Origin of Flashpoint (CTV & CBS series) – 2009 Banff World TV Festival

Friday, 26 June, 2009

Flashpoint is one of the best TV show in recent years (I don’t use the word “best” lightly). In my humble view, Flashpoint is even better than 24 (recent plot twists have become overwhelmingly nutty).

Here is the origin of Flashpoint as told by Stephanie Morgenstern & Mark Ellis, co-creators of Flashpoint, at 2009 Banff World TV Festival. Hope you enjoy the video.

P.S. In Canada, you can watch the shows on CTV (online episodes available). In US, on CBS.

P.P.S. Mark Stephanie, a husband & wife team, were very nice and humble people (very Canadian). I had a chance to talk to Stephanie briefly afterwards and it was so wonderful to talk to her. Great to see nice people being successful and their passion paid off.


Nov 15, 2009: From TorStar, “Flashpoint is big Gemini winner“. Congratulations to Stephanie & Mark.

Battlestar Galactica Ron Moore interview – 2009 Banff

Monday, 15 June, 2009

I attended a great master class with Ron Moore, Battlestar Galactica writer & executive producer, at 2009 Banff World TV Festival. The following is my one-on-one interview with Ron after the master class talking about,

  • influence of the original BSG series and the style of the show
  • how the actors/actresses affect the writing of their characters?
  • the extensive use of the f-word (frak) in BSG
  • implications of discussing of politics, religion, and even abortion in the show
  • selection of the characters for the “final five”
  • are there aspects of Ron and his life in the characters?
  • what are some of the challenges in writing the new series Caprica?

2009 Banff – Brett Wilson interview

Saturday, 13 June, 2009

Here is my video interview with CBC Dragons’ Den’s Brett Wilson, where he talks about,

  • What bought him to 2009 Banff World TV Festival?
  • The new Dragons’ Den season.
  • And Brett’s new book!


2009 Banff – Brett Wilson interview

Wednesday, 10 June, 2009

I will be posting my video interview with CBC Dragons’ Den’s Brett Wilson, where you can find out more about,

  • What bought Brett to 2009 Banff World TV Festival?
  • The new Dragons’ Den season.
  • and Brett’s new book!

Update: Here is the video interview.

2009 Banff – Battlestar Galactica Ron Moore interview

Wednesday, 10 June, 2009

I attended a great master class with Ron Moore, Battlestar Galactica writer & executive producer, at 2009 Banff. I had an one-on-one interview with Ron after the master class talking about BSG and his new series. I will post the video on YouTube and in this blog.

Stay tune.


Update: I have posted the video and some notes here.

2009 Banff – June 8 & 9 Quick Notes

Tuesday, 9 June, 2009

Have been busily attending more insightful sessions and will blog and post more later. Or you can follow me on Twitter here.

Coming soon:

* Interview with Minister Lindsay Blackett (a followup interview to my first interview)

* Interview with CBC Dragons’ Den Dragon Brett Wilson.

2009 nextMEDIA – June 7th Quick Notes

Sunday, 7 June, 2009

Updated: 8:43am

I am looking forward to a full day of nextMEDIA sessions and then some partying tonight at the Crossover Cocktail and Opening Reception.

Updated: 12:08pm

Love the nextMEDIA keynote “Interactivity, Creativity & Web Domination” by Janet Kestin, Co-Chief Creative Officer – Ogilvy Toronto. Wow, Janet lead the team that created the Dove Evolution campaign. It was my honour to meet her in person finally. I will definitely blog more and post more video later.

Here are my three previous blog entries about the Dove Evolution campaign. (first one in 2006 Nov)


Here are some info about Janet and the talk.

Join Janet Kestin, Chief Creative Officer of award-winning Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, who helped produce some of the Web’s most talked about interactive ad campaigns, propelling brands into worldwide consciousness. (Just check out the cheeky Diamond Shreddies Campaign for Kraft, or the interactive film for female 20 something’s Waking Up Hannah.) Get your creative juices flowing and listen as Janet explains how digital media is changing the nature of creative output. Learn the underground tricks of the trade when it comes to creating interactive digital media campaigns.

* What do you have to do to entice people to experiment with media?
* Is there a prescription for creativity when it comes to digital media?
* How do you create an interactive experience that doesn’t break the narrative?
* Can you ever ensure that content will go viral?
* What would you list as your top 5 creative campaigns?

[more to come]

Minister Lindsay Blackett & Bill 44

Saturday, 6 June, 2009

Minister Lindsay Blackett at Banff

[June 9th Update: In total, I conducted two video interviews with Minister Blackett. The first interview was conducted on June 6th and then 8th (see below YouTube videos). I was unprepared for and a bit shocked by the “justifications” and “reasonings” provided by Mr. Blackett to my questions & concerns in the first interview. After further research and readings, I was much more prepared in my second interview and less able to simply accepting Mr. Blackett’s “explanations”.]

[Note: The goal for this post is to add grounded reasonings to this passionate debate/discussion. Thanks.

I will update this post as more information becomes available.]

Interviewing Minister Lindsay Blackett

Earlier today (June 6th), I met and interviewed Minister Lindsay Blackett for the first time to ask him about some of my concerns about Bill 44 (PDF or see bottom of this post). (see video below)

I pointed out to Minister Blackett that Alberta Teachers Association has expressed serious concerns about Bill 44. To my surprise, Blackett was dismissive and said the union doesn’t speak for all teachers and implied the 20-30 supportive teachers he has spoken to are more representative of the general teachers’ opinions about bill 44. Is the teachers’ union really this misinformed about bill 44?

Your help (please share your grounded comments and insights)

While trying the best I could in my first interview with Mr. Blackett, I was no match against the well briefed and studied minister in the interview and I probably missed many important concerns and potential problems. So I have done more research and conducted a second follow up interview (June 8th) with Mr. Blackett.

*** Two video interviews with Minister Blackett ***

Lindsay Blackett Bill 44 video interviews (June 6th)

Lindsay Blackett Bill 44 video interviews (June 8th)

After further research and readings, I was much more prepared in my second interview and less able to simply accept Mr. Blackett’s “explanations”.


Thanks for all the comments left on this post so far (as of June 8th, 7:17am). Please keep them coming. It is important to have teachers, students and informed readers sharing their informed opinions here.

Thanks to @ChrisLaBossiere at Twitter for the @albertateachers link where I was able to download and read the excellent and fair 20090508 Submission to the Premier of Alberta (highly recommended reading). After reading the submission, I now realize Minister Lindsay Blackett‘s arguments and reasonings are much weaker than his voice or his physical presence.

The following is a selection/excerpts of some of the comments received so far, I’ve added some emphasis. Please keep them coming.

From “Ken Chapman”,
“The Minister is misleading you on teacher reaction to Bill 44. You [Blackett] did a presentation yesterday to the ATA Executive Group and Senior Adminstratin in their strategic planning session. All 60 of them were negatively concerned about Bill 44. They are getting lots of teacher feedback that expresses Bill 44 concern too.

Note: Ken is also blogging that “Students in Medicine Hat Demonstrate Against Bill 44

From “John Winslow”,
Mr. Blackett denies the existence of any opinions contrary to his own. Unfortunately, he never seems to have PROOF that those who agree, outside of the obediant MLA’s, exist.”

From “WhiffofGrape”,
Over 450 teacher representatives chosen by their colleagues from across the province met at the Alberta Teachers’ Association Annual Representative Assembly over the Victoria Day Weekend. All save one voted in favour of a resolution calling for the removal of the education provisions from Bill 44.

Perhaps Hon Blackett should release all of the letters / emails that he has received relating to Bill 44.

From ” A. Letourneau”.
Minister Blackett should speak to his colleagues. I am a teacher, and I called my MLA Hector Goudreau to express my concerns with this bill. From conversations with other teachers, I feel the minister is wrong in his judgement that the majority of us support 44.”


Excerpt from Bill 44 (emphasis added),

9 The following is added after section 11:
Notice to parent or guardian
11.1(1) A board as defined in the School Act shall provide
notice to a parent or guardian of a student where courses of
study, educational programs or instructional materials, or
instruction or exercises, prescribed under that Act include
subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or
sexual orientation
(2) Where a teacher or other person providing instruction,
teaching a course of study or educational program or using the
instructional materials referred to in subsection (1) receives a
written request signed by a parent or guardian of a student that
the student be excluded from the instruction, course of study,
educational program or use of instructional materials, the
teacher or other person shall in accordance with the request of
the parent or guardian and without academic penalty permit the
(a) to leave the classroom or place where the instruction,
course of study or educational program is taking place or
the instructional materials are being used for the duration
of the part of the instruction, course of study or
educational program, or the use of the instructional
materials, that includes the subject-matter referred to in
subsection (1), or
(b) to remain in the classroom or place without taking part
in the instruction, course of study or educational
program or using the instructional materials.

2009 nextMEDIA – June 6th Quick Notes

Saturday, 6 June, 2009

Updated: 3:13pm MST

* Heated Telus debate this morning at #nextMEDIA. I commend Telus for sponsoring the debate even more people agreed with views expressed by Michael Geist than David Neale (SVP Products & Services – TELUS Consumer Solutions).

* I didn’t have any expectation when I saw the title of this morning’s keynote and I was very pleasantly surprised by how much insights Alexander Manu had packed into his talk. When I find some time, I will take a look of these downloadable book chapters.


The Death of Print: Is There Any Way Out?

Don Dodge, Director of Business Development – Emerging Business Team – Microsoft Corporation
Jerry Brown, Director – PricewaterhouseCoopers
Candice Faktor, Managing Director – Corporate Development & Innovation – Torstar Digital
Mathew Ingram, Communities Editor – Globe and Mail

[Updated: 8:23am MST, June 7th]

Many honest but grim (e.g. lost advertising revenue) insights from Candice and Mathew. Lots (and lots) of stats from Don and, especially Jerry. (In general, I am allergic to stats unless I know precisely how the stats were gathered.)


And then I attended the keynote “The Wolf in the Story” by Gary Carter, Chief Operating Officer of FremantleMedia, and Chief Creative Officer of FMX (FremantleMedia’s experimental division). (see below for Gary’s full conference bio.)

Since I’ve attended a talk given by Gary two years ago at Banff (or nextMEDIA?), I know how insightful Gary is. So before the keynote, I went up to say hi to Gary and told him how much I look forward to his talk because I learned a lot from him two years ago.

As expected, Gary’s talk was full of insights (and some with deep references, a few of the references were a bit lost on me). After Gary delivered his keynote, he had a very probing and insightful Q&A session with the audience and also shared with us some of the interesting things FMX was and is doing.

If you have a chance to listen to Gary, go & learn. If you want to follow the company’s activities closer, you can set up a Google news email alert on Fremantle Media.

Conference Bio:
“Gary Carter, Chief Operating Officer of FremantleMedia, and Chief Creative Officer of FMX, FremantleMedia’s experimental division focussed on non-linear, broadband-enabled projects considers storytelling in the digital age. Rejecting a narrow view of the respective roles of the professional storyteller and the amateur audience, he will argue for new kinds of narratives for new kinds of platforms, new kinds of subjects for new kinds of audiences, and new means of production for new means of consumption. And he’ll tell a few jokes. Probably.”


Minister Lindsay Blackett & Bill 44

I interviewed Minister Lindsay Blackett and asked him about a few concerns with respect to Bill 44. I blogged about it in this post.

Battlestar Galactica Writer & Exec Producer Ronald D. Moore to speak at 2009 Banff World TV Festival Master Class

Friday, 1 May, 2009

I am very much looking forward to a Master Class with Battlestar Galactica Writer & Exec Producer Ronald D. Moore to speak at 2009 Banff World TV Festival. I will try to shoot some videos and do a brief interview with Ronald if he has time. Will see.

If you are attending Banff (June 7 – 10, 2009) this year, please say hi.

House Season 5: Interview with producer David Hoselton

Monday, 22 September, 2008

One of my favourite TV show House (starring English actor Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House) is back for season 5, I love it. Check out my interesting interview with David Hoselton, Producer of House, when I met and chat with him in June this year at Banff World TV Festival.

P.S. Here are two bonus video clips from Banff World TV here and here (after David’s master class, which I think David did a great job).

P.P.S. If you live in Canada, you can watch House on Global TV here.

Banff 2008 – Missing Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) and other Great Moments

Tuesday, 24 June, 2008

Photo: Kris Krug

For 2008, I had to cut my Banff attendance short and came back to Calgary for another assignment so I missed a few a few sessions that I would love to have attended (and there were also a few sessions that had a time conflict with other interesting sessions that happened at the same time).

Now, here are some pearls at Banff 2007 that you might enjoy,

July 18, 2016 Update: I found this brief award acceptance speech by Jon. A 2002 Guardian article “Office to return, says BBC boss” featuring Jon’s comment.

SohoCreate 2015: ‘W1A:Making it Funny’ with John Morton and John Plowman

Banff 2008 – Interview of Jane Mote (Director, Lifestyle & Factual, UKTV)

Tuesday, 24 June, 2008

Banff World TV Festival

I first chatted with Jane Mote (Director of Lifestyle & Factual programming, UKTV) at 2007 Banff (here is a video). As I have been an admirer of the creativities from UK, and in particular UKTV, so it was particularly nice to chat with Jane again this year to get an update of the cool happenings at UKTV. We also talked about the bold, imaginative, and genius in the rebranding of UKTV G2 to Dave. In my humble opinion, if there is such a thing as an instant Lovemark, I think Dave (with its great brand and contents) qualifies as a Lovemark for many people in UK.

Here is my interview with Jane Mote (Director, Lifestyle & Factual, UKTV) at 2008 Banff. Enjoy.

For more info on the rebranding and freeview launch of Dave, see Dave’s Wikipedia page. The jump of the TV viewership and the power of rebranding is just so cool, a great lesson for us all.

Banff 2008 – Interview of David Hoselton (Producer of House)

Monday, 23 June, 2008

I’ve been a fan of David Shore‘s award-winning House (starring English actor Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House) since season one. So I was really excited when David Hoselton, Producer of House, agreed to an interview with me with me at Banff. You see, the two Davids are actually buddies since their University of Toronto Law School days (both LLB 1982, see this insightful UT Magazine article about David Shore) so it was my great pleasure to talk to David Hoselton.

Here is my Interview with David Hoselton (Producer, House) at Banff (20 minutes). Thanks again to David for taking time to chat with this big fan of House. I am so looking forward to season 5 starting in September 2008.

2008 Banff Day 2

Monday, 9 June, 2008

Banff World TV Festival

Food and wine are waiting for me so I am going to keep this post short.

* Attended the CRTC breakfast and saw the new chair and met some people. I will blog a little later.

* Finally met Richard Florida in person and listened to his really good speech. Some of the contents he covered were similar to the ones he delivered in these Google Talks. Will blog more later.

* Attended a wonderful master class by Alan Poul (executive producer of the new series “Swingtown” and the acclaimed “Six Feet Under”). I will blog a lot more later.

* Conducted an real insightful interview with David Hoselton, producer of House, one of my favourite show. Will post my chat with him later. I will also be attending his master class tomorrow, so stay tune.

* Attended a wonderful master class by Doug Ellin, executive producer of Entourage, one of my favourite show.

OK, thats all for today. I am looking forward to my food and wine now. :)

P.S. I am going to conduct one more interview tomorrow and attend David Hoselton’s master class and a few sessions. Then I will be heading home. Will blog afterwards.

2008 nextMEDIA Final Day – Baff Day 1

Sunday, 8 June, 2008

nextMEDIA icon.

Banff World TV Festival

* Finished my last interview last night at 10pm. It was a great chat but I was completely exhausted.

* 7:30am – 8:30 attended the comScore Media breakfast and presentation. Got to meet and chat with some interesting people in table. As one of the fellow breakfaster is a lawyer, I bought up issues (release forms, E & O insurance) bought out by the film Redacted and the legal troubles of Borat (release forms). (big smile)

* Canada’s Hotest Digital Media Innovators. CEOs from four different companies companies presented. Afterwards, I had the great pleasure to interview Leila Boujnane (CEO of idee) and Paul Bloore (CTO of idee). The tech geek side of me was particularly fascinated by a chance to meet and talk to Paul, the inventor of the technology. I will post my interviews and a longer post later. By the way, I blogged about their cool technology in Apr 2007.

* Got a chance to preview the first two episodes of the controversial CBS new show “Swingtown” last night. I love the acting of Molly Parker (I quite like her in Deadwood and I first found her great acting in the controversial Kissed) and Jack Davenport (his UK original Coupling is a must see for edgier comedy lover).

* I will get a chance to attend a master class given by Alan Poul, executive producer of “Swingtown“, so I will blog more later.

* Quick note for tomorrow morning’s breakfast. I will attend a breakfast with the Chairperson of CRTC, Konrad von Finckenstein. From what I have heard of Konrad, I know I am in for a treat of a well prepared and straight talking speech.


P.S. I wished there were more sessions available in nextMEDIA so I can pick ones that fits my interest better and I can blog about.

Richard Florida @ Google & Banff

Saturday, 24 May, 2008

I was really lucky to watch a CBC National video report and “discovered” Richard Florida tonight. (smile) I am going to pay attention to Rich’s ideas and I have subscribed to his blog. Check out his latest book – “Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life.”

Here is a video of Rich interviewed by George on The Hour.

The following is an hour long video of Rich speaking at Google, NYC.

And if you are really keen and have nothing better to do (smile), then check out another hour long video of Rich speaking at Google, Headquater in CA (essentially the same speech but with a different set of Q&A starting at 48:45).

P.S. On a personal note, Rich reminds me of some of the great U of Toronto professors that I had. Great job in bringing Rich to Toronto. And I am looking forward to listening to Rich live at Banff World TV Festival.

P.P.S. Here is one of Rich’s recent blog post on Jane Jacobs.

P.P.P.S. I wonder if Rich gets some money from this BMW ad? (smile) By the way, I think I actually first read about Rich here in this UT magazine article.

Banff World Television Festival – 2008 Master Class Lineup

Monday, 31 March, 2008

[via BWTVF] (links added)

Banff World Television Festival [June 8 – 11, 2008] Announces 2008 Master Class Lineup to include:
Doug Ellin, Creator/executive Producer, Entourage;
Hart Hanson, Creator/showrunner, Bones;
Michael Poyres, Creator/exec Producer, Hannah Montana;
Stephanie Savage, Executive Producer/co-showrunner, Gossip Girl;
Craig Wright, Creator/showrunner, Dirty Sexy Money

All these master classes are great chance to learn. For me, the “must see” is the one with Doug Ellin, Creator/executive Producer, Entourage.

Jeff Bradshaw, CEO of Jet Stream Media, shows XTend and chats about business

Friday, 26 October, 2007

I first met the Calgary entrepreneur Jeff Bradshaw (CEO of Calgary based Jet Stream Media) when he demonstrated his software at Demo Camp Calgary. (We both attended the 2007 nextMEDIA and Banff World TV Festival but hadn’t got a chance to meet then.)

The following are videos of me talking to Jeff about his audio & video webcast building tool XTend and my chat with him about his business.

Jeff shows the steps for people to create and maintain their own audio & video webcasts using XTend.

Jeff shows a video webcast created by XTend.

My chat with Jeff about his experience in starting up his business 10 years ago and about business in general.

Children who work

Monday, 24 September, 2007

I first met Larry Giesbrecht, director of “Children who work“, at the 2006 Banff World TV Festival and Larry mentioned that he was planning a documentary to be shot in Egypt about the sensitive and challenging topic of child labour. And then last October he mentioned that he was flying off to Egypt to start shooting in Nov. We exchanged Christmas greetings but I haven’t heard much from Larry afterwards.

So it came as an unplanned and really pleasant surprise that I, based on the movie synopsis alone and without looking at who directed the film, ran into Larry last night and watched his well-made and very insightful documentary about child labour.

Here is a synopsis of “Children who work“,

Many of us would say that it is inappropriate to expect a child to work and contribute to a family. In our society, childhood is a time to learn and play. In some societies a child working is the accepted norm. Despite international pressure to ban child labour, Egyptian children are expected to work, but new initiatives are being put in place to protect them.

It was interesting and eye-opening to see microloans being used as means to improve the overall welfare of children who work. Life is tough for the nine-year old motorcycle mechanic but he was amazing on screen and it was wonderful to see that the microloan conditions are helping him. (See also my earlier posts about one of the many organizations offering microloans, and the insightful Charlie Rose interview of Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and founder of Grameen Bank.)

Here is my chat with Larry after the screening (click to watch in a larger window),

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