Patti Cole: A Voice That Haunts You

In the past few years, singer/lyricist/composer, Patti Cole, has written soulful and haunting love poetry.  'It's Always You" (originally called 'Searching for David') is a song I listen to over and over after Patti introduced it to me, and I knew I wanted to end THE GOLD FISH BOWL with it.  Patti had the pleasure of working with iconic, Canadian singer, Elaine Overholt who loved what she wrote and offered to record it.  Music lovers and lovers are branded by Patti's work.  I look forward to your next works.


Let's try this post again.  We wanted to share with you our movie teaser.  It's been a pleasure to work with this multi-talented, diverse Canadian cast and crew.  We're looking toward the new year for screenings.  Very excited to attend the Hamilton Film Market this week-end.  Thanks to Nathan Fleet and his organizers for this great event.  Hope you enjoy our trailer.


It's great seeing letters and words on paper leap off the page and out of the mouths and bodies of our actors.  Our Director of Photography, Mason Buchko,  infuses his artistic eye in the emotional threads of THE GOLD FISH BOWL.  He brings the viewer into the characters' experiences and holds them there, exposing them to the Winter family trauma. That's our purpose - to bring the Winter family close to you, so you can see yourself in their needs, struggles, losses and wins.


We don't choose whom we fall in love with.  It just happens.  Rainer Maria Rilke said, "Love consists of this:  two solitudes that meet, protect and greet."  Alexander Smith said, "Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others."  In our feature, THE GOLD FISH BOWL,  Mara Winter and Hart Cane are two solitudes who meet, protect, greet, and discover.  Do they fall in love?  You'll have to make that decision for yourself.

Hart Cane and Mara Winter in THE GOLD FISH BOWL.

Hart Cane and Mara Winter in THE GOLD FISH BOWL.

"Love consists of this:  two solitudes that meet, protect, and greet."  --  Rainer Maria Rilke           fromTHE GOLD FISH BOWL     Hart Cane and Mara Winter  

"Love consists of this:  two solitudes that meet, protect, and greet."  --  Rainer Maria Rilke          fromTHE GOLD FISH BOWL     Hart Cane and Mara Winter  


A movie’s soundtrack can make the film memorable or forgettable.    Over coffee, I remember Jeff Steiner (New Media Franchise Inc.) and I agreeing that film music is an integral component of any film and we went on to sing a few bars of famous scores.   Nietzche said, ‘Without music, life would be a mistake.”  Would film making be a mistake without great soundtracks?

Both Richard Moule’s and Edward Matthews’s original tracks for The Gold Fish Bowl have such purity and soul in the stories they tell.  I feel my characters feed on their  music, that their emotions swell because of the sub text the music offers, like a welcomed family member in their lives.

Robert Browning said, “Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once.”  Music personified does ‘people’ our emotional backwoods.   The following pics tell their own stories, but Richard’s and Edward’s music infuse the characters’ solitudes with soul.


I mentioned earlier that various stories about women’s violent outbursts inspired me to write The Gold Fish Bowl.  So I wrote the screenplay feverishly and quickly with very little editing.   When the first draft was done, and I read through it, I realized too many questions emerged about realism, sequences, symbolism, dialogue, procedures, character differentiation, exclusions, inclusions.  I was lost in my own creation.

Needing an impartial editor, I asked  Steve Keddy, to consult with me on the screenplay.  Winner of myriad writing awards, Steve’s keen observations of literary merit, visual narrative, human nature, and character appropriate dialogue reshaped many scenes adding credibility to the story.  Steve’s insights have given depth to both Hart Cane’s and Derek Winter’s characters and have added subtle nuances to Mara’s behavior.   The Gold Fish Bowl has a stronger foundation because of Steve's careful scrutiny.

                                                                                       Steve Keddy, Script Consultant and Writer



Like Lucy Maud Montgomery, Mara Winter has lived with an anti-monster and developed strategies to cope with Derek's mood swings, domestic abuse, his pot addiction and his great need to find himself again.  Unlike Montgomery, Mara refuses to escape through substances, but chooses art and photography to poultice her emotional wounds.  Even though she snaps one evening when domestic abuse rears its ugly head, Mara remains a devoted mom to the one thing she's loves - Lennon.

Together Mara and Lennon unite against their anti-monster, keep strong, and learn to swim out of their fish bowl existence.  While Lennon loves his dad, he doesn't trust him.  At times Lennon's troubles make their way on to his drawing board in a plea for his mom's understanding. What she knows about him is he's a great, kind-hearted kid with an imagination that could save continents from falling into the sea. 

So excited to bring the Winter family to the screen.  Here are Mara and Lennon.


In creating Derek Winter I had to research bipolar disorder.  Derek is extremely complicated, refusing medication for his disorder while holding down a tenured position at York University in Toronto, and coddling his addiction to pot.  Here is some research I pulled from various sites:

For people with bipolar disorder, normal emotions can become a roller coaster ride of wild highs and devastating lows. Moods are driven, not by the events of life, but by a force of their own. Bipolar disorder (previously called manic-depressive illness) is a medical condition that involves changes in brain function leading to dramatic mood swings. These mood swings can be so severe that they impair normal functioning at work, at school and in relationships.

People with the disorder may be more vulnerable to emotional and physical stresses, a lack of sleep, the break-up of an important relationship, or drug and alcohol use. Changes in routine or excessive stimulation may trigger a manic episode.

Female poets have a higher risk of being bipolar.

The majority of us has suffered episodic emotional disabilities from assorted deficits, driven by anger, jealously, or low self-esteem, to name few, and we know how these short-lived moments feel.  Try to imagine these moments amplified five times or ten or hundred.  The suffering would be unbearable.  We will never really understand how someone like Derek Winter functions with bipolar disorder.  We do understand how it impacts on Mara, his wife and Lennon, his son.

In creating Derek Winter, I created an anti-monster, a man I don't hate, but find it hard to love.  Mara was his student, fell in love with him, married him and had his child.  She said he was brilliant once.  While I feel their tragedy, I don't quite feel his suffering.  I wear armor.

Here are female artists, all of whom suffered from depression and committed suicide.  While Montgomery didn't have bipolar disease like Plath or Woolf, her husband suffered from extreme manic-depression.  Pflug also had a history of depression and abuse.

LUCY MAUD MONTGOMERY                                    VIRGINIA WOOLF                                                         CHRISTIANE PFLUG                                                       SYLVIA PLATH   

LUCY MAUD MONTGOMERY                                    VIRGINIA WOOLF                                                         CHRISTIANE PFLUG                                                       SYLVIA PLATH





Many stories inspired me to write, The Gold Fish Bowl, the first of which was a CBC film called Vicky about a woman who snapped and tragically killed her children.  Canadian actress, Jackie Burroughs, won an ACTRA for playing Vicky who was hospitalized for years for the homicides, then released.  The real life story of Francine Hughes (played by Farah Fawcett in The Burning Bed) drew me into the complexities of spousal abuse.  Research for my character, Mara Winterin The Gold Fish Bowl uncovered interesting theories and studies about people who just snap.  Here are some things I read: 

"The association between mental illness and snapping is controversial, some say. Most people with mental illness are not violent, said Dr. Roland Segal, a forensic psychiatrist in Phoenix, Arizona."

"When people who are not psychotic are committing a homicide, some dehumanize or blind themselves to the person they're shooting, Ash said.  'It's striking when you talk to people who have done things like this, how they're really preoccupied with their own feeling and have in their mind stopped thinking of the other person as real full human being,' he said."

"Because of the many differences in behaviors and motivations between men’s and women’s violence, as discussed here, interventions based on models of male violence against women may not be effective for many women.  Gender-specific interventions tailored to the needs of women who are violent are more likely to be successful in creating behavior change."

"Why some people snap and others don't is still a mystery, experts say."

Even though Mara Winter snapped, she fights to understand that night of domestic violence and to learn she has options.  Tanisha Sinclair as Mara Winter captures Mara asleep and awakened.

Even though Mara Winter snapped, she fights to understand that night of domestic violence and to learn she has options.  Tanisha Sinclair as Mara Winter captures Mara asleep and awakened.





Derek Winter is a basement dweller when he's not reading Coleridge at York University.  He's addicted to psychotropic hybridization.  He's also addicted to denying that his bipolar disorder needs treatment, choosing instead to remain a narcissistic predator, preying on the weakness of loved ones.  He's behind this door in his man cave.  Find him and see what he's up to.  Be careful!

As a husband, Derek Winter is bent on balancing marital values in his favor.  As a man, he's bent on self-destruction.  As a father, he's bent on being off-limits.