Everything about Web series, eh?

CBC’s How to Buy a Baby injects humour into infertility

I never knew infertility could be so funny. Yet there I was, giggling as Jane begged Charlie to “just stick it in my…” What she was asking him to put in there was not what I’d expected, nor was it where I’d initially thought. And that made How to Buy a Baby so hilarious.

Created by Wendy Litner and starring Meghan Heffern (Wynonna Earp) as Jane and Marc Bendavid (Dark Matter) as her husband Charlie, all 10 episodes dropped Monday on CBC’s website. Litner—who has written for The Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent (read her story about How to Buy a Baby), has a blog and most recently served as story editor on The Beaverton—is on the advisory board of Fertility Matters Canada, providing information, support, awareness and education about infertility. And, with How to Buy a Baby, she also provides laughter.

With Jane and Charlie struggling to get pregnant, it only made sense they’d run into an old friend, Debbie, at a coffee shop in Episode 1. A friend with a newborn snuggled up tightly to her chest, professing that motherhood is “f—ing amazing.” Because, of course, success in life can only be marked by motherhood. The moment is there for a chuckle but then leads into that awkward discussion regarding when Jane and Charlie are going to have a child and the whole infertility thing is mentioned. Debbie suggests a juice cleanse will solve that because it worked for someone she knew. The scene spotlights just how well-meaning, but dunderheaded, some folks can be. Jane and Charlie don’t have any problems going into detail outlining their issues—his testicles and her uterine wall—to Debbie, before leaving.

Produced by LoCo Motion Pictures (My 90-Year-Old Roommate), How to Buy a Baby is able to show the silliness in what traditionally could be seen as sad. Charlie is in the middle of providing a semen sample when his mother shoots him a text and Jane worries she’s got an ugly vagina.

There are truly touching scenes too: in Episode 2, Jane outlines to Charlie’s mother the intricacies of in vitro fertilization. It’s less than a minute long—Charlie’s sister, Alley (Mr. D‘s Emma Hunter) ruins the moment—but it’s there and drives home a key point: open discussion about subjects like infertility needs to happen. We’re getting better at discussing mental health out in the open; let’s hope the rest of the body comes next.

Watch all 10 episodes of How to Buy a Baby now via CBC’s website.

Image courtesy of LoCo Motion Pictures.




A group of friends trade their way through life in Fare Trade

I first met Shawn Ahmed and Scott Leaver of Crazy Shirt Productions through their Bell Fibe project Touring T.O. The pair managed to create an engaging series on a shoestring budget and a little luck.

Now the pair is back with a new series that pushes the envelope of where a series can be broadcast via key partnerships.

Fare Trade—a new comedy series written and directed by Ahmed and Leaver and co-created and executive-produced by Jonathan Hirsh of Floating Island Entertainment—focuses on a group of friends who trade their way through life. With that as the backdrop, Fare Trade not only shows its episodes on Bell Fibe TV but on Bunz, the online trading platform.

The first episode is a riot of confusion. Landlord Jordi (Anand Rajaram) bursts into an apartment to find his tenants, Janet (Ana Golja), Cleo (Erin Carter) and Vic (Darrell Faria), have been robbed. Unable to pay the rent, the quartet agrees to a deal: if his tenants can get his car fixed, Jordi will waive rent for the month. The next several scenes focus on getting the car running smoothly but the road to success is a bumpy one and includes a Grease ripoff, rabies and a mechanic with his own money troubles: scoring a performer for his son’s birthday party. Surprise! The roomies have a plan for that, and it involves trading. Bigger surprise? The mechanic’s son is an adult and expects a certain kind of entertainment at his birthday party.

With 800,000 possible viewers for via the Bunz website alone, Fare Trade is the next step in television creation via partnerships with companies looking to invest in production. Will Bunz, like Amazon, score the next Red Oaks in Fare Trade? We’ll see.

Fare Trade is available now on Bell Fibe TV, Channel 1 and Bunz.

Image courtesy of Fare Trade.


Spooky web series Spiral connects college pals to past lives and murder

College is the place people tend to begin friendships that last a lifetime. But what if those friends you made turned out to be buddies from a past life? That’s the gist of Spiral, a new seven-part web series debuting Sept. 6.

Kailey Spear, Cody Kearsley, Corteon Moore, Louriza Tronco, Angela Palmer, Brennan Clost, Alexandra Beaton and Enuka Okuma topline the project about college students who realize they’ve been connected over multiple lifetimes … and the murder of a classmate threatens them all. For co-creator and executive producer Andrew Williamson, who has worked in reality television with projects like Gastown Gamble and Emergency Room: Life and Death at VGH, Spiral has been a long time coming.

Spiral is an idea that I’ve had for a really long time,” Williamson says over the phone from Vancouver. “This idea that friends could be joined by something that had happened in the past. It’s always been something that I’ve been interested in.” He adds that writing isn’t his strong suit, so he contacted Karen McClellan—currently co-showrunner at The Next Step—to flesh out the idea. After securing development money from Creative BC, the pair set up a writing room in Toronto with McClellan, Daegan Fryklind, Ian Carpenter and Felicia Brooker with Jocelyn Cornforth as story consultant and story editor. Then Telus stepped into the picture with web series funding and filming began in and around Victoria, B.C.

“They’re the only people commissioning original digital content in this way,” Williamson says. “This project was inherently meant to be for a digital audience.” Spiral is aimed at the 13-21 demographic, the same group Williamson says Facebook is targeting with their online videos. He hopes the unconventional storyline Spiral offers allows for a deeper connection with the online audience and encourages discussion about whether or not past lives are a reality, if dreams can be portents and if someone you’ve met for the very first time and connect with means you’ve known them before.

The first episode of seven introduces Emma (Beaton), Clark (Clost), Alex (Palmer), Sophie (Spear), Grace (Tronco), Davis (Moore) and Josh (Kearsley), students at Victoria’s King’s College who build friendships and make quick connections. By episode end, one of them is dead, and the dreams the group members have been experiencing are explored to unlock the mystery.

“One night over a few bottles of wine, they discover they have all had this dream in common from different points of view and the suggestion is it could be a past life they’ve all shared,” McClellan says from Toronto. “What they discover is that they’ve shared many lives together and that they’re a soul cluster: souls who have travelled through time.” Each eight-minute episode brings the viewer deeper into the mystery; McClellan tackled writing a web project the same way she does a traditional television series, breaking it down into acts and posing a cliffhanger at the end of each act.

“It’s looking for that hook,” she says. “What’s going to drive your viewer to click to the next episode? And by the end of the 70 minutes, you feel satisfied … but you also want more. TV is still my first love, and always will be, but being able to tell a serialized story through a web series and test the concept is very exciting and the closest we have in Canada to shooting a pilot.”

Spiral‘s seven-episode first season will be available online beginning Wednesday, Sept. 6.

Images courtesy of Off Island Media.




Link: Workaholic Vancouver native Kelly McCormack embraces digital weirdness

From Dana Gee of The Province:

Link: Workaholic Vancouver native Kelly McCormack embraces digital weirdness
McCormack joined the cast of the hit Space/Syfy series Killjoys. She is on board for new Comedy Central/CBC series Crawford, directed by Mike Clattenburg (Trailer Park Boys). She is in the digital original series How to Buy a Baby (CBC), and is back for season three of the digital series That’s My DJ.

At this very moment you can go online and see her in action in the hilariously weird CBC digital series The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island. McCormack also produces the series under her Floyder Films banner. Continue reading.


Link: Actress Kelly McCormack Talks “The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island” and SyFy’s “Killjoys”

From Occhi Magazine:

Link: Actress Kelly McCormack Talks “The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island” and SyFy’s “Killjoys”
“It’s not secret that this industry has a lot to learn with how it treats women and working mothers. But some of the hardest working people I know in this industry happen to be both.” Continue reading.