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TGIF – And We’re Back

pretty much #savemindyproject

Well, after a long hiatus, TGIF is back!

There were a few reasons for the hiatus, and some big news is on the horizon for TTRO. I won’t say too much yet (stay tuned for another post), but changes are coming. Over the past year or so my life has changed quite a bit. I’m spending more and more time building a biz as a freelance writer, social media consultant and now speaker(!), which means TTRO is due for a major overhaul so that it represents my life in its new, slightly more grown up form.

You’ll notice over the coming months that I will be posting somewhat different content from what you’ve come to expect at times, but don’t worry – the music itself will never completely go away. It remains a vital part of my daily existance.

On that note, Canadian Music Week is in full swing in Toronto, and I wrote about¬†Some Shows I Think You Should See at CMW¬†for Notable, if you’re curious about my picks. Get out there and see some live music!

Now, for the link love:



Ed The Sock Explains What Happened To Good Canadian Television

Ed The Sock CRTC

Remember the days of Kids In The Hall? The days when MuchMusic was your favourite thing on TV because they actually played music? And for my parents generation, maybe you even remember SCTV and the original Degrassi?

There was a time when Canadian TV was all about innovation, despite the tiny budget. No – because of the tiny budget. But that tiny budget also meant we could never compete with American broadcasters in primetime.

If you’ve been following the CRTC rulings lately, you’ll know some great things have been put into action – for example, them forcing the big name providers to offer a basic TV package for $25, and then allowing you to pick and choose the extra channels you want.

As a self professed TV nerd, I am all for this. Rogers and Bell have been ripping off cable users for a damn long time, and this kind of ruling was absolutely necessary.

But the ruling Ed the Sock is talking about is different. CRTC also passed a rule to loosen the daytime CanCon requirements for TV producers, and there will no longer be genre protection for specialty channels – meaning MuchMusic doesn’t have to play any music (though that stopped happening ages ago), and History Channel doesn’t have to show any history – as Ed puts it.

For the most part, I agree with what Ed is saying – equating money with innovation is always wrong. That’s exactly why I think the best art is always the first thing the artist releases, when they are poor and struggling and full of innovation and passion and desire. The first album, the first novel, the first film or TV show, that’s the stuff that sticks in the cannon throughout an artists life for a reason.

Having no budget means you have no choice but to be your most creative self.

On the other hand, I don’t think it’s wrong for the CRTC to want Canadian productions to be able to increase production values so that our industry can at least try to compete with what the American networks produce.

There’s a reason we watch more American television than Canadian, and it’s not because we don’t have the talent and skill to make shows as great as our Southern friends – it’s because the budgets up here are nothing compared to what they are down there.

Tons of American shows are shot and produced up here (Hannibal being my absolute favourite) – the difference between that show and the Canadian made shows we ignore on CBC is the budget – which trickles into the actors they can hire, the ability to have one consistent showrunner onboard from the pilot to the finale, the directors they can afford, the writers, the production design, the shooting locations, and so on and so on.

Maybe Canadians like keeping our TV in a specialized “Canadiana” stereotype world of Trailer Park Boys and Corner Gas, but if that were true, Canadians wouldn’t spend the majority of their TV time watching American and British produced shows.

That said, more money does not equal more innovation, but it does allow the innovators to translate the vision they have in their head into the one we see on the screen – rather than shooting a version they end up ashamed of because the budget didn’t leave any room for that vision to be realistically created.

Hear his thoughts below, and let me know what you think about the new changes.


Giveaway – See Lena Dunham at JFL42

Lena Dunham JFL42

By now you all definitely know I am obsessed with Lena Dunham – she is younger than me and she’s already achieved every dream I’ve ever had for my life. I adore her talent, her persistence, her self confidence, the hard work she put in to get where she is, and the way she is changing the worlds perception of what beauty is.

Her first book, a collection of essays titled Not That Kind Of Girl comes out September 30th, and to promote it she’s going on a book tour.

Her Toronto stop will coincide with the upcoming, highly recommended, hilarious comedy festival JFL42.

On September 20th at the Sony Centre she will be interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi, give a reading from the book, and open it up for what is likely to be a fascinating audience Q&A. I am BEYOND excited for this.

Lucky for you, if you want to be there too, you can enter to win one of five pairs of passes to see her courtesy of my friends at JFL42. Follow them on Twitter @JFL42 and find them on Facebook as well.

To win, you must be a subscriber to the weekly post recap newsletter. If you are already a subscriber, just leave a comment below using the email you used to subscribe, so I know you want your name thrown in the hat.

If you’re new, just enter your email into the form below and after you hit the confirmation email you will be entered.

Subscribe here to enter the giveaway:

If you want a bonus entry, Facebook fans can, as usual, like/comment or share my page’s status about this giveaway on Facebook.

Followers can retweet my tweet about this giveaway on Twitter.

And Insta¬†followers can like my photo on Instagram about this giveaway once it’s posted.

You have until September 16th at midnight to enter – winners will be contacted via the email they used to subscribe the next day.



James Maddock – Bad Night

song of the week!

I’ve recently (finally!)¬†started watching the brilliant FX show Louie, which happens to be written, directed by and starring one of my favourite people in the world, Louis CK. I marathoned season 1 and at the end of the final episode, this great song came on that I just had to share.

Apparently everyone was asking Louie what it was since the credits don’t list it and it doesn’t register on Shazaam, so he was kind enough to post it. Turns out Louie wrote the lyrics himself, and got local NYC musician James Maddock to perform it in the recording. It’s basically the perfect encapsulation of how it feels to have a really shitty night.

James Maddock has a beautiful raspy voice that allows for the requisite empathy the track requires.



Lena Dunham on the Lack of Female Show Runners


I thought my love for Lena couldn’t grow any stronger, but this entire conversation with Grantland’s Bill Simmons on The BS Report had me thinking up what it would actually take for me to meet her and become her best friend. If you are one of those people who think she is Hannah, please watch, and learn how smart and well spoken she really is.

It’s an hour long conversation, and I loved some of what she said so much that I wanted to write it out for my own sake, and figured it would also be a good thing to share.


Lena: It can’t be denied that there is, in most industries – with the exception of nursing and quilting and hair – a bias towards men.¬†But I also think – and this is the same thing I think about female directors – that a lot of the traits that are instilled in women from a ¬†young age like positivity, equanimity, making people feel good all the time – people think or are afraid that that is at odds with being a director or a show runner or a person who is in a position of authority. But the fact is – Jenni and I rule the Girls set with love – it’s run from an emotional, connected place – and it still happens. There is room for all kinds. There is no one personality type that has the skill to manage the goings on of a television show.

There’s also this really frustrating thing where networks kinda go – we already have our women’s show – i’m sure i’d be willing to bet that most networks that already have a show aimed towards women running say – we don’t necessarily have room for a couple more of those. Networks and studios still seem to be almost pathologically incapable of understanding that women make up 52% of the planet and, therefore, programming that has women at its center is not a fad or a trend, it’s a necessary part of media.¬†

People don’t always recognize that if a young woman is looking at the landscape of Hollywood – what they see are almost only challenges. And so they might say ‘That’s not where I wanna go – I wanna go where I feel like there’s a space for me.’¬†It’s a specific personality who goes ‘I see no room for me, and I’m going for it.’

That’s one of the things I like so much about Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In philosophy – the idea that women have to create space for other women and women who rise to a position of power can’t be complacent in trying to bring other women along with them.¬†It’s our responsibility to bolster each other and our responsibility to guide each other and mentor each other and be present for each other, because otherwise it can be such a crazy battle.”


The host also brought up something I STRONGLY believe to be true not just in great TV, but in anything creative – the more voices involved – the more the quality recedes – the act of trying to please and/or represent a larger group of people just waters everything down. The strongest voice usually stands alone, because it is one singular, highly defined POV – its point comes across clean without being tainted by the opinions of others. You can express a relatable emotion clearly when it’s coming from your own unique POV.

Here’s what they said:

Bill: It’s either one person or two people that make a show. One of the reasons network TV sucks, is, for the most part – it’s this by consensus committee of creativity instead of just saying – there’s Vince Gilligan, and we’re trusting him.

Lena: It’s a really amazing thing when networks can have the bravery to just like, put their faith in something. That’s one of the great skills of HBO, is just like, saying we’re gonna trust the vision even when it doesn’t totally make sense to us, and so even our failures will be noble failures cause we’re going down with the ship of an artist who has an idea.”

As soon as a bunch of others start pushing their idea into a specific artists POV – something concrete and powerful turns to mush (hence, most sitcoms/network shows are shitty but Breaking Bad and Girls fucking rule).

The biggest blogs are run by one person alone – Gala Darling, Nubby Twiglet, ¬†– collective blogs rarely achieve the same success because you aren’t really getting to know/connect with someone. It’s a bunch of people, so it rarely provides the intimate insight people crave when consuming. The best films are written, directed and either produced or starring the same person – Spike Jonze, Spike Lee, Woody Allen (eep), Tina Fey, Wes Anderson, etc etc. The more roles the artist can fill, the better the piece will be (most of the time, and only if they’re capable of and desiring to fill those various shoes). Musically, my favourite albums are the ones produced by the musician in their basement on a 4 track, alone (see Elliott Smith’s Roman Candle and Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska). Focused, clear, untainted work – a look inside the mind of that person or the character they created – with no one else getting in the way of the process and fucking it up.

The whole conversation is so great. I highly recommend watching it in its entirety, but you can also go right to the part where they discuss the above, at around 50 minutes in: