The Ollie and Emma first look!

Please check out the first Ollie and Emma webseries trailer!  So excited to begin sharing this story I have been working on with Cheri Jacobs for over two years now.

The story to me is all about starting a conversation across divides, something that has to happen for everyone’s sake.  This can happen when we are inclusive, and everyone can join the fun.
So click below and enjoy!  Look for our show on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and WordPress to find out about this upcoming release!

Ollie and Emma YouTube trailer

Ollie and Emma – Chek News!

 

 

One of the things that’s been the most exciting about the creation of this webseries, along with being so happy to see what we’ve been working on for so long finally come to life, is how the momentum of it is still going! Lots of friendships were made on set and on our own social […]

via Ollie and Emma – Chek TV feature! — Ollie and Emma – The Series

One World Playlist

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This is something I’ve just started playing with, along with my more localized Westsound Magazine project.  It came from listening to some Coast Salish drumming on YouTube which lead me to this really interesting Coast Salish Suite produced by Bravo Fact.  In the video you hear a mix of First Nations music with a full orchestra, resolving with the work of the conductor.

From being a fan of music and watching those giant crowds of people to my own experiences playing before crowds, I can tell you that there is definitely something going on under the surface of our songs.

From the simple power of an drum song to gatherings of music across the world something connects straight into us.  Its like synchronicity.  Or that could be me just being a Police fan.

Anyways, I already had a SoundCloud channel, so I started putting together a playlist of music from around the world.

It isn’t finished (in fact I don’t think it logically could ever truly be) but it’s got eleven already, mixing some traditional music with some more contemporary.

Have a listen!

Cheers,

Tom

She’s from the Rez! An interview! Whoa!

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I’m sitting in Cook Street Village with a girl who you may have seen popping up on my different social media sites.  Her name is Cece (Cecelia) Sawyer and she is not only my sweety but she is also the in house consultant when Cheri and I are working on bits for our character Mandy, as a cultural consultant and she has been our photographer, extra, and more assistant on everything we do.  She is not only First Nations but she is born and raised on a reservation, namely the Scianew Beecher Bay Reservation near Metchosin, British Columbia.

Q. So, Cece, what was it like growing up on the Rez in Beecher Bay?

A. It was beautiful.  I lived with my grandparents for most of it.  I remember learning my manners and being polite.  I also learned a lot about Native traditions.

Q. How long were you there?

A. I was there all my life, until I was about twenty two I think.  My grandparents looked after me and my cousins.  I remember going to the First Nations church.  That was me and my grandparents and my mom.

Q. What kind of church was that?  Christian or Native, or a mix

A. It was Christian, praying to the same God.  Everybody thinks its not but it is.  I remember my mom using shaker bells and everyone singing Native Songs, in our language.  I remember shaking each others going around before we would leave.  Everyone in the church had to wear all white.  Some of the songs were healing songs.  That was cool

Q. What was in the Rez besides obviously homes.

A. Dogs!  Just kidding.  There is the Longhouse which I also call a smokehouse there.  They do ceremonies.  It’s called a smokehouse because of traditional fires used during ceremonies like funerals.  My uncle use to own a corner store there.  If you wanted to go off the reserve you had to get someone to take us because there was no bus service.

Q Is there a shuttle now?

A. No.  I’ve heard people to talk about it at the Treaty Conference at Ocean Point.  Once and a while you get to go to these.

Q. Is there anything else you remember?

A. Lots of Chief elections.  There was some partying back then.  I’m glad it’s not as much like nowadays.  I like going out to my Uncle’s for Thanksgiving.  He has a beautiful home that he built right on the Pacific Ocean.  The rez is now called Spirit Bay and it’s definitely changing for the better.

Living Languages

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Cece Sawyer exploring interactive exhibits

History is like a rising sun.  As our world gets closer and interacts the stories pour out from every corner.  The light floods every alley, every crag, every paper strewn gutter.  History is the great equalizer in a way.  It’s like a secondary version of glory or not.  What we do now ripples out into the galaxy.
My girlfriend and I went to the Royal British Columbia Museum as she hadn’t been there since she was little and I wanted to do some research into First Nations mythology, especially the section with the masks.  It’s best to do that on a weekday I found out as the section was crowded and hard to get notes.

But what was exciting was when we got off the escalator onto the 3rd floor.  There is now a permanent exhibition on First Nations language and stories called Living Languages.

Situated in the entrance to the 3rd floor in what was previously an empty space is a beautifully designed vibrant display of how the language that was nearly silenced is on the rise.  Films created in part by contributors from our community and across the province showcase the language, it’s importance and how it is still being taught despite the years of the schools attempt to suppress it. 

It reminds me of my own Catholic faith which I argue with all the time but I’m sure when the chips are down I will ask for last rights.   The Romans originally tried to silence us (lions played a part here) because they thought we were cannibals with the “body and blood of Christ” bit.

As the sun continues to rise the darkness washes away.  Our schools now explain the story of the residential school system which never happened at my age.  I am glad to see this happen as it has to.

Faith while debated should always be respected as should culture.  It is the lush fabric of our beautiful world.

Tom

Check out the exhibit now at…
http://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/our-living-languages/

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Listening to stories

Created by TomPogson.com

My problem with cultural appropriation.

One of our rules in the Ollie and Emma project is that we leave the issue aside and just have fun with the opportunity to bring people together.  That aside I think their should be some ground rules.  Being the white half of a comedy team writing a multicultural project knowing where the line between funny and too far is only too apparent.  It all comes down to simply respecting someone else and looking past the stereotypes which need to be finally dropped.
The problem I have with Halloween headdresses, sport teams names and so on is that it treats Native culture like it’s something of the past.  We call the University of Victoria sports teams the Vikes (Vikings).  We don’t call them the UVic Norwegians.  There is another team I’m sure is called the Pilgrims (I will admit…I’m not especially a sports person.  Apologies to those who are.).  The folks who are referred to as Braves are still very much alive and active as well as the use of real ceremonial garments (and unless your entire sports team is First Nations, which would have the name make more sense).  The best way to think of this is consider something that is important or sacred to yourself and ask yourself if you would want it used like a gimmick.  Yeah, First Nations people don’t love that either.

This is one of the things about working with my cowriter Cheri Jacobs that I think has it’s own influence on the Ollie and Emma project.  Our two cultures can work together with common respect and have lots of fun doing it.  All the people who I have met have been very welcoming and free of judgement. 

Community is possible.

Cheers,
Tom

Posted from WordPress for Android

Stopping to catch up

Sort of a good time to catch up as we are at the start of March.  It’s my birthday month (ok that’s self indulgence, I apologize) but sitting on a bus with more posters it’s kind of less imposing though.
I don’t really get concerned about my age most of the time.  My main inspirations created their best work past 30 so it doesn’t even phase me.
March is St Patrick’s month and that means I get to do lots of shows with Cookeilidh (presently out in James Bay with posters. ..trying to get to each of Victoria’s micro communities.  And there is a whole lot of those.  A friend and I were discussing that.  It’s one of the cool things about our city and the diversity that’s been here since the Gold Rush but perhaps that’s why travelling across town feels so epic.  It’s like you’re going through six towns before you get to where you’re going.

Ollie and Emma is still very much active too with setting up everything with our awesome new executive producer Less Bland Productions and Cheri and I are working not only on that but on creating other pitches that we could also use in the future.  Our next skit is slated to be one featuring our two fun surreal elders played by Fred Samuel and Wolf Rick Patterson and we will soon be starting the table reads and rehearsal for that.  I get a lot of questions about when do I sleep…i use a memo app so far.  Maybe one day I’ll have a secretary with a memo app.  We’ll have matching memo apps.  That would be amazing.

Oh yeah, and when I have time I’ve been playing around with a little blog story.  I’ll try to keep it pretty regularly posted at least until the story is done.  I’m typing this on a phone and sometimes the auto suggestions are far more interesting than what I write.  I have got to meet that guy someday.  Anyways the new blog is at…

https://journalbymax.wordpress.com/

Have to cut this a little short as I’ll miss my stop. 

Cheers,
Tom

Posted from WordPress for Android

Mid December Madness!

Hey everyone!  Been a really busy week and right now I am up ridiculously early (got up at 3:30)…doing things that sort of qualify as work, but yeah it’s mostly puttering.  I can sleep later.  I’ll get to it.  More coffee!

This time of year is not only the gift buying but so many projects are going full tilt.  When I’m not working Cheri and I writing the first season of Ollie and Emma, getting ready for promo shoots and then of course you fit in being a returning student at Uvic which is in those exam things and the band http://www.Cookeilidh.com is getting geared up for Chrismas, including a show at the Mary Winspear center that I am totally stoked about being that I grew up on the Peninsula!

Here’s a recent photo from the Ollie and Emma shoots before I just go off on a tangent about defining “growing up on a peninsula”.  Yeah, that’s probably for the best…

http://ollieandemma.wordpress.com

 

Cast shoot for Ollie and Emma at Cinevic

Cast shoot for Ollie and Emma at Cinevic