Sneak Peek: Long Goodbyes

Here are a couple photos from Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes. Make sure you catch the one time free livestream this Sunday – click here for more details!

Is sky diving on your bucket list?

And check out this Canada AM clip from today when producers Dennis and Melanie Jackson visited the studio to talk with Beverly Thomson and Seamus O’Regan about the end of Wapos Bay. Click here to watch!

Lorne Cardinal & Dennis Jackson

Beverly Thomson, Dennis Jackson, Melanie Jackson & Seamus O’Regan

Canada AM Puppets

For these puppets we used reference photos taken when their voice recording was done. It can be difficult to translate two dimensional images into a 3D face so it’s important to have photos taken from several different angles. When their sculpts are moulded and cast, we install the eyes — most of our Wapos Bay characters have brown eyes but for the Canada AM puppets we needed to make green and blue eyes as well.

In the painting and assembling stage there is a lot of colour matching. Plasticine has to be mixed to match their hair colours and silicone is mixed to match their skin for hands.

Wardrobe is designed and sewn and finally the puppets are dressed, put together, and ready to go on set:

Seamus O’Regan

Beverly Thomson

Jeff Hutcheson

Marci Ien

The whole Canada AM family

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…

Day 1: Shooting begins on “Long Goodbyes” at Wapos Bay Studio

The stop motion children’s animation series that has been going for five seasons and won numerous awards and screened at festivals around the world officially begins production on its movie today. The production team is also delighted to announce the launch of and their production blog, as well as the development of a “Wapos Bay” video game.

Here’s a quick peak at the studio from yesterday:

“It’s been a long journey for us,” said producer Anand Ramayya of their start in 2003 with a pilot episode, the eventual development to a series that began airing in 2005, and winning their fourth Gemini award in 2010. “In the last five years we’ve done over $11 million dollars of production in Saskatoon, and we’ve employed over 50 people every single year. We’re proud to have built up the reputation we have [as being one of the top-rated stop motion studios in the country].”

“Long Goodbyes” will be the final installment of the TV series. In addition to regulars Lorne Cardinal (Corner Gas) and Gordon Tootoosis (Legends of the Fall), expect to hear some new voices in the movie, including Canada AM’s Seamus O’ReganBeverly Thomson, Marci Ien and Jeff Hutcheson. The movie will premiere in the fall on APTN with a limited advance theatrical release.

View an animatic teaser clip from the movie at: