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MF GALAXY

MF GALAXY is a weekly podcast powered by four mighty engines: * Writers on writing: the craft and the business * Pop culture including TV, movies, graphic novels, and more * Progressive politics, activism, and social enterprise * Africentric change-makers, histories, cultures, art, and more! Mixing brand-new interviews with classic conversations (from my archive of 23 years in broadcasting) with famous and dynamic figures in the arts, Hollywood, and politics, MF GALAXY will take you to places you've never been before, and deliver fresh insights on the places you've been.
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Now displaying: March, 2017
Mar 28, 2017

Marty Chan is one of E-Town’s most successful writers ever. He’s best known for his popular children’s and young adult books including Keepers of the Vault, Infinity Coil, and the award-winning The Mystery of the Frozen Brains. But he’s also a screenwriter who worked on the TV series Jake and the Kid and received a Gemini nomination for his TV pilot The Orange Seed Myth.

Chan's best-known play is the semi-autobiographical Mom, Dad, I’m Living With a White Girl, about the culture clash of being a Chinese-Canadian finding work and love in the arts in Edmonton. The play’s been produced across Canada and in New York. Chan was the first playwright in residence at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre, Canada’s biggest and busiest regional performing arts centre.

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Marty Chan discusses:

  • The professional tension he felt defining himself as a playwright or as Kidlit author
  • The personal meaning and artistic results of his unpublished and innovative zombie novel
  • How and why not having children frees him to be a children’s author, and why a writer friend told him that being a stay-at-home dad was the worst decision he ever made, and
  • The profoundly alienating experience of growing up as the only Chinese Canadian boy in Morinville, Alberta and how it’s affected him for life

 

Along the way I refer to The Memory Eaters, his unpublished novel he wrote for Book Television 3 Day Novel Contest reality TV series, season 1, for which I was a judge. The novel was a pre-Walking Dead zombie story that was uniquely from the zombie’s perspective and touchingly and profoundly addressed loneliness, isolation, social networks, and love. He also cites his opera The Forbidden Phoenix which incorporated the classic Chinese story of the Monkey King and Chinese Canadian experiences.

We spoke on June 23, 2008 at his home in Edmonton. This interview has never been aired before. And now on MF GALAXY, my conversation with Marty Chan.

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Mar 21, 2017

If you listen to CBC Radio then you’ve almost certainly heard the comedy of Neil Grahn. He’s been a debater on The Debaters, but he’s best known as one of the sketch comics on and lead writer for The Irrelevant Show.

Years ago Grahn was part of a pioneering sketch comedy troupe in Edmonton called Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie which included Cathleen Rootsaert, Wes Borg, and the late Joe Bird, which was briefly a television show. He’s currently the writer/director/producer behind the Gemini Award-winning series Taking It Off, and he’s a documentarian with many films to his credit including one about Amber Valley, one of the earliest African towns in Alberta. He’s constantly busy writing pilots and hustling to put new work into gear. The man is a machine, with plenty of wisdom to share about making it in the business of comedy writing.

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Neil Grahn discusses:

  • The no-nonsense approach to acting for actors and directors and why both must be open to whiplash-inducing turns
  • Why being a great comedy writer means risking never earning a living
  • His legendary E-Town comedy troupe Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie and how it didn’t get its name
  • The percentages game of writing and recording his hit comedy radio programme The Irrelevant Show
  • What more money costs you in show biz, and why making comedy on CBC radio is such a creative joy
  • How sketches go from the page to the stage on The Irrelevant Show

He spoke with me at his home in South-West Edmonton on November 19, 2014. And now on MF GALAXY, my conversation with Neil Grahn.

neilgrahn.com

deadtroll.com

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Mar 13, 2017

If you’re a Canadian who loves books as much as you love radio, then it’s almost a guarantee that legendary broadcaster Shelagh Rogers has been in your life for a long time.

Rogers is the host and producer of CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, Canada’s leading author-interview radio show focusing on indigenous and settler Canadian writers. She started at CBC in 1980, hosting music and current affairs programmes, and working her way up eventually became the permanent guest host on Peter Gzowski’s Morningside, the host of This Morning, and also of Sounds Like Canada.

She’s won a range of awards and honourary doctorates, and as a result of her work and advocacy, Native Counseling Services of Alberta gave her their Achievement in the Aboriginal Community Award, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada inducted her as an honourary witness, the Order of Canada elected her as an Officer, and the University of Victoria named her Chancellor.

Rogers was in Edmonton on February 28, 2017 to host the Edmonton Public Library’s Conversation about Reconciliation at the Ramada Inn on Kingsway. Before she took the stage, we spoke briefly about a range of topics, including:

  • How a group of residential school survivors changed her life, and why she needed quit her show to pursue their story
  • The job of her show The Next Chapter and why literature shouldn’t be All Bran
  • The personal quality that interviewers must possess, and how you can learn to enhance it
  • When people are most likely to respond to you so you can build rapport
  • The advice that radio legend Peter Gzowski gave her
  • Why not being able to see her guests is not a bug, but a feature
  • How CanLit has changed for the better, and
  • For broadcasters and podcasters, the best way to style your voice

And now on MF GALAXY, my conversation with Shelagh Rogers.

Shelagh Rogers provided EPL with a selection of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children's books that explore residential schools, reconciliation, and Indigenous identity.

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Mar 6, 2017

You ever dream of being a filmmaker? Maybe writing or directing television? Maybe you thought about it and figured that moving to Hollywood was out of the question, or even if you were willing to go, that climbing the ladder in Hollywood was too long a shot?

Or even if you were willing to try the long slog, you wouldn’t want men in suits ruining the stories you really want to tell by replacing all your egalitarian ideas with offensive stereotypes, or shoving all your most ingenious character creation, plots, and world-building into a blender to turn them into mass-market pablum? Because it takes millions of dollars to make a movie, which you could never raise on your own?

What if I told you that you could stay in your home town or even home country, tell the stories you want to tell and the way you want to tell them, and that it wouldn’t be Hollywood paying the bills, but your most loyal fans? Sound too good to be true?

It won’t sound that way to maverick indie filmmaker and pioneering crowdfunder Ben Dobyns, because that’s exactly what he’s done and doing.

Dobyns is a film producer, editor, cinematographer, composer, writer, and director, and one of the founders of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, or ZOE. He also has a minor in Latin. He worked for years in Seattle and has now relocated to Vancouver BC. He and ZOE have just completed their third season of their indie-TV comedy-fantasy series JourneyQuest.

They’ve also produced Strowlers, a forthcoming series about a world in which magic is suppressed and regulated by a xenophobic, oppressive government.  

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Ben Dobyns discusses:

  • What Hollywood film-makers should be learning from French film production to make their workplaces better for workers
  • How getting ripped off by a Hollywood distributor led him to create a Creative Commons business model
  • Why indie film is a bad investment while his company Zombie Orpheus can repay investors within twelve months
  • The 1000 True Fans concept, how his team invented Patreon before Patreon, and how they crowd-fund today
  • Why your films should be ads for your company instead of selling ads for your films
  • How best to use Kickstarter and Patreon simultaneously, what his different backers want from each, and one surprisingly delightful physical reward
  • How he gets to make exactly the films he wants, and why selling his company’s stories and worlds to a giant media company would probably destroy their value
  • Why he’s heading off to Mongolia to work with the shamans of Ulaanbaatar, and
  • What makes human beings and societies stronger

We spoke by Skype on February 15, 2017, and began by discussing the critically-important question that a mentor asked him about what price he was willing to pay for success in filmmaking.

Ben Dobyns IMDb http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1389141/

 

Zombie Orpheus Entertainment YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ZombieOrpheusEnt

 

Zombie Orpheus Entertainment is fan funded and creator distributed. Support them at Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/zombieorpheus

 

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