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.
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.