Anyone who knows me well knows that I wanted to be a pop star when I was young but sadly, I am a rather bad singer. I ended up making music and shows with other better singers, dancers and musicians for many years.
I got to meet and/or work with incredible talent like Tina Turner, Whitney Houston (RIP), Sting, James Taylor, Liza Minnelli, and adorable Aussie Michael Hutchence (RIP).
My first award-winning short film I co-wrote, performed in, co-produced and directed was a parody of one of my faves, The Sound of Music.
Back in Canada I worked for Lenz Entertainment on music and TV projects. Then my first TV series I created (and co-directed part of with fabulous Alison Duke) Hip Hop in the T-Dot, I got to work with some amazing Toronto Hip Hop artists, then I made the kids’ music and dance series Pop It! with wonderful original songs.
Since Pop It! , I have really wanted to create and produce a scripted musical comedy for tweens and families showcasing diverse young singers and dancers. I made so many pitches but could never find the right catcher.
Finally, my long-time dream has started to come true: I teamed up with Filipina comedian and triple threat Isabel Kanaan who plays Detective Guinto in our award-winning slasher comedy Sloppy Jones. We got development funding from The Ontario Creates IDM Fund for Northern Nightingales, the story of a young Filipina singer who moves to Toronto and finds her voice in the Northern Nightingales competitive choir. We had early support from Victoria Fusca, Mary Bredin, Sophie Nation, Carrie Cutforth, Kara Harun, Cheryl Meyer, Joanne Eidinger, Sharon Lee Williams, Guy Knowles and the CMF.
Last weekend, we shot the teaser demo for Northern Nightingales so I wanted to say thanks to the whole team of friends, creatives, performers and crew who helped make it happen.
Thank you to our Team and Supporters
Ontario Creates and CMF thank you for supporting this wonderful project.
Emma Campbell and Izzy Kanaan: you wrote such a sensitive, funny, and fun script which managed to communicate everything we wanted in a creative entertaining way – the comedy, the immigrant POV and feelings about moving to Canada, the relationships young teen girls have with social media and their the mothers, the choir world, and the incredible voices. I love it!
And Izzy thanks for both performing and supporting BTS throughout the afternoon of filming.
Emma, you also bravely took on the challenge of directing an ambitious day with multi-cam music performances, comedy, dialogue, and ACTRA minors (who were absolutely brilliant by the way). Plus you were dealing with a protective creator/producer like me and a new team. You got everything we wanted done with grace, humour, and kindness. The kids shone and we captured lots of magic moments (including iconic hair toss). Plus everyone had a ball, which is important to me.
DOP Dale Hildebrand: You are so brilliant. Thank you for pushing me but keeping it reasonable. I LOVED the money shots you got as always, your ‘vlog’ set was better than mine LOL and the ringlight move was stunning. Your eye and your passion are amazing. I am so grateful. I can’t wait to see everything.
Joel, you too are such a wonderful talented DOP and cameraman and I am so lucky to work with you. Just loving the close-ups and reactions you got!
Thank you to your whole team: Jason, Anastasia, Sergei, Timur, Ismail, and Phi. You were all so fast, efficient, professional, and a pleasure to work with.
Thank you to Script Supervisers Sophie Nation and Simon McNally. You made me so proud Soph and you both made things look easy in spite of so many set ups. Simon your thoughtful input was much appreciated throughout the day.
The only big hiccup was our AD was too busy and then sick so a total disaster for me. I got the call sheet sent out just in time and luckily, I had done my own schedule we could use, but not my strength or preference. Thank you all for going the extra mile and especially to Lory Mpiana, who stepped up as instant AD, took hold of the hot mess, remained calm, paid attention to so many details and got us through smoothly on time: really well done!
Thank you also to Nicole, my right hand woman, who was an absolute angel and kept everything organized and running smoothly BTS. My binder is bliss, the catering was great (thanks to Epicater- highly recommend), we followed all the rules and we left the Church in excellent condition. Invaluable!
Stevie D: so sorry for lumping you with the challenge of playback on top of rather complicated audio with lots of different players. I was definitely penny-wise and pound foolish but you and Michael were both awesome as always. I have no doubt it will sound incredible. I know for next time.
Bella thank you for your kindness, patience and talent with hair and make-up. Everyone looked amazing.
Thank you to Ted Nation, the best husband, Exec Producer and PA ever. Could not have done it without you.