Boom town – Bust town

During the late 1970s and early 1980s Calgary was experiencing a huge boom and people were moving here from all over Canada. I was one of those people. In 1982/1983 the boom went bust. Many people lost their jobs. While I did not lose my job, I was very worried at the time. The story is partially autobiographical, but I made life for my character harder than I had it.

The story begins with a young engineering graduate named Richard moving to Calgary. He says goodbye to his best friend Brian, who is staying in their hometown. Richard plans to work in Calgary for a few years, get some experience, make some money and then go back home for his real career.

Calgary turns out to be different from what Richard expects and it takes him some time to adjust. He feels like he is the only one who is having difficulty. A few years go by and he is more established and comfortable.

Then one day the company lays him off. This is a shock to Richard. He has always seen his self worth in the work that he does. Now he has nothing to give his life value.

In the film, his wife’s first appearance would be when he loses his job. She comes home from her work. It is bright and sunny outside. The camera follows her into the house. She goes to the living room, which has the curtains drawn and the lights off.  Richard is sitting in a chair with his head in his hands. She asks him what happened. He tells her he lost his job. The camera backs out of the house the way it came. Now, outside, the sky has clouded up and rain has started to fall.

The rest of the story follows Richard as he starts his own business with a friend. More importantly, he shifts the focus of his life away from his work to his relationship with his wife and his friendships.

At the end of the film, Richard is still struggling financially. Brian, his old friend from University visits from back home. Brian tells him of a career opportunity in their hometown. Richard thanks his friend, but says, “My life is here now.”

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