Tag Archives: Bitten

Will Pascoe announced as showrunner in residence for the Pacific Screenwriting Program’s 2021 Scripted Series Lab

From a media release:

The Pacific Screenwriting Program (PSP) is excited to announce that award-winning Writer/Producer/Director Will Pascoe will serve as Showrunner-in-Residence for the 2021 Scripted Series Lab. Pascoe will mentor six up-and-coming BC-based screenwriters selected to participate in the program. He will lead the Writer’s Room as they develop his original series in the PSP’s flagship training program starting in January.

Going into its third year, the lab will implement a hybrid-style Writer’s Room combining in-person and virtual meetings that reflect the current production protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will still get the full PSP experience including mentoring on their original pilot, additional workshops and information sessions with other industry leaders to equip them with the skills, experience and connections necessary to help establish a sustainable career in the province’s dynamic screen industry. The Pacific Screenwriting Program is a collaboration between Netflix, CMPA, the Writer’s Guild of Canada and Creative BC.

Will Pascoe most recently wrapped Showrunning the third season of Amazon’s hit series, Absentia. Previous to that, he wrote for Fox’s The Finder, Bell/SyFy Channel’s, Bitten; NBC’s drama series Chicago Med; BBC Worldwide/Starz’s Da Vinci’s Demons and Hulu’s Shut Eye starring Jeffrey Donovan and Isabella Rossellini. While working as writer and co-producer on Bell/BBC America’s Orphan Black, his episode “Variations Under Domestication” earned Pascoe a Canadian Writer’s Guild Award and nominations for an Edgar Allan Poe Award and a Hugo Award. A graduate of the Writer’s Guild of America’s prestigious Showrunner Training Program, Will has also developed television series for Twentieth-Century Fox, Playtone, and Universal Studios.

The Scripted Series Lab is a 15-week intensive training program providing support and career-advancement opportunities for active and aspiring screenwriters from across British Columbia, where they receive the necessary support to expand their portfolio and pursue opportunities in the evolving TV marketplace. Throughout the program, participants hone their craft, strengthen their collaboration and presentation skills, and obtain a deeper understanding of the global television industry and how to market themselves within it. As the Scripted Series Lab showrunner, Pascoe will mentor the six selected participants within a real-world story room over 10 weeks, breaking stories and writing scripts for the original project he brings to the room and will subsequently be pitching to streamers and networks around the world.

For more information, please visit the Pacific Screenwriting Program website.

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Cristina Rosato and Greyston Holt among first to film during pandemic

While many cities and provinces are still mapping out how, exactly, television and feature films will resume production during COVID-19, Cristina Rosato and Greyston Holt are already back at work.

The real-life couple is among the first of North America’s actors to re-start filming, starring in the TV-movie For Better or Worse, in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley. And while Rosato and Holt didn’t have to worry about social distancing when it came to working with each other—they are a couple after all—not so the case with the rest of the cast and crew.

“We originally thought we might be back filming For Better or Worse, very conservatively, in August, September or October,” Holt says, on the line from Vancouver alongside Rosato. “When we got the call that we would potentially be filming on June 8 as a start date, it was surreal. It didn’t make sense that something was coming back that early.” But, with pandemic cases in B.C. holding steady, the project went to camera with guidelines to keep everyone safe.

Rosato describes the taking and recording of daily temperature checks for everyone on the cast and crew, with the stipulation that anyone having a fever would be immediately tested and would not return to set until the testing was complete; no one had a fever or became sick. Everyone reported to a sanitization station and put on masks. Champlain Media, the production company behind For Better or Worse, had everyone involved in the project stay in the same resort during filming.

“We just always wore a mask,” Rosato says. “And then when we were rolling, we would take them off.” Because of the way the script was written, day players and extras were kept to a minimum and only a very small, core cast interacted with each other.

For Better or Worse stars Rosato as Olivia Owens the owner of a community garden centre. Holt portrays Brian Wolf, a property developer for low-cost housing. Brian’s aim is to tear down Olivia’s garden in favour of subsidized housing. There is, of course, friction between the pair that only grows when they’re paired up for a friends’ wedding. It’s the light-hearted TV-movie fare we’ve come to expect from projects like Holt’s previous work in A Very Country Wedding, A Puppy for Christmas and Love is a Piece of Cake. Holt believes that, with the world being such a crazy place, viewers like to watch people falling in love and jump at the chance for some light escapism.

With pandemic fears continuing, For Better or Worse couldn’t be more timely, content-wise. And, with production ramping back up, Rosato and Holt realize For Better or Worse could serve as the template for TV and film.

“We felt a real responsibility to do it right and not mess it up for everyone else,” Rosato says. “We were very, very aware of playing by the rules and we hope that other people can get back to work because of it.”

Image courtesy of Shawn Goldberg/Shutterstock.

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Robert J. Sawyer’s WWW trilogy being developed for TV by J.B. Sugar and No Equal Entertainment

From a media release:

Canadian production company No Equal Entertainment has secured exclusive worldwide rights to Robert J. Sawyer’s award-winning WWW Trilogy, consisting of the novels, Wake,Watch and Wonder. Each novel in the trilogy has won Canada’s top honour in science fiction and fantasy writing, The Aurora Award, in addition to earning numerous other international accolades, as well as appearing on multiple bestseller lists around the world. Producer J.B. Sugar and No Equal have commissioned Shelley Scarrow (Wynonna Earp, V-Wars, Lost Girl) to adapt the novels for television and she will also write the pilot. The project has received development support from the Bell Fund’s Slate Development Program and the Canadian Media Fund’s Export Pilot Program. No Equal and J.B Sugar have a history of producing adaptations of other classic and popular novels including John Knowles’ A Separate Peace, for which Sugar was nominated for an Emmy Award, Douglas Coupland’s JPod for CBC, and the popular SPACE and SYFY television series Bittenbased on the Otherworld novels by Kelley Armstrong. David S. Goyer and Brannon Braga previously adapted Sawyer’s novel FlashForward into a series for ABC Television starring Joseph Fiennes. Sawyer served as a consultant and writer on the series. 

The three books — WakeWatch, and Wonder — contemplate the ramifications of an emergent sentient intelligence. The inception of this consciousness occurs in familiar settings: the homes, workplaces, and streets of the world we know, as the digital infrastructure we rely on literally comes to life — an entity with millions of webcam eyes and billions of gigabytes of data at its disposal, a consciousness that knows everything you’ve ever said in an email, and everything anyone has ever said about you online. The novels center around Caitlin Decter, a young blind woman who is given sight enabled by new technology; an internet enabled retinal implant. Caitlin becomes the first to discover the arrival of this new form of intelligence and begins to teach it the ways of the world and, more importantly, about being human. As their relationship evolves and their secret is exposed, they become a formidable team that must fight against a clandestine government organization, help a subversive Chinese anti-government blogger and work with an animal behaviorist on the cusp of making a profound discovery.

Wake is the first novel in WWW Trilogy. Caitlin Decter is young, feisty, a genius at math, and was born blind. But she can surf the internet with the best of them, following its complex paths in her mind. When a Japanese neurosurgeon develops a new signal-processing implant that might give her sight, she jumps at the chance, flying to Tokyo for the operation. But the visual cortex in Caitlin’s brain has long since adapted to allow her to navigate online. When the implant is activated, instead of seeing reality, she sees the landscape of the World Wide Web spreading out around her in a riot of colours and shapes. While exploring this amazing realm, she discovers something—some other—lurking in the background. And it’s getting smarter.

In the second novel Watch, an extraordinary presence within the Web has befriended Caitlin Decter and grown eager to learn about her world. But this emerging consciousness has also come to the attention of WATCH—the secret government agency that monitors the Internet for any threat to the United States, whether foreign, domestic, or online—and the agents are fully aware of Caitlin’s involvement in its awakening. WATCH is convinced that Webmind represents a risk to national security and wants it purged from cyberspace. But Caitlin believes in Webmind’s capacity for compassion—and she will do anything and everything necessary to protect her friend.

In the final novel Wonder, the advent of Webmind—a vast consciousness that spontaneously emerged from the infrastructure of the World Wide Web—is changing everything. From curing cancer to easing international tensions, Webmind seems a boon to humanity. But Colonel Peyton Hume, the Pentagon’s top expert on artificial intelligence, is convinced Webmind is a threat. He turns to the hacker underground to help him bring Webmind down. But soon hackers start mysteriously vanishing. Meanwhile, Caitlin Decter —the once-blind math genius who discovered Webmind—desperately tries to protect her friend. Can this new world of wonder survive—or will everything, Webmind included, come crashing down?

Robert J. Sawyer has been called ”the dean of Canadian science fiction” by The Ottawa Citizen and “just about the best science-fiction writer out there these days” by The Denver Rocky Mountain News — is one of only eight writers in history (and the only Canadian) to win all three of the science-fiction field’s top honors for best novel of the year: the World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award, which he won in 2003 for his novelHominids; the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Nebula Award, which he won in 1996 for his novel The Terminal Experiment and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, which he won in 2006 for his novel Mindscan.  According to the US trade journal Locus, Rob is the #1 all-time worldwide leader in number of award wins as a science fiction or fantasy novelist. Rob is a member of the Order of Canada, the highest honour bestowed by the Canadian government; he is the only person ever inducted into the order for work in the science-fiction field. For more information, please visit Sawyer’s personal website: www.sfwriter.com

Shelley Scarrow’s television credits include writing and producing for Wynonna Earp, Being Erica and the upcoming V-Wars for Netflix. Her varied experience also includes comedy and children’s programming, with programs including Degrassi: The Next Generation, Mysticons, the Total Drama franchise and Sophie. Her writing has been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and has won several Writers Guild of Canada awards. Coming from a theatre development and producing background, including work on several Broadway musicals, Shelley has also received a National Magazine Award for food and travel writing.

J.B. Sugar is a dual American and Canadian citizen working as a producer, director, writer and showrunner through his production company, No Equal Entertainment. Sugar most recently produced a long-form investigative documentary called The Guardians airing on CBC’s documentary Channel in 2019 and directed Hallmark Channels’ A Midnight Kiss. He also worked as a director on the third season of Dark Matter for SYFY and SPACE. Previously, Sugar produced three seasons and directed multiple episodes of the drama series Bitten for SPACE (Bell Media), SYFY (NBCUniversal) and NETFLIX, based on the New York Times best-selling novels by Kelley Armstrong. Prior to moving to Canada, Sugar was nominated for an Emmy Award for producing Showtime’s A Separate Peace, based on the classic novel by John Knowles, in addition to producing and co-creating the game show Wintuition for GSN and SONY and winning the Student Academy Award for his AFI thesis film John.

No Equal Entertainment was founded in 1998 by Larry Sugar and is now owned and operated by J.B. Sugar. Based in Canada, No Equal develops, produces, and distributes feature films, television movies, television series, and mini-series for the domestic and international marketplace. To date, No Equal has produced over 300 episodes of television for US and International broadcast. No Equal produced the feature-length documentary The Guardians for CBC’s documentary Channel and Bitten, a one-hour drama for Bell Media’s SPACE, SYFY, and NETFLIX. Past productions include: Peter Geenaway’s NightwatchingjPod, based on the novel by Douglas Coupland (CBC), The Collector (SPACE and Chiller), Kill Kill Faster Faster, Dead Man’s Gun, (Showtime and MGM, First Wave (SPACE and SYFY), So Weird (Disney Channel), Romeo (Nickelodeon), Just Deal(NBC), Secret Central (Hasbro), and The Troop (Nickelodeon). 

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Preview: Frankie Drake Mysteries explores Russian royalty

Last week, Frankie Drake Mysteries fans got an in-depth peek into Frankie’s life before she was a private detective. “Ghosts” delved into her service in the First World War and the effect it has had on her. It was the darkest episode of Frankie Drake yet, and I really enjoyed it.

This week’s new episode, “Anastasia,” features some new faces as well as a couple of returning ones. Here’s the official word from CBC:

Frankie is hired to confirm the identity of a young woman claiming to be a Russian princess and protect her from those who want her dead.

And, as always, a few notes from me after watching a screener of the instalment written by Michelle Ricci and directed by Cal Coons.

A Dark Matter co-star drops by
We’re still smarting over Dark Matter‘s cancellation, but it is nice to see Jodelle Ferland (a.k.a. Five) stop by 1920s Toronto to portray Anna, a young woman with a very important past. Anna’s lineage has made her famous, and a target. Frankie Drake‘s writing room has taken a key piece from Russia’s past, questioned it, and expertly weaved it into the main storyline. It was a lot of fun to do some Googling after the episode concluded.

Another Slasher: Guilty Party co-star checks in
Last week, Slasher: Guilty Party‘s Jim Watson appeared as Frankie’s war veteran friend; this week fellow Slasher co-star Sebastian Pigott guests as Sasha, a Cossack tasked with protecting Anna from harm.

Ernest Hemingway in the house!
Yup, Steve Lund reprises his role as the not-yet-famous author, trading bon mots with Frankie and generally getting under each other’s skin. Speaking of Steve Lund, we’re pretty sure the place Anna is staying was once known as Stonehaven on Lund’s last TV series, Bitten.

Fall in Ontario
My favourite season of the year looks fantastic on-screen and offers bursts of colour to complement the show’s beautiful wardrobe.

Frankie Drake Mysteries airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

 

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Frontier’s Greg Bryk on Cobb Pond’s Season 2 journey and how Paul Gross saved his life

Fifteen years ago, Paul Gross saved Greg Bryk’s life. I was on the phone with Bryk to talk about Season 2 of Frontier—Discovery’s historical drama about the history of the Canadian fur trade returning Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT—when I mentioned Men with Brooms came out 15 years ago.

“He saved my life,” Bryk says of Gross, who wrote, starred and directed the feature film. “I was going to go to law school. I had babies and I couldn’t pay any bills and I was walking away from it all. And then he cast me in Men with Brooms and threw me a lifeline. He was incredibly generous with his time and was kind of the rogueish older brother that I never had.”

The role of Alexander “The Juggernaut” Yount was the first of many, many memorable characters Bryk has played over the year. Whether it’s alpha werewolf Jeremy Danvers on Bitten, the Jack of Knives on Wynonna Earp or Grady on Mary Kills People, Bryk has amassed an IMDB page packed with memorable characters. We spoke to Bryk about his acting choices and what’s to come for Cobbs Pond, business associate/lover to Montreal businessman Samuel Grant (Shawn Doyle), in Season 2 of Frontier.

They say that the clothes make the man. Is that true for Cobbs Pond?
Greg Bryk: He has the best wardrobe. The best. When [series creators] Rob Blackie and Peter Blackie approached me, they had another character they were interested in me for. I was under option for Bitten at the time and that part was recast. A few weeks later, Bitten was cancelled and I was no longer under option. Rob called me, and I remember being in a parking lot in the Distillery District [of Toronto]. ‘Greg, hear me out on this. We have a character. So far we haven’t written a line for him yet. We have no idea what he could become or will become. He’s a cross between this real-life assassin-gunfighter that exists—historically from Boston—and Oscar Wilde.’ I’m like, ‘Done. Let’s have an adventure.’

We literally created this character from scratch and when I first walked in and I saw the fox hat. When [costume designer] Michael [Ground] handed me the hat I had everything I needed to know about this character. There is such a playful malevolence about him and the idea of sexuality and femininity and being placed in that historical context but to be this completely complicated and contemporary man, in a lot of ways, was a fascinating adventure. We found moments throughout Season 1—some dark, horrific moments and moments of real longing and being lost—and that arc/descent accelerates during Season 2. Cobbs goes to some places that I was so thrilled to get to be able to take him and really explore what love means to this character, what loyalty means, what ambition means, what greed means, what savage revenge means … all the while spinning in the most beautiful clothes one could ever hope to dress themselves in.


“When the lights go up and the camera goes on, it’s like a cage opens and the lion hunts the zoo.”


It sounds like you personally had a hand in creating Cobbs.
They fleshed the character out in very broad strokes and allowed me to bring so much of myself to the character. I’m really lucky in that a lot of directors and showrunners that I have worked with trust me to personalize the work and bring elements of myself to the character. There are things this year that happen with Cobbs and parts of monologues that are straight camera roll and they just let me go into myself. There are a couple of scenes which are shocking and brutal and violent but also incredibly vulnerable. It’s me transferring an experience I had being in love with this girl when I was in Grade 5—that first love—and they let me drag Cobbs into my longings and my wants and my vulnerabilities. But, also, this strength emerges in Cobbs this year where he is a force to be reckoned with.

There are some moments that are absolutely crazy. There are places Cobbs goes that I think the audience—who enjoyed him in the first season as this glitter who was thrown into a very dark world—will be slack-jawed at some of the things that will happen. He’s quite, delightfully, mad.

You’ve created memorable characters throughout your acting career. Where does that come from?
I’m a very cautious, almost timid, person in real life. I like routine. I stay in my house with my kids and my wife and my dogs. I literally walk the same path every day and I like that. In the real world, I like to control as much as I can. But in my work, it’s the chaos, man. I’m fearless. There is nothing I won’t reveal about myself or someone else and I don’t ever apologize for anything that I do. I am utterly without censure when the cameras roll and I think it saves my life. I became a father in theatre school and I had to learn to compartmentalize. Discovering myself as an artist was walking in step with being a husband and a father. There have always been these parallel tracks. I can happily live away from that live wire in the middle, but goddamn it I love to dance on it. When the lights go up and the camera goes on, it’s like a cage opens and the lion hunts the zoo.

Frontier airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Discovery.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

 

 

 

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