Tag Archives: The Next Step

CFC and DHX Media team up to launch The DHX Experience

From a media release:

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) and DHX Media Ltd. are pleased to announce the launch of The DHX Experience, an exciting new multi-year initiative designed to inspire and help develop a new generation of creative talent for the family/tween/kids marketplace.

The DHX Experience will first be integrated across the CFC’s film, TV, music and acting programs, engaging more than 40 screen-based entertainment industry professionals a year by introducing them to this specialized market through in-depth workshops and practical exercises. Additionally, the initiative will extend beyond the CFC’s talent base to offer a showrunner bootcamp and a British Columbia-based voice for animation workshop.

The DHX Experience kicks off with a symposium at the CFC on Wednesday, October 28, 2015. Led by top practitioners and DHX executives, this daylong event will provide an all-encompassing overview of the kids/tween/family world. The symposium will initiate a series of workshops and bootcamps to further explore creative processes and best practices as the initiative seeks to develop talent destined for the kids/tween/family market. Additional offerings of The DHX Experience include a voice for animation exercise, a hands-on music creation workshop, a storyroom for an animated show experience, as well as pitching and concept development bootcamps.


Comments and queries for the week of September 11

Which returning fall Canadian TV show are you most excited about?

I voted for The Next Step as a proxy for my daughter, who will probably have a viewing party for the season premiere :). —Suzanne

Murdoch Mysteries of course!!!!!! —Vivian

Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland and I wish Jonny Harris’ Still Standing was in the running. It is a great look at the light side of Canada and Canadians. Murdoch Mysteries is my No. 1 though!!! —Jeanette

Murdoch Mysteries, The Nature of Things and Marketplace. —Helene


Got a comment or question about Canadian TV? greg@tv-eh.com or @tv_eh on Twitter.


The Next Step hits the dance floor for Season 3

Spoiler alert: not every member of the A-Troupe dancers will last until the end of Season 3 of The Next Step. That shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise for anyone following the tween drama—kids get older and graduate all the time—but this exit will be a bit of a shock nonetheless.

We were on the show’s Scarborough, Ont., set during filming, and watched that pivotal scene from a vantage point just out of camera range. We won’t give it away, but the announcement sends shock waves through the group. How it all happens, and how it affects the crew going into Internationals, rolls out when The Next Step returns to Family Channel on Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.

To watch filming of an episode of The Next Step is to see television production set at double speed. Unlike most series that take a week to film one episode, The Next Step does it in just over a day and lines are written in a different manner too.


“Traditionally, you write a script and then you find actors to read the material,” says writer and executive producer Frank van Keeken (The Kids in the Hall, Winging’ It). “We write very involved outlines, and on the day of shooting we talk about the scene and then we just start playing.” The result? A serialized drama that feels very real and authentic.

Returning to The Next Step Dance Studio are, among others, Brittany Raymond as Riley, Victoria Baldesarra as Michelle, Alexandra Beaton as Emily, Trevor Tordjman as James, Lamar Johnson as West, Jennifer Pappas as Chloe, Brennan Clost as Daniel, Zac Vran as Hunter, Bree Wasylenko as Kate, Natalie Krill as Phoebe and So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 4 winner Jordan Clark as Giselle. Newbies include Ella Gilling, a semifinalist from Season 2 of the UK talent television show Got To Dance. Each one—when they weren’t celebrating the show’s catering or discussing injuries and the bonding element on-set—spoke of how van Keeken is a mentor to them. It’s a label he isn’t comfortable wearing, but understands the sentiment.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, so there are certain skill sets I’ve developed,” he says. “Because they’re green, or were, I had to spend the time just educating them. It’s been a good relationship. After they saw the cuts they realized, ‘He just cuts the bad bits.’ Once you make that transition as an actor then they just go.”

As for who exits the troupe early? You’ll just have to tune in to find out.

The Next Step airs Monday to Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Family Channel.


Set visit: The Next Step kicks into high gear

The most unlikely of places often contains the most interesting things. Take The Next Step, for instance. Family Channel’s smash hit tween series is filmed in a nondescript neighbourhood in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot: an old high school that’s been decommissioned by the Toronto District School Board.

The only indication anything is happening are the telltale orange traffic pylons that denote television or film production underway in the city. There’s plenty happening on the set of The Next Step. Though the second half of Season 2 has yet to air on Family, the third season is filming now. On the day I visited, creator and showrunner Frank van Keeken (Wingin’ It) was overseeing a key storyline where one member of the dance studio was offered the opportunity of a lifetime, a decision that could affect everyone else on the squad. Those on the team include Michelle (played by Victoria Baldesarra), Emily (Alexandra Beaton), Riley (Brittany Raymond), James (Trevor Tordjman), Eldon (Isaac Lupien), West (Lamar Johnson), Giselle (Jordan Clark), Chloe (Jennifer Pappas), Thalia (Taveeta Szymanowicz), Hunter (Zac Vran), Stephanie (Samantha Grecchi) and Amanda (Logan Fabbro), who showed off their dancing skills during several takes as part of the day’s frantic production schedule.

According to van Keeken, one episode of The Next Step is shot in just over a day, a lightning-quick turnaround when the industry norm is one episode per seven days of shooting. The industry veteran, whose experience goes back to working on The Kids in the Hall, says he wanted to hire dancers rather than actors to fill the roles on The Next Step. As he tells it, he could teach them how to act. Or react; van Keeken gives the kids a scene outline to work with and then they go for broke, giving authenticity to the mockumentary series.

The Next Step attracted 574,000 viewers in its Season 1 debut, making it No. 1 for the network. A 2013 shopping mall tour was a success, original music from the show is available on iTunes and the series airs around the world in such countries as the U.S., the UK, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Belgium and Switzerland. Next up: a retail program for fans to connect with the show.

Look for my Next Step feature when Season 2B has been announced.