“For passion to survive, it needs structure.”
Many, many years ago, back when the internet was nothing but orange groves, Jeff and I started a local news and events website called the edmontonian.
the edmontonian was a weird little website that, much to our surprise, found considerable support online. Through blog posts, videos and more, we got to connect with people around the city, share many a hilarious in-joke and, hopefully, spread the stories of local people that wouldn’t necessarily have been welcomed in the mainstream media at the time.
We loved the edmontonian, and we love anybody who ever bothered to read it, write for it, or comment on it. But man alive, did the edmontonian burn us out. The truth is, we never really had a proper plan for what to do with it. We certainly didn’t have an end game in mind. It went sort of like this:
“Holy crap, someone read the blog!”
“Hey, maybe let’s get some advertisers!”
“Hey, wanna livestream a talk show from our living room?”
“Hey, we should spend like 4 months producing a 6 part TV show for broadcast on a real channel all by ourselves because that seems like something two people could totally do alone for no money without killing each other!”
While this approach has served us well – we won a fancy award from See Magazine and got nominated for a local emmy – it’s unfortunately not sustainable. As Simon Sinek says in his brilliant book “Start With Why”, “A WHY without the HOWs, passion without structure, has a very high probability of failure.” And while Samsonow and I had a whole wheelbarrow full of WHY, we have been historically terrible at the HOW. Our piss and vinegar carried the edmontonian a shockingly long way – but eventually our lack of strategy got the better of us, and after two and half years, we hung up our blogging shoes.
At this point, you are likely asking “Who cares?” Alternately, you may also be asking “Who are you?” or “What’s the edmontonian?” or the ever-popular “I thought there was supposed to be a chili recipe on this website?” All we can offer is that in a way, the edmontonian’s story is the same story of creative types all over the world. The heart wants what it wants, and whether your heart wants to play music, podcast, build video games, make movies, sell crafts, or photoshop Juggalo makeup onto local celebrities, it can be heartbreaking to have all that energy and not know where to put it.
For Jeff and I, we’ve decided to put it into being filmmakers (shut up, perverts). We’ve been smugly congratulating ourselves for being hilarious for years, so we’ve made the obvious leap to scripted comedy. So far, it’s been amazing – but wanting to make TV and movies in Canada, much like starting a moon colony or setting things on fire with your mind, can feel like a tough uphill climb at moments. This isn’t the United States – we don’t really have movie stars, or blockbusters, or Two and a Half Men (good for us?). But just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it can’t happen. We’ve got the passion, but we need the structure.
So we’ve chosen to launch this website for a new group of people that we know and love: Canadian indie filmmakers, TV makers, web series makers, and storytellers in general. Expect an emphasis on comedy – but we’ll be writing about all aspects of storytelling. If we find a handy tool, we’ll let you know. If we meet someone doing an interesting thing, we’ll let you know. When we make something new ourselves, and it either succeeds modestly or fails spectacularly, we’ll let you know. And we hope you’ll let us know what kinds of films/TV shows/web shows you’re making, and how we can all learn from them.