Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, June 26, 2017

"Green-lighting the greenest"/ "Herland puts women behind the camera"

Sept. 13, 2016 "Green-lighting the greenest": I cut out this article by Gayle MacDonald in the Globe and Mail on May. 30, 2012:

Over lunch at Crush Wine Bar, one of Niv Fichman’s favourite Toronto haunts, the veteran producer made Alliance Films a gutsy – and risky – pitch.

As he told executives Victor Loewy and Mark Slone, he wanted them to bankroll and mentor a new generation of filmmakers with great potential – but without a single full-length feature film to their credit.

At first, his tablemates stared at the 53-year-old as if he’d grown another head. But as they sipped cabernet and listened to the energetic producer behind such acclaimed films as François Girard’s The Red Violin and Fernando Meirelles’s Blindness, they warmed to the idea. And bought in.

That was three years ago. Since then, Alliance and Fichman’s company Rhombus Media have collaborated to provide full-scale support – from script development to casting to distribution – to half a dozen very green filmmakers from Canada and around the world.

The gamble is obvious: In an industry beset by anxiety about shrinking audiences, digital competition, and government funding cuts, these partners are sticking out their necks.

Fichman alone has devoted $10-million of his Telefilm Canada grant money to the venture.

“A company like ours is normally in the business of handling big-scale, big-budget productions with names everyone knows,” says Slone. “Here, we’re using resources to support a film that may conceivably never find an audience.”

So why take on what the partners are calling the First-Time Filmmaker Initiative? It’s not about altruism. They’re betting on a new business model: Instead of the usual approach – pour big bucks into big names and pray for box-office dividends – they’re spending cash earlier in the development process to create new box-office bait.

Or so they hope.

Last week, Loewy and Fichman hopped a plane to Cannes to walk the red carpet with one of their early gambles, Brandon Cronenberg (yes, filmmaker David Cronenberg’s son). His debut thriller, Antiviral, received a standing ovation.

Next up is a romantic fable, The Boy Who Smells Like Fish, a Mexico-Canada co-production from Mexico City-born Analeine Cal y Mayor. Then comes a “sexual-exploration comedy” called Zoom from Sao Paulo-based director Pedro Morelli (a protege of Meirelles whom Fichman met during the filming of Blindness).

Fichman is also putting together financing for an historical-action fantasy called Dogs of War, set during the war of 1812. It will be the first feature from Vancouver’s Zach Lipovsky, a 28-year-old visual effects specialist who came to Fichman’s attention after placing fifth in Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg’s 2007 Fox reality TV series on filmmakers, On the Lot.

My opinion: Yeah, I watched that show and him back then.

“Nurturing emerging talent is a way to give them access to our screens, particularly at a time when it’s getting increasingly difficult for young filmmakers because of the overall financial squeeze.”

Fichman, who has the exuberant personality and fashion flair of a man half his age, tends to speak with unalloyed optimism. But Slone, a seasoned dealmaker who first worked with Fichman on The Red Violin, readily admits there could be significant downside for Alliance if these first-time films don’t fly.

“We are basically pre-buying a movie we haven’t had the chance to see based on a very rough script and the strength of the producer,” he says.

The fact that all of this is going on just as Alliance Films hits the auction block adds to the drama. But Slone says he doesn’t think a change in ownership would have an impact on the Rhombus deal.

And you could say, whoever ends up owning it, that Alliance is taking a measured bet.
“Niv already has a reputation as a producer making unique films in the marketplace,” says Slone. “We see Niv as someone who can convert risk into success.”

Certainly, Brandon Cronenberg’s invitation to Cannes is a positive sign.

Antiviral is a good example where Niv took a filmmaker with enviable lineage but no [feature] films behind him to date. He brought the mentoring that took a good idea and helped make it into a great film ... without a lot of a first-time filmmaker’s mistakes.”

Jason Eisener’s 2011 mock horror flick Hobo With a Shotgun was another considered risk:

The Nova Scotia director popped up on Fichman’s radar after he entered a trailer (shot on a mini DVD camera for $120) into an international competition sponsored by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. Eisener won – and while he was in Los Angeles for Grindhouse’s 2007 premiere, Fichman called.

Eisener, 29, wasn’t sure what to expect: “I IMDB’ed [Fichman]and saw film credits like Childstar – definitely not the same kind of world as Hobo – and thought, we’ll see how this goes,” he says with a laugh. “But we met him, and immediately clicked.

“It took a couple of years to get the financing – and we had a lot of doors closed in the process. But Niv always stood by our side. He never wanted us to compromise on anything. Hobo is pretty wild stuff, but he wanted us to have a proper budget to make the movie the right way. Otherwise, it would have felt like schlock.”

So far, the film has earned a respectable $600,000 from a limited theatrical release and has gone on to enjoy a cult afterlife on Netflix.

Fichman hasn’t given up on bigger projects, mind you. He’s currently overseeing Denis Villeneuve’s $14-million thriller An Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Isabella Rossellini. But once he wraps that film this summer, he plans to focus again on his smaller pet projects – specifically Lipovsky’s Dogs of War.

The film is based on a graphic novel about five Canadian fighters who exact revenge on the Americans after they burn Fort York.

“Basically we’re making a comic-book movie of Canadian history. Like the Canadian Avengers,” jokes Fichman. “Young filmmakers who were born out of the digital revolution are incredible storytellers. They have so much more experience than I did at their age. They post their films on the Internet. They market them online and they know their audiences so well. It’s time they should be calling more of the shots.”

Betting on the new kids

Rhombus Media and Alliance Films are investing big money in new Canadian filmmakers. Among their protégés:

Jason Eisener

The director and his buddies came up the 2011 horror flick Hobo With a Shotgun while hanging out at Dartmouth pizza shop Ronnie’s Pizza. A mock trailer they made went viral in 2007, and they landed a deal to make the film with Rhombus in 2010. Since then the film has hit the festival circuit and is edging up toward cult status, with 50,000 DVD sales in Canada.

Brandon Cronenberg

Yes, he’s David Cronenberg’s son. But he didn’t make his first short film, called Broken Tulips, until he entered Ryerson University in Toronto. His school chum Kevin Krikst (now a Rhombus employee) took the film to his boss, Niv Fichman, who encouraged the junior Cronenberg to flesh it out into a feature. The movie, now called Antiviral, just screened at Cannes and lands in theatres this fall.

Analeine Cal y Mayor

Born in Mexico City, this filmmaker and video artist has worked on films such as Julie Taymor’s Frida and James Franco’s Broken Tower. Her first feature, The Boy Who Smells Like Fish, is now in post-production with Rhombus. She wrote and directed the script.

Pedro Morelli

This first-time filmmaker from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is working on a sexual comedy called Zoom. Morelli met Fichman while working on Fernando Meirelles’s Blindness. Morelli’s writing partner is Canadian Matt Hansen, who works in eOne Entertainment’s international sales division.

Zach Lipovsky

The Vancouver director is currently making Dogs of War, a film set during the War of 1812 about Canadian fighters clearing a path for the British army to invade Washington and burn down the White House.

Oct. 10, 2016 "Herland puts women behind the camera": I found this article by Elizabeth Renzetti in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 7, 2016:

When Taouba Khelifa was halfway through a mentorship program supporting female filmmakers in Alberta, she went looking for women to work with on her short movie, Enough.

And found none. Alberta, and the rest of the Canadian filmmaking world, leans heavily male.
So Khelifa found a male editor, cinematographer and sound technician, and they made the film, which will be shown Friday in Calgary as part of Herland, a festival of shorts made by rising female filmmakers.

“It really opened my eyes,” Khelifa says about the paucity of women working as directors or crew. That shortage is exactly what the Herland Video Production Mentorship for Women is meant to address: The brainchild of filmmaker Sandi Somers, it’s a five-month program that pairs young women who want to make movies with creative talent already working in the industry. The result is five shorts by Khelifa, Paige Boudreau, Gillian McKercher, Vicki Van Chau and Jessie Short.

Khelifa, 25, was a youth-group supervisor in Edmonton with one short documentary under her belt when she decided to apply for the Herland mentorship program. Her script proposal was accepted, and she and the other directors received workshops in writing, editing and other aspects of filmmaking both in front of the camera and behind it. They were given a small budget of a couple of thousand dollars to hire professionals – who worked at a discount – and told to go out and make a movie. Other professional filmmakers, such as Edmonton’s Eva Colmers, provided advice and guidance.

Khelifa’s film Enough is a poetic short aimed at giving the sensation of eavesdropping on four young women’s thoughts, dreams and doubts. “Everyone has these thoughts,” Khelifa says, “but we may not share them.”

Herland was created in the late nineties as a 10-day workshop for women starting out in the film business. It ended in 2009, but Somers re-established the program last year as a months-long creative mentorship between women who’d had some experience in filmmaking, and those who had been behind the camera for longer.

Somers says the goal was to encourage women who are at a tricky point in their careers, having made a few films but unsure how to progress further. “Often they’ll have done about three films, and a lot of women stop making films after that. There are different reasons, but one of the biggest is the energy and time that it takes to try to get money, and then to get into a festival. It’s so competitive these days.”

Herland’s filmmakers learn about directing, but also about writing grant proposals, budgeting, editing, scriptwriting and cinematography. As Somers says, it’s as much about building confidence and networks as making a short film.

Khelifa has decided she’ll try to make more movies, though she has no illusions about how easy that might be for a young woman of Algerian descent living in Edmonton.

“If the field is not very friendly to women and women of colour, what support will there be after Herland?” she asks. “I guess I’ll find out.”

Short films from the Herland program screen at Calgary’s Theatre Junction Grand at 7 p.m. on Friday (

"Educate yourself on franchises before starting one of your own"/ Rima Qureshi

May. 8, 2018 "Educate yourself on franchises before starting one of your own": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

That’s the message many of us have about franchising. But Dr. John Hayes – a journalism professor turned franchising guru, after deciding in 1979 to write a book on the process – says while it’s good to be fearful, we shouldn’t let the risks block us from what could be the opportunity of a lifetime.

If you would like to own your own business, there are far more franchises available than you might imagine, extending well beyond Tim Hortons and the fast-food restaurants that we are familiar with.

Take Dental Fix: It services equipment in dentists’ offices in your area, from mobile vans, one of many such servicing-on-wheels opportunities. Experimac sells and services Apple-brand products. As well, there’s travel, executive coaching, laundries and a host of other non-food opportunities.

Instead of starting a business on your own, the franchisor gives you a boost, with a system that has worked successfully elsewhere.

Start your own pizza restaurant, he writes in his book, Take The Fear Out of Franchising, and you are on your own. You’ll hit bumps along the road, even sinkholes, often self-made, which a franchisor would have helped you avoid.

That being said, he says it’s legitimate – and wise – to be afraid. Franchise agreements are specific and long-term. They lock you into something that, if you haven’t properly investigated, may be wrong for you – a bad business, or a great business that is just bad for you. “Franchising is not something you should take lightly,” he says in an interview.

Based in Palm Beach, Fla., after seven years teaching at a private university in Kuwait, he sets out a number of tenets to be alert to:
  • Every franchise requires specific values and skills from franchisees: You need to be sure that the franchise opportunity fits what you want to do and are capable of doing. “You are not your neighbour or brother-in-law who bought a franchise and has been very successful. They may have skills you don’t have,” he says. He points to early franchisees with Mail Boxes (now the UPS store) who thought they were getting into a Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., retail operation, dealing with copying and couriering.
But to be successful, they needed to work much longer hours, a good deal of those selling their service – something they may not have enjoyed – to the local business community. Many franchisors have personality tests that compare you to the profile of their most successful franchisees. He encourages you take the tests to understand yourself and the opportunity better.

  • A franchise is a licence: Someone is giving you the right to operate the business under their brand for a specific time during which you must follow their rules. “Violate their system and you lose the license. You can’t change the system. You can’t ignore the system. But people try to do that all the time,” he says, which leads to problems.

  • Every franchise is a system: Make that, Dr. Hayes says, every good or great franchise is a system. You need to understand that system and whether it’s ideal for you. The best way is to work at one of the outlets; indeed, he says, some franchises require prior experience in their stores. Offer to work a day, or part-time, or during a vacation period so you can see the system from within.

  • The franchisor is always in control: With the benefit of a proven system comes loss of control. That is the dilemma you face, and why some people choose instead to open their own independent outlets. “The franchisor owns the name and the system. You don’t own anything. You can’t change the colour of the paint in stores. You can’t have a Wednesday special. You can’t change anything,” Dr. Hayes says. Good franchisors want you to succeed and try to make the system work for you. But they are still in control.
“If you’re a teacher and want to start a travel business, how will you know where to advertise and what to say? But the franchisor knows that, will give you the ad and tell you where to place it. They take the guesswork out and save you money, keeping you in business as a result,” he says.

So, be afraid. Very afraid. But don’t let that stop you from doing due diligence if you have always wanted to own your own business. It may be the right opportunity for you.

Doug Lippay
1 day ago

If you are considering a franchise purchase, one should establish an exit strategy before signing the agreements. Best laid plans don't always work out, good idea to have a plan b, just in case.

Also, if purchasing an existing operation, find out why it's on the market. Most happy, successful operators are not looking to sell their business.

The Ladder: Rima Qureshi: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

Rima Qureshi, based in Montreal, is senior vice-president and head of the North America region at Ericsson.

I was born in Pakistan, where there was a very traditional approach to things – a good girl should get married and then let her husband decide how she goes on with her studies.

My dad had a very different outlook on education. Education was extremely important to him and he instilled that in myself and my sister from a very young age. My dad’s side of the family has traditionally been in science and medicine professions. He wanted me to continue the family tradition.

I didn’t really start out by saying I wanted to be a leader of something. I somehow ended up that way. One of my earliest leadership experiences was in junior high school. We had a trip to Quebec City and needed to raise money. I took over the responsibility and organized bake sales and other ways to raise the money. As I was growing up, I noticed that my family tended towards me directing and leading whatever needed to be done. I guess they thought I was good at it.

Computers were the new thing when I had to decide what to study and so I decided to try it. I really enjoyed working with computers. I started programming probably when I was 15 or 16 years old on a Commodore 64. When you program, you write clear instructions and you get very expected, organized and rational results. In a world where things are not necessarily like that, it was nice to work with things that were black and white, or ones and zeros.

I started, within Ericsson, in Montreal and then had the opportunity to live and work in Sweden. I realized quickly that [a] very structured, very fact-based analytical approach to management did not work in a consensus-based environment. I needed to adapt very quickly to that environment. I moved from where I was – much more analytical – to becoming much more focused on the softer side of things, listening to people and creating a common view and a common vision for why people should do things.

I’m an explorer introvert. That means that I push the boundaries and I am looking for new ideas, but I am very analytical and I initially try to solve problems and come up with solutions on my own instead of involving people early in the process. But as a CEO, I can’t just present people with my solution. I am learning to engage more with people as I make decisions. I’m learning, also, to make sure that I don’t show up with the decision already made.

My passion is learning. That is what drives me at work and my hobbies. I am avid reader of history, fiction and technology trends. I love new experiences, whether it be through travel, the ability to live somewhere, a different job or [to] meet new people. That’s probably been sparked by my dad’s focus on the importance of education.

I’m travelling about 80 per cent of the time, often between Dallas, Montreal and Sweden. Going from North America to Europe is something that’s straightforward for me now. I’ve done it so many times, so it’s like riding a bus.

The best way to stay awake is to stand up. If I have difficulty concentrating in a meeting, I’ll usually stand up to fight it.

I prefer one-on-one discussions, but I’ve had to learn to network. It’s part of the job. The easiest way is to ask a question and let people talk about themselves. The trick is to give people an opportunity to talk about something that they feel passionate about. It is a great way to get to know someone.

As much as possible, I try not to tell people what I do for a living. I am not defined only by who I am at work. I am much more than that. It is interesting how some people feel the urge to talk about what they do for a living. It seems to define them completely. If I am asked what I do, I usually respond that I work in technology.

As much as possible, I eat at home when in Montreal. One of the things I look forward to most, especially in the summertime, is to head to the Jean-Talon Market and buy lots of great local food. We try to eat as local as possible so I preserve and cook as a way to relax.

franco prairie
2 days ago

Good for you.
When acquaintances want to know about my background I let them know, then I make a point to say I love the Canadian people, the first thing I did was to integrate to this wonderful country who has giving my canadian born kids a fantastic future for them and their families.
Ah, feels so great to be part of one Canada.

moon howler
2 days ago

Congratulations. You are Canadian, and some.

job search complaints/ "co-op works on ensuring access to 'basic need'"

Mar. 27, 2017 Job search complaints: I have to write about it to deal with it.  I wrote about this before:

"Paramedic problems"/ "From needing a transplant to campaigning for others"

TV production company internship: I'm going to write about this again.  It was in 2003 and I was upgrading in Centre High.  I wanted an internship at CBC in downtown and the woman in HR said only NAIT TV and Radio students can be interns there.

I was a little disappointed.  However, that is a good tip to tell me that to get this internship, I know how to qualify for it.

I had mentioned that even if I was an honors student in high school or a good cover letter that shows my passion and enthusiasm, I wouldn't get hired.  Even if I volunteered at CKUA radio for like 2 hrs a week for a year, I wouldn't get hired at CBC.

The only way to get in is through being in NAIT's TV and Radio program. 

I'm complaining because I really wanted to work at CBC and I thought I was a really good fit for it.   

Internships on TV: I was thinking about the kids/ teen TV shows The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo and In a Heartbeat where high school students/ teenagers can work at a police station and be volunteers at paramedics.

I don't have anything bad to say about the show.  It was a light, fun, funny, and entertaining show to watch.  It could inspire kids and teens to go into law enforcement or medicine.

I am saying it is not very realistic.  The In a Heartbeat, there are 4 teens working together.  I feel like in real life, there would be 1 or 2 trained paramedics, with 1 teen with them. 

How would this teen get to be a volunteer there?  Maybe if he or she was accepted into the NAIT's paramedic program and will start in the fall.  On, it says the show was inspired by real high school students volunteering as paramedics. 

The shows are unrealistic, but I'm not angry at the shows.  It's not like they really gave me unrealistic expectations on how to get an internship or job.

I guess I'm angry because I couldn't hired at CBC as intern in 2003 when I was 18.  I am not mad that they didn't hire me when I passed my resume to be an administrative assistant in 2008 when I was 22. 

Mar. 29, 2017 Passion does not equal success: This was on this blog post:

"Tracking down our root of our self-tracking obsession"

Passion does not equal success: I'm sure you guys know this.  Some people have passion and can succeed, and some don't.  I wrote a little about J, this guy at the bus stop before.

Mechanic: He was a mechanic for 8 yrs.  As a kid since he was 8 yrs old, he helped fixed his dad's old beat up cars.  J went to Canadian Tire and he got a car manual for $6 and learned how to fix cars.

He told me in Jan. and Feb., it's not busy at the mechanic shop.  He works full-time.  He only gets paid when there is a car that needs to be fixed.  If there is no car, he doesn't get paid for the 1 hr sitting there.  He has to be there all day.

He followed his talent and interest, and worked at it for years.  He made money.

Personal trainer: He became a personal trainer by attending NAIT.  He became one because he was interested in health and fitness. 

This was in 2005.  He worked as one for like $7/hr which was min. wage.  He also worked at warehouse and at American Eagle at Kingsway.  American Eagle didn't pay commission.  He was a personal trainer for a year.

He followed his interest in health and fitness by being a personal trainer, and he worked for a year.  He made money.

My opinion: Some of you may see it as a little sad that he followed his dream and goal, and it didn't work out very well.  Or some of you may see it as: "At least he followed his dream and goal, and made some money out of it."

Also, these careers are conventional.  It's not like he went into the entertainment or arts industry and tried to become a actor.  After like 10 yrs of auditioning, and he only made some money with a few commercials.  The entertainment industry doesn't have job security.

My Mar. 29, 2017 opinion: I find that you are successful, if you made money from your skill.

I would say he is not successful, if he became a certified personal trainer, and never got hired as one or worked at a gym.

Job security: I want to add to this topic:

Restaurants: There are a lot of restaurants that close down within the first 2 yrs after they open, because it's so hard.

Retail: There are a lot of big retail stores closing down.  Do you remember in the last few years, a lot of big clothing stores close down?  Or at least closed in Canada.  

Call Centres: There are a lot of call centres in Edmonton that closed down.  It was mainly in 2006-2009 that closed down.

My opinion: I'm writing about this because it's like there is no job security.  So what about it?  Like don't work at all?  Because if you get a job, there is a chance that the company will close down.  Of course not.   You work.

Apr. 5, 2017 Have a blog, and no career: I recently posted this on my blog.  Here's an excerpt: 

"Monday to Friday without a frown"/ "Mommy, daddy, welcome to my desk"

Creativity: Blog your career

“I think having a blog is a great way of showing employers what you can do before you even get to the interview stage,” said Rachel Davies, a new graphic design grad from Nottingham Trent University in the U.K. “I definitely think my blog helped me get my internship.”

Indeed, “you have to be willing to show who you are,” advises Shara Senderoff, founder of InternSushi. Having a blog focused on your industry (trends, news, debates, case studies) communicates volumes to a recruiter about your professional ambitions, creative thinking and skills.

Plus, “it shows them you’re more likely to understand their company’s values,” advises Lynn Finn, an HR pro from the University of Northampton.

In an era of social screening, recruiters will always Google you, and having a great blog can work to “stack the deck in your favour,” advises Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking. “If you’re competing with someone who has equal skills and experience,” Lynch says, “a blog can be the tie-breaker.”

My opinion: That article came out in 2014.  I've had my blog since 2008 when I graduated out of Professional Writing in college.  The goal:

1. I wanted to be discovered as a writer like Diablo Cody (Juno screenwriter who was discovered on her blog.)

2. It was a storage of memory, information and knowledge for myself and friends.  I can write about something like "I wrote about this a year ago.  Here's the link to it.  I want to add something to that."

Well I have done lots of job interviews where they asked for links to my blog and I provide it them.

Also since Sept. 2014- Dec. 2014, I put book reviews I cut out from the newspaper.  That should attract some writers and TV producers here.

Jan. 2015 to present, I have been putting up job articles I cut out from the newspaper. 

"Tracy's writing career/ Getting the right people's attention on the internet": I did get the Edmonton boxer Kris Andrews on here:

Apr. 9, 2017 Job articles: As you can see I have been cutting out job articles from the newspapers the Edmonton Journal, Globe and Mail, and from older times like the National Post, Metro, and 24 News.

There have been times when I posted articles people have sent me through this blog and that was mainly in 2012.  I put up as many of these articles since Jan. 2015.  I reread every article I cut out before I post these on my blog.

I don't really care if you guys diss the articles and say:

"They're not helpful. 

They're boring. 

I'm not learning anything. 

I skim and scan it really fast or skip it altogether."

That's fine.  I didn't write it, I just liked it and thought it was good.

My complaint is: I read the business section of the Edmonton Journal and Globe and Mail 6 days a week since May 2015 and I don't have an office job.  

Anyone can have access to the internet and read job articles from and learn tips on how to get a job.  I guess it's like the playing field for getting a job is even.

Then again, it's not like there is only one playing field.  One field is full of computers and engineering, and I'm not playing or applying for those jobs.

Apr. 17, 2017 Maury: It's like when I'm angry about something, it can relate back to Maury though I stopped watching that show back in 2006.  I watched that show from 2003-2006, and it still kind of has an effect on my life. 

I'm frustrated with my job search.  It's hard to get a server job with tips.  I'm thinking about Maury episodes of out-of-control teenage girls who wear tight and revealing clothes and say things like "When I grow up, I want to be a stripper."

It's because they have low expectations of themselves that being a stripper is the only job they can get.  They probably don't think they can get a server job.

Then they go to a women's prison and inmates yell at them.  

Or that black guy motivational speaker goes and talks to them.  I had to look him up and his name is D West.  I like him.

Conclusion: I don't watch Maury and Dr. Phil because they bring me down emotionally and mentally.  Kind of like watching the news.  I rather read the news.  If it's depressing, I can skim, scan it or skip it altogether.

Jun. 1, 2017 Blind Date: I'm going to compare something I saw from this TV show to my job search.  It was in the days when I used to watch the show from like 2001-2005.  I  was a teen and in my early 20s.  By 2005, I had stopped watching that show because I stopped watching Maury.

There was a scene at the end of the date where a guy gives a woman his contact info.  An arrow points at the paper and says: "Waste of paper."

I feel like that with passing my resumes sometimes.  If the place isn't hiring, the worker does tell me that, but they will have my resume on file.  It's one of those things: "You don't know until you try."

I passed my resume to a place one time, and months later I got an interview.  The boss said to me that she had my resume on file for a long time.

Job interviews and dating: I have read some articles that compare looking for a job and looking for a partner as pretty similar.  You don't know until you meet each other and learn about each other if you are a match.

My week:

Jun. 19, 2017 Ice Panda: Today I found this place while I was looking for a job.  It seems they're hiring for K-Days.

"Co-op works on ensuring access to 'basic needs'": Today I found this article by Jonny Wakefield in the Edmonton Journal.  It's about donating money and food to charity.  Here's an excerpt:

Two years ago, Iris Manzano started a job as a support worker in Edmonton helping African and Spanish-speaking immigrants adjust to life in Canada.

Many of those families faced a host of challenges — raising kids, and finding work, health care, and social supports in a new country. But Manzano started to notice one problem looming over the others — the families didn’t have food.  

“It’s one issue after another, and the main issue is poor nutrition,” said Manzano, who works for Multicultural Health Brokers (MCHB), an Edmonton co-op. “That’s the main thing, the main need of these families. It’s basic needs, the bottom of the line.” 

Manzano’s experiences helped inform a new food program targeted at the city’s most precarious newcomers — particularly expecting mothers — who regularly skip meals or go days without eating. 

Grocery Run, a partnership between MCHB and the University of Alberta that launched around a year ago, takes food that would otherwise go to waste or into day-old bins and puts it in the hands of hungry newcomers.

Much of the food goes to families from Edmonton’s northeast Africa community, many of them former refugees, who experience some of the city’s highest levels of food insecurity.  

The Multicultural Health Brokers was launched in the early 1990s to identify populations that were socially isolated and not being well-served by the health-care system. One early success was connecting Chinese immigrants to free prenatal programs.
Recently, the big issue has been tackling food insecurity. 

On Thursday morning, a dozen women in the basement of the Old McCauley School, 9538 107 Ave., fill clear plastic bags with vegetables, bread and other staples from a table packed with cardboard boxes of donated food. The night before, volunteers collected the food from bakeries and grocery stores around Edmonton.

Maira Quintanilha, a PhD student at the University of Alberta who helped organize the program, initially hoped to work with co-op clients on nutrition during and after pregnancy. 

But instead of helping expecting mothers choose the best foods to eat while pregnant, she found women who needed food, period.

Jun. 20, 2017 Big chain restaurant job interview: I passed out 10 resumes in person.  Later that day I got a call to come in for an interview.


1. It was in downtown and easy to get to.

2. The pay was min. wage and you get tips every 3 months.

3. The discount on the food is 20%.  That's average.


1. It seems it can get very busy and it can be stressful.  I have worked in restaurants in like that.

2. It seems they want someone to work on the weekends too.  I work at my 1st restaurant job at that time.  It seems at night it's 5pm-10pm.  After cleaning, it's 10:30pm to leave.  The busses come that late.

My opinion: If I get hired, I would work there.

Jun. 21, 2017 Office job phone interview: I did one over the phone.  The office has opened in Edmonton yet.  It was a screening interview. It only lasted about a few min.

Jun. 22, 2017 Donair restaurant job interview:


1. It was in downtown and easy to get to.

2. The pay was min. wage and the tips are daily like $3 or $4.

3. A free meal every time you work there.  Good bonus, I like that.

4. The shifts are Mon.- Fri.  11am- 4pm (or 5pm).

5. I can do the job of working the till and cleaning.


1. The only con I can really think of is that if I can get this job, is that I have to give up my weekday at my 1st restaurant job.

My opinion: I would work there if I get hired.  I would rather work there than the big chain restaurant.

Jun. 23, 2017 Warehouse interview: The above interviews I wrote this morning before I was to go to this interview.


1. The pay was average.  It was a bit more than min. wage.

2. I think I can do the job.

3. It was full-time and permanent.  If I don't get this job, there is temporary summer job there.


1. It was kind of far with 2 buses and I then had to walk 9 min.

2. The place was cluttered.  The boxes were labelled, but I think it could be neater.

My opinion: If I get hired, I would work there.

West Ed mall: Yesterday I went to West Ed mall and was shopping for 2hr and 30 min.  I had this urge to go shopping.  The last time I was at West Ed mall the whole day was on Aug. 1, 2016.  I acted like it was my birthday because I couldn't get my actual birthday Aug.11 off from work.

I then typed up the Aug. 1, 2016 shopping trip into my email as a way to relive my shopping trip.  However, I decided to go shopping.  I didn't spend any money.

The following stores has closed down:

Baskin Robbins
Bryan's- the women's clothing store has been replaced by men's clothing store Stockhomme

There are a lot of stores closing down, so I should go shopping while there are still stores open.

Canonizing: (in the Roman Catholic Church) officially declare (a dead person) to be a saint.

Monday, June 19, 2017

"Bloggers in business"/ "Want fries with that?"

Mar. 9, 2017 "Bloggers in business": I cut out this article by Jodie Sinnema in the Edmonton Journal on Nov. 28, 2014.  It was about blogging and I blog, so of course I had to read it:

EDMONTON – They aren’t making close to $1 million like their elite counterparts in the United States, but Edmonton fashion bloggers are starting to turn their fashionista hobbies into potentially lucrative businesses.

Already, local bloggers are influencing tens of thousands of people worldwide who follow them on Instagram and admire a style that seems far more attainable and personal than that on stick-thin models.

“Fashion magazines are still doing OK (but) they’re not doing as good as they did,” said Janis Galloway, who started fashion blogging in 2009, when there were only a handful of young, local women posting fashionable photos of themselves on the web. “I think around that time, 2009, 2010, people were so sick of looking at photo-shopped images of skinny models wearing clothing they are never going to be able to afford and all of a sudden this blogging came along. ‘Oh, this is a real person with a real body.’ ”

While critics suggest the endeavour can be narcissistic, or the posts on Outfits Of The Day, boring and self-centred, fashion bloggers provide an empowering alternative to runway fashion.

Galloway began by posting general photos of stylish things she saw in stores, then progressed to posting photos of herself in outfits (mostly vintage), her head purposefully cut out of the frame because she felt silly and terrified. Family and friends were her chief blog followers, but when she began including her face in her posts, and writing about Edmonton models, designers and boutiques, her popularity skyrocketed. Suddenly, she had 25,000 hits each month to her blog site.

“It’s attainable clothing, and especially if it’s someone in your city, you can say you can buy this here,” Galloway said. It’s a bigger scale version of asking a co-worker at the water cooler where she bought her shoes or sweater. “Almost the democracy of fashion was starting to happen.”

There are now hundreds of fashion bloggers based in Edmonton, some with niches such as do-it-yourself crafting, thrifting for second-hand clothing or postings for larger-sized women.

After her day job as a visual trainer for the Reitmans Group of stores (making sure they all have the same look and feel), Lyndsey Forest, 25, spends most evenings working on her fashion blog called Over My Styled Body. Her boyfriend takes most of her photos, a phenomenon common for many fashion bloggers, meaning breakups can be a career minefield.

It’s a lot of work: making a schedule of blog posts, since she receives free products in the mail from companies every other day and has a waiting list. She then uses Reward Style, an American-based invite-only company that helps bloggers monetize their postings. Forest finds her exact outfit — the sparkly dress from Tobi, for instance, a bag from Le Chateau — or even similar replicas online at the Reward Style website, then uses the provided links on her blog.

If her fans click the link, then buy that item online or even another item from the same store through that link, Forest earns a commission. Most companies offer five to 10 per cent of the cost, she said. While that might bring in 90 cents on one item, Forest could earn $30 to $40 if someone purchases an expensive dress from Anthropologie.

“Bloggers that wear all the name-brand looks, they’re generating quite a bit of revenue,” Forest said. “Some bloggers can make up to $30,000 a month.”

So far, Forest brings in an average of $300 to $400 a month.

“Some months I make more, some months I make less. That’s the game of blogging,” she said.

In the last two years, Forest has also earned 6,000 blog fans, 10,000 followers on Instagram and has another 16,000 to 18,000 connections through a fashion app called Pose.

“I think everyone likes to look into other people’s lives a bit and see what they’re wearing and they’re curious.”

Forest said she only blogs about items and styles she loves to wear and doesn’t accept freebies she wouldn’t blog about normally.

“I’ve never really felt used in that sense (by companies wanting promotion),” she said. “I’m pretty stern about what companies I will work with … I see it more as I’m collaborating and it’s more of a partnership with the companies.”

That’s the difference between fashion bloggers and models, Galloway said. Models wear whatever clothes they’re asked to. Bloggers have a collaborative relationship with companies because companies are starting to need them.

“People want to be told by someone they trust what to buy. They don’t want to hear it from companies anymore,” Galloway said. “I think that’s what brands are recognizing, is bloggers — they have dedicated fans already. They have an authentic following of people who are interested in them and follow them so the benefit of partnering with a fashion blogger is that you’re going to get something unique. It’s not a billboard.”

But that’s the conundrum for fashion bloggers: in some sense, they are advertisements.
When Galloway became known as the Dress Me Dearly face after the name of her blog, savvy businesses began noticing her and started sending free items her way.

“That was really exciting in the beginning,” Galloway said. “But then you have this, ‘Oh, I got this free product,’ (and) you feel obligated that you now have to blog about it.”

Galloway began sending unsolicited items back and has largely stopped posting fashion photos of herself. She says the biggest bloggers in the United States remain thin and beautiful and are now all wearing high-end clothing.

“Capitalism gets its hands on everything,” she said. “Marketing has got a hold of blogging and is now in control of it.”

Not that Galloway is against fashion bloggers or marketing. Her own blog connected her with the fashion world in Edmonton and now, she makes a living as a fashion ambassador of Simons, Doc Martens and French Connection, and works as a personal stylist, among other contracts.

Yet she believes fashion bloggers have a limited lifespan posting multiple photos of themselves online.

“I think people are getting tired of it now,” Galloway said. “You have to branch out and do something else to survive.”

That’s what Alyssa Lau is doing, working part time in public relations for Coup Boutique and part time selling sustainable and ethical fashion through her new, online store called New Classics Studios. She launched her Ordinary People fashion blog in 2011 with her cousin.
Lau, 22, has become a very popular fashion icon internationally with 32,000 Instagram followers and more than 70,000 hits to her website a month.

Yet she said she’s too lazy to use Reward Style to earn commission on clicks, despite encouragement from her boyfriend, who also takes many of her photos.

“You don’t want to come across like you’re trying to sell everything,” Lau said. “I don’t push myself to make money, I guess. Even though it’s great and I’ve got so many opportunities through it, it’s always been a hobby.”

Yet she has earned between $1,500 and $2,000 monthly by collaborating on projects with companies such as ShopBop and Revolve (online boutiques with retailers around the world).

“I think fashion bloggers are inspiring because you know they’re real,” she said. At the same time, she accepts criticism. “I think that blogging is such a self-centred and egotistical and sartorial activity, I guess, if that’s what you want to call it, and I think as long as you acknowledge that and you still remain more grounded somehow, it’s fine. That’s how I do it.”

"Want fries with that?": I found this article by Lisa Armstrong in the Edmonton Journal on Nov. 28, 2014.

Black sweatshirt patch-worked with flags, demi-shaved, carrot-top quiff, adidas trainers cunningly designed to resemble a kind of two-tone brogue, tofu salad - Jeremy Scott blends right in with the sleek, international crowd murmuring over their lapsang in Claridge's.

The love affair between rap stars - to whom 41-year-old Scott bears far more resemblance than the average fashion designer - and olde-worlde five star hotels is as ancient as the Beastie Boys, and in its way, a clear demonstration of his world-view. "I don't think the distinction between high and low culture exists any more," he says in his soft, considered Missouri tones. "McDonald's, Barbie - they're all icons, recognizable from London to Timbuktu."

True enough. Yet the McDonald's collection he designed for his debut last February at Moschino, the much loved 31-year-old Italian label, achieved the near impossible: it genuinely shocked the fashion establishment. 
The degree of unease it inspired is odd, since Franco Moschino, the label's founder, rejoiced in taking jokey shots at the fashion system. It wasn't just the combination of Big Mac French fries yellow and ketchup red at a house that had, for the past two decades, reliably produced little black dresses and boucle jackets that alarmed. This was a youthquake that rattled the foundations of Milan, that most staid of fashion capitals.

Perhaps because of the rapid, democratising changes in the business brought about by the internet (everyone can critique a fashion show instantly now), it felt too close for comfort. Some of the establishment didn't bother to return for his second show in September . They missed an homage to Barbie, with roller-skating models in platinum wigs, bubblegum pink lipstick and shrunken fuchsia leather. 
"Honestly, it shocks me that people found it so shocking…" Scott says, eyes still popping with what looks convincingly like hurt. But he's not really hurt, he insists. "I'm glad it inspired dialogue, because so few things do today."

Fashion's grander dames may find his world view problematic in an era that fetishizes luxury, and where the accepted business model is to woo the stratospherically rich with artisanally crafted skins and four-ply cashmere. The under-30s adore it however. This is not the aspirational suction they might feel towards a coolly aloof (and way out of their price range) label such as Saint Laurent, another brand that is unashamedly by-passing the approval of respected fashion critics to appeal directly to the youth market, but a genuine affection for a fancy fashion house selling them stuff they can afford.

Moschino's McDonald's phone-cases, (£45), available immediately after that first show, became such a cult that versions created out of real McDonald's cardboard packaging started appearing on Instagram - a post-post-modern joke that tickled Scott mightily. A similar success seems assured for his looking glass, pink rubber Barbie phone case .

It's not exclusively youth who appreciate the levity. At last week's Harrod's launch of Toy, Scott's first perfume for the house, the throng of excitable fans - that probably is the best word - waiting to buy the "woody" scent in its fluffy teddy bear bottle (a tribute to Franco Moschino's 1988 bear-festooned dress), included "at least one eager client who must have been about 70", reports Scott.
But let's not get bogged down in age. Moschino hasn't been this hot since the Eighties. Whether or not it's ironic is a moot point. The queues to get into the Barbie show were unprecedented, with crowds standing three deep at the back. This is not normal in the tightly marshalled environment of fashion shows. 
Scott himself professes to love Barbie and not see any problems with the cultural reach of her unrealistic body proportions. "I really don't see little girls growing up and thinking, 'Oh, I'm going to morph myself so I look like Barbie'…I know that famously in the UK Jodie Marsh [the "glamour model" who has undergone extensive cosmetic surgery on her body] said she blamed all her ills on Barbie - but, no, it's you . You've extended your breasts…Barbie's a doll . That's all. It's make-believe". 
It's possible not to agree entirely with Scott, but hard to dislike him. He is courteous, thoughtful and - unusually in fashion - unpretentious. "I don't care if the critics don't like me. I want to be the people's designer, like Diana was the people's princess. Fashion," he avers, "should be joyous."

I think he really means this. He probably has the least complicated relationship with fashion of any designer I've met. Growing up, it literally saved him.
His teenage years sound very Lord of The Flies. He was beaten up daily, he says, for walking down the street in clothes that didn't meet the approval of his denim-wearing peers. "Missouri was devoid of fashion. No chicante at all. My fashion leaning is a miracle," he muses, although thinking about it, he says, it could be a throwback to his farming grandparents. "My grandmother was always making hats, tea-cosies, out of the plastic bags the vegetables came in." 
At five he was cutting his own hair - nothing unusual about that, apart from the reverberations. "My dad told me the police would come and get me because I didn't have a licence to cut hair. I was so terrified I hid in a cupboard for days. I didn't realize my dad was lying until I was about 12…" He sounds outraged, albeit jokily so.

Perhaps part of him enjoyed the response this transgression provoked. By 14, there he was in cattle country, deciding to become a vegetarian and enrolling in French classes because he'd figured out he needed to end up in Paris in order to design clothes. He stuck out the French, in the face of dwindling attendance from the rest of his classmates. "I remember laughing hysterically the day I left school," he says, "because I realised I never had to see any of those people again."

The path to his chosen career was not smooth. A letter from New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, one of America's most prestigious fashion college, informed him: "I was lacking in - let me get this right - creativity, originality and artistic talent. I was shattered. When my portfolio eventually returned, all the art work was folded up into little pieces. Now I can imagine that whoever wrote that letter must have been so horribly upset with their own life, but it's just so…rude." 
Eventually he made it to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and was so thrilled at being accosted by people who wanted to compliment the 1880s and 1980s mash up he was wearing, that he began to look even further afield. At 21 he pitched up in Paris with six suitcases, no money and not a single contact. "To be honest, I hadn't really thought it out."

Some nights he slept on the Metro, but within a year he'd made enough friends to stage his first show. Not many journalists turned up, but one who did hosted a fashion show on French TV and featured Scott prominently. By his third show fashion's elite - including designers Raf Simons (now head of Dior) and Hedi Slimane (Saint Laurent) - were in the front row. Tom Ford later became an unlikely champion.

Six and a half years later, he'd moved to LA (against Anna Wintour's and most of the industry's advice); won the Venus fashion award for best newcomer (twice); picked up a nomination from the CFDA; and forged a successful relationship with adidas. "The people in Paris were completely supportive and charming," he says. "I know that's befuddling, but that's how it was."

Maybe it's his apparent lack of business guile that charms. "I am so not a business man," he insists, recounting how, when he was interviewed by Parson's College, they asked him who he thought his customer might be. "I said, 'I guess that would be my friends', and they said, 'that so isn't going to work' ."

It was prophetic on his part, however: the legions of Scott-ites see him as one of them. Yet for a long time, he didn't seem to harbour any ambitions to sell his clothes at all. "I was so busy sewing every single stitch myself for the show, there was no time to make a selling collection." Around his third show, a woman made her way up to his sixth floor walk-up apartment in Paris's 20th arrondissement to try and persuade him to sell her some pieces.

"She was really getting on my nerves to tell the truth, so in the end I said, 'OK, you can have some samples'." The store she represented turned out to be Colette, the immensely influential concept boutique on the Rue Saint-Honoré. 
LA's sunlit lifestyle suits him, as does its music industry eco system. Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears (most notably in her air-stewardess uniform in the Toxic video) all wear his clothes. Katy Perry, whom he first began dressing when she was making religious music, flew to Milan for his first Moschino show.

It never occurred to him that he couldn't design an Italian label out of LA. Slimane is based there, as is Rick Owens. "It's not as if we all hang out - although I have dinner with Hedi now and then. We're all working really long hours, but that's how the industry is. It's all so international now."

To those who say his humour is a blunter instrument that Franco Moschino's, he responds: "mine isn't ironic. I genuinely love the things I play with in the collections." As for those customers who require camel cashmere coats: "I think there's enough of that out there already.

"To be honest," he adds, looking this camel cashmere lover sweetly in the eye, "I don't really think of that stuff as fashion at all".