Turn­ing ideas into shows

Katy Hard­ing on bend­ing con­cepts into re­al­ity on the small screen

Village Post - - Life - by Jes­sica Padykula

Toronto tele­vi­sion pro­ducer Katy Hard­ing started dab­bling in film at an early age, pro­duc­ing her first short film at age eight — a film noir mur­der mys­tery star­ring her 30-pound cat.

That film led to a ca­reer in tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion where Hard­ing cre­ates con­cepts, writes scripts, casts, di­rects and pro­duces shows on chan­nels such as MTV, Dis­cov­ery, Food and more.

“I was a cre­ative sto­ry­teller be­fore I even re­al­ized what I was do­ing. Even as a kid it just came nat­u­rally and was some­thing that made me re­ally happy, and I had to do it,” she ex­plains. “As soon as I could write and draw, I was scrib­bling down sto­ries and scripts and cre­at­ing crazy new char­ac­ters.”

Aside from an early in­ter­est in sto­ry­telling, Hard­ing cites the arts pro­grams at Bishop Stra­chan School (BSS) as be­ing in­flu­en­tial to her cur­rent ca­reer path. In par­tic­u­lar she re­mem­bers Angie Sil­ver­stein, who was head of the drama de­part­ment and de­vel­oped the first film pro­gram at the school.

“She [Sil­ver­stein] shaped my love of theatre and film to this day,” Hard­ing says.

After BSS, she at­tended NYU Tisch School of the Arts to pur­sue a ca­reer in film and TV, in­tern­ing a lot while in univer­sity at places such as MTV, Flare and OK

Mag­a­zine, to learn as much as pos­si­ble and get a jump-start once she en­tered the work force. From there, things re­ally started com­ing to­gether.

“I was lucky enough to work at a few in­de­pen­dent Toronto pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies that re­ally let me take the reins on some pretty big projects,” she says.

Hard­ing has since de­vel­oped shows, doc­u­men­taries and branded con­tent for U.S. and Cana­dian chan­nels like Bravo’s Apres Ski, HGTV’s The Ex­pand­ables,

His­tory’s Power & Ice, E!’s Hol­ly­wood Cy­cle and many oth­ers. “It’s truly an ex­cit­ing job and ev­ery day is com­pletely dif­fer­ent. In one day you might be cast­ing chefs for a cook­ing se­ries, plan­ning a shoot with a race car driver and in­ter­view­ing a de­tec­tive on a cold case. It re­ally keeps you on your toes,” she says. “There is so much in­volved in tak­ing a show from ideation to the screen, but the adren­a­line starts pump­ing when you’ve got your script in hand and the cam­eras are fi­nally rolling.”

Al­though there are many dif­fer­ent types of pro­duc­ers who are all equally im­por­tant in a project, Hard­ing’s role is as a cre­ative pro­ducer, which she de­scribes as a hy­brid of di­rect­ing, pro­duc­ing and ideation.

“I’m writ­ing scripts, man­ag­ing tal­ent, con­duct­ing in­ter­views, set­ting up shots, li­ais­ing with the net­work and story edit­ing,” she says.

When she’s not work­ing, Hard­ing re­mains hap­pi­est when she’s be­ing cre­ative, some­thing she also does in her down­time, which in­cludes writ­ing and il­lus­trat­ing a line of hu­mor­ous holiday cards called Barn­yard Cards.

“The adren­a­line starts pump­ing when you’ve got your script.”

Hard­ing has pro­duced shows for HGTV, Bravo, E! and more

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