Wapos Racerz Game Maker Profile – Thomas Detko

Q: What do you do?

A: As associate producer at Phantom Compass I wear many hats. In addition to maintaining a presence at events, networking with industry types and the like I also get my hands dirty developing games in the realm of game design, coding, and art, both 2D and 3D.

Q: What is your favourite part of your job?

A: Being able to work with my collegues at Phantom Compass. I can’t stress enough what an amazing team we have.

Q: What Wapos Bay character are you most like?

A: I would like to think Talon, but some might say T-bear lol.

Q: What other projects have you worked on?

A: Recently our Twitter Leader Boards at http://www.points4people.com, but I am also knee deep in a few mobile projects and many others that are in the works right now but we can’t talk about them yet ;p

Q: If you had to describe the game in one word what would it be?

A: Faithful – I love seeing the characters and sights from Wapos Bay.

Q: If you were offered the chance to voice one of the characters who would you want to be?

A: Talon

In Loving Memory of Gordon Tootoosis

Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of our dear friend Gordon Tootoosis, who just yesterday passed away. Gordon was a beautiful man with a generous heart. Our cast, crew and production team will miss his giving nature and tireless support of Wapos Bay. Gordon’s presence filled the world of Wapos Bay with magic, his voice and his spirit made us feel a part of something larger than a television program, in short he created magic around him that we are proud to share with children and families around the world.

Gordon was with Wapos Bay from the beginning playing the character Mushom.  The production team always looked forward to his recording sessions.  The animators embodied his mannerism that were captured within the audio. Gordon’s guidance was instrumental in crafting our Mushom character.

He was acclaimed for his commitment to preserving his culture and to telling his people’s stories. Gordon ensured this would happen when he would come in a second time to record his Mushom character in the Cree language. He was very happy to provide this as it was at the top of his mind for his own grandchildren and great grandchildren. Gordon offered encouragement, support and training to our young aspiring Aboriginal actors on Wapos Bay. His contributions to the Aboriginal community, as well as to the cultural community in Canada, cannot be measured.

Hiy, hiy Gordon.

Here are a couple of our favourite clips of Gordon as Mushom:

Wapos Racerz Game Maker Profile – Ericka Evans

Here is your chance to get to know one of the team members from Phantom Compass, who is working hard to make Wapos Racerz for you.

Don’t forget to send us your questions too!   We will try to answer as many as we can in future blogs.

Q: What is your name?

A: Ericka Evans

Q: What do you do?

A: I’m a Producer.  I do a lot of organizing and sharing of information. I’m in charge of making sure everyone has everything they need to do their jobs and that the jobs get done on time.

Q: What is your favourite part of your job?

A: I like making charts and checking check boxes… just kidding (but it may be little bit true).  My for real favorite part is getting to meet and work with fun and interesting people.

Q: What Wapos Bay character are you most like?

A: Raven.  I like pigtails too.

Q: What other projects have you worked on?

A: I have just recently joined Phantom Compass, but before that I did writing and producing for Kids shows and websites, and before-before that I worked for a company that made Xbox 360, Wii and PS3 games and before-before-before that I made TV shows for Preschoolers.

Q: If you had to describe the game in one word what would it be?

A: Sick.  I’m a big fan of racing games, some of my faves are GranTurismo and Mario Kart.  Wapos Racerz is up there.

Q: If you were offered the chance to voice one of the characters who would you want to be?

A: A rock.  I hate hearing the sound of my voice played back to me, so I’m thinking a silent rock would work best for both me and the audience.

Wapos Racerz Game Maker Profile – Tony Walsh

Here is your chance to get to know one of the team members from Phantom Compass, who is working hard to make Wapos Racerz for you.

Send us your questions too!

Q: What is your name?

A: Tony Walsh

Q: What do you do?

A: I run Phantom Compass, the game developer making the game.  When I’m not running the company, I help out on many of the creative aspects of game development, including creative direction, game design and graphics.

Q: What is your favourite part of your job?

A: I love coming up with ideas for fun and unusual game play, then working with my team to test the ideas out.

Q: What Wapos Bay character are you most like?

A: Arachnid Man!

Q: What other projects have you worked on?

A: I’ve worked on games and web sites for several kids TV series over the past dozen years, as well as a few shows for adults. Among my favourites have been the “Regenesis” game and a project for a BBC series called “Spooks: Code 9.”

Q: If you had to describe the game in one word what would it be?

A: Fast!!

Q: If you were offered the chance to voice one of the characters who would you want to be?

A: Arachnid Man. I love that guy.

Dennis Jackson on his Canada AM gig

The idea of a national news program (Canada AM) covering a national native organization’s election (Assembly of Sovereign Indian Federations A.S.I.F.) struck me as funny and at the same time, why not? While the national news does cover the Assembly of First Nations (A.F.N.) election results, I thought it would be unique and some room for comedy if the news anchors were physically there at the elections themselves. In an early draft, they were written as reporter #1 and reporter #2. As a fan of the show, I rewrote the opening to have the Canada AM reporters, Beverly Thomson, Seamus O’Regan, Jeff Hutcheson and Marci Ien. We then contacted the producers of Canada AM, sent them a script and requested their participation in voicing their own characters for our animated children’s program. It was an incredible honor when they accepted and we recorded them at the CTV studios when we were in Toronto for the Gemini awards, which we also won for best writing!

Melanie and myself were star struck when we first met all four of them on November 2nd, 2010. We went through a quick table reading before the actual recording so that they can familiarize themselves with the dialogue and I can answer any questions they may have. We all had a lot of laughs during the recording as everyone was cracking jokes and laughing at the bloopers. During one of Jeff Hutcheson’s takes, I said, “That was good, we’ll just get another take for safety”, after which Jeff replied jokingly, “Oh okay, that must be director talk for, that sucked.” I couldn’t stop laughing. They were very professional and made our visit a lot of fun and humorous. We also received a tour of the CTV studios, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. We have recently animated some of their scenes and I can’t wait until the Canada AM crew can watch their animated performances!

Here are a few photos from that day…

Meet The Crew from Season 5

Wapos Bay has always been a filmmaker driven project that came from true inspiration and in turn has inspired so many of the people who came on board to make the project be and become as good as it is today.  In the beginning there was Dennis and Melanie Jackson, Dennis labouring in solitude over miniatures in his home in La Ronge. That work would eventually produce “Journey Through Fear” a short film that paved the way for the series and step by step we grew from a small studio filled with twelve animators and various crew of all of whom worked numerous jobs to the current crew of 50+ skilled professionals employed on the series.

Each step of the way new creatives would join, be inspired and create something special that shaped the look, feel and finish of the series that has improved every year through the efforts of our amazing crew.

WATCH this clip and meet the amazingly talented crew from Season 5 of Wapos Bay!

Director’s Statement—Dennis Jackson on Creating Wapos Bay

While Wapos Bay is a fictional town, the characters, community and stories are based on my own life experiences in Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan. My interest in animation began at the early age of 8 when I made my own films using a Super 8 mm camera. As an adult, I felt compelled to share the vivid childhood memories I had of my rich and unique Cree culture.

The world of Wapos Bay originated in a short story I wrote in high school for a creative writing assignment. The story was about a trapper in the North who realizes how much his environment has changed in such a short time. I took this same story and made a 6-minute, 16 mm stop-motion film in my final year of film studies at the University of Regina. Entitled Journey Through Fear, the film went on to win the Telefilm Canada/Television Northern Canada Award for Best Aboriginal Production at the 1998 Banff Television Festival.

A clip from “Journey Through Fear”

Journey Through Fear is about a mushom (grandfather) who utilizes the trapline to feed his family by selling furs. Because we did not see his family in the short film, I wrote, directed and produced the one-hour animated special Christmas at Wapos Bay, in which the mushom’s family visits him on Christmas day. This story introduces his grandchildren, Talon, Raven and T-Bear, and tells of their adventure on the trapline. Christmas at Wapos Bay premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The setting of Christmas at Wapos Bay is the trapline cabin. The community where the characters come from is not pictured. Wanting to flesh out the characters even further, we were inspired to create, write and produce the Wapos Bay series in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada. This gave the creative team on Wapos Bay the opportunity to create an even more vivid animated world by developing more characters and stories.

Meet the Producers

Wapos Bay originated with the short student film entitled “Journey Through Fear” done by filmmaker Dennis Jackson.  This short film received an Award at the Banff Television Festival and paved the way for Dennis to access financing to write a 1 hour Christmas special based on the same characters and world.

Upon completion of the script for “Christmas at Wapos Bay” filmmaker Dennis Jackson & Dark Thunder Productions approached independent producer Anand Ramayya to come on board the project. Ramayya grew up in the north and immediately fell in love with the project.  The team successfully financed and produced the one hour Christmas special which enjoyed its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001.  The raw “Christmas at Wapos Bay” charmed audiences everywhere and after an extensive festival circuit and numerous awards, the team began development of Wapos Bay – The Series through the NSItotally television program.

Gaining momentum the project attracted the attention of Michael Scott of the National Film Board of Canada.  Michael helped to champion the project into production and with NFB and the support of APTN a ½ pilot episode was produced entitled “There’s no I in Hockey” in 2003.  By 2005 Wapos Bay the series was in series production with a 5 episode order from APTN & SCN.

Since 2005 Wapos Bay has produced 34 X ½ hour episodes in SD & HD which have been versioning from Cree into English, Inuktitut and French.  In 2010-11 Wapos Bay Productions will produce its final Wapos Bay Television program, the Wapos Bay Movie and concurrently roll out an enriched website, game and ebooks.  The series has been the cornerstone of Saskatoon’s burgeoning animation community, it has employed over 50 young people per year contributing to countless careers in film and television, the series has played at numerous festivals across the globe from Fiji to East Germany and has garnered numerous awards for excellence including 4 Gemini Awards.

Wapos Bay was produced with the generous support of Shaw Rocket FundRogers Cable Network FundCOGECOThe Canada Media FundSaskFilmAboriginal Peoples Television NetworkSaskatchewan Communications Network, TheNational Film Board of Canada as well as the Canadian Film & Television Production tax credit and Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit.