barr (which I love) and on the original movie starring Brandon Lee (also love), this series followed Eric Draven who has risen from the dead when a Crow brings him back to right an incredible wrong.

Summer Workshops

Over the last few weeks, I taught several workshops at Place des Arts in Coquitlam. My afternoons were spent with the 8-12 year olds, working on comics that they starred in. How did I do that, you may ask?

First, the students created characters – completely independently and not as a group. (I find this is key.) They were then randomly placed into groups, with strange characters (one group had Darth Vader and a genie,) where they wrote a two-page comic.

Next, I used my green screen as background. The students then chose from a plethora of props and costumes, and posed in place as a photo was snapped. The photo is then uploaded into a program called Comic Life Magiq (unfortunately, this is a version no longer available,) and the green screen background is replaced with one of the student’s choice.

The morning I spent with the teens, and we worked on making a magazine. The students created an amazing product that they designed and wrote – and then using iBooks we created a pdf and iBook version.

All in all, it was a fantastic couple of  weeks at Place des Arts with dozens of children and teens who all worked hard at stretching their creative brain even though it was sunny and hot outside.  As for me, I found it inspiring and encouraging to see so many youth so happy and having such a great time. And yes, I even managed to get my own writing done!

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Student Comic

One of my students created a comic based on the longer novel he’s writing, and though he didn’t want it in his finished book I couldn’t let this wonderful piece just disappear into the recycling bin. This is from Dean in the CWC class – and he’s twelve years old.

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Comic Fun at Place des Arts!

One of the summer programs I’m teaching this year is, “See Yourself In A Comic,” at Place des Arts. This is a unique way of approaching comics, as it puts the student in the comic as the main character. Over the course of five days, we design characters, write a script and use photographs to make a sequential panelled story.

I can’t show you the finished products (due to legal and contractual reasons,) but I can show you some of the pre-design work the kids did. This was a class of 8-12 year olds, who all had a blast starring in their own comic.

The classes continue throughout July and part of August, are one-week each, and are for one hour. There is still some room left in a few of the classes – so sign up now!

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Making a superhero.

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Making a superhero.

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Making a superhero.

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Making a superhero.

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Making a superhero.

CWC Canada Summer Camp 2008

On Monday I left with Lee Edward Fodi and Dan Bar-El to meet up with Kari Winters, Lori Sherrit and Kallie George at the CWC Canadian Camp 2008. This year it was held at Trinity Western University, which is a beautiful campus in Langley, BC very near Fort Langley (and the awesome Wendel’s Bookstore!).

On arrival, Lee and Kallie raced around their student’s rooms planting secret objects while Dan and I just tried to get our bearings. The theme for this camp was ADVENTURE, and I was partnered with Lori Sherrit of the TICKLE TRUNK PLAYERS. What I noticed most on arrival was the energy the students had – and there was a range from grade 4 up to grade 8 – as they met their roommates and saw the campus.

Lori and I had decided on the theme of “dungeon,” with me leading the writing and Lori the drama. In my class, students learned the terminology of dungeons such as the LORE and TRAPS and CODES or GUARDIANS. I showed them movie clips that reinforced my lecture, and then they began to write.

First they wrote the legend, or lore, of how their dungeon came to be. Then they drew maps, and wrote in secret passageways, guardians of the treasure, and traps to keep would-be adventurers out (or in!). Then they had Lori, who taught them to write a play – everything from story to character. Finally, Lori and I took what they did in both our classes and had them create a comic book.

What I’ll take away from this camp most of all won’t be the classes or the lessons, but the time spent with these awesome students. During free periods, Lee and I spent our time outside working on our own projects. While Lee drew, I wrote. And while we did this, there was always a group of students that came out to join us and watch.

One boy commented to Lee that he had thought Lee’s drawings just came from the computer, and this was the first time he really understood the work put behind each illustration. Another one of the boys told me that he enjoyed writing fantasy, because he could just make things up without any research. When I showed him the amount of research I put into writing my werewolf lore, he was very interested. It was moments such as those, when students got a chance to see working authors and illustrators in action, that they learned the most.

Of course, the camp was not all work. There was a treasure hunt with riddles and codes that had to be broken in order to figure out the course. Everyone had a great time running from point to point, working in groups to be the first to break the codes. It was awesome to see this group of students, many of whom were strangers when they met, working so well together.

The hardest part of the camp is the same as any camp – having to say goodbye and return back to Regular Life. There’s something very special about sharing meals with fellow writers – adult and student – that makes life just feel awesome. Suddenly being at home, typing away on a laptop without anyone knocking on your door to ask a question or slipping a coded message under your door as a prank, that feels a little too quiet. Of course, there’s always CWC camp next year…

Road Trips

I’m certainly no stranger to the road trip. In 1997 (still can’t believe it was 11 years ago), I took a road trip in a ’68 Beetle from Vancouver to Kelowna, then over to Banff, up to Jasper, across to Edmonton, then down to Calgary through Drumheller, and over to Winnipeg.


The entire way I slept in a tent, and ate food that I cooked over an open fire. (I had a Coleman stove, but couldn’t ever get it to work.) It was the best time I ever had, and probably the most adventurous thing I’d ever done.


Back then, my goal was to inspire myself as a budding writer. I wanted to find my creative spark, and to get in touch with my creativity so that I could one day be an author. Though my friends and family thought that was a little far-fetched, I did it anyway.


Here I am, 11 years later, with three books published – one that’s going into reprint and a fourth due out this Christmas. Life is pretty awesome. The best part – I’m planning another road trip! Granted, there will be some changes this time around. First, I won’t be going on it alone. kc dyer, friend and fellow scribe, will be sharing the experience with me! Second, I won’t be sleeping on the hard ground in a tent. Comfort all the way!

The best part of this trip is that we have destinations planned. Stops in Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Banff, Cochrane, Calgary and Red Deer. We may even have one more to completely fill our itinerary.

Another difference from that first trip is that Comic Life will be along for the ride! kc dyer and I will be blogging our trip through comic, using this easy and fantastic program. (It’s what I used to create my book video, and many of my past posts.) Comic Life has agreed to let us give away a copy of its program to each of our stops – not a bad value for those who come out to our events! Hear two popular authors, eat some chocolate, and be in a draw to leave with a free copy of Comic Life!