It’s like Netflix, but less good

No cable. Gets Netflix.

No cable. Gets Netflix.

Canadian broadcasters Shaw and Rogers have teamed up to launch their version of Netflix. It’s like Netflix, but with less stuff and some of the same stuff found in Netflix and online in other places. Also, the name is “shomi” which I am already going to nickname Sham-wow.

Bell is also supposed to launch some kind of online streaming service in the future. Also to compete with Netflix. It’s the perfect plan.

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Welcome back, TV eh?

tveh logo

You know, we were going to write a blog post about TV, eh? last year. We were big fans of their podcast, which talked about Canadian television each week. But then they went and hung it up, riding off into the television sunset. As sad as it was to see them go, we understood pulling the plug on a blog to shift gears.

Good for everyone though (including me needing a blog topic) TV, eh? is rising like a glorious Phoenix. The ashes of TV Guide Canada would be involved in said rising.

Yes, TV, eh?’s return comes on the heels of TV Guide Canada shutting things down. Running online many years after the paper channel guide disappeared from coffee tables across the country, the television giant called it quits earlier this summer. One of the reasons TV, eh? founder Diane Wild felt good about leaving her site last Christmas was the TV Guide Canada could continue to highlight original Canadian programs and produce features and interviews on shows and the people making them here in Canada. But we know how tough traditional media is finding this whole Internet world. Continue reading

Quit while you’re ahead

Some of you guys may have gotten an email from me, earlier this week, explaining that I have chosen to abandon the #yegfilm app I was building:

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It’s just one of a slate of projects I’m putting on ice, in anticipation of a day when I am better suited technically/financially/emotionally to complete them.

It’s obviously not particularly fun to admit you promised something you couldn’t deliver, but it’s also okay to opt-out of a project when you realize it doesn’t fit your time/skills/resources/schedule. Believe me when I say that your creative resources are finite, but replenishable – you need to protect them, you need to rebuild them, and most of all, you need to enjoy them – and getting pinned under something you can’t or don’t want to finish is the quickest way to drain them.

Here’s a few unsolicited words of advice from someone with a long and storied history of quitting. Continue reading

Writing 3D Characters

It’s tough to breathe life into a character, isn’t it? I often sit down with what I think is going to be basically THE BEST IDEA OF ALL THE IDEAS OF EVER – but it very quickly becomes a super flat, boring predictable mess, which discourages me from pursuing it any further, and which results in my always having like four things half-written at the same time that I’m too destroyed to finish.

Recently, though, I have been revising my approach to characters, or ‘characs’. For a long time, I was under the impression that good character writing was all about volume. “I have 12 pages of externally based facts about this charac,” I would say. “This charac likes ham. She wanted to be a marine biologist, but quit because it was too hard. She works at Dollarama. She went as a spider for halloween.” Fun fact: knowing things like someone’s favorite Jay-Z song does not help you much when you are trying to create compelling plot points.

Here are three things I’ve found that help me make characs that I’m happier with, and that I find it much easier to plot arcs for.

Let’s start with two characters, who, at first, will be 2D.  Continue reading

From The Idea Jar: The Penny Retires

Just like Toronto mayor Rob Ford, we are back with an Idea Jar post (timely humour FTW)!

This one comes from two different inspirations.

The phasing out of the penny here in Canada (see you in hell, one cent coin!) and an old Saturday Night Live sketch based on the tumble of the U.S. dollar.

Our take on the penny would be the now useless coin getting a send-off to its retirement by the other Canadian coins.

You are free to do with this idea anything you think is funnier.

Our Idea Jar never seems to find itself running low on ideas neither of us remember coming up with. Check out all of our Idea Jar posts for items you can make your own.

Useless. All of you.

Useless. All of you.

All It Takes Is One Minute

It’s a little on the short notice side, but the deadline for two film festivals is Tuesday. Lucky for you, filmmaker, you only need to make a silent one minute movie to submit to both the Gotta Minute Film Festival here in Edmonton and the Toronto Urban Film Festival.

GMFF imageBoth are festivals that run the one minute films on transit station screens. The LRT stations in Edmonton recently got outfitted with these, while Toronto’s subway stations already had them. Toronto fest films will also be seen on Pattison screens in shopping malls across Canada. They’ll go great with your new shoes from Aldo.

It’s a cool idea to showcase film and video productions in this way, because standing around waiting for a train makes us all a captive audience. And that the movies are silent means you don’t need to worry about missing dialogue when a train comes roaring into the station.

I managed to knock something together for TUFF last year (but didn’t get in) and was excited to see the idea had come to Edmonton, in partnership with FAVA. And it doubles my chances of getting into a film festival!

So, if you’ve got some energy to produce a movie, these are two festivals you can probably get something done for in just a few days. Both close submissions on Tuesday, July 15. Make a movie this weekend!

And, if you do make a one-minute movie, you can always cut a version with sound to submit to one of the many other one minute film festivals.

Happy Canada Day

To celebrate another year of Canada, let’s take a moment to recognize an unapologetically Canadian movie.

Bon Cop, Bad Cop.

We don’t see enough movies that aim for a larger audience while actually taking place in Canada. Too often in Canadian film and TV the action happens in fake U.S.A. or Generic, City.

While Bon Cop, Bad Cop won’t be held to the highest lauding of film critics it is a good buddy cop movie (a Canadian bromance, perhaps). It just happens to take place in Canada. We recommend pouring yourself a glass of maple syrup and enjoying Colm Feore and Patrick Huard channel their inner Riggs and Murtaugh.

Have a great Canada Day!

Also, let us know some of your favourite Canadian movies where the setting is the true north strong and free.