I recently spoke with actor, writer, director & producer Jason Barbeck (below), co-founder of Reel Deal Guys Entertainment Inc. (RDG) about his new Toronto-based TV and film production company he launched with business partner Rafael Kalamat, also a multi-talented filmmaker/actor.
Windsor-born Barbeck’s acting credits include films A Father’s Claim (2014), Saving Grace (2010) and A History of Violence (2005), plus TV appearances in Murdoch Mysteries, Copper and Flashpoint. He’s also a voice specialist with hundreds of commercials to his credit for numerous Canadian and US campaigns. He’s currently the voice of SAIL, The Outdoor Superstore.
GF: Jason, what first inspired you to become an actor?
JB: In Gr.3, we had to build life sized cardboard figures of what we wanted to be when we grew up. I made a lawyer in a pinstriped suit. I loved the way a lawyer commanded the audience in a court room, but then I realized…he was acting! I wanted to be able to do that.
GF: What was your first paid acting job?
JB: My first paid professional gig was as a dancer in a magic show. It was at a place called Boblo Island which was an amusement park island between Windsor and Detroit. It was a summer job while I was still at Sheridan Music Theatre School so it was pretty awesome!
GF: When did you realize you could actually make a living as an actor & why?
JB: After doing summer stock for about six straight years, it was clear that there were people out there who would actually give me money to sing, dance and jump around on stage. Who knew?
GF: What prompted the move to found RDG Entertainment Inc. and what brought you and your business partner, Rafael Kalamat, together?
JB: Well, it was the classic case of getting tired of waiting for the phone to ring. Rafael and I felt that we had a lot to offer and both of us had been in the industry for over 25 years so we decided to join forces. We met on the set of Murdoch Mysteries where we played “continuity constables” for three years. Our plan of action was to form a company to make demo reels for actors because we felt it was a good niche for us, being that we could write, produce, act and direct. Next thing you know we have this TV talk show (In The Room) for which our first guests were the entire cast of Murdoch Mysteries (below).
GF: How do you see RDG impacting the Canadian film & tv scene?
JB: Our hopes are that our TV series, In The Room, can really put Canadian talent on the map. We’re interested in promoting a star system similar to what they do in the US by showcasing and exposing the world to what is being shot in our country and who is featured in these projects.
Below: a recent In The Room taping during RDG’s recent trip to LA.
GF: What are your current/upcoming projects?
JB: We are in the development stage of a feature film called Adam’s Testament. It’s a project that is close to me personally, being that I wrote it back in 1998, and Rafael and I are giving it new life…..it’s all very exciting. We also have multiple episodes of In The Room in the works, and a TV pilot for the fall.
GF: What are your dreams/aspirations for yourself and for RDG?
JB: My dreams are to leave a legacy for my son and to solidify the work of RDG in the archives
of Canadian film and television history. We want to create a home where creative artists can come together and collaborate to turn their artistic goals into a reality.
GF: Are you looking for new actors, writers, directors and if so, how do people reach you?
JB: Because we are in a multifaceted, multi-collaborative and multi-tiered business, we are always looking to team up with like-minded individuals who can bring forward material that can be marketed and distributed. It is such a daunting process and experience to bring a project from script to picture to broadcast, so our aim is to ease the journey by educating and advising from a grass roots level. Anything is possible when you have the right team and we’d love to hear from similar minded filmmakers – reach us via out website (see below)
Jason went on to say: I just want to add that we would not be here without the support of our families and mentors. I feel truly blessed to be where I am at this point in my life. Thank you.
You can reach Jason and Rafael via the RDG website: http://reeldealguys.com/ and follow their series, In The Room on: Facebook.com/In-The-Room and on Twitter: @reeldealguys