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The Listener’s Ennis Esmer: “Busy is victory”

Ennis Esmer is perhaps best known as Oz on The Listener, which recently finished shooting a third season for CTV, but he also popped up on MuchMusic’s The LA Complex (premiering April 24 on The CW), co-hosted Wipeout Canada, has a recurring role on Covert Affairs, and is part of the Sex After Kids ensemble, a film in development aiming to raise funding via Indigogo. In his spare time he volunteers for charities and gives funny answers to email interviews.

I have this perception of you being everywhere, juggling multiple projects seemingly at the same time – The Listener, The LA Complex, Wipeout Canada, Covert Affairs. How insanely busy are you? Is there a common thread in your career choices?

I’m not THAT busy. I’m an absolutely manageably amount of busy. All these things are (for the most part) a blast to work on, and I try to never lose sight of the fact that busy is the thing I want to be more than anything. Busy is victory. I try to look at busy as a challenge and never as a struggle, because there’s nothing else I’d rather be busy doing.

As for a common thread, I usually like to go into a situation where I’ve auditioned for a given part, the people in charge have watched said audition, and based on that, have decided to offer me the part, and I’ve said yes. I find that works best. Working for people who want to hire me to work for them. That’s the common thread.

Continue reading The Listener’s Ennis Esmer: “Busy is victory”

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Canada In Development: Silent Partners and False Flag

Canada In Development returns this week with Silent Partners.  A legal drama  about an unorthodox partnership between an up-and-coming young lawyer and her mentor/beard — a brilliant, South African-born attorney who is unable to practice law for mysterious reasons —  Silent Partners is set in Toronto.  Creator Denis McGrath is scheduled to deliver a first draft pilot and bible to CBC this month, but development terms are still in the works.  “That is development, phase one,” says McGrath, who is working with Cooperheart Productions on this character-based procedural.

McGrath is also working with Lark Productions on False Flag, a team-based action/adventure show about a squad that solves problems through lies, theft and misdirection — doing what governments, corporations and politicians are bound by law not to do — and leaving no trace behind.  False Flag is an hour-long, high-stakes show that McGrath compares to a “smart A-Team.”  It is currently in the first draft of pilot and bible with CTV, to be delivered in the summer of this year.

If you have a project in development with a Canadian broadcaster or production company, let TV, eh? know. See previous posts in this series here.

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WGC Nominee Larry Bambrick on Flashpoint’s “Shockwave”

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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. Larry Bambrick was nominated in the TV Drama category for the “Shockwave” episode of Flashpoint (one of four Flashpoint nominations in the category … and his first drama script).

Can you describe the episode and how it fit into the Flashpoint season?

In “Shockwave”, a routine call takes a horrible turn and most of Team One gets trapped underground with a powerful bomb. While Spike Scarlatti (the team’s tech expert) struggles to defuse the bomb, he gets news that his sick father won’t survive the night. Spike has to find a way to connect with an emotionally raw bomber, defuse the device and race to his father’s side. It’s the final chapter in a long arc about Spike and his often rocky relationship with his dad.

What about this episode are you particularly proud of?

I’m particularly proud of how quickly the entire writing team responded to last-minute production notes. Just days before shooting, it became obvious that the original script was simply too big. A couple of long days and late nights later — where we re-broke the last three acts — we turned around a new draft. The other happy surprise is that “Shockwave” is the first drama script I’ve ever written. To get a WGC nomination for it is simply overwhelming.

What does this recognition mean to you?

Two years ago, I took a chance moving into drama. I’d been working in news and documentaries for my entire career before deciding to see if I could make a living in the “non-factual” world. This nomination is just so humbling. This script — and my two years on Flashpoint — couldn’t be a better introduction to dramatic writing.

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

I’ll be wearing a black t-shirt and a lovely jacket my wife gave me. Likely shoes and socks too. Although if Michael MacLennan decides not to wear the patchwork pants he bought in Paris, I might borrow those.

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WGC Nominee Michael MacLennan on Flashpoint’s “The Better Man”

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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. Michael MacLennan was nominated in the TV Drama category for the “The Better Man” episode of Flashpoint (one of four Flashpoint nominations in the category).

Can you describe the episode “The Better Man” and how it fit into the Flashpoint season?

The episode takes place on the night of a “rolling raid,” a city-wide drug bust that forces Team One to take down a kingpin with unexpected connections to an undercover cop. One thing that makes it special is that the mission forces the team to wrestle with their own secret, which ultimately results in this being the last mission of Wordy, one of the team’s beloved members.

What about this episode are you particularly proud of?

I really like how the episode structures two differing notions of what it is to be a “good cop,” how loyalty to a team or a mission can be compromised by personal agendas, however noble. And ultimately, how the different choices of Wordy and guest-star Naimeth result in markedly different fates.

What does this recognition mean to you?

To be recognized by one’s peers like this, based on the writing alone, it’s a wonderful thrill. This is my sixth nomination and it always sends my heart racing. This year I feel there are many more promising nominations than mine, so I’m looking forward to just seeing friends at the ceremony, and celebrating this wonderful time in Canadian television.

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

Wow, do I have to decide now? I haven’t even begun to short-list my stylist! Hm, in the spirit of fun, I might wear these patchwork pants I bought in Paris a few years back. That sounds horribly 80s but I think they’re pretty cool. Although what do I know — I spend half my life writing in sweatshirts and old stretched sweaters!

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