My cousin Ian has been writing scripts since his cast was made up of cousins and our costumes were whatever we could find in our grandmother’s trunk of old clothes. He went on to study Media Arts at Sheridan College and graduated in 2007. Now he is up for an award from the Writers Guild of Canada for writing an episode of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil.
A couple of years ago, Ian was recommended to the producer of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil (T&BPE), Andrew Rosen at Aircraft Pictures, by a writer he had worked with on a previous show. She heard Andrew was producing T&BPE and he was looking for a young writer to work as ‘Story Coordinator’ on the first season. “She recommended me, I interviewed with Andrew and (showrunner/co-creator) Craig David Wallace, and the next thing you know I had the job.”
But cuz, how did you go from fresh grad to TV series writer? “I co-wrote three ‘screen stories’ with Craig and Charles Picco (the other co-creators) really early on in the process. B.Y.O.B.O.P.E. (at that time titled It’s My Party And You Can Die If I Want You To) was one of them. Craig was going to write the ‘screenplay’ himself, but he asked me to co-write with him, I suppose because I was already familiar with the story. It was a huge honour. I really admired Craig’s writing and to co-write with him was really exciting. It’s one of those things that came completely out of the blue. Now here we are.”
I watched the nominated episode B.Y.O.B.O.P.E. and I got the impression that the show is super quirky and not trying to follow the rules of mainstream TV. What’s up with the quirky style of this show? Is that your personal humour showing through?
“Craig and Charles were definitely the keepers of the comedy. Everything about the tone of the show came from them. I’m very comfortable with genre storytelling — I love sci fi, I love horror — so I like to think I fit in pretty well with them. We made each other laugh at lot. The quirky humour of the show is 100% Craig and Charles, though. Those guys are hilarious.”
Their work earned them a nomination to the Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards, in the TV Comedy category. I asked Ian how it feels.
“I really feel great about being nominated. How could you not? It’s such an honour! The best part is to be recognized by other writers. It means you’re doing something right.”
Now Ian is working at Degrassi: The Next Generation, another and more well known Canadian high school TV series.
“They’re not that different,” Ian explained. “They’re both about teenagers wanting things, going after those things, and then paying the consequences. They’re both about how high school can be hard. In one there’s emotional demons, in the other one there’s actual physical demons. There’s also more blood on T&BPE.”
I asked Ian if there is any advice he can give current students about entering the work force.
“What a tough question. I don’t really have any advice. I wish I did. I worked a lot of odd jobs before I landed my first gig in a writers’ room. I suppose that’s one thing I can say: Don’t fret if you don’t get a job right away. It’s going to take time. Keep meeting people and eventually somebody will hire you. Inspiring, right?”
The 17th Annual Writers Guild of Canada Screening Awards will take place on Monday, April 22nd at UNIUN Nightclub, 473 Adelaide Street West, Toronto.
Click here to get tickets:
It’s the last day of classes (already)! The next and maybe last time that many of us will see each other will be convocation. The Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design has two convocations scheduled on June 13th, at 10am and 3pm. We have lined up a couple of great speakers for convocation this year.
Noah Cowan, the Artistic Director of TIFF Bell Lightbox, will speak to students at the 10am ceremony, which includes media arts, animation and film students. Cowan acted as the co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival from 2003 – 2008, he initiated TIFF’s Midnight Madness program, and he now drives the curatorial vision for programming at the King and John facility. Noah is currently working with the Faculty of Animation, Art and Design at Sheridan to develop a virtual museum about David Cronenberg, which will be presented during TIFF 2013. He is a great supporter of Canadian film, and enthusiastic about attracting younger audiences to TIFF.
Rachel Gotlieb – Chief Curator and Interim Executive Director of the Gardiner Museum, and a member of Sheridan’s Program Advisory Committee for Crafts and Design – will be speaking at the 3pm ceremony. Gotlieb is an expert in Canadian craft and design, with a PhD in art history. It is fitting then that both Crafts and Design and Art History students will be able to hear her speak at their 3pm graduation.
Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design convocations will be held at 10am and 3pm on June 13th at the Living Arts Centre of Mississauga.
For more information about Convocation, see: http://www.sheridancollege.ca/services/records-and-registration/graduation.aspx