I'm a weirdo from planet Zero
When I was 10, I used to write fictional short-stories about an alien character named Nate from Planet Zero. It was loosely based on my life -- loosely. I wrote those continuing adventures because I was the introverted new-kid in a tough anti-introverted-new-kid school and I was a loner -- I just didn't belong. I am still an alien and feel as if I don't belong, but I hide it by acting like an unapproachable asshole. It only works for a little while. My cover is usually blown when someone does as little as talk to me -- which no one should ever do. Ahem. As it turned out, I later discovered that I am autistic. That sure did explain a few things.
Anyway, back to my boring story...
When I was 11 I began my creative endeavours. I co-wrote the revenge-adventure Terror in the Park with my friend, Dave Cote, who was my next-door neighbour. Take that, bullies.
Thus began my foray into creativity that would kick-start my life-long passion for creating worlds. I'll expand on that further, if you're interested enough to find out:
Below is a very long bio and it talks about all the things I couldn't focus on for long enough to establish myself as being the thing I was focusing on. Because that would be crazy. Autism... it's a hell of a neurodivergency.
Here it is...
TL;DR (Skip to the end for the elevator pitch version)
Throughout my life, I have always created something. It began with The Weirdo from Planet Zero and performing contrived skits for a video camera my poppy took home at Christmastime. Then, at 11 years old, I drifted to music. I honed my guitar skills and took lessons from R&B master, Leroy Emmanuel.
After my parents fought with the school to allow me, I did a co-op placement at the biggest recording studio in Niagara Falls: Rainbow Recording Studios. I remained an apprentice there under then-owner Warren Parker for several years. He got free help, and I got to learn it all on 2-inch reel. I also taught myself to play various other instruments by ear, and got pretty good at a few of them.
I was a shy and introverted autistic kid, so playing lead guitar in a rock band was not where I saw myself. But in 1996, after several jamming bands over the years, I joined a serious band named Firewall, and we recorded an album entitled Whipping Tree at a professional studio called Groundloop Productions. That album was produced and recorded by Dean Malton and we enjoyed some radio play. The songs were written by Dave Johns, Dave Johnstone, Ron Duguay, and myself. It was one of the greatest times of my life.
I had gone to post-secondary schools for writing — I took college and university classes — and seemed to have a knack for the craft. I applied both interests and wrote for the national magazines Canadian Musician and Professional Sound. I reviewed products, and I penned how-to columns in those publications. I also started writing a time-travel novel called The Scribe. The last half of that novel literally burned up (long story) and I was too angry to rewrite it. I foolishly put writing a novel out of my head for many years after that. I still have half of it saved and might re-finish it one day.
At that point in my life, I was selling timeshare by day, teaching guitar and harmonica during weeknights, playing in Firewall on weekends, and writing for the magazines during bathroom breaks.
But I never stopped writing music.
The film scoring:
I went on to write jingles and songs for other artists and then finally made my leap into orchestral composition. The first short-film I scored was a production out of Georgia Film School and directed by Patrick Griffin. He called it, A Fool’s Paradise. Mr. Griffin subsequently hired me to recreate the Wagner piece, Flight of the Valkyries, for another short film of his; I did so instrument by instrument and figuring it all out by ear.
When I was running out of films to score, I made my own videos so I could compose music to them. This led to a lot of corporate work. A few companies hired me to do interoffice video productions with an original score. I had a lot to learn about lighting back then, but it was a fantastic experience.
I entered some of my orchestral productions in the 1st annual Niagara Music Awards. I won Instrumentalist of the Year and scored the music for the very next season; 28 category-intros in each respective genre, along with the theme song. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. I won a couple more times as well.
I also entered 10 separate compositions for the Canada-wide “CBC Hockey Night in Canada Anthem Challenge” that year. I made some lifelong friends from that contest. I’m looking at you, Jared Robinson.
The TV show:
From there, I created a reality TV show called History of a Haunting with Jerry Potter and Craig Misener. This drew attention from the local media. A festival heard about it and they nominated it for best TV pilot at the Banff International TV Festival. That was a fun trip. I met a lot of movie and TV stars. More on that in a blog post or something.
I had big dreams back then.
On September 1, 2011, Wayne Corlis (star of History of a Haunting and world-class painter), Kevin Davidson (the best cinematographer and compositor in the region), Todd Brown (sales and marketing pro) and I created Northern Empire Studios. We had a cute little green-screen studio on Queen Street in Niagara Falls for a year and we did all kinds of fun productions for many interesting clients.
We did work for actor/director April Mullen for the feature film, Gravy Train, and a Star-Wars-themed video for YouTube celebrity, Corey Vidal. It was a great time, but it was short-lived. The market wasn’t good around Niagara for high-quality videos and original scores. But for me personally, it was just an amazing amount of fun.
During those times, I wrote songs for artists and recorded fun foley projects.
After all that, projects dwindled because I had medical issues that prevented me from doing as much as I was.
In 2012 I had the honour of taking over the Niagara Music Awards as the Director. That was a lot of work and little personal reward in terms of art creation. Becoming the promoter of a thing, as opposed to the creator, was a sobering experience and not one I’d like to do again. It was a lot of fun in many other ways, though, and I got to include some of my musical celebrity friends I had made through the years (I Mother Earth, Tal Bachman, Robert Carli, See Spot Run, and more). I remained director of the NMAs for two award seasons and then stepped down, leaving the reins to my gifted then-business partner, Todd Brown.
Somehow, being on the other side of the entertainment business took the wind out of my sails. I was also declining in health and as a result my appearances in public were fewer.
In 2013 I was elected onto the executive board of the Niagara Region Musicians Association (NRMA, AFM Local 298). I served two terms as executive, and a third as Vice President. I have always been about fair trade music here in Niagara. I championed that cause often as an NRMA executive.
In 2014, the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights asked me to compose 8 minutes of original orchestral Christmas music to set their Dufferin Island display to. Further, I was asked if I would compose and donate a 3-minute Grand Opening orchestral piece for the City of Niagara Falls’ “Flip the Switch” ceremony. They timed over $100,000 (or more) worth of fireworks over the falls to my symphonic composition. I must admit, not everyone can say they’ve done that. It was one of the high-points in my life and I’ll cherish that memory forever.
The National Political Video:
I didn’t do many creative projects the next few years. But I had the opportunity to produce a video for a local political candidate, Ron Planche, in the 2015 Canadian federal election. In that video, I tried something creative and used far too many cutaways to mask the need for reading a script. It was a single-camera shoot, and I had a nice camera to work with (thanks, Ron). The result made national headlines as "Could this be the best and weirdest political videos of the year?" All the major news networks featured it, and fellow producers mocked me heavily for the amount of cutaways I used. In fact, the Canadian satire group, The Syrup Trap, parodied my video in the most hilarious way. My peculiar video may have been a chuckle to the filmmaking community at that time, but it sure made headlines. Even now, the Prime Minister of Canada brings the video up to Ron whenever they attend political functions together.
That sure was a great time, too.
I learned recently that good times come from doing the things and being involved — even if they have bad parts. The mind seems to only remember the good times.
The Standing Man:
Thus, in 2019—aside from a handful of video and music projects—I took courses, read countless books, and listened to many audiobooks on writers craft. I needed to brush up on all the rules of prose to prepare for writing my first novel again. I have half-way completed it, and it remains that way to this day.
The Standing Man will be my debut novel and Amazon will release it at some point before I die.
As of the year of destruction (2020), I spent my days refocused on recording music again, and podcasts too. I created a type of audio movie called a SonicCinema™ and featured this idea in both standalone podcasts that I made. You can check that out in my Podcast page.
I've recently discovered that I have been living with autism, which, among other things, causes me to obsess over artistic projects and then drop them. Then pick up something else and get obsessed with it and then drop it for another thing. After 46 years, I think my passions are like a wheel. So you never know when the wheel is going to come around to music, writing, videos and filmmaking, photography, podcasts, art, philosophy, or something entirely new. For 3 years I was obsessed with the making of colloidal silver. And this is especially interesting, since I am a science lover and am against snake-oil and BS natural cures. But when one has a medical condition that no doctors can help with, one tends to try anything.
So, after years of scattered projects, I made a final home for all the diverse creations I’ve already made, and all the creations to come.
I have no idea what will appear on this website in the future. Maybe it’ll be pottery. But I do know you are welcome to come into my universes anytime you wish. Come and hang out in my insanity with me.
In a world where nobody knows what the hell they’re talking about (including me most of the time), I can confidently say I know the most about everything found here in Chamberland; I created it, after all.
ELEVATOR PITCH VERSION
I have done a lot of creative things. They have words like:
Wrote songs, composed orchestral scores, wrote for magazines, recorded bands, worked on films, made videos, sold timeshare, taught music, wrote a novel, wrote skits, played guitar on studio albums, served on the musician's union executive, took lots of cool pics and videos with my iPhone which I then processed into art.
And everything I preserved from all this will end up on this website, in some form or another.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, not everything I’ve done was great. Some of it was downright awful. I’ll put those here, too.
Weirdo From Planet Zero