Tag Archives: TV production

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With the ever-increasing popularity of web-based TV series and entertainment content (watch out cable tv providers, you’re days are numbered!), I’ve been following several young producers/directors/writers who have answered the siren call to create online films and serials. One such multi-tasker is CALEB OLIVIERI (pictured below in red in full directorial action) whose first series, UNAPOLOGY, offers tales from this city (Toronto), focusing on a number of families, singles, couples and how they navigate thru life and, in one case, the impact of early onset Alzheimer’s. UnapologyPilot_Day3_20170409_30Under the umbrella of his Wait, What? production company, Caleb has produced quality programming for multi-generational viewers showcased via the YouTube platform, and the first 6 episodes will officially be launched on Monday Sept. 10th with a cast and crew celebratory soiree during the height of Toronto Int’l Film Fest activities. Hopefully, members of the world’s entertainment media will drop by for a quick schmooze and meet Caleb and his enthusiastic production team. You can learn more via the series Fcbk page: www.facebook.com/unapologyseries

I recently spoke with Caleb to learn how Unapology came into being…

Caleb, what was the inspiration for the theme/storylines for UNAPOLOGY?  The storyline(s) grew organically out of my own experiences … alternative living arrangement and employment situation. A close relative with early Alzheimer’s inspired me to write about the reality of living with the disease. From the lack of affordable housing to despicable and exploitative behaviours of some of my employers I didn’t have to dig deep to find the grist.

Being a young filmmaker, how difficult was it to raise funding, secure equipment and locations as well as attract good actors?  Finding good actors in Toronto is easy enough and I was lucky enough to have some good connections with friends and colleagues with equipment and basically “free” use of locations. Fundraising on the other hand has always been a grind.UnapologyPilot_Day3_20170409_53 UnapologyPilot_Day3_20170409_42With every film school grad pitching projects to major TV networks in Canada and the US, you created the series specifically for web-based content. Why/how did you decide on this route to take to make your presence known in the crowded TV production arena?  Originally it was written and produced as a pilot for a 22 min. series but I broke it down into 6 mini episodes for online use. With a web series I’m much less confined by edicts from networks which are often limiting when it comes to content and structure. A web based series lets the viewer make up their own mind as to what they want to watch and when … a quick episode on the subway ride home … a visit to the loo?IMG_8292 UnapologyPilot_Day3_20170409_28 UnapologyPilot_Day3_20170409_41As writer & director (as well as producer), how difficult was it to change “hats” throughout the shoot? Did Caleb the producer ever have to give notes (or argue with) Caleb the director?  Most of the time the writer and producer are at odds with one another because Caleb the producer can’t give Caleb the writer what he wants due to budget constraints. Caleb the director usually plays the middle man who tries to satisfy the needs of both the writer and producer without sacrificing the story or vision of the project.UnapologyPilot_Day3_20170409_24 UnapologyPilot_Day3_20170409_55Did you study writing or production at university or film school, and if so how did you find that experience?  I’ve worked in the industry for most of my life, mostly as an actor. I would have loved the opportunity to study writing for film and tv post secondary but the reality for most actors in Canada is you do a lot of pavement pounding, auditioning and co-ops and if you have to pay the rent, that leaves little time for school.

You have a special invitation-only party coming up during the Toronto Int’l Film Festival to officially launch the UNAPOLOGY online series – this must be exciting for you and your team. How important is it to attract international media & industry attention for your web-series and will you be promoting to online audiences outside of Canada?  We are stoked to be able to promote our series during the upcoming TIFF season but more so to be simply promoting it finally. Any attention at this point is good attention for my crew and my cast, and while local attention would be great, finding an international audience is absolutely the way to go in 2018 onward.

Any advice to give other writers or producers wanting to create for online entertainment platforms?  Be persistent, hold on to your vision and find your Fairy Web-Mother or Father…LOLUnapologyPilot_Day3_20170409_01

Check out Unapology’s YouTube promo videos here:

I strongly recommend watching this new series and thank you in advance for supporting emerging Canadian filmmakers and webTV producers. Congratulations to Caleb and his talented cast and crew.

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the taping of IN THE ROOM (above), a new actors’ round-table style chat show soon to be on television, produced by Jason Barbeck and Rafael Kalamat of RDG Entertainment Inc., a new Toronto-based film and TV production company.  I spoke with both partners, asking them about their inspirations for launching their company and Jason’s interview was published on my blog back in late February – here’s Rafael’s interview where he shared insightful comments about the Canadian TV-scape and his aspirations for RDG.

What first inspired you to become an actor?  My parents told me that as a child I was always impersonating other people. They supported me and my ambitions by enrolling me into acting classes at 8 years of age – I was already on stage and auditioning for theatre and film. I will never forget auditioning at the age of 10 for Roman Polanski’s “Pirates” in Montreal; at the time I had no idea it was a big deal, however, I will never forget the process and what I learned on that day…I use that experience 30 years later.

piratesWhat was your first paid acting job?  I did a number of travelling theatre performances from the ages of 14-17 when I attended the Thomas D’arcy McGee Centre for Fine Arts and Performing, where I studied theatre with Ted Cooney and Virginia McGrath. We studied and acted on stage and had our expenses paid – I guess that was the first time I was given money and thought to myself I could make a living. It was a tremendous learning experience being exposed to the arts and studying art, theatre, dance and music. Theatre being my major and moving on to Film and Communication studies at Dawson College.

When did you realize you could actually make a living as an actor & why? I never realized I could, to tell you the truth, but when I moved to Vancouver in 1994 and started working in film, television and commercials via a principal agent, things seemed limitless when you are 20+ years old! However, it was great seeing actors on set such as Christopher Walken on Excess Baggage and David Duchovny on X-Files…it certainly was where the original tag line of “Hollywood North” was introduced as it seemed that every week there was a Hollywood feature being shot there. It was a great time of growth for me as I made my way down to L.A. – only to have all my dreams crushed. From 2004-2006 I was in talk radio for CJAD on Montreal and finally moved to Toronto in 2006 to rekindle my career. (Rafael pictured below, between shooting scenes)

rafaelWhat prompted the move to found RDG Entertainment Inc. and what brought the two of you together? Over the last few years, Jason Barbeck and I have crossed paths many times in the film and television industry as actors, stand-ins, drivers. Actually the first time we ran into each other was on the set of Flashpoint when we were actors’ doubles working as driving specialists. Later, we found ourselves cast as constables on the award-winning Canadian drama Murdoch Mysteries. It seems Jason and I had a lot in common and we were tired of waiting for the phone to ring. We both had many industry connections and access to scripts, talent, producers, cinematographers, crew and mostly we had a common vision of building a production company from the ground up and being able to one day produce a feature. In less than one year, it looks like we will be shooting our first feature this summer, not to mention countless other projects which include our original Canadian television series called In The Room which features Canadian actors and film & television professionals in a roundtable conversation. These casual conversations were put together to showcase Canadian talent and help build and support the Canadian star system, educating while entertaining the viewers.

How do you see RDG impacting the Canadian film & tv scene?  I don’t think we’ll reinvent the wheel, however, we hope to create quality content and bring like-minded people together to develop projects that are not only Canadian but also have an impact on how film and television is seen. With today’s viewing market changing, there are so many multi-media platforms and we intend to use all of them. In addition, Canada and the United States are great markets for content distribution, but our mandate since our inception is how we can showcase our product to the whole world. The global market is a great place to show that Canadians make amazing stuff too!…and we are on our way.

IMG_20150201_214313What are your current/upcoming projects? Currently, we have an original round-table series called In The Room (recent tapings pictured below), we’re always working on the indie level helping everyone who has a script or a project to get off the ground. Our grass roots understanding of production has helped us develop several teams of production so we can help someone’s short movie come to life or can even produce someone’s demo reel. I think no matter how large our company gets, the core vision is to help kick-start indie projects, just as others in the film industry have helped us get started – it’s all about giving back. Our first feature, called Adam’s Testament, is slated for the summer of 2015, and we have several other projects in the works including an untitled Toronto television crime/drama series.

Roundtable guests 20150308_140111What are your dreams and aspirations for RDG’s future as well as your own? Our dream has always been to make features and being able to travel the film festival circuit. That being said, as a struggling artist for so many years, I am grateful and blessed to have the opportunity to pursue my dreams. I would love to leave a legacy for my wife and son and to me, family always comes first. Jason and I are both husbands and fathers first, yet everyone we work with becomes our extended family and treat them with the respect they deserve; as this industry is very difficult, we strive to keep a positive atmosphere and want people to be creative and be able to showcase their ability as artists and human beings through their work. (below…Jason & Rafael flank actor Philip Moran)

20150308_135656Are you looking for new actors, writers, directors and if so, how do people reach you? We love networking with like-minded people. I personally love reading scripts and trying to make connection with the right people if RDG can’t help. I came from the mindset of always searching for work as an artist, and now that my cup is overflowing, I find that paying it forward is very gratifying.  (Below, Rafael and RDG biz partner Jason storm the beaches of LA and dine at famed Yamashiro’s in the Hills)

IMG_20150202_110415 Yamashiro's LA

Over the past 25 years, Rafael has worked in all areas of the film and television industry – as an actor, stand-in, photo double, background, stunts, special skills performer, voice, transport driver, locations, writer, producer, director, casting, wrangler, wardrobe, etc.  Focusing now on producing, writing and acting, the future offers more directions and his life and business experience has allowed him to find an exciting niche in the film and television scene.

You can follow Rafael and Jason’s upcoming production news via their website: http://reeldealguys.com/