Tag Archives: Shaun Majumder

Something Undone’s second season continues its creepy storytelling

When I first connected with Madison Walsh and Michael Musi, it was to chat about Season 1 of Something Undone.

The CBC Gem series was filmed during the first wave of COVID-19, meaning a stripped-down tale of Jo (Walsh), a foley artist and her partner, Farid (Musi), who are putting the finishing touches on a true-crime podcast about the murder of the Chaffey family. While Farid was in Newfoundland chasing down leads on the case, Jo was sequestered in her late mother’s home in Ontario, sorting through her things while working on the podcast. Season 1 of Something Undone is a psychological scare-fest full of odd sounds and intense feelings of loss and isolation.

Now, in Season 2, we get Farid’s side of the story. With production expanding to include guest cast and on-location filming, Something Undone goes all-in on the new six instalments. In Episode 1, we catch up with Farid, who is in Briddus, Newfoundland, investigating the Chaffey murders. There he uncovers shocking truths about the case, persevering despite threats from townsfolk and Jo’s stresses in Ontario. With an all-star cast consisting of Mary Walsh, Nicole Power, Shaun Majumder, Shawn Doyle and Tom Power, and directed by Hannah Cheesman, Something Undone is simply fabulous.

We spoke to Madison Walsh and Michael Musi about the second season.

Had you planned at telling Farid’s side of the story in Season 2?
Michael Musi: No. I know that when we did Season 1, we never thought really much past that while we were in production. But I do remember at some point while shooting, we said, ‘Is this good? Is this special?’ We couldn’t tell if we were onto something and then we started, while shooting, talking about other ideas. And I remember I said something like, ‘It’d be really cool to see what Farid is doing.’

And then CBC said, ‘Have you guys thought about Season 2?’ And said, ‘Of course, we’ve thought about it.’ We never dreamed the show would live on when we were creating the first season, but after winning an award over the summer we started secretly hoping they’d be interested in more. 

Madison Walsh: So they came to us and they said, ‘Hey, if we did a Season 2, can you get started now?’ And we just smiled and said, ‘Yeah, for sure.’ And our producers obviously screamed and they got going. Tricky thing was, I was shooting a horror film in Calgary called Dark Nature and Mike was in Toronto but we weren’t going to pass this up so we ended up writing it almost entirely over the phone.

MM: We wrote the first draft of all six episodes of Season 2 over Zoom. And then I flew out to Calgary and we had about four days of eating and of finessing the scripts and interviewing directors.

MW: When we were writing Season 1, it was really important for us to flesh out what was happening to Farid on the other side even though it didn’t really play a huge storyline, it was important that it tracked. So not only were we writing the mystery of what happened in the house, but we also had to design what happened to the Chaffey’s so that was already kind of done, which was really helpful, and then it all came together. Even though we really loved what organically came of Season 1, that it was a psychological horror-thriller, we thought, ‘OK, let’s try not, with this short amount of time, to recreate the same kind of thing.’ Let’s give ourselves the flexible freedom to make this more of a detective mystery, more of noir. That freedom allowed us to work quickly rather than really trying to risk doing something bad that we had gotten right the first time.

Nicole Power in Season 2 of Something Undone

And, unlike Season 1, you were juggling location shoots and other actors.
MM: Season 2 was really, really tricky. We had a ton of locations. We had a ton of actors. It was so much bigger. And we had the same time and we had a bigger budget, but it was nowhere near as much as we needed to feel really comfy. We really stretched ourselves out thin.

MW: But what really helped in Newfoundland was, miraculously, our second AD in Toronto, Liz, is actually from Petty Harbour, which was the tiny town that we chose, we had gone and scouted and found this amazing little town that was perfect for it. And it just so happened she was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m from there.’ So we flew her out and then we got together a small Newfoundland crew.

And also working with three hours of daylight in Newfoundland at the time. It was freezing. All the locals kept apologizing. They were like, ‘It’s never this cold.’ Yeah, it was wild.

Looking at the cast, Shawn Doyle, Nicole Power, Mary Walsh and Shaun Majumder. How did you land all of this talent?
MM: When we went into this, we said, ‘We keep shooting for the stars on so many different levels on this and things have been working out for us, we’re going to get the best Newfoundland actors out there.’ That was our dream list and everyone said yes. Nicole Power had no choice, she’s one of our best friends, but Shaun Majumder, Shawn Doyle, Mary Walsh, Tom Power, everyone said, ‘Absolutely.’ It was cuckoo.

MW: I think they are A), really great actors who I think are doing things not for the money but for the time. But also maybe part of it was because they’re Newfoundlanders who just are, ‘Why not?’ people. They’re so hospitable and so wonderful and so easygoing; they were OK to work on a small set, small budget, for one day. We tried to write each person a character that even though they were on screen for just a short amount of time, was meaningful. They all were ready to play and it was intense. Our days were really fast. It was hard for our director, Hannah Cheesman, to tell Mary Walsh, ‘I’m sorry, you get two takes.’ Which she didn’t need.

She aced it right off the bat. They had to come in and work on these sets where we were getting two giant scenes done in half a day. And it was really stressful. After we finish, every time we finish a shoot, when we’re in it, we’re like, ‘What are we doing? Why are we doing this?’ And then when you’re done and it comes together in some miracle way and you get to work with somebody like Mary Walsh, you say, ‘Oh God, I could do this forever.’

In the first season, the focus is on Jo. It’s different in Season 2. Michael, what was it like doing the heavy lifting when it came to the acting this time?
MM: It was really scary stepping into it because I got so comfortable with Maddie having to do it. And I remember a week before I thought, ‘I don’t want to do this.’ I felt like, ‘Yeah, this is a horrible decision. I’m going to let people down.’ Season 1 was so good and I just started feeling really insecure about it. But when you have these incredible actors that you get to act with they just make you feel so comfortable.

Are you working on Season 3? And if so, can you give any details?
MM: I don’t think we can give you story details, but what we can say is that we don’t have a third season green-lit, but we definitely want to be prepared if that happens. We can certainly say that it would be a continuation of the story so we’re not going back in time. It would be after all this happened. It would be in a completely different part of Canada and it would be Jo and Farid together.

MW: Our goal from the beginning, we said it as a joke because obviously, we were like, ‘We’re not getting a Season 3,’ just like we thought we weren’t going to get a Season 2. Anything can happen, but we said, ‘We’re setting it in summer and it’s the Sunshine Coast.’ A setting so uniquely Canadian and I think it would be the perfect place for Farid and Jo to go to get better. But meanwhile, things are only going to get worse.

Watch Season 1 and 2 of Something Undone on CBC Gem now.

Images courtesy of the producers.

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Expert sand sculptors compete in CBC’s Race Against the Tide

Canadian production company marblemedia has been creating some truly interesting twists on the reality competition genre. Blown Away (about glass blowing) and Landscape Artist of the Year (which is just what it sounds like) are stellar examples of reality shows that don’t have Canada in the title.

Now marblemedia is back with its newest reality project. Race Against the Tide debuts Thursday at 8 and 8:30 p.m. and finds 10 teams of highly skilled sand sculptors battling each other—and the tide—to impress judges and win $10,000. Hosted by Shaun Majumder, Race Against the Tide‘s setting is the Bay of Fundy, where high tides mark the deadline in each episode’s competition.

Not only is Race Against the Tide as engaging as heck, but it’s an education as well. I had no clue competitive sand sculpting was a thing. Neither did showrunner and writer Carly Spencer, who we spoke to about the challenges the pandemic and nature played in Season 1.

I knew nothing about sand carving contests until I watched the first episode of Race Against the Tide. Did you know anything about any of this stuff before you got involved in the show? 
Carly Spencer: I did not. And, it was a real whirlwind when we started up production because we were actually the first show in Canada out in the field during COVID. We just sort of hit the ground running working with CBC and it was crazy because we had never seen what we were going to be working with, this tide and everything because we couldn’t travel out there [in advance].

We saw that tide for the first time and we went, ‘Holy moly.’ What’s so cool about this show is that the crew is actually racing against the tide as well. We have basically the time from when the tide goes out and we start shooting and the sculptors start sculpting. And then, when the tide starts to come back, it hits these markers, so we have a little bit of time for judging. That’s it. If we miss a step we lose an episode. If the tide washes away one of the sculptures before we can shoot the beauty of it… But what that does is just create this amazing energy on set. Everybody is just in it working so well as a team. The cooperation on this crew is just like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I tell every single person who will listen to me, that it is because of the crew, the fantastic people just hauling their butts and working together, that this show even gets made.

These are incredible artists. Just learning about the packing down of the sand, the different scientific properties of the sand, and maybe black sand looks cool, but it doesn’t have the same properties or regular brown sand. You have so much packed into a 22-minute episode. That must have been a heck of an edit that you had.
CS: You hit the nail on the head because this is a half-hour show. Every single line, every single shot is completely curated because there’s just no time to wait. It’s actually quite difficult cutting down so much footage.

How did you get involved in Race Against the Tide?
CS: I had done a show called Landscape Artist of the Year for CBC and marblemedia. Then, I got a call from marblemedia and they said, ‘You’re never going to believe this, the show has been greenlit and you start tomorrow.’ I didn’t even have time to think about it. I really like working with marblemedia. Matt Hornburg and I have such a lovely working relationship. He really prepped me and he just lets me run. So the opportunity to repeat that was great. And, also, I like a good challenge.

Talk about the beach where you filmed.
CS: The sand has to be the right type of sand to hold together. Originally, they were going to shoot it on a different beach, and then we did all this research. We actually had someone from here send samples to our judge, Karen Fralich, who had to do all these little experiments. We had to move to this particular cove because that’s where the best sand was. That’s the first thing all the sculptors asked, ‘How’s the sand?’ There’s so much science in this show and that nobody would know.

Race Against the Tide airs Thursday at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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marblemedia heads to camera on new unscripted series, Race Against the Tide

From a media release:

marblemedia, leading global entertainment producers of numerous award-winning TV series such as Netflix’s “Blown Away” and “Restaurants on the Edge” announces today that production is now underway on location in New Brunswick on a new CBC original Canadian competition series, RACE AGAINST THE TIDE (10×30), hosted by actor and comedian Shaun Majumder. The first of its kind, the show is slated for broadcast in Canada on CBC and the CBC Gem streaming service in 2021.

The half-hour competition series features 10 teams of two world class, highly skilled sand sculptors competing to create extraordinary works of art made entirely out of sand while avoiding elimination. Not only are these best-in-show duos competing against each other, they are competing against Mother Nature’s unstoppable ticking clock and the world’s highest tide at New Brunswick’s iconic and beautiful Bay of Fundy. The stakes have never been higher in the world of sand sculpting as the competitors’ creations – no matter how impressive – are all destined to be washed away the same day by the tide.

In the end, only one team whose skill, creativity and tenacity leaves a lasting impression will be crowned the RACE AGAINST THE TIDE “Champions.”

RACE AGAINST THE TIDE is executive produced by Matt Hornburg and Mark Bishop of marblemedia; series producer and writer is Carly Spencer and Donna Luke of marblemedia serves as Co-Executive Producer. Produced with the participation of the Province of New Brunswick and Co-produced with Hemmings House. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports; Jennifer Dettman is Executive Director, Unscripted Content; Alexandra Lane is Senior Director of Production; and Ann-Marie Redmond is Executive in Charge of Production.

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Link: This Hour has 22 Minutes in ‘existential crisis,’ say sources, losing Shaun Majumder and key writers, including Greg Thomey

From Tony Wong of the Toronto Star:

Link: This Hour has 22 Minutes in ‘existential crisis,’ say sources, losing Shaun Majumder and key writers, including Greg Thomey
The abrupt departure of star Shaun Majumder from CBC’s 22 Minutes heralds some significant changes to the upcoming season of the sketch comedy show, even as insiders point to what they say is an “existential crisis” at the long-running and beloved Canadian series.

In exclusive interviews with the Star, producers outlined for the first time plans for a revamped 22 Minutes that will showcase four nights of 10-minute digital-only shows. The series is also adding two new “correspondents” in Toronto and Vancouver leading up to the weekly broadcast premiering Sept. 18 on CBC. Continue reading.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail