Oh dear. I have a lot of writing to do. I didn’t have a lot of time for writing during the Banff World Television Festival, and then I was on the slow road back home, with stops in Calgary and Kelowna. And now I’m home with a pile of notes and full recorder, waiting for me to write it all up.
I’m not entirely inspired, since so much of the issues-based and future-excited talk I usually find intriguing was the same old, same old, but there were some good sessions to write up, and a mammoth interview with actor Peter Keleghan on the state of Canadian television. I loved the screening of Call Me Fitz – the first stirrings of excitement I’ve had in a while after seeing a Canadian show – and star Jason Priestley and writer Sheri Elwood had some interesting things to say.
Despite my bad first day – actually, in a weird way, partly because of it – I had a fun time at the festival, also despite my usual awkwardly shy deer-in-the-headlights feelings. I met some great people I’ve “known” for years, but have never actually met, people like Jaime Weinman of Maclean’s magazine (left), Adam Barken of Rookie Blue and Flashpoint (taking picture), Barb Haynes of The Latest Buzz, Winnepeg producer Polly Washburn, the WGC’s Kelly Lynne Ashton, not to mention some I’d met before (Jill Golick, Alex Epstein – right) and others who “knew” me through TV, eh?
After I wrote that bad day post, I got a lot of “are you having a better day today?” sympathizing and indignation over the fact that the PR firm of a Canadian-based television festival wasn’t accommodating to the only such site dedicated to Canadian television. The support and gratitude from the Canadian television industry is what makes TV, eh? worthwhile to me, so not surprisingly it’s what made the Banff festival worthwhile.
I started TV, eh? five years ago, and in places like Banff I get asked how it all started. It’s a long, boring story that has no real hook. I wasn’t passionate about Canadian television. In fact, I hadn’t heard of most shows on the air. I went to the festival that first year to cover Paul Haggis, David Shore, and the rest for Blogcritics, and left furious at a panel on Canadian television where executives talked about how to make it better. Their answer? Make it appeal to foreign markets. Meanwhile, they couldn’t get Canadians to sample their shows because we didn’t even know they existed.
I still am not passionate about most Canadian shows. Most are, to borrow a phrase, shit. So are most American shows. And British shows. And New Zealand shows. And … you get the picture. But now I have the opportunity to find the gems while giving other people the same opportunity, and to feel like I’m doing something meaningful because of the Canadian TV community that has welcomed me into their fold.
This was supposed to be a post about the last two days of the festival, so let me wrap up by saying I’ll be writing about sessions by Ricky Gervais (The Office, Extras), Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory), Ian Brennan (Glee), E1 Entertainment (Rookie Blue, Shattered, Haven), the Call Me Fitz screening, and the Peter Keleghan interview, touching on the issues raised by the Home Grown Talent panel. I hope to be inspired to write some articles with themes that span multiple sessions. And if not, I still have a lot of writing to do. Gulp.