Friday, October 1, 2010

Stanley Colbert, R.I.P.

Every TV writer has a story about how they broke into the business.  This is mine.  Having no idea how to get into the film business, I wrote a film script and used it as a sample to get into graduate film programs.  I ended up attending York University, where Stanley Colbert taught screenwriting.  His day job was executive producer in the drama department of CBC TV.  I gave him my little sample to read and he liked it so much that he invited me to pitch an idea for an episode of a TV series he was producing called The Phoenix Team.  I went to the CBC TV drama HQ, was put in a little room with a TV monitor and shown the pilot.  While waiting for Stanley and the other producers to return, I came up with an idea for an episode which I ended up being commissioned to write and which was produced.

Stanley went on to join his wife Nancy running her literary agency, where I was a client.  Stan could be infuriating and in fact, I left the agency under a cloud after a disagreement over commissions.

Stan eventually joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina, but I ran into him a couple of years ago at the WGC Christmas party.  He had moved back to Toronto where I guess he felt at home.

But I owe my career to Stan.

A lot of people do.  His influence was enormous.  He started his career producing the TV series Flipper.  He represented Jack Kerouac.  He brought the Muppets to Canada to produce Fraggle Rock, (which I also wrote.)

Every year at the WGC Awards, another of his protogees, Keith Ross Leckie and I always say we need to nominate Stan for a WGC mentorship award. We just never got around to it.

Stan passed away Tuesday.


1 comment:

Anand Rathore said...

I am sorry ! may god give peace to his soul ...