MIKE McPHADEN is a Toronto-based actor and writer, who has written for InSecurity, Connor Undercover, Men With Brooms, and How to Be Indie.

Rung, an excellent short film he wrote, will be given its international premiere in competition at The Tribeca Film Festival in April 2012.

He is also the very proud papa to Jack.

Mike and Jack in an ad for Faema espresso makers... Photo by Christine Horne.

1. Be selective. You can’t juggle as many projects as you used to, especially during the early years. Make sure what’s on your plate is stuff you truly want or need to do.

2. It’s really hard to press control-alt-delete with a baby in your arms. Either put the baby down, or practice with a melon first.

3. Give up on needing three uninterrupted hours to get anything accomplished. Make use of fifteen minutes here, ten minutes there. It adds up, just like ten minutes of Facebook several times a day can add up to not getting a damn thing done at all.

4. You might think it’s a good idea to rent Toy Story to distract your kid so you can get two hours of writing done. This will not work. You will get sucked in by the opening credits and watch the whole thing with your child. You have been warned.

5. More than ever, deadlines are your friend. Find a way to create real deadlines, with real consequences for not delivering. Shit will get done, bro!

6. If making your art involves wearing headphones, keep one ear uncovered so you can hear any screams, or worse, ominous silences.

7. Be ready to capture ideas the second they arrive, even if it’s mid-diaper change. Use a note taking feature on your cellphone, or keep a notepad and pencil in a pocket at all times. Be sure to account for these objects before closing the diaper.

8. If you can afford it, even part-time daycare is a huge help. Two free days a week make it much easier to meet with collaborators or attack longer chunks of work. Or see if you can swap a couple of afternoons of childcare with other artist friends.

9. After bedtime is a great time to get creative work done. But if you stay up until 3:00AM working on a grant application, your kid will still wake up at the crack of dawn, like a jerk. This cycle is not sustainable.

10. Try to remember that no matter how many kids you have, the rest of the world still expects you to show up on time, in a clean shirt, without stickers on your face. Sorry.

11. You’re tired. That’s okay. Great things have been achieved by very tired people. But beyond “very tired” is a stage I call “troll.” Once you’ve trolled, it’s game over.

Trolls have nothing left. They’re grouchy and self-pitying. Trolls are too tired to cope with everyday setbacks, too exhausted to solve problems creatively, and too troll-ish to be optimistic. Trolls hate everything they read. They roll their eyes at great acting and beautiful music. The only thing they dislike more than the same old ideas are brand new ones.

Trolls need to stop all creative work until they turn back into people.

The only cure is sleep. Until then, trolls shouldn’t attempt anything more artistic than sorting laundry.

12. Take it easy on yourself. Of the two hats you’re wearing – artist and parent – the parenting hat is more important. On days you’re not feeling like much of an artist, congratulate yourself on a bigger victory: you’re not some assface with a hundred Junos and emotionally damaged kids you barely know. Hooray for you!

LIVE!!! TONIGHT!!! INTRODUCING THE POP GROUP!!! Come to our Launch Party / Fundraiser at THE GARRISON!!! Doors at 8:00, first band –NORTH, featuring KATE HEWLETT & CHRIS STANTON!!!– goes on at 8:30!!! Also playing: WILL CURRIE & THE COUNTRY FRENCH!!! LOCAL 164 (featuring GORD BOLAN, JENNY YOUNG, JASON O’BRIEN & DAVE CHAN)!!! PROOF OF GHOSTS!!! DIRTY DISHES!!! And a very special SURPRISE BAND that will knock your socks off!!! Six amazing bands for $10!!! Unbelievable!!! We’ll see you there!!! So many exclamation points.

This entry was published on March 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


  1. Amazing! Well done, Mike. Love it.

  2. ha! trolls!! i know that state well! glad to see it recognized.

  3. I am a troll this week. Son out of daycare, too much on my plate and instead of getting things done once he goes to sleep I do busywork.

    Great reminder to get more sleep and tackle shit when I am no longer a troll. 🙂

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