Web Series: Dads

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Dads, the web series has been a working project for four years. Currently, they’re trying to raise the last bit of money that they need so they can go to camera.

We were lucky enough to get to ask S. Siobhan McCarthy, co-creator with Adam O. Thomas, a few questions about the show and how she has worked on it, and even pitched it to major TV Networks.

How did you come up for the idea for Dads?
The idea for DADS came from my co-creator Adam O Thomas
His wife approached me about an idea he had and I met with him, my company blyssful PRODUCTIONS optioned the concept and developed it with him.

I provided the company, the structure and took it to market where I pitched it to Broadcasters and Distributors.
In the fall of 2011 I applied to BC Film + media’s interactive fund and we successfully received $50K from them to develop the show, shoot a sizzle reel and create a digital strategy.
In the spring of 2013, I applied to the IPF under blyssful PRODUCTIONS and red trike media inc and we were successful!
I have also been a part of the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab ideaBOOST affiliate program.

You’ve been working on getting this series made for 4 years now, what have been the challenges?
Well the biggest challenge has been that we were early adopters pitching a high concept show, that, whilst we’ve been developing ours, three others have come to market ahead of us- Guys with Kids, Modern Dads and now fox’s “dads”. We pitched our show DADS to fox in 2010. We are now having to re-brand and call our show and our brand something else. We went viral under the title of DADS (dadsdotcom) so re-branding is quite daunting and it will be a lot of work to transfer our fan base over to new Facebook pages, website, and twitter handles.

You’re the only west coast series to get funded by the IPF, can you explain what that is?
The IPF is the Independent Production Fund. It’s a fund with the mandate to help create web series that do not have a broadcaster or digital channel.
there were 157 applications and 14 series were funded- most being from Toronto and Quebec. We are the only BC show.

And why is getting funding from the IPF important?
The IPF is a CRTC approved fund. In Canada and beyond its considered the golden standard of web series funders. They have an international jury made up of some of the best and brightest minds in the space. The jury selected the best series and then funded them accordingly to the tune of $1.6 million in equity investment for the 14 series . The IPF and Creative BC have been our major financial backers. You can see our financial chart here.

You have an Indiegogo campaign underway right now, how is that going?
Yes our igg campaign is underway with a few more days left. We are trying to raise $20,000. Thus far we have secured $7,277 via the platform and another $2000 in private donations. I’m fascinated by crowd funding and am so very grateful to all of the wonderful people who have invested their hard earned money into our property. Its not easy to ask friends and family for money and in my experience, running this campaign, I am blown away by the generosity of strangers. I have a huge appreciation for my amazing 1% of fans whom I have never met face to face. They are so supportive of our show via social media. When I utilize the #fanswillmakethisshow or post anything else, they are the first responders to re-tweet and share our content. I am also so very appreciative of the amazing support we have received from Indie gogo Canada and Indie gogo in the states. The kind, attentive staff reviewed our campaign before we launched. Have entertained and fielded our questions and concerns via email and conference calls and really want us to succeed. They selected us for their staff round up and have asked us to speak at their cross Canada tour.

Is it difficult to get funding to create a series like yours?
One of the challenges of our show is that its far from mainstream. Its edgy. Therefore, eliminating a large audience demographic and potential brands from participating in our creation. Thus far, we have received our funding as a result of the quality work we have produced and our amazing professional team. When Peter DeLuise came on board, our show became A- LIst because he and his team are top drawer quality professionals. Our cast is amazing and we are so very lucky to have such amazingly talented people work on our show. Tracey Mack is one of the best producing partners that I could ever wish for. She has an incredible mind, is a fantastic collaborator and is a genius at working the numbers/ budgets. Her problem solving skills and creative approach to producing has enabled us to really capitalize on the funding we have secured thus far.

The series deals with some subjects that might not be suitable for all audiences. Was this a conscientious decision?
Yes. Myself and Adam, made conscientious decisions in 2010 when Fox and other broadcasters were interested in our show. We were clear from day one that our humour and comedy is for pay television. We have always created our series in the vein of “Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and can’t fathom watering down our humour or approach to the work.

How did you choose the actors who would play the Dads?
Above and beyond being a content creator/producer, I have been a professional working actor for over 17 years. I also started off Directing so it is my job to know the local acting community. I have admired and worked with most of these actors for years. I consider them my friends.

You have some very familiar names amongst the cast and crew. was it important to you that you had high quality casting and production?
Yes, as a director, i used to say 95% of my job was casting. I asked Peter DeLuise to direct our series, whist I was on set working for him, as a clown on the show, The Haunting Hour. I was blown away by his set. Never in all my days on set had i experienced such a happy, well oiled cast and crew. I was impressed by his ability to work with kids, make his days early and how kind and supportive he was. I witnessed him pull amazing performances out of seasoned and not so seasoned performers. Peter brought most of his team onto our series- his fabulous AD Paul Turner, award winning DOP Michel Balfry and his team, and James Hazell our wonderful Production Designer. Over the years, I have sought out to know and learn about my colleagues and their bodies of work. I have worked for VIFF’s forum for 13 years and I attend markets. I have made it my job to get to know the local, national and international talent. I have a specific aesthetic and approach to dark comedy, that when I find likeminded spirits I do my best to work with them, so we can all create together. I was trained in the theatre and i’m a huge fan of collaboration. Anyone who works with me needs to thrive in a collaborative environment and not fear it.

When can we expect to see some more episodes?
we aim to go to camera in the late fall, early winter and will release new episodes in the new year, under the series title, PARKED

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