Paul J. Chinook was in a dark place filled with depression, stress, and anxiety. He had no job, no inspiration, and no promise of a brighter future. #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealth #februarysdog #producer #actor #writer #director
After graduating from, Athol Murray’s College of Notre Dame, located in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, Canada, Chinook began his dedicated career with the oilfield while attending the, University of Calgary. Unfortunately, the Alberta oilfield endured a severe downfall in 2015 leaving Paul and many others unemployed. At that point, he was living with his girlfriend and had a little money in the bank. He decided to start a reclaimed lumber business in hopes to replace the paycheck he no longer received.
The economy worsened and so did Paul’s mental health. His new reclaimed lumber business couldn’t withstand the steady decline of the economy. Money was gone and arguments became all too normal between Paul and his girlfriend resulting in separation. With nowhere to go and no money in the bank, Chinook’s new home was his mother’s basement. Paul recalls this life changing event as “catastrophic”.
“I had to move into my mom's basement, I lost everything. I was a 39 year old Project Manager of the oilfield who was now flat broke and living in my mom’s basement, that’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Paul had lived his entire life in Alberta, Canada yet, living in his mom’s basement had never been on the agenda. He became more depressed as work had been omitted from his existence. He had no reason to rise out of bed or smell any kind of rose. Chinook’s mental health continued to deteriorate, he explained; “My mind would turn off and I would literally get lost in my own head. I began to drink a lot, I was always negative, I had unhealthy habits, and a terrible diet. I finally saw a Doctor would task me only 3 tasks a day; getting out of bed was one. I did this until I was able to do more. Eventually, I was able to do activities, such as woodworking to keep my mind busy”.
Shop woodworking sessions kept Paul’s mind busy, distracting him from the negativity which once consumed him. He had always had an interest in acting yet with improved mental health, Paul’s acting hobby was rekindled as he landed a Canadian National commercial for the dairy farmers of Canada. This was the motivation Chinook so greatly needed. Paul’s brain wheels began to rotate supplying him with inspiration and the motivation to be on set. Paul moved to the entertainment hub of Canada in Vancouver B.C. and focused on acting for the next 8 months.
“I loved being on set, it was like a different world”, Chinook explained, “I continued to progress with more auditions but never landed an acting role. I began to research script writing, creating/producing movies, and writing my own work. Writing was easy because I lived it, I experienced it. I began to write, February’s Dog which in turn, helped me cope and understand what I was going through including mental health within men.”
Paul put together a crew of very talented actors to create a masterpiece he had worked so hard on. Most of the actors had NEVER had a speaking role and Paul had NEVER produced a movie. The team worked tirelessly successfully creating, February’s Dog. Paul explained, “If losing all that made me help people today, it was worth it”.
Paul’s message is strong and powerful. February’s Dog will show the importance of mental health in today's society. Screen Daily featured, February’s Dog as the “first film in the Market Plus section of the Cannes edition in their online magazine” as well as, “their favorite trailer”.
Paul has done some pretty amazing work and will continue to wow us with what's next. I personally cannot wait until the release of, February’s Dog! If you haven't watched the trailer, scroll back up and take a peek. You will be amazed by the work the cast has done to spread the importance of mental health globally.
Paul Chinook has some super dope tips for all aspiring writers.
Check out the, Producers Guide on PodcastOne with Todd Garner.
Make writer’s notes after every script is written, plan on 5-10 changes with a solve.
Give your actors/characters ownership of their role while working together.
Do something, even if it’s a five minute scribble. Do a YouTube and explore yourself.
Don’t let anyone tell you your wrong- own you!
Base your success on your happiness not others opinions.
Mental health issues are real and affect more of our loved ones than we realize. In today’s world we are surrounded by Covid, cancer, depression, poverty, unemployment, and anxiety of what is to come next. Depend on each other, stay connected to your loved ones, phone a friend and please, be in service to those in need. We are in this together.
Stay Golden Team!
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