Dream Writing in Colour FInd yourself to save yourself


Self absorbed construction foreman Michael must work with others if he is to prevent becoming a part of the scenery after being trapped inside a landscape artist’s body of work.


After a construction accident, Michael must go to an art therapy class to deal with two dimensional painted images that are plaguing his vision. There he meets standoffish Lindsay who, addled by visions of her late father, has nothing to say outside of her cryptic one-liners. Despite attempts to use his artistic style, but is stymied by the instructor Simon, who insists on the method taught in class. Michael decides to hone his artistry of building design alongside his art therapy class

Following Lindsay's clues helps him discover that every location he goes to is preceded by a painting of Simon's on the wall: From the university grounds to the streets he walks and even into his home. Michael see's that focusing on Simon's teachings only exasperate his visions, but concentrating on his drafting alleviates them. Confronting Simon proves his worst fears correct; he is trapped inside the painters body of work and literally must draw himself out with his architectural drafting style before he becomes a part of the teachers surrealist scenery.

As he races to escape, Michael recognizes Lindsay as the daughter of the man killed on his construction site years ago. Michael steps outside of his body, seeing all moments of his life simultaneously in painting form, thereby realizing that his current reality is a construct created to deal with his remorse for Lindsay's father's death. As he lay dying from a similar injury from the initial construction accident, Michael pulls himself through the painting of Lindsay frantically trying to save the man who killed her father.

Concept & Theme

This tale of magical realism asks what would happen if your external reality physically manifested your inner turmoil? You must find peace within yourself, before seeking it from others. This is about the results of allowing hubris to prevent healing. Pride prevents us from seeing what our true selves are when we are open to our calling we find atonement for the things we left behind. Dream writing is the connection with your innermost thoughts and feelings, dream writing in colour has command over them. This is a story about looking outside of oneself for solace and harmony, but it is not until you find yourself that you can save yourself.

With imagery inspired by the Sarvāstivādin school of Buddhism, a concept that evokes the simultaneous existence of the past, present and future. Michael uses the aspects of the painted reality to be that of a stagnant and unchanging life, akin to death. As his body shuts down his inner world becomes slowly overtaken by this vision. His attempts to stay alive, going to the jujitsu club, for example, is the moment of him reaching out to exterior constructs for salvation. In turn, here, his mind manifests the CPR administered to him as martial arts drills.

The more he delves into his passion for architectural design the closer he becomes to the truth of his actions. As Lindsay is someone known to him in his waking life, her psychological avatar is wholly unfamiliar to him in his illusion; it is when he gets close to his truth that he recognizes her and the damage he has wrought. It is this personal truth, linked with one's passions, Which opens the door to enlightenment and life itself.

Every street and building is foreshadowed by a painting of the location hidden in the scene before.

Artistic Statement

The first time I saw the toboggan slopes of Rideau park I was a young child, I can vividly remember the other kids laughing and sliding down the incline. It wasn’t until I was an adult confronted with a painting of such a joyous event that the concept for Dream Writing In Colour was born. The picture reminded me of the experience I had as a child and spurred me to take my kids back. There I was, huddled in a heap of children after a glorious crash landing, sitting in the same spot that the painting was done. My vision blurred between the image from the picture and the scene before me, the age-old question arose: Is life art? A confluence of the 'plein air' painter, Weiming Zhao, and my journey into filmmaking made me understand the frustration that I faced as a tradesperson to be recognized as an artist, vs. a traditional artist. The core of this story became one I needed to tell; I needed to share the vision I saw on the slopes of Rideau Park. The grunts make art, art you use and see every day.

Weiming Zhao's painting of the Rideau Park toboggan Slopes

As the story began to take shape, I was surprised to find that it was one of guilt and acceptance, I realized that I was using this tale to explore and permit myself to be happy outside of the religious sect into which I was brought up. For so many years I held onto a half-life that was not complete without the acceptance of the elders who surrounded me as a child. Years later, after a degree in Religious Studies, I realized that I was trying to find my passion through a facsimile of what I was brought up to believe. I then moved on to building construction and the trades, but this again was leaning on the examples of others, my father in this case. It wasn’t until I found a passion for filmmaking that I saw that I had created supposed paths for myself that were just what other people wanted. At this moment I saw that cathartic self-expression was something that every person could experience, regardless of what the do, it’s intent behind those actions.

When I realized this was my art, all of my baggage was able to wash off of me. My co-workers were irked by my gleeful perspective to work, but once I explained how self-awareness could provide deep meaning to things we build with our hands, they saw how a change in attitude and intent could save them from vocational apathy and bring them lasting happiness. It struck me that all persons who build engage in an art form, one just as meaningful and life-giving as the painters. That's what makes this story so important; it seeks to subvert the notions that only 'artists' are creative. Once I gave myself license to be an artist through understanding, the things I had long forgotten were accessible for me to revisit and process, and through the act of creation resolve them in my being. I needed to find myself, to save myself.


Michael McCutcheon

With a lifetime in the construction industry, Michael has learned from the ground up; this gives him the exceptional visualization and design skills. But, with no formal qualifications, he has been relegated to being the guy on the ground.

His customers have always appreciated his keen insight and often lean on his on the ground knowledge to ensure the project turns out the way they expect. His generosity and kindness, obscured by a rough demeanour and coy wit, shield him from a shame he has yet to overcome.

Michael's world is initially gritty and full of debris, but as he is thrust into a different stage of his life, he begins to clean up his surroundings. Using that experience, he can find his form of expression through drafting and design.

Character reference: Modern Cullen Bohanan from 'Hell On Wheels.' (2011-16)

Possible casting choices.

Lindsay Shaffer

After the death of her father when she was a teenager, Lindsay has struggled with moving on and poured herself into her passion for cycling. With a constant barrage of unrequited guilt for her father's death she is still haunted by visions of him.

Alone in the world, Lindsay struggles with depression and insomnia.

Lindsay exists in a shallow depth of field; her life is shrouded by despair. But her cool surroundings hold a vibrant future as she overcomes her sorrow to become an EMS responder in hopes of preventing another accident like the one that killed her father.

Character Reference: Cheryl From 'Wild' (2014)

Possible casting choices


At first, Michael's reality is clean and crisp. With his home balancing the colour schemes from the other scenes.
As his state teeters on the brink of sanity, his surroundings are slowly overtaken by a 2-dimensional painted landscape.
Michael's hubris prevents him from facing his responsibility, trapping him in his mind.

With the characters and other moving objects augmented with practical make-up artistry, they would have the freedom to move and be apart of the imagined world.

Michael and Lindsay find themselves completely trapped inside the painter's world. It's not until Michael discovers who Lindsay is that they can escape.

By using his passion for building design and drafting, Michael begins to draw his way out...

Allowing both of them to let go of the past and enter into the clarity of the future; Michael forgives himself while Lindsay see's the role he has played in getting her to where she is.



Mr. Zhao has done over 10,000 paintings in Western Manitoba and around the world. HIs unique style and aesthetic sets him apart as a true master of his craft and the 'Plein Aire'.


Miles S. Crossman

Miles S. Crossman hails from Brandon, MB. He is keen to utilize his aesthetic sense after transitioning from property development to film. With a degree in Religious Studies, Miles draws on impactful story forms from a variety of cultures to bring thought provoking and insightful tales to today's audiences.
Created By
Miles S Crossman

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