From The Idea Jar…

Here’s what could be a routine post for us, because we love to share and we have an actual jar full of our ideas. The jar:

Idea Jar

Whenever we think of a new idea for a show or a sketch or even something funny or weird that we could use later we write it down and stick it in the jar. Often we will say out loud “Put it in the jar!” The jar is pretty full, so we thought it would be fun to post ideas here. You are encouraged to take one and run with it.

M Night Shymalans

Our first idea from the jar is:

A sketch troupe called the “M. Night Shyamalans.”

The group would always end their sketches with a twist. We thought the pressure to come up with so many twists for all those sketches would certainly cause the troupe’s members stress.

Do with that what you will. And let us know if it gets your creativity flowing.

 

Interview: Mark De Angelis

This is going to get me into a world of trouble, but I’m going to say it anyway: on the whole, Canadian TV is not very good (let he who has not changed the channel on something saying “Ugh, this looks Canadian” cast the first stone). I know we’re not supposed to ADMIT that, because God bless all the folks behind these shows, it’s a Herculean task to get something made in this country – but as someone with a nerd’s pedigree in television watching (and a tendency to really, really TRY to like every show we produce), I am disappointed. OFTEN.

Every now and then, though, Samsonow and I find a Canadian television show, web series, or movie that really blows our hair back – and we drive everyone nuts, badgering them relentlessly to “watchitwatchitwatchitwatchitrightnow“. We do this because despite what most of us non-industry-types tend to think, there is substantially more to Can-con than rural dramas, sketch comedy shows and Danger Bay reruns. Finding something made here at home that we love, can relate to, and best of all, can share, is an unsurpassed thrill – and we really need to rally behind the good stuff when we find it, or else one day the Canadian TV industry will be nothing more than one channel, broadcasting a single episode of CityLine on a loop 24 hours a day.

It is in this spirit that I’ll be conducting an ongoing series of interviews with some of our favorite Canadian Content creators – we can support them and enjoy their work, and they, in turn, can share their knowledge and experience with us.

Photo by Leigh Tynan

Photo by Leigh Tynan

Mark De Angelis is more than just an affable guy who’s willing to take my Skype call at 9 a.m. on a Thursday – he’s also an accomplished Canadian performer and writer, and one half of the team behind Bill and Sons Towing, the hilarious web series we told you about last week (Mark co-created the show with writer/producer Charles Ketchabaw).

In case you jerks didn’t do your homework (dammit, I have to do everything around here!), Bill and Sons is a webcom about four brothers trying to keep their father’s tow truck business afloat, and it stars Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci’s Inquest) and my favorite Canadian comedy troupe, the Imponderables.

Jeff and I discovered Bill and Sons Towing last year, through the Indepedent Production Fund’s web series website. (What is the Independent Production Fund, you ask?).  We were instantly addicted to the show with its remarkable blend of heart, silliness and killer one-liners (“Lee Aaron – who’s that?”).

Bill and Sons is the second web series from Mark & Charles’ “Ready, Set, Panic” production company; the first, Axe Lords, is also comic gold, and should be watched immediately.

I had a chance to speak to Mark by Skype earlier this month about comedy writing, web series producing and more. Start with the video, and if you’re hardcore, the full Q&A is after the jump:

 

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Sick Day

When we decided to make the jump into scripted comedy last year, we hit that roadblock a lot of other people hit: we got scared. We didn’t know what to do, how to do it, or if any of it would even work. So, in our own small way of encouraging you to push through your own roadblocks we present our first short – “Sick Day” – which is not all that great, but helped us kickstart a new path and hopefully shows you that the first time out just has to get you started. If you’re hesitating because you don’t think you’ll be good enough or you don’t know what to do, let this movie’s shortcomings be an example of how the first thing you make might not be great but you can get better really quickly, and we’ve all got your back.

So get out there and make the things you’re scared of making!

More about learning from mistakes and making a first thing after the jump. Continue reading

Bill & Sons Towing

Bill and Sons keychains

Hey friend-os, we have some homework for you.  In a week or two, we’re going to be posting an interview with Mark De Angelis, one half of the team behind the best Canadian-television-comedy-that-isn’t-actually-even-on-television, Bill & Sons Towing (the other half of that team is Charles Ketchabaw, in case you’d like to follow them both on Twitter now, before they’re so intolerably famous that they’re tweeting nonsense like this). Mark is a smart, funny dude with a lot of great insights about comedy writing that you’ll be super interested in, and I’m not even saying that because he plied me with the keychains you see pictured. Continue reading

Startups Promo

A pretty ridiculous promo for Startups, featuring the brilliant Matt Eaton.