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WGC Nominee Aubrey Nealon on Flashpoint’s “Day Game”

Aubrey Head Shot

Leading up to the Writers Guild of Canada awards on April 23, TV, eh? will be posting a series of interviews with some of nominees. Aubrey Nealon was nominated in the TV Drama category for the “Day Game” episode of Flashpoint — one of four nominations in the category for the series, and his first ever TV script.

Can you describe the episode “Day Game” and how it fit into the Flashpoint season?

In “Day Game,” Team One is confronted by a bitter ex-cop named Gil whose life went off the rails when Parker rejected him from the force’s top unit, the SRU. Determined to prove himself, Gil orchestrates a heist at a stadium so that he can step in and save the day. Naturally things go violently haywire, and as the Team arrives to restore order, Gil gets Parker in his clutches. As the Team scrambles to rescue their boss, Parker is forced into a tense negotiation with a desperate and vengeful Gil. With his life on the line, the usually unflappable Parker erupts in an outpouring of pain and self-doubt that’s been building all season, leaving him questioning his ability to do his job.

What about this episode are you particularly proud of?

This was the first TV script I ever wrote, so I’m pretty proud that it got made at all. Like, someone put it on TV! That’s really cool.

But in terms of the writing itself, I did enjoy creating the character Gil, a guy who is intimately familiar with the SRU’s techniques and tendencies, and holds a deep, personal grudge against Parker. He makes for a fun and formidable opponent, I think — because it’s almost as if he’s watched the show before. He plays with the Team’s expectations about how critical incidents unfold, which allows me to play with the audience’s expectations about how Flashpoint unfolds — all while staying true to the spirit of the show.

What does this recognition mean to you?

A couple years ago I crashed the WGC awards party (paying the full $100 non-union entrance fee!) so that I could corner the Flashpoint showrunners, Mark and Stephanie, and grovel for a job. This year, thanks to this recognition, I’ll get into the party much more cheaply, and Mark and Stephanie will be obliged to talk to me whether I grovel or not.

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WGC Nominee Derek Schreyer on 18 to Life’s “One Is The Loneliest Number”

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Leading up to the Writers Guild of Canada awards on April 23, TV, eh? will be posting a series of interviews with some of nominees. 18 to Life creator Derek Schreyer was nominated in the TV Comedy category for the “One Is the Loneliest Number” episode.

Can you describe the episode, and how it fit into the 18 to Life season?

This was our season II kickoff, and we wanted to enjoy the characters we created without it feeling like a premiere. Our pilot suffered from a bit of a set-up-itis, so it was fun to write something that was purely character-driven rather than premise-oriented. At one point we had another episode in this slot which focused on a pregnancy scare, but it felt too early to play that card. So we looked for something that would shed new light on Tom and Jessie’s relationship and colour their dynamics for the season.

For me it was important that it was funny but also have a bit of pain underneath. That’s why it touches on sexual insecurity which triggers the need to overcompensate (by which I mean lie). These lies breed misunderstandings which in turn lead to scenes that are both funny and agonizing. Or so I hope. I find it hard to write comedy without drama, or drama without comedy, because they feed off each other.

What about this episode are you particularly proud of?

I like how this episode is clearly about three relationships — not just Tom and Jessie, but also their two sets of parents.

Unfortunately, we were never quite able to shake the misconception 18 To Life was a teen show, probably because of that damn title (oh, hindsight!). If we could rename it, we’d probably call it Love Thy Neighbour to showcase the wider premise. Truth is we were always more a 9pm show (as this episode demonstrates) which is probably why ABC picked up our pilot the same year they ordered Modern Family, even though they passed on the series.

I think we hit our stride here — it’s sexy, adult, painful, and the storylines bounce off each couple organically. It was a treat to watch our awesome cast pull it off, and I’m very proud of how this episode showcases every one of our characters, the core six, plus the two best friends. I also like how in the end we put Tom in a vulnerable place that informs his arc for the season.

What does this recognition mean to you?

There’s only four nominees in this category, but they’re all pretty heavy-hitters. I’m really proud to be in their company.

And finally (imagine my best Joan Rivers impression): what will you be wearing to the ceremony?

I’m not even sure what I’m wearing right now.

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Jana Sinyor on the Toronto Screenwriting Conference and saying goodbye to Being Erica

Jana Sinyor (Being Erica, Dark Oracle) is one of the speakers at the upcoming Toronto Screenwriting Conference on March 31 and April 1. She tells TV, eh? about her unconventional path to screenwriting, her learning curve on Being Erica, and the project she has in development with ABC now.

First, tell me about the Toronto Screenwriting Conference –- what do you hope to convey there, and what do you hope to get out of it? What role do conferences like this play in career development?

I plan to show up and have an interesting panel discussion with a bunch of people I respect. I hope it will be a lot of fun.

As for what role conferences play in career development, for me, they were extremely important. I remember attending Nuts And Bolts — a weekend conference put on by WIFT-T when I was just starting out — and then later I went to a screenwriting weekend conference that was put together by the WGC. Both events were very important in that they connected me with people I would later work with. I learned a lot from the panels, talked to lots of different people — and felt that attending helped me better focus, better zero in on what I wanted to do and what steps I was going to take to get there.

Continue reading Jana Sinyor on the Toronto Screenwriting Conference and saying goodbye to Being Erica

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TV, Eh? Industry Roundup – Saskatchewan television, Redemption Inc., more

Possible sea change for Saskatchewan television?

SCN’s prospective new owner, Rogers Broadcasting Ltd., wants to spend less money on programming, at least according to CBC News Saskatchewan. Rogers wants to put 23 per cent of revenue generated by SCN towards independent films, rather than commit to fixed dollar requirements, as SCN is in “financial stress.”

In a related story, the 2012-13 Saskatchewan provincial budget announces the immediate termination of the Film Employment Tax Credit for film and television productions. Productions already registered by SaskFilm prior to April 1, 2012 will continue to be eligible for the credit, but new productions are ineligible.

The elimination of Saskatchewan’s FETC, according to the budget documents, is tied to a supposedly-heavier future reliance on subsidization. This is coupled with a decline in industry activity, and the fact that the FETC has required a public investment of over $100 million, since its 1998 introduction.

The FETC, an income tax credit equal to forty-five per cent of eligible labour costs, will be fully phased out in 2014. The FETC’s termination is supposed to save up to $3 million by the end of 2012, and $8 million annually.

Statement by the Saskatchewan Motion Picture Industry Association. They’re not fond of the FETC’s termination.

Continue reading TV, Eh? Industry Roundup – Saskatchewan television, Redemption Inc., more

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