The Insider: If You Want to Make Real Movies, Avoid Real Sets
We do things a bit differently here in Canada, eh.
My co-producer, Cameron Tremblay, and I graduated in the same film school class. He went to work in the locations department on big fancy American productions like Fringe, while I went to work in the sound department, taking whatever jobs I could get—usually unpaid, but sometimes they gave me fifty bucks and bought me a case of beer. And that was fine—you can’t expect to get decent paid work in the sound department straight out of school.
I didn’t make a dollar for the first feature I did, an indie called Two Married People, but it didn’t matter because it was fun. We all pissed ourselves laughing half of the time, and that’s where I first saw Shane Twerdun act (before that I thought he was just a TA like me at the acting school where I was working part-time, filming student projects). We would shoot for a few hours and then fuck off to a bar for a couple of hours and then we’d keep shooting. That was the year the Canucks almost won the Cup, but they fucked it up.
Then I worked with Shane again on another feature called Hastings Street—unpaid. Everyone was on that set because we were all buds with the producers, and it was fun and they fed us lunch and dinner, all homemade by someone on the crew who worked as a chef in the evenings, so that was pretty alright. I made a bet that the Leafs would make the playoffs but they hardly even got eighty points that year, so I actually lost money on that show.
Then I met Nick Humphries at an acting improv shoot up in North Van. He asked me that same day if I wanted to operate the boom for a feature he was set to direct: two weeks in the boonies working fourteen-hour days with no days off and no pay.
But it was a horror movie so I couldn’t say yes fast enough.