The Underdogs of Comedy

After happening into The Underdog and The Empress for their comedy nights, we were amazed at the indie comedy talent in this city. So, along with laughing uproariously at the many great comedians we saw, we got to plotting about somehow capturing even a glimpse of this great scene.

We decided a web series would the quickest way to get some of these funny people in front of an audience who hasn’t yet been out to one of the bars and venues hosting both regular and pop-up shows. Today we’re releasing six episodes featuring live sets from some of the comedians. More on what we learned making the series after the jump.  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

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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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