Hey Firecrackers! First of all, I want to talk about our ‘Spark of the Month’ question. At the beginning of every month, during our Facebook and Instagram Live we’re going to ask a question that we want all of you to answer! This month, we’re asking “If neither success nor failure were an option, what is something you would pursue?” Tell us your answers on social media or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org! Next up, I’ve been knee deep in writing lately. Both Matt and I have been working out of our place here in sunny Los Angeles and even though the office is lovely, our craft services is seriously lacking. Haha! All kidding aside, writing can be tricky, and there are definitely times when I get angry, or upset, because I’m doubtful or stuck. But you know what, I push on, and I turn to Matt for support, and when I finally get over those hurdles, the feeling of accomplishment and happiness is amazing. Firecrackers, if you ever find yourselves in these situations, keep putting your mind to it, to you will overcome these obstacles and you will succeed. Speaking of firecrackers who put their minds to it, this week we have Karen Bruce as our guest! Karen is the Director, Membership & Fan Engagement for the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and was previously the Director of Canadian Initiatives at the Toronto International Film Festival. Karen has done so much for the Canadian industry and through her work at the Academy, has been connecting talent with their fans. Karen is always so inspiring, with her energy and endless talents, I’m truly in awe of her. Give this one a listen and enjoy, Firecrackers!
Hey Firecrackers! I hope you’re all doing well! What have you all been up too? This week I’m starting out by talking a bit about comedy. Now, I (obviously) love comedy and recently we went to see some stand up at the Hollywood Improv with our new friends Mark and Carla, and the line up was crazy! We got to see some incredible comedians, dare I say comedy legends, like Margaret Cho, Bobby Lee, Kevin Nealon, and Tom Arnold. What I really noticed was the calmness that each of these performers had on stage. For me, stand up makes me a bit sweaty, it’s not an easy thing to do. Improv is definitely more my style, Tina Fey once said “when you have a joke in improv, it’s a joke everyone shares on stage” but when you have a joke in stand up, its all on you. However the same goes for bombing on stage, in improv its a shared feeling of “well, that wasn’t great”, but with stand up, that pressure it totally on you. So, they’re definitely two different beasts, and I’m totally in awe of the calm, laid back energy these folks had! Next up, my guest this week is the incredible Joanne Boland! We first met on the show ‘Train 48’ which was an improv based, news oriented, daily TV show. Our mornings were super early, but we had such a good time on this set and of course, became great friends. You may also know Joanne from her roles on ‘Carter’, ‘Strange Empire’, or ‘Being Erica' or maybe films like ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ or ‘Saw IV’. Wherever it may be from, you know she’s one talented gal. Have a listen firecrackers and enjoy!
Hey firecrackers! What an amazing time we’re living in. Every time I hop onto social media, (which lets face it, is where I get my news), I’m seeing all of the courageous and powerful stories from these incredible women coming forward about their experiences. Their bravery is so inspiring and I just want to say it again, to all of these women, you are supported and keep speaking your truth! Keep speaking up and lets keep moving toward a better future! Next up, our guest this week is Kathleen Phillips, man this firecracker is truly a jacqueline of all trades! She’s been on ’Sunnyside’, ‘Mr. D’, and ‘Filth City’ amongst much, much more. I’ve always admired her and am thankful I get to call her a friend. Enjoy, firecrackers!
It’s been a big week for the Toronto theatre community. For those of you that don’t know, Albert Schultz, who was the AD at one of the countries largest theatre companies, Soulpepper, was accused of sexual harassment in the theatre. Four amazingly bold, brave women; Diana Bentley, Patricia Fagan, Kristin Booth, and Hannah Miller came forward with their stories. It’s been an intense, heart breaking time and I have searched with what to say about the whole thing.
I decided to leave this note for the Firecracker Department members and not to have a guest this week. Instead, I want to make YOU my guest. Get YOUR voice out there. Send me your emails, voice files, tweets with what advice you would give your younger self, If you want to leave your name and where you’re from you can, but you don’t have to! email@example.com.
I know your words will ring so loud with our community that our hearts will get stirred into action.
Hey firecrackers! Where in the world are YOU!? Are you also in a freezing cold climate like I am? ‘Cause it’s pretty chilly up here in Toronto and I’m doing whatever I can to stay warm until I’m back in LA! Let me know what you do to stay warm over social media! Speaking of cold climates (yes, we’re using this as a transition, haha!) here’s the second episode from my trip to New York City! I sat down with Irene Sankoff, who has been doing incredible things in the world of theatre for quite some time now. She was one of the originators of “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding” which was a huge hit in Fringe and in the Mirvish theatres in Toronto. Now, the play she co-creater with her husband David, “Come From Away” is on Broadway! I’ve known Irene for some time now, through the Second City community and what not, but getting to sit down with her for this interview and talk all about her journey was more than a treat. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did, firecrackers!
Hey firecrackers! First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been writing, tweeting, or commenting on our posts talking about the show and about the guests that have inspired you! We’re so happy that you are connecting with this podcast, our team works very hard to bring it to life and it means the world to us that you’re tuning in! Next up, we have Astrid Van Wieren from the Broadway musical “Come From Away”! I travelled to New York for this one and I want to talk about the idea of getting lost in a new city. While I was down there, I carved out some time and just hit the town and explored. It got me thinking a lot about those who move to a new city, or even a new country. So, I’m curious, for those of you whom have relocated in your life, how did you adjust to the new environment? How did you go about rebuilding your community? I’d love to keep this conversation up, please e-mail, tweet, or comment and tell me your stories! Anyway, this trip to NYC was amazing, I got to catch the show and then sit down with not only Astrid, but the creator, Irene Sankoff (whose episode will be next!). Astrid is incredible, we talked all about her life, career, and this incredible musical, if you can get down to NYC, I definitely recommend you go see “Come From Away”! Enjoy this one, firecrackers!
Hey firecrackers! We’re back after a bit of hiatus and we missed you guys! But believe me, a lot has been going on, both in my personal life and in general. So, I wanted to touch on what’s happening right now in our industry, and as much as I want to stay totally positive, I think its important to talk about the #metoo campaign. When this all started, I found myself thinking back on my experiences and how I brushed off a lot of inappropriate behaviour by saying “oh, they’re just creepy”. This is the common way to deal with it amongst a lot of women. We diminish our experiences because its not even close to what other women, even close friends of mine, experience. So, how do we help in this situation? How do we ensure we will continue moving forward? I don’t know the answer to these questions yet, but its on my mind and I think its more important than ever that both women and men support those who have come forward and continue to lift each other up! Firecrackers, lets keep these conversations going! Talk to me on social media, or even e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we want to hear from you! Anyway, on a lighter note, my guest this week is the incredible Natasha Negovanlis! You may know her from her digital series ‘Carmilla’, which was just adapted into a feature film, ‘The Carmilla Movie’, or perhaps from her roles in ‘Almost Adults’ or ‘Murdoch Mysteries’. Whatever the case, if you’ve seen her act, you know she’s one hell of a firecracker! We had a great chat about her journey so far in the industry, her family, and so much more. Enjoy!
Hey firecrackers! I’m coming at you from Toronto this week where we’re in the middle of the Toronto International Film Festival. This time of year is always crazy and exhausting but most definitely exciting! My highlight so far this year was being a part of a charity event for Rainbow Camp with Colin Mochrie, Deb McGrath, and their daughter, Kinley. Rainbow Camp is a one-week camp for LGBTQ2+ and their families, its a safe place for them to go, be a part of this community, and most importantly, have fun! Man, what an amazing event to be a part of. I’m going to post a link below to their website, please check them out, donate if you can, help spread the word, and get inspired by the incredible things this organization is doing! Okay, so next we have Emma Hunter as our guest and I freaking love this woman. Her and I have been on ‘Mr. D’ together for a while now, but you also may know her from ‘The Beaverton’, ‘Royal Canadian Air Farce’, or even ‘Spun Out’. You also need to check out her video from ‘Just For Laughs’, which I’ve posted below! We talked about pretty much everything, but those topics include her family, what’s happening in her world, and so much more. Enjoy this one firecrackers and get inspired!
Hey firecrackers! This week I found myself confined to my hotel room in Halifax and the more time I spent in there, I realized how easily hotels can make you feel shut in. So, I decided to get out there and do something creative, something away from the computer, something outdoors! I went out, got some paints, a canvas, and taught myself to paint. I’m definitely no artist, haha, but it helped with the mundanity of hotel living! And I want to know, what is it you guys do to get yourselves out of rut? To feel inspired and creative? Let me know on social media! Our guest this week is the kick-ass, hilarious, Melanie Scrofano! She’s blowing up our television screens right now as the lead on ‘Wynona Earp’, but you may also remember her from ‘Designated Survivor’ ‘The Listener’ or ‘Being Erica’. We recorded this episode a little while ago, while it was still hush-hush that she had a baby, so when she showed up with her little guy, it was an incredible surprise! We talked all about her family, her path as an actress, creativity and learning to do new things, and so much more. I think you guys are going to be inspired by this vibrant firecracker. Enjoy!
Hey firecrackers! I’m coming at you from Halifax this week where I’m shooting ‘Mr. D’ and I want to give a huge shout out to our crew for the show! Our transport department, who gets me where I need to be, because lets face it, I don’t know where I’m going without them, our hair and make up team, our camera team, our production team, our writers and directors…there’s just too many to list but all of them are truly incredible! Next, our guest this week is Camryn Manheim! This woman is probably the definition of inspiration. You might know her from her golden-globe winning role on ‘The Patrice’ or as Delia Banks on ‘Ghost Whisperer’, or maybe from her kick-ass performances on ‘Person of Interest’ or ‘Major Crimes’. Her resume is a mile long and every time she graces the screen, she knocks it out of the park! We had an amazing chat and really dove into it, so give it a listen, enjoy, and get inspired!
Hey firecrackers! We’re back after a small hiatus and I have plenty to catch you up on! In this weeks episode I’m telling you all about an incident I had with a gentlemen whose car I accidentally backed into. He was quite angry with me but I was able to diffuse the situation with snacks and a hug, which I have to say might be the answer to all of life's problems, haha! It occurred on my father’s eightieth birthday and I’m telling you all about my parents and how they’ve influenced and made me into the person I am today. Next, we have Annie Bradley as our guest. This firecracker has been doing some incredible work behind the camera and she was such a joy to talk too. In fact, we talked for almost two hours! She’s hard at work on her next film, ‘Blowback’, and we just got right into all of it. Have a listen and enjoy!
Hey firecrackers! I’m back in Halifax shooting the next season of ‘Mr. D’ and I want to give a huge shout out to my amazing cast and crew out here! If you haven’t been to the east coast, you should get out here, it’s absolutely beautiful. Our guest this week is Rachel Wilson, an incredibly talented actress from shows such as ‘Republic of Doyle’, 'Total Drama’, and (throwback) ‘Breaker High’. Most recently she starred in the film ‘First Round Down’ which is available now in Canada on iTunes and On Demand. It will be available in the US, August 1st on iTunes and On Demand, so check it out! We talked for hours about how to balance our personal lives and career, all the amazing projects she’s been apart of, and she truly is a firecracker! Enjoy!
Quiet on set, mosquitos! Hey Firecrackers, I’m up north in the Kawartha’s Lakes area this week and feeling inspired by my environment. Yet, I’m also thinking about what’s happening in the city since The Toronto Fringe Festival is currently on. Firecrackers, if you are in Toronto, I recommend getting out there and seeing a show. There’s nothing like live theatre and as you all know, I love it! I’ll post a link to the festival on our website, as I mention in my intro, I recommend seeing ’13 Ways The World Ends’ and ‘Hands Down’ but give it a peek and go see whatever you think you’ll find inspiring. Next, we have Gail Harvey as our guest this week! Gail’s career has been behind the camera, as a director. Her resume is a mile long those credits include ‘Lost Girl’, 'Heartland', and ‘Murdoch Mystery’s’. I got to sit down with her just before she left to shoot her next film, ‘Never Saw It Coming’, which is adapted from the novel of the same name by Linwood Barclay. We chatted about her work, her family, and much more. Enjoy!
Happy birthday Canada! This weekend we celebrated our countries 150th and many Canadians, including myself, escaped the city and spent some time with our beautiful landscapes. I spent my time by the lake and I have to say, there’s nothing like watching a lake in the those early hours of the morning, it’s really a sight to see. What did you guys do for your long weekend? Let me know on social media! Next, we have our guest, Inga Cadranel. You guys may know her from her roles on ‘Lost Girl’, or ‘Orphan Black’ and I’ve know her since we were young. We’re talking about those crazy years teenage years and the amazing career she embarked on thereafter. Enjoy!
Hey firecrackers! As we gear up for Canada Day, our big 150, I want to know what kind of music you’re listening to? Which Canadian musicians really resinate with you? Let me know on social media! Next, we have our guest, Tracy Dawson, who you might remember from ‘Call Me Fitz’ or ‘The Gavin Crawford Show’. Well, Tracy just sold her first sitcom to TBS and has another one in the works with another firecracker, Megan Mullally! Woot! We’re so excited for Tracy here at the department and so glad we got to dive into it all with her. Have a listen and enjoy!
This week at the department, we have an exciting giveaway for passes to the advance screening of ‘The House’! Listen to the podcast and head to the “contest” tab on our website to find out how to enter! Next we have Carla Gallo as our guest! Her and I met through her husband, Mark, and you may know her from ‘Bones’, ‘Undeclared’, or ‘Carnivale’. We talked about motherhood, writing for film and television, and taking risks. She’s hilarious, smart, and super talented. Enjoy!
This week we’re starting off talking about that one magical person in your life, the person who’s always believed in you. For me, that was my Aunty Marie, always trusting me to take on these small but important tasks, which made me think “oh ya, I can do this”. This kind of respect definitely helped shape my personality and my confidence. Our guest this week is the lovely Marypat Farrell! We’re both Second City Toronto alumni and her acting credits include 'The Gavin Crawford Show’, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and ‘Anger Management’. We’re talking about the importance of happiness and pursuing everything you can in your career. She’s inspiring, hilarious, and an all around firecracker. Enjoy!
Laura Hall is one talented musician, one of the (many) things that makes her unique is her incredible influence on the comedy world. From being a pianist for 'The Second City’ to the band leader on ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ her music has accompanied some of the most iconic comedic shows. You’d think this meant she came from a musically driven house hold, but that’s not the case. As Laura mentions in this episode, she thinks her father is tone deaf and she begged and begged for piano lessons. Well, that sure did pay off! You guys need to check out her band ‘The Sweet Potatoes’ and listen to this Firecracker light up the stage!
Colleen Murray Peyton studied improv and sketch comedy at the infamous Second City in Chicago, from there she went on to do a variety of shows on the stage. While building her career, Colleen also dealt with the death of her mother, a topic that we dove into. Even though this was devastating, she went on to create and star in the comedic music video, “Shark Week: Attack of the Menses” and the comedic pilot “Darcy and Tess”. As she says, "even in death, there’s moments of joy and things are really funny - people do really weird shit”. I think you guys will take a lot from listening to this one, enjoy!
During this interview, Jenn recounts that at a young age she would listen to her father call into a radio station and do comedy bits for a morning show - according to her, he did a pretty bang-on impression of Queen Elizabeth! This was Jennifer Robertson’s “norm” growing up and probably one of the (many) reasons I think she’s absolutely hilarious, and without a doubt, a comedy queen. We really dove into the beginning of it all, from her time on The Sean Cullen Show, to her struggling with her role on the Republican dominated This 1/2 Hour News Hour, right up to her current role as Jocelyn Schitt on CBC’s Schitt’s Creek. This Firecracker really knows how to light up the screen. Enjoy!