48 Hour Film Fest TO Fantasy Flick

Just For Laughs Solo Shows - TV Taping

Comedy and I go way back, even further than the hospitality / crafts industry. I recall as a kid watching old comics like Bob Hope, Abbott & Costello, and Lucille Ball with my mom and of course kids shows including - dare I say it - Fat Albert with Cosby doing the voices. But it was George Carlin who first drew my attention to stand-up, with his record that contained the 10 words you couldn't use on television. Too young to partake, it was invigorating when I did.

How dare someone say these things? But when they were funny it was alright to say them. Laughing was like therapy, and by extension, becoming a "class clown" on occasion, a signature even today, my original online content and TPE internet shows often using comedy to deliver the message.

Make People Happy

Now, despite all the movies, tv sitcoms and online opportunities these days for content, it's often hard to find fresh, daring material, particularly with the sensitive nature of today's society, so it's nice when we discover gems that do the genre justice such as the Just For Laughs folks, also infamous due the the growing spotlight on the 4 years young JFLs Festival #JFLF42 which sports the tagline of  simply"Make People Happy".

Toronto Just For Laughs Festival Sept 21 - 30 - 2017

Passes and Tickets available here #JFLF42 

In addition 42 different acts performing in the 2017 JFL Festival there are also headliners like Bill Burr, John Mulaney, Tom Segura, Mike Birbiglia, My Favorite Murder, Tim & Eric and Ali Wong for who they've had to add another night at the Sony Performance Centre due to 3 sold out shows, so you'd need act fast to in on that.

Just For Laughs I'd say cut its teeth and got it's branding power by presenting live stand-up comedy on tv though, reminiscent of that forgotten raw era of simply a comedian and a microphone for the most part, with JFL showcasing the funniest bits, while also engaging some of the talent, to infuse quippy, back-stage banter-like exchanges reminiscent of a style I myself once used on Out & About when interviewing comedians like Derek Edwards, Mike Bullard, Heidi Foss and Christopher Hawes backstage before going on. It's also re-mindful of comedy workshops with the seasoned pro's I'd attended years ago and participating in the then Canada's Funniest New Comic - losing to Jeremy Hotz as I recall at the time - before Just For Laughs was born! Ha. memory lane...

I Knew Her When...!

However as good as the Just For Laughs forum has been for showcasing new and established talent, what viewers may not know is that the television versions have to be edited for time logistics reasons and very possibly sometimes, because the material is to risque for tv, and often the very gem performance clips you don't want to miss!

See a JFL Live Taping in Toronto! Book Tickets 

Ever wanted to be part of a comedy show audience?

Best kept JFJ Secret - Just For laughs Solo Show TV Specials are taping with a live audience in Toronto, Monday, Sept 25, 26, at the 1871 Berkeley Church, located at 315 Queen St East, featuring some of the hottest comedians - upcoming and seasoned - including...(I could tell you who, but I would have to kill you. Lol)...and is sure to be memorable for anyone attending live!

Doors open to the audience at 7:30 pm Monday Sept 25 and 7:00 pm Tuesday Sept 26th 2017.

Check JFL42 to book for a live taping of the Just For Laughs Solo Shows 

You can Follow TPE on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram 

TPE Summer Live Entertainment Highlights

Well September finally came it seems, but, alas, summer was a mixed bag this year from a live entertainment and band events stand point with some notables having to be cancelled due to extreme weather. Fortunately, enough of a summer emerged to host an array of outdoor activities in and around the G.T.A. and Ontario and if you looked hard enough, you could also find some great talent.

For me I'd been hoping to see some of the old time / town faves before they / we get to old to appreciate or play anymore. Talent like Montreal born David Wilcox, always a favorite of mine, but who I hadn't seen play live in Eons. Yes that's correct Eons.

At any rate, I caught D.W., Harlequin, Glenn Marais among some over the summer, so here's a sampling of what TPE didn't miss in the summer of 2017.

Catch more TPE highlights on FB and tpeproductions.com 

Thursday Nights Joe Delima hosts a rock jam at Scarborough Ontario's The Birchmount Bar & Grill

David Wilcox rockin in Aurora, Ontario

Harlequin hits the stage in Aurora, Ontario 

Glenn Marrais Band hits stage at Newmarket Music Festival

Bonnie & Clyde Craft Services Cater Stolen Palates

When a P.A. job that was craft service heavy uncovered a talent for fresher snacks and baked goods, on-set actor, Tom Pearson, took notice, and reacting to the obvious positive responses to the array of prepared foods that were made being received while witnessing on hands the difference it made in moral to cast and crew, who are often served up uninspired dished fraught with mediocrity, he decided to team up with said food wizzardess ( Shelley Nadeau)  and formed Bonnie & Clyde Craft Services and Catering. TP, having spent years in hospitality and catering and who pens Tom's Top 10 lists among other industry related media he produces, thought it a great idea to take that home-style food and cater to the film industry only, knowing how they work and that small nuances that go with that like...."Quiet on the set!

Bonnie's famous deelish Butter Chicken
Although flavour and heartiness are # 1 to cover for Bonnie & Clyde, they are also keenly aware of the need for healthier dishes and sides, and so you can always expect a rounded out " square meal" with some healthy attachments.

B&C prefers to prepare at their own choice from their selection, basing choices to keep it varied and adjusting on the fly to meet expectations to give the best service and freshest offerings. This method not only saves the client time from deciding which sides on which day and allows the pros to add what they believe goes with each dish and with a variety to please both health conscious and taste/ hearty conscious cast and crew members. Just like you trust the Director in their job to capture the right shot, B&C too asks you trust they will too. The method saves costs and allows for freshest fair and a better value to the customer.
roasted beet salad

The bottom line is people like the food and its delivered and kept hot or cold until consumed, a service B&C prides themselves in.

We want to give the best service possible and know that productions don't need any more noise or distractions. By delivering on that with great tasting hearty food, Bonnie & Clyde is stealing palates!

Call or Text @ 289-221-0928 - 1st Time Bookings Receive $2 Off Per Head!

Customer choices;
Mmmm mamas Pulled pork

Standard Menu Mix Our choice   @ $17 head - 
                                  Your Choice  @ $19 head
Standard +                                      @ $23

Star Standard                                 @ $35 head

On the Healhier Side                     @ $23 head

Wrap -Party Bash  - Standard Wrap Bash - $35 - includes entertainment or DJ
                              - Total Wrap Party - $50 head includes entertainment / DJ / Servers/ food

Note: All menus offer vegan/vegetarian options for individuals. Should an individual have 2 or more food type conditions, they are charged the Star Standard rate in its place.

1st Time booking Receive $2 Off Per Person

See Menu and more on FaceBook!

Hey Mac & Cheese

OMG for Gelato @ G For Gelato Toronto

I'm not sure Ben & Jerry's ice cream started out with the philosophy that G For Gelato's restaurant owner Shant Behesnilian has but it's his and he's sticking to it. And what philosophy is that you ask? Well Shant follows the three 1's. He must be first in freshness / quality, service, and price and feels if he does that he can't lose. Whassup G!?

" It's a very competitive market for gelato in Toronto", Behesnilian says.

He won't buy a cheaper chocolate for example, and it must be imported from Belgium.

"Being number one in those categories give me the edge on competitors."

And in a 4 short years, Shant's philosophy seems to be paying off at his 75 Jarvis St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada location getting such a reputation for the best gelato around that he's sought out to supply top end restaurants and through packaging is now delivering the fresh product too. Demand has been such he's had to lease more space to make more gelato to keep up. He knows they can't rest on their laurels, but the proof ,as they say, is in the pudding... and, in this case, a cold, creamy one.

Great spot across street to enjoy a walk or sit and enjoy gelato! 

And judging by the ongoing foot traffic at the downtown Jarvis at Adelaide Street location, even during non peak hours, he's right on the money. Or perhaps in the money, albeit with smaller margins because of his quality standards and as winters are slower, he's incorporated espresso coffees and some Italian style bistro food like pizza - as I understand also a city's top fave pick - again made in-house fresh to keep sales up and more staff employed year round one imagines. I'll have to try the pizza next time!

Now supplies fresh gelato with refrigerated truck 416-792-1761

Check G For Gelato out for yourself. you won't be disappointed...OMMMM G For Gelato a definite Tom's Top 10 for deserts in Toronto! www.gforgelato.com

The Business of the Movie Business

Studio location sunset view in Mount Albert, Ontario
The older I get, the less I know it seems at times, and with technology today, sometimes it's hard to keep pace.

For example, at the time I finished film school, there was no need for thinking about short video clips creations for online media nor many of the nuances of media forms that can now be found online for various uses today, mostly related to branding or promotion.

Between takes
Editing was of course digital then but in its infancy, as sound record and video record was still on digital tape which then went through long rendering processes. Snap Chat was not even a concept.

Prior to even attending the school, I'd already (CO) hosted a TV shows on Rogers then Shaw Cable, Chronicle Beat, then Out & About, which focused on entertainment and often the hospitality industry and always featured a local cause - invariably presented in a wacky TPE signature form when the time called for it.  Those were the days where we really cut our teeth, (click here to view my interview with Mike Bullard before getting his talk show) and, of course Rogers and Shaw still had a lot of manual editing devises that our crew would have to work with, but it was all good experience.

When my kids rolled around into my full custody I was in full bloom, hosting for tv, shooting often at night and or taping some weekends while also writing as an Entertainment Editor for Cover Story Newspaper, York Region Edition during the day, and had an agent booking me on tv spot roles like The Steven Truscott Trial, Top Cops, Secret Service and series' like Forever Knight, a first vampire detective type American produced series, shot here, appearing in the last 2 ever taped episodes, as a model / bartender. Lol. But the after-hours call times of the business clashed with the reality of suddenly becoming a single dad and finding out there's no such thing as all night daycare or a trusting babysitter available to stay in your home during those occasions and perhaps see them off to school.

Somehow, during this period, I'd returned to film school while producing an improv show for Aurora Cable TV and live shows at the same time as juggling the kids and occasionally waiting tables or performing menial jobs, and somehow we got through it. But again, upon graduation, reality check was that industry hours were still the same late calls and so I took on a more 9 to 5 (or 7 to cover LA time) position as an Associate Producer of feature family films under an Executive Producer of over 30 feature films, David Borg, who I learned "the art of the deal" from. I worked as an Associate Producer on a number of films with him including SuperCross the movie, Miracle Dogs (Kate Jackson, Rue McClanahan, Ted Shackleford) and Hansel & Gretel (Howie Mandel, Dakota Fanning, Taylor Mumsen)

He was a master of "the close" and we raised funds for our movies without often meeting the investors in person as he / we looked for those looking to just expand their portfolios and be part of the excitement of making a movie and maybe attending the premier. That is the key. Also a limited partner who could afford to lose their entire investment of up to $100,000 and not bat an eye. But it was not a creative job in the industry and certainly never my dream to sell to investors.

This Mount Albert barn studio was made for a scene in the movie Titanic 
It was a great learning experience though,

I'd been told by the boss-man continually, as part of his motivational style for the previous four years, that, "We don't need anything in life, we want things". And I guess he's right, because I wanted to stay creative and I have and will continue to as long as I'm able, and with the use of video and images online as well as for tv and film, I feel like I've made the right decision.

Click here for insider tips from TP on cold calling for film partners!

Recently TPE 's services were acquired to videotape interviews of some prominent folks of a particular town with connections to its history for personal and online use. One interviewee was 95 years old. Another 92. Incredible tales that I had a hand in capturing for eternity for the town and those families now - all using knowledge gained to set up the make shift studio and force an affect on the lights using a trick of the trade. It was an opportunity to try out some of my newly acquired sound record equipment as well and the Tascam 4 channel unit worked just great!

Mostly it's short clips these days though that seem to be most effective for marketing campaigns and social media, the attention spans of the new generation shorter and shorter it seems in this age of instant gratification. All you can do is adjust. But whether it's an hour and a half or 10 seconds or 60 seconds, getting that message through is the key to success. I called them Commotions before they had a term. Half comedy, half promotion. Now they come in serious mode too.

Final thought....sometimes when a production is running behind it can get very stressful as the players crew and perhaps even Director sometimes get a little anxious or short tempered or more demanding of those around them. During those times everyone from the PA to the Actors can feel the effects and anything that alleviates that goes a long way.

So when this occurred at the last shoot I worked on, catered to by Bonnie & Clyde Craft Services, which brought in a late afternoon snack of warmed pita bread wedges along with a specially made dip that stopped all production for several minutes, it was much appreciated and you could see a noticeable inmprovement in production and performance from that point forward. It was just enough to get everyone happily through another night that ran long.

Showstopper by Bonnie & Clyde Craft Services
The unique warm dip served with made from a base of cheeses and seafood is a show stopper in itself and goes to show that every element in a  production is an important one and you just never know who will emerge a star!

Until next time TP out! Visit TPE on Facebook.

New Year's Eve Entertainment Newmarket

1220 Stellar Dr Newmarket Ontario Canada Unit 205 - 905-830-9441
So you got caught unawares and have no idea what to do for New Year's Eve you say? Well I just happen to have stashed some tickets away for the Annual Stellar Hall NYE party - dubbed The Stellar Hall Ball - a semi-formal affair featuring live ambience during a 5 course dinner and cocktails followed by a DJ by DJ Junior and dancing and a light late night buffet - all inclusive @$75.00. Website.

New Year's Eve Entertainment Line Up

Hurricane Mike Thompson

In fact the live entertainment will be a "won't want to miss"portion of the evening which begins at 7 pm  while the 1st live performer for live ambience shortly thereafter will be no other than Hurricane Mike Thompson a great singer, composer and instruments player who will be honing in on his dombro playing talent on this night. Although I've seen Hurricane play many times I have no footage of his dombro playing ( after New Year's I will) on file but click here to hear / see what one is should you be curious!

James Alderson

Next on the slate is a performer who's been out of the loop for a spell but is renowned in certain circles for his banjo playing ability and so you can expect some toe tapping ambience from James and I'm really looking forward to his return! Here's James in action!

Kat Vhonda

Kat is a dynamic singer and guitar player who gives it hard for every performance. You can feel she feels the music. Click here to check Kat out. All makes for a magical night.

TP may have a few more add-on surprises come New year's eve so come out to find out what?!

This my friends is one heck of a New year's Eve line-up and add in the experienced and talented DJ Junior as well as the seasoned Stellar Hall Staff and a 5 course dinner into the mix and you have the makings for a great night! Er..Did I mention bar included?! Egads.

Happy New Year! See you at the party! Tickets Txt 289-221-0928