Today marks the mid-point of the Banff TV Festival...about to head into another day of meetings, panels and seminars. It's definitely more subdued this year, lots of smiles and hugs tempered by a definite undercurrent of doom and gloom as pretty much everyone who buys or orders or commissions seems to be in some sort of spending-freeze mode. And it feels like attendance is down....by how much I have no idea. But driving down Main St. and seeing the 'Vacancy' sign lit up out front of almost every hotel pretty much tells the tale.
And been slow on the updates as my shiny new computer I purchased about a year ago (note: 1 year warranty) with its fancy shmancy 3 hour long lasting battery has crapped out over the past week and dropped down to giving me about half an hour of battery life. Grr.
Took in several sessions yesterday, including the talented two-some of Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern joining CBS Development Exec Christina Davis to discuss the birth of Flashpoint; reps from Starz and HBO and CBS with Shaftsbury Films uber-producer Christina Jennings examining the recent success of Canadian-made shows making their way onto the U.S. prime time schedule; John Morayniss relating in a very entertaining and informative fashion the business of running the business of new 'big man on Canadian campus' E1 Entertainment. Oh, and yet another Digital Futures/New Media panel that made me want to pull my hair out.
As in, I'm so tired of attending these sessions and hearing that the digital online revolution is upon us and TV is dead, etc. etc...and we've got to integrate and cross platform and all kinds of other buzz words... then they predict monetization will be some sort of an online subscriber model...and then the example given is 'The Simpsons', and that in the future we will be financing programs and series like The Simpsons by subscribing to the actual show or a company that specializes in it and other like shows...but then NO ONE brings up or even talks about how these 'subscribers', or anyone for that matter, will ever hear about or know about or grow to like/love/want to pay for the 'new' The Simpsons if there is no television out there to introduce it to viewers and spread the love. The supposed far-reaching power of media critic reviews and viral videos is not gonna do it kids....seriously, frak!
Anyway, the Epstein has been hustling, like seriously hustling...the man doesn't stop. And great to see colleagues John Callaghan, Will Pascoe, Gordon Langlois, Rob De Lint, Josh Miller, Tobi Lampard, Michael Snook...plus some of the former students I've taught as well as a lot of the Ink Canadians...the CTF's Valerie Creighton and the WGC's Maureen Parker and Rebecca Schechter, and of course CanWest Showrunner School attendees Eriksen and the McGrath. Dude, YOU were inside the St. James Gate last night? (note to those wondering: someone laid a big projectile puke all over the entrance to the Gate late last evening...some were brave enough to make the leap and enter, I was not).
But whilst outside still got to reacquaint with Vancouver producer Cal Schumiatcher, see Steven DeNure again and meet the lovely Beth Stevenson, both from Decode Entertainment. And tip of the hat to Kevin Beggs and co. from Lionsgate and Maple Pictures for putting on a swell party at the Hoodoo Lounge last night.
Minor celeb sightings.
Sarah McLachlan is a serious stunner. Paul Gross is also a stunner, but was sporting some wild-ass hair-extension thingee for a role in the feature Gunless he is currently filming.
I wish I had a picture of him walking the corridors here with that 'do' and not in period wardrobe...quite the sight.
More random quotes:
"I got my skirt caught in a bathroom fan."
"It's still worth attending Banff...I think."
"The new model for branding and delivery will resemble the retail model."
Meanwhile, Jim Henshaw has been quietly suggesting ways to help rebuild homegrown Canadian TV, HERE and HERE and then HERE. Go read him now.
And to commemorate 20 years of Banff...as in it was 1989 was when I first attended festival, here's a production still from Brian Stockton's The 24 Store of that same year when I portrayed the sleazy roommate in one of my few (very few, thankfully) attempts at acting.
And so it goes.