There is a creative team behind my indie publishing venture, Evidentia Originals and Evidentia Classics (which are both part of the registered company Sphaera Canada), and my indie film venture, Evidentia Films Inc.
I could never drive these ventures along without the brilliance and energy of a team of creators. First of all, Marie Frenette (see photo), with whom I have had the pleasure of making music and working in sound design for several years now. A singer-songwriter, she invited me to accompany her at the piano, for a few concerts she did at the Place des Arts in Montreal, then for other gigs in town and country. We worked together on musical tracks for a CBC/Radio-Canada documentary co-production. More recently, she painstakingly listened to the various drafts of the audiobook version of Mind the Gap, coming up with many suggestions. And she sings on the sound track of my forthcoming feature film, The Blinding Sea. Working with Marie is an honour, but also pure joy. She has excellent musical judgment and has saved me from disaster more than once. I thrive on her guidance.
Andy Hsu took the studio photograph of the gas mask on the cover of Mind the Gap. Isabelle Guerette has done the graphic design for all forthcoming titles in the Evidentia Originals and Evidentia Classics collections. She has flair, verve and an eye for colour. She makes these book covers sing. Véronique Beaulieu-Fowler does social-media marketing. She knows about building value and communities on different social media. She enjoys marketing, and has the kind of contagious enthusiasm that treats each day as a new day. Aron Black manages the website. Aron is a Montrealer with a great sense of humour and knowledge of colour, layout and interactive features. He has plans for the website which I am not sure I understand yet … but Aron makes it easy and he makes it fun.
Guillaume Falardeau is editing The Blinding Sea. A talented film-maker in his own right, he is putting in the hours, days, months helping me complete the film the way it needs to be done. Guillaume and I have known each other for years now, and we work very well together. He joined me in Scotland, Ireland, England and Belgium, filming interviews with descendants of polar explorers from a century ago – like Falcon Scott, Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, Julian Evans and Baron Bernard de Gerlache. I sometimes thought it would be fun bringing Guillaume along to the Arctic, for filming, but this did not prove possible. Working with Guillaume, and also with a brilliant Londoner, Peter Butler, who has done animations both for the film and for book trailers, has been amazing. Peter has moved onto other projects, since he is building his own enterprise, but when we have worked together – each of us on a different side of the Atlantic – I felt as if we were at close quarters, in a virtual workshop.
My business ethic is very simple. Work hard, play hard, offer the team the best work conditions you possibly can, respect contracts, pay quickly, use only licensed content when you need to acquire some, protect intellectual property rights, build durable value, and focus on reaching out to readers, listeners and viewers of your content. I remember interviewing the great literary critic Northrop Frye when I was an undergraduate. He told me – and this is a paraphrase from memory: “If you are just creating for yourself, this is expression, from the Latin ‘pressare’ which means to ‘press out’, like pressing oil from olives. If you are just expressing yourself, you might as well do this in an empty room! Actually, the key value in any creative endeavor is communication, from the Latin ‘communicare’ which means ‘to share.’” That’s where we’re at.