‘Such a plea­sure to work with fam­ily,’ says di­rec­tor

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“It was an am­bi­tious sched­ule and I’m re­ally proud of what we pulled off in that amount of time,” said the 25-year-old Cole, whose pro­duc­tion com­pany Glass Hero Me­dia has a strong music video re­sume that in­cludes videos for Aaron Pritch­ett and Bar­ney Ben­tall.

Pulling it off, ac­cord­ing to Cole, had a lot to do with the con­nec­tion he has with his older sis­ter and the com­fort that comes with hav­ing fam­ily near by dur­ing stress­ful times.

“It is such a plea­sure to work with fam­ily be­cause you know what to say,” said Cole. “I’ve seen her act­ing style, I know her act­ing style and you can short­hand it. You can get what you want to get across in three words. We know what each other means and we know what we are look­ing for and she nails it.

“The collaboration be­tween her and I, I think was in­te­gral in mak­ing this all work,” added Cole.

For those unfamiliar with the web series for­mat, the run times are a lot shorter than stan­dard TV, in this case around 10 min­utes, and there are no stead­fast rules to follow. That as you can imag­ine is very at­trac­tive to film­mak­ers.

“The post im­pact is huge be­cause there is no set run times so you can make this a lit­tle bit longer or you can make this a lit­tle bit shorter. That means you have the abil­ity to say no this is bet­ter with­out that, and we don’t have to pad the thing with jokes that didn’t land or things like that,” said Cole. “It gets you to the essence of ex­actly what you want which is fan­tas­tic.

“Shoot­ing you get more flex­i­bil­ity by do­ing small re-writes on the run with­out hav­ing to run it by the suits at the net­work,” added Cole, an SFU film pro­gram grad­u­ate.

Mc­Cul­loch agreed with Cole and finds the web free­dom a per­fect fit for his fast-fir­ing brain.

“I love story and this ex­ists in kind of 10 minute chunks which is what I am used to in my brain as story beats,” said Mc­Cul­loch. “I found the med­i­ta­tion of it quite in­ter­est­ing be­cause things have to hap­pen and there has to be some­thing hap­pen­ing at the end of 10 min­utes. So in­stead of it be­ing sprawl­ing it made it re­ally mus­cu­lar for me.”

For the Northeys work­ing closely with Mc­Cul­loch was an ex­cit­ing and cre­atively cool ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Bruce is just so funny and he gets us,” said Cole.

Aleita said he also re­ally got her char­ac­ter. He un­der­stood Anna’s plight as an ac­tor and had a con­tem­po­rary lens at which he looked at her, her strug­gles and her even­tual meta­mor­pho­sis.

“I think Anna has a unique sense of her­self and Bruce’s comedy has al­ways been cre­ative so it works,” said Aleita. “He is able to dis­cuss what I think are re­ally rel­e­vant themes and re­la­tion­ships that hits your ear and strikes you.”

For Mc­Cul­loch work­ing with the Cole and Aleita was an ex­pe­ri­ence he loved for a cou­ple of rea­sons.

“It is so in­ter­est­ing they tease each other but have each other’s backs,” said Mc­Cul­loch. “It was dou­ble in­ter­est­ing as Craig is one of my great friends and col­lab­o­ra­tors and Cole feels in a way like I am work­ing with Craig Northey be­cause he laughs at the same things and I can tease him in the same way I tease Craig, so I’ve been friends with him as he has grown up but now it’s like an­other Northey I can play with.

“It’s like a re­la­tion­ship that has been handed down,” added Mc­Cul­loch.

While web series are as com­mon as blogs what gives This Blows a chance to break away from the sea of DIY story telling that pop­u­lates the web is it is part of CBC Dig­i­tal’s plat­form.

For the record CBC re­ceives about 1,000 pitches for scripted dig­i­tal series each year.

“In build­ing the mid-length series slate for our stream­ing ser­vice, we are al­ways look­ing for series that will tap into a larger con­ver­sa­tion that is hap­pen­ing in so­ci­ety. This Blows struck a chord with us for the way that it so vividly dra­ma­tizes the ex­pe­ri­ence of a woman find­ing and reck­on­ing with her own power,” said Zach Feld­berg, Ex­ec­u­tive in Charge of Pro­duc­tion, Dig­i­tal Orig­i­nals. “We also love projects that pair es­tab­lished veter­ans with ex­cit­ing emerg­ing tal­ent, so the com­bi­na­tion of Bruce, Cole and Aleita, along with pro­duc­ers Su­san Ca­van and Caitlin Brown, was ir­re­sistible.”

The fact that CBC is launch­ing this series is a fur­ther sign the tra­di­tional broad­cast net­works are re­al­iz­ing that the in­ter­net isn’t just home for funny cat videos and weird po­lit­i­cal rants.

They get that in or­der to get those much-hunted eye­balls on their dig­i­tal con­tent, the con­tent bet­ter be good.

“I think now net­works are start­ing to re­al­ize that the in­ter­net is a great guar­an­teed au­di­ence as well. Peo­ple are re­ally go­ing to the in­ter­net for their con­tent,” said Aleita.

Now that This Blows is out are there plans for more episodes?

“I sure hope so,” said Aleita. “I’ve got lots of ideas.”

Any of those in­volve a fam­ily band? Aleita just laughed.

— DAVID LEYES FILES

Mu­si­cian Craig Northey is col­lab­o­rat­ing with his kids Aleita and Cole on the new CBC web series This Blows.

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