A L’il Rasgal Drops By TCS

Our newest episode of The Constant Struggle podcast is up, and for the first time, we’ve decided to feature a guest on the show. We invited Susannah Kiernan, member of the hilarious duo “L’il Rasgals” to come on by and talk to us a bit about the various challenges she’s had to face in the noble pursuit of her art.

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/93qcz-56b618?from=wp

You can also find the episode on iTunes by searching “The Constant Struggle”

Give it a listen. It’s a great episode & Susannah is a wonderful guest. While you’re at it, follow her on Twitter at @SusannahKiernan and follow us at @StrugglePod.

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Struggle on!

 

 

 

The Constant Struggle, Episode 3

If you’ve browsed elsewhere on this website apart from the front page, (or the article about the WWI brothel, which continues to get more hits than any other post,) you’ll know that my brother Nick and I have been working on a podcast over the past few weeks that deals with the ongoing struggles creative types face on their journey to accomplish their artistic goals.

This month’s episode is no exception as we delve further into overcoming rejection, navigating networking events and just getting it done!

Check it out:

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/8rght-5622a1?from=wp

If you like it, and you’re interested in sharing your creative struggles with us on an upcoming episode, feel free to write to us at constantstrugglepod@gmail.com.


 

*** *Note: the books we referred to during this episode are:

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder

Elephant Bucks: An insider’s Guide to Writing TV Sitcoms, by Sheldon Bull

The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life), by Chris Hardwick

…And the blessed Irish shamrock with the fairest green of all

I recently finished working as a production coordinator on a TV show, the first TV show I’ve *really* worked for. (ie. gots paid)

One of the tasks to which I was assigned in my last job was to collect the scripts and segment descriptions from the Associate Producers on the show and send them to the hosts. The documents they would send are referred to as “greens” in newspeak. Three times a week I would send out an email to the APs asking if their greens were ready. Eventually, in an attempt to make this process more interesting for them, and for me, I started doing stuff like this:

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Right? That subject line makes you think!

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Getting creative with Google Translate.

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 It’s true. Don’t go to Chicago for the fish.

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Then I started to incorporate imagery to my silly emails.

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He’s not, for whatever that’s worth. He’s just the only one with “green” in his name that I could think of…

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I sometimes made them relevant to the people I was working with… (we did fashion segments)

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I incorporated some of my own taste…

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 Briefly turned into a greeting card company.

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…Got political. (Not shown, the email where I just directed all the APs to the Green Party of Canada’s website, I must have deleted that one. Or CSIS had it removed from my PC.)

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…Got Kermi-ed.

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…Got sporty.

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…Used idioms to describe my feels.

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Got market branding involved.

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…and finally sent them all off with an epic psych-out.

I feel like a few are missing, (I most definitely deleted the one where I sent a picture of a nice, healthy crop of marijuana.)

The point of sending them wasn’t to make a blog post out of them all. That was never the intention. But because it brought me joy to take a second out of my day to think of some silly way to make my co-workers day a little bit funnier, or happier, or at least to distract them for a millisecond, I thought I’d share them with you. I was, after all, pretty lucky to get to work there.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (Tomorrow)

Watch Sunnyside, Damnit!

Do yourself (and me) a favour and watch Sunnyside. It premiered tonight, and it was super funny, super original and super Canadian.

It reminded me of that improv game Goon River, except, they weren’t speaking in monologues, but it IS about town filled with fun, quirky characters. Although nobody died… so… maybe not so much like Goon River…Oh no wait. Someone died.  Cool.  Totally like Goon River.

Anyway… I really liked it! And not only because I know the creators, writers and cast personally and am super proud of their hard work not only being produced, but finding a broadcast home amidst a dark period of TV history in which few networks are willing to take chances on new ideas in general, let alone great sketch comedy ideas.

The show is co-created by Gary Pearson (who, if you’re a reader of this blog, directed a sketch show I was in back at Humber called #cliché: based on the novel Push by Sapphire) so… it’s cool, we tight. I think I also reviewed one, if not both of his novels here as well. What I’m saying is, I’m a fan.

The cast and writers are ALL people I’ve seen CRUSH around Toronto’s live comedy scene. Stand-up, improv, sketch. You name it, they’re made me laugh doin’ it. I’m super excited for this show, and I’m super excited for all the talented people involved/responsible for it.

Now YOUR job, reader, is to go watch the darn thing and enjoy it. That way, they can keep making it, and maybe more opportunities will arise for the hardworking hilarious people trying to make a living making YOU laugh! It’s a win win!

Is this too ranty for a post about a silly sketch comedy show?  Meh. I don’t care.

Watch Sunnyside, damnit.

Brief Thoughts in Passing: Meeting a Locally Renown Casting Director

Ok, so if ever a casting director comes to somewhere to speak to you for free, and you’re really interested in getting into commercials or TV, and maybe her son runs one of the biggest casting houses in the city, and maybe you have some questions you want to ask her, but you also want her to maybe consider you for future projects, or maybe pass your name onto her son for future casting opportunities, maybe, oh I don’t know, maybe… TELL HER YOUR NAME!  

A tidbit of advice brought to you by someone who has only gone to very few auditions. Take it or or leave it.

Brieview: Slapshot of Love – Team Geri!

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So, I freakin’ loved this book.  I was so happy that the main character was such a smart (shall we say geeky – but like, the Star Wars kind – not the “good at math” kind), strong yet insecure, down-to-earth, no-nonsense, hilarious and totally ass-kicking.  Geri is all the women I know who are so underepresented in literature and TV and media in general, but Gary Pearson brings this firecracker to life with such charm and compassion, and surrounds her with great supporting characters, some you love and some you’d love to see get hit by a truck.

The contrast between reality (the day-to-day; work, living accommodations, friends, family, Hamilton) and the dream-world of reality TV ($$$, hot babes, hockey stars and more $$$) are so wonderfully contrasted and eventually tangled that you become enthralled in the story and really feel for Geri and think; “What will she to choose?  What would I choose?”

And let’s be honest, anything that has to do with Reality TV that actually makes you think and feel is an amazing accomplishment on its own!  Read this book and feel something!

Pilot Inspektor

My old friend

Last week was Reading Week.  While many students take the week as an opportunity to spend their parents money on cheap vacations down south, I believe I have spent every Reading Week I’ve ever had working.  This year was no exception, except that I didn’t get paid for it.  Unless you consider experience payment.  And I do.  So I did.  I guess. Get paid. What? Gah.

What I’m trying to say is… I spent half of my reading week working/interning as a Production Assistant on a pilot for what will hopefully become a television show for the Comedy Network starring stand-up comedian Tim Steeves.

This guy.

The whole experience was really quite interesting as the only experience I’ve ever had with television, apart from watching copious amounts of it as a child and teen, was going to a taping of The Ron James Show earlier this year, and taking a tour of NBC Studios when I visited New York a few years back.  It was neat to get to see the inside of the CTV Masonic Temple, to see the place go from an empty stage and space, into the Tim Steeves project – an idea that’s gone as far as it possibly can before actually making it onto television.

They did teach us about the process of pitching television pilots at Humber, but there’s no doubt something more tangible about working on the real deal.

Over the week, my tasks included:

  • several coffee runs
  • discussing the huge importance of Twitter in our day-to-day lives
  • waiting
  • sitting
  • salivating over deli corned beef sandwiches (and pickles… oh HEAVENS, those pickles…)
  • standing-in for the host/panelists on the stage for the camera-operators (FUN!)
  • assembling IKEA chairs
  • coffee runs
  • sitting
  • waiting
  • drinking water
  • sitting
  • waiting
  • seat-filling during the taping
  • recycling stuff
  • hanging out with the Luke, Rachel & Eli.
  • escorting guests to the Green Room …

(Huzzah for Canadian talent!)

 

What an ultimately thrilling experience!  It’s funny how even sitting and waiting are made that much more exciting when you’re in a TV studio.

This little taste of DOING TV Comedy was delicious and I hunger for more.  Much much more.

Chomp chomp.