Can’t watch Sunday’s livestream? Watch the official trailer below to hold you over until the broadcast premiere on APTN! The national broadcast premiere is Saturday, Dec. 3 on APTN (8 p.m. ET on APTN HD and APTN East, 8 p.m. MT on APTN West, 8 p.m. CT on APTN North).
2011 marks the National Screen Institute’s 25th birthday. We’ve been training writers, directors and producers how to be storytellers since 1986.
In our latest alumni spotlight we’re proud to feature husband and wife team Dennis and Melanie Jackson.
Between them they’ve been students in four of our training programs. Not only are they the clever folks behind the award-winning TV series Wapos Bay (developed through NSI Totally Television) but they also find time to give back as associate faculty members of NSI’s New Voices program. Together they run Dark Thunder Productions Inc.
Spotlight on Dennis and Melanie Jackson
Dennis says: “NSI training gave me a confidence in the pitching process by teaching me the dos and don’ts when approaching a potential broadcaster. They’ve structured this by streamlining your project to its essence so that you know exactly what the broadcaster needs to know about you and your show.”
Dennis is a graduate of NSI Totally Television (2002-03), the Aboriginal Cultural Trade Initiative (2004) and Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program (2009).
He began his career in elementary school watching 16mm prints of animation on aboriginal creation tales. Dennis remembers sitting at the back of the class as the teacher explained animation with the individual frames. Dennis has since received Gemini nominations for both his writing and directing of Wapos Bay. This animated series has received four Gemini awards of excellence.
Melanie Jackson says: “NSI training gave me confidence in the co-production process by teaching me the dos and don’ts when approaching a potential partner. [The program] allowed me to participate in learning the process and what’s available in the international industry.”
Melanie is a graduate of NSI Storytellers (2005) and Featuring Aboriginal Stories Program (2009).
Melanie is a producer with over 14 years proven experience in development and programming of many hours of original drama and documentaries across several channels.
She has led creative professionals and built effective teams responsible for the delivery of quality programs. She brings a fresh perspective to the type of film, TV and digital media productions that can be successful in the marketplace and what skills are needed to create them.
Her ability to work with the leaders in our industry will help develop the most innovative, relevant and uniquely positioned in providing quality indigenous storytelling, high production values with excellence in stop-motion animation personnel and facilities.
Their successful TV series Wapos Bay is wrapping up with a movie called Long Goodbyes which will premiere in the fall on APTN with a limited advance theatrical release.
Wapos Bay’s Trevor Cameron, who is the voice of the character Kohkom, and the character Jacob talk over the script in a set up shot.
Photograph by: Sp Gord Waldner, The StarPhoenix
By Sean Trembath, The StarPhoenix April 19, 2011
After a decade, 34 episodes and one feature-length movie, the team behind beloved Saskatchewan stop-motion children’s show Wapos Bay is moving on.
“It’s quite bittersweet. You develop a project for so long. It’s 10 years we’ve been doing Wapos Bay here in Saskatchewan,” said Melanie Jackson, who wrote, produced and directed the show with her husband Dennis.
Monday was the last day of shooting on Long Goodbyes, a movie of the week for APTN, the final chapter of the show. The movie will air this fall, date to be announced.
The Saskatoon studio is still full of characters and sets familiar to all who have seen the show. While some models will be re-purposed, fans could get a chance to own a piece of the show’s history.
“We might have some draws or a contest to be able to take part of Wapos Bay home,” said Melanie.
Promoting the movie has given the studio a chance to try out a new medium, its first video game, in co-operation with Toronto game development studio in Phantom Compass.
“All the visual assets for the video game were produced here in the studio,” said TransMedia producer Ryan Lockwood.
Wapos Racerz is a Mario Kart-style racing game featuring characters and locations from Wapos Bay. The Canadian Media Fund, a federal program designed to encourage development across all forms of digital media, helped with financing.
“We just wanted to extend the whole Wapos Bay experience into other spaces that kids and fans of the series could play, share and interact with,” said Lockwood.
The game, still in development, will be released on several Internet game sites a few weeks before the movie airs.
While sad to see Wapos Bay end, both Dennis and Melanie are ready to move on to Guardians, their next stop-motion project. Guardians is a science fiction series for teenagers set 41 million years in the future after an ice age. The story follows teenagers of various indigenous descents who have been raised from embryos by robots in an underground bunker as they venture out into a world vastly different from what we know today.
The Jacksons have been developing the show for seven years, but the idea goes even farther back.
“It’s a series I’ve always had, since I was 14. It became more affordable to do something sci-fi, with computer software getting better and a lot of animators coming out, especially here in Saskatoon,” said Dennis. His excitement was palpable as he talked about getting the project underway and designing the fantastic settings and creatures his characters will encounter.
“In pre-production, we’re going to be exploring these worlds – what we can build, what has to be computer graphics. It’s just going to be a huge development process,” he said.
Guardians will begin shooting next winter. The first six episodes will air in the fall of 2012 on APTN.
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
Read more: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/entertainment/inspiration+Wapos+creators/4638644/story.html#ixzz1K4vHCg00
Courtesy Diana Savage, Art Director
This week the art department spent most of our time preparing for and installing the “Wapos Bay Street” set.
Usually sets are about the size of a big dining room table but this one is more than twice that size — our biggest set so far at Wapos Bay. We used two big tables and several extensions and background tables.
Jordan, our Armature and rigging person also loves an electrical challenge. He designed, wired and built the traffic light at the front of the set. The animator can flick a switch for red, yellow or green.
Stacia, our prop builder is also amazing at making roads, forests and trees look real. She spent an afternoon painting the set floor to look like road, grass and lawn. And the rest of us built and painted fences, painted houses, and made some smaller props to fill the space up.
We’re pretty excited about this set build because it’s the first time we’ve seen a whole Wapos bay street. We’re looking forward to seeing it come alive in the movie.
Welcome to the official production blog of the award-winning stop motion children’s show, Wapos Bay!
This is where you will find all things Wapos Bay. Visit us regularly for the latest news, contests, and fun at home activities for you and your family, as well as to learn more about the studio (from the building of the set to cast and crew bios). And to stay involved with our day-to-day activities, add us as a friend or follow us on: Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. And subscribe to our YouTube Channel!
The blog is categorized: the Process, the People and the Press. The Process is where you can check out informative posts on topics such as adapting the show into French for our francophone audience. The People is where you will find the cast, crew and producers. And the Press is where you can check out all the awards we’re extremely thankful for having won over the past couple of years.
And alas, all good things must come to an end. We’ve begun shooting “Long Goodbyes”, a Wapos Bay movie, where the gang has their whole world turned upside down and must join forces to keep their family together and in Wapos Bay before it’s too late.