This year’s Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award winners will be announced on April 22. We’ve been catching up with many of the writers nominated in the comedy and drama categories. Todd and the Book of Pure Evil‘s Ian Malone is nominated (along with Craig David Wallace and Charles Picco) for their episode “B.Y.O.B.O.P.E.”
Can you describe the episode “B.Y.O.B.O.P.E.” and how it fit into the Todd & the Book of Pure Evil season?
The episode started out as a chance to see what our heroes are like after hours. What do they like to do when they’re not fighting monsters? How do they relax? We thought a great place to take them (a quintessentially high school place) would be a house party. I think this was the longest period of time we got to see our kids outside of the high school, so it was exciting if you were a fan of the show. It opened up the world a bit. We also knew that this was always going to be a mythology-heavy episode, with some big answers to lingering questions, so that stuff was serviced. Those reveals launched the story toward the events of the finale (an awesome episode written & directed by Craig).
What was the biggest triumph in this particular episode?
On top of getting all the mythology stuff into the story and making it surprising and satisfying, it’s an episode about a house party, and a house party needs to look and feel like jam-packed non-stop good times. Usually it’s one kid a week using the book, but we thought, “If the house is packed, let’s have a million kids use the book!” That’s hyperbole. But we did end up having the book fall into three or four different hands. I’m particularly proud of how we kept the various story threads intertwined. There’s everything going on with our gang, and everything going on with the kids at the party, and all the stuff with Atticus pretending that he’s a teenager named Scooter. And it all tracks! I hope.
What does this recognition mean to you?
It means a lot to me. A couple years ago I was a sweaty, nervous story coordinator trying to find the courage to pitch lines in a story room. Now I’m a sweaty, nervous WGC Award nominee for my second produced script ever! It’s nice to be recognized by other writers, and if nothing else it’s a pat on the back that says, “Hey you, you’re alright.”
If there was one Canadian show that is no longer on the air that you could see honoured at this year’s awards, what would it be? (If you have a specific episode, even better).
How about a show that’s still on the air? Degrassi has been running for thirteen seasons and they’re still finding compelling character-driven stories to tell. I think people probably take it for granted because it’s been on for so long, but they shouldn’t. Ramona Barckert wrote two amazing episodes in season twelve (“Bitter Sweet Symphony” 1 & 2) that are up there with the most riveting hours of drama.