Christopher Demelo, Author at CANADALAND
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Did Raekwon Loot Canada for an $11,000 Music Grant?

FACTOR, the granting body for Canadian musicians, funded in large part by the Government of Canada, seems to have had its grant system exploited by a founding member of New York’s Wu-Tang Clan.

Fear and Loathing in Canadian Television

Show notes

Actor/writer Matt Watts (The Newsroom, Michael Tuesdays and Thursdays) on “incest” and “hush money” at the CBC, among other problems plaguing our TV industry.
Episode Rundown
01:15 Michael Tuesdays and Thursdays ran on CBC for one season of twelve episodes. You can still watch it online (link)
01:40 Richard Stursberg says a lot of contradictory things. Great review of his book The Tower of Babel (link)
01:52 Big Bang Theory pulls in 3.1 million in Canada and almost 20 million views in the US (link)
02:31 The CBC mandate (link)
03:20 “White people in Ottawa, you can’t get more un-urban” Jesse
03:52 “I was in Newfoundland last summer for a couple of months..they don’t even think of therapy as a thing. They’re just not a neurotic people. They don’t watch Woody Allen films, they don’t get them. It’s not in the nature of the province, it’s such a calm, easy-going people. That someone is so stressed out that they need a doctor to deal with that is completely foreign to them.” Watts
04:24 “No Jews in Newfoundland?” Jesse
“Not any” Watts
Synagogues in Newfoundland (link)
05:04 Matt Watts was the guy intoducing “Sex Bob-Om” in Scott Pilgrim Vs the World. This clip at 1:40  (link)
05:20 Don’t get the Ken Finkleman’s Newsroom confused with the Andrew Sorkin’s Newsroom. Two different shows. The Canadian one ran for 32 episodes (link)
Slings and Arrows was a series based on the inner workings of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. It ran for 18 episodes (link)
07:05 “It’s interesting, he (Stursberg) was so reviled and yet it seemed that people didn’t feel the same way about her (Kirstine Stewart).  But her sensibilities seemed to be very similar to his.” -Jesse
“She’s reviled, I don’t think anyone was sorry to see the back of her. Honestly, what I think was the difference between Stursberg and Kirsten was that Stursberg had a vision. It was a largely disagreed with vision, but it was a vision… What Kirsten did that frustrated a lot of people was no one really knew where she stood” – Watts
8:30 The widely shared post from Matt Watts’ Facebook page, May 2013:

THE BELOW WAS POSTED ON MATT WATTS’ FACEBOOK PAGE TODAY. SO “MY INBOX” REFERS TO MATT WATTS’ INBOX.
“This was in my inbox this morning. I’m keeping the sender’s name anonymous. But anyone who has wondered about the goings on in the CBC should look at this. It’s criminal. Literally. What Harper is doing to the CBC is nothing to the shit that Kirstine and Zaib got away with.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hello Matt,
We’ve never met before but I work in XXXXXXX at the CBC and now that KS has thankfully exited the building, I thought you should know that you were totally played by Zaib.
Zaib was not being straight-up when he said his blind pilot was news to him. For over two years, he had a blind pilot deal at CBC but what happened is that he didn’t realize that he, as the producer, had to re-apply to the CMF. As of March 5th when all of this happened, CBC business affairs was frantically in the process of internally re-negotiating his deal. The deal was in place and Zaib knew it.
Perhaps it might surprise you, or not, to know about all the others projects that CBC had with Zaib, all approved while his wife was the boss:
In Little Mosque on the Prairie, Zaib had multiple credits (and multiple salaries!), perhaps the most egregious one was as a paid “creative consultant” which gave Zaib final say in the hiring of writers and actors. And why do you think LMOTP kept getting renewed?
A double-scale development deal for a movie of the week – to star Zaib and to be written by Zaib.
Do you really think Deepa Metha wanted to cast Zaib in Midnight’s Children? Maybe it had something to do with it being a pre-condition of CBC providing a high six-figure license fee.
Zaib Shaik’s own one man company produced the CBC 75th anniversary special, even though he’d never done such a thing before.
Q forced, despite protest, to hire Zaib to guest host.
Ever notice how Zaib was trotted out as a presenter at every awards show CBC ever aired?
And did you hear about the drama series pilot, 19-2 not picked up to series because the producers refused to cast Zaib after they were forced by CBC to audition him for BOTH of the lead roles?
Lately, Zaib has taken to writing to production companies presenting self-created roles for himself. (OK, this is the one that really makes all of us here laugh hysterically!)
And guess what Zaib’s wife’s parting gift to him was? The lead role in the new CBC drama series Best Laid Plans.
The good times continue!”

10:40 “Blind development deal, I was offered one when Michael(Tuesdays and Thursday) was cancelled. It’s ‘here’s some money, come up with something’. – Watts
13:10 The Tweet is here (link)
14:10 Since Stewart left the CBC, Shaikh’s opportunities their seem to have dried up. No worries, he’s Toronto’s new Film Commissioner! (link)
14:34 Don McKeller (link)
16:24 “People (At the CBC) were not happy and it had nothing to do with the budget cuts. She (Kirsten Stewart) had more to do with destroying morale than the cuts did.” Watts
16:39 “It’s (CBC’s) bloated middle management and departments that you don’t know what they’re doing. It’s like any government organization, you look at it and say ‘it could be a lot more efficient’.” Watts
“It’s like being creative in the post office.” Jesse
17:22 “Someone once told me if you want to keep a secret you should give it to the CBC communications department to publicize.” Jesse
“Oh my god, that whole department should just go.” Watts
22:14 Rob Salem piece mourning the loss of the show with Watts (link)
23:05 The John Doyle piece here (link)
23:34 “Orphan Black is a fantastic show, we had Slings and Arrows…I can’t point to my shows without feeling like an asshole.” Watts
“You can do that, don’t be so Canadian.” Jesse
24:38 “If you look at the biggest American shows. The writers room for those shows, there’s usually a Canadian. From Mad Men to all the comedies. There are Canadians in very high places. It’s not for lack of talent here” Jesse
26:02 “There’s no incentive to invest in Canadian programing because they’re probably going to lose money on it. And they don’t own it outright. This is the problem, these networks are just licensing the Canadian rights to these shows. So they don’t own it, so if it sells around the world they don’t see a dime of it.” Watts
25:55 “90% of what a producer does in Canada is trying to get the money to get this thing made.” Watts
“It seems like producers make money by not having a hit show but if you have shows that are in production you take your production fee.” Jesse
27:35 “Television you need a broadcaster before you can commit to any other money..This is what’s frustrating, the public doesn’t seem to be aware this. The privates get public funding for their shows…So when people argue against the CBC as though they’re the only publicly funded television, it’s not entirely true. All television in Canada is publicly funded.” Watts
 

Excerpt

Actor/writer Matt Watts (The Newsroom, Michael Tuesdays and Thursdays) on “incest” and “hush money” at the CBC, among other problems plaguing our TV industry.

Cartoon Sweatshop

Show notes

Canada produces top animation talent but lousy animation content. Animator Adam Hines, co-host of the Guys With Pencils podcast, on how to save Canadian cartoons.
Episode Rundown
00:31 Norman Mclaren (link)
00:41 That’s right, a Canadian made Ren and Stimpy, John K
00:50 Alias, the creators of the 3D modeling and Animation program Maya. Maya has been used in Game of Thrones, Finding Nemo, Frozen and Monsters inc.
01:08 Rocket Robin Hood is a strange thing (link)
Racoons (link)
01:19 The Guys With Pencils podcast (link)
03:31 I dare you to watch this theme and not want to watch all of that series, it’s all on Netflix just to let you know. (link)
04:09 “The Warner Brothers that you know is dead” Hines quoting Paul Dini. Dini also said that Warner Bros doesn’t like large female fan bases (link)
04:18 “Watching cartoons can be a ton of fun, and then you get into the business side of actually making it… It can feel a bit like a death march.” Hines
05:11 Turbo F.A.S.T (link) made by Titmouse (link) 
05:27 “In Canada, we have a fraction of the budget and the schedule to make the shows that we make. You hear that as a student and you’re like ‘ok’, but you don’t really have and point of reference or experience.” Hines
05:51 “When I was working on an American production as an animator I had to do 16 seconds a week.16 seconds of good animation, that’s reasonable. I’ve worked on (Canadian) productions that wanted 80 seconds a week.” Hines
06:32 “ I work for this American company (Titmouse) from my living room, it’s freelance. Yet they trusted me more… in Canada a lot of the productions I’ve worked on, you’re more their hands. It’s basically ‘if I could make this by myself I would but I can’t so I’m going to treat you like an extra pair of arms” Hines
09:21 “I love this industry and I love the people that work in it but sometimes it feels a little sweatshoppy.” Hines
09:53 Steve Wolfhard (link) and his comics here (link) (link)
10:17 Adventure Time is Cartoon Network’s top show (link) (link)
10:40 Spoiler Alert, (link)
10:48 “Remember kids’ movies in the 80’s and early 90’s where it’s for kids but real shit happens?” Hines finding a parallel for the serious content on Adventure Time. Mufasa dying still chokes me up.
10:59 “There was a point when I started in the industry and you’d hear execs go ‘we want the next Spongebob’, now they’re saying they want the next Adventure Time.” Hines
11:17 John K’s book about what Jesse was talking about (link)
12:47 “Is there a Canadian show that’s like- ‘that’s the one where we got it right’?” Jesse
“No” Hines
I thought Reboot was a good show.
12:55 “You look at a show like Adventure Time, that’s so out there that it’s brilliant. That show would get noted to death and get changed (in Canada)” Hines
13:15 “ Who’s the client? Who are we making this for? Who’s the client? Who’s the network?” Hines 
13:45 “ The people writing for cartoons in Canada- we have to use this union, and to them this is their Mcdonalds job. They all want to be writing movies.” Hines (link)
14:29 “We have world class game studios in this fucking city, and I’m not even talking about Ubisoft which is this big international thing. I’m talking about Capybara and Drinkbox who are making critically acclaim well-selling games as independent studios.” (link) (link)
18:20 “Animators are actors, I would look in a mirror and and would think how does a character move when they’re angry” Jesse chanelling Chuck Jones
19:25 “Are there old systems in place that back then worked but are fucking us now?” Hines.  
Looks like Adam was right (link) (link)
19:42 “Lets talk about Adventure Time, that show is probably horrifying to an exec.” Hines
20:47 “If you’re making a video game, theres no government bureau that has to stamp it as a CanCon video game. There’s also not the middle man of a broadcaster. You make a video game, put it on the internet.” Jesse
23:33 “I know with a lot of Canadian TV production, it’s not about having a hit show, it’s about getting a green light. And you get money to make a show and the profits for the production company lie in making it as cheaply as possible and keeping what’s left over.” Jesse
23:57 “One of the shows I worked on ended after 3 seasons and we were under the impression that ratings were good. Apparently this was a really popular show, as far as the studio goes it was a really popular show for them. But they were more interested in cutting it after 3 seasons and put it into syndication.” Hines
24:43 The episode they talk about is here (link)
25:25 “(Ricardo Curtis) Was saying the difference between America and Canada is that in Canada you have a bunch of safety nets, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the attitude of Canadians could be ‘why bother?’. Whereas in America, they have the attitude of ‘why not?’.” Hines
27:05 “You’re an animator working in television who doesn’t have televsion?” Jesse
“No dude, why bother?” Hines
28:00 More on Robert Khoo (link)
30:45 Frederator Studios (link)
31:15 “Let’s work around these roadblocks that we seem to have to deal with in the Canadian ecosystem” Hines
32:02 “ I wonder if we’re going to hit a point where it’s not really possible to have any original Canadian shit and we’re going to become an outsource…We are referred as ‘overseas’ by the States. We are the equivalent of sending it to China or Korea.” Hines
32:26 “We’re like a banana republic for cheap labour.” Jesse
33:45 “See, I fall into this trap too. You see a part of me is ‘we got to make it better, we got to take risks’. But then I’m like ‘fuck, I gotta pay rent.” Hines
33:55 “The reality kinda kicks you in the dreams.” Hines
34:25 Justin Chan is very talented, eat it Hines (link)

Excerpt

Canada produces top animation talent but lousy animation content. Animator Adam Hines, co-host of the Guys With Pencils podcast, on how to save Canadian cartoons.