Tag Archives: Murdoch Mysteries

Reel Deal Guys take on Canadian film & TV production

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.

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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).

murdoch 2 murdoch 4 murdoch 5 murdoch 6GF: 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.

Roundtable guests roundtable 3 Group1GF: 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

ITR_S1E2_Jason_Rafael_Poolside_Hilton_1Above: RDG partners Rafael Kalamat and Jason Barbeck working poolside in LA! And (below) on the red carpet for recent film tech awards in LA.

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CANADIAN INT’L AUTO SHOW DELIVERS BRIGHT SHINY TOYS FOR GROWN UPS!

20150212_092907I spent this past Thursday trolling the aisles of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre with the media pack, ooo’ing and aaah’ing at the big shiny cars and trucks being unveiled at this year’s Canadian International Auto Show (www.autoshow.ca) Runs now to Feb.22.

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20150212_083417 20150212_083512 20150212_083543As Nicole, the auto reporter for The Rider newspaper, was too sick to attend the show, I promised her I would take tons of pics and grab all the marketing materials for her so she could write her column from her bed…poor thing, but what dedication.  The Rider (www.therider.com) targets the horse industry in Ontario and our story focus is on the trucks and haulers suited to heavy farm work so I was thrilled to see the first unveiling was the Truck of the Year – the Ford F150 (below)

20150212_081706Lots more Fords followed…including the pretty Ford promo ladies (below)

20150212_090150 20150212_085437 20150212_090206 20150212_093110More trucks, including my faves from last year, the Denali & Silverado (below)

20150212_084439 20150212_084550 20150212_084249I was also pleased to see some old vintage faves such as the VW Camper, the Jeep and a Cdn NASCAR stockcar.

20150212_091706 20150212_091925 20150212_091755But I have to admit, my heart belongs to daddy…or should I say “grand-daddy”. The vintage car collection sponsored by the nice folks from Cobble Beach Resort up on Georgian Bay (www.cobblebeach.com) whose annual Concours d’Elegance vintage car show takes place Sept. 13th and features 100+ rare vintage autos.

20150212_093856 20150212_093847 20150212_094529 20150212_094405 20150212_094421 20150212_093746I was fascinated by the rare yellow Stutz Bearcat (above) along with other early and mid-century autos. Just look at the atomic fins and lights on this baby…

20150212_094320 20150212_094312They also hosted a special display of turn of the century autos along with the Murdoch Mysteries tv series cast – Jonny Harris, who plays Const. Crabtree attended and rumour has it that other cast members will be dropping by over the course of the show.

20150212_093827 20150212_093808 20150212_093607 20150212_093704I ran into my friends and fellow bloggers, Carcia & Telly Campbell of http://www.itsmusicfashionlife.com who were filming interviews and featuring some of the more innovative displays including this one (below) where Telly tried on a suit that made her feel like an older person – slowed responses, lethargic behind the wheel and on the brakes. Yikes, welcome to my world, girl!

20150212_101603 20150212_101611Whether you’re a true blue gear-head or just love looking at cool cars, the CIAS’15 is the show for you, so set aside a full day to go thru all the displays throughout the North and South buildings of the MTCC.  And if you have little lugnuts, they will love test driving the mini Ford F150 trucks (below).

20150212_090258Lots more to see and do, including the Auto Exotica display featuring Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley, Aston Martin, Maserati, Lotus, Tesla, Rolls-Royce and Pagan in the lower level of the North Building.  Here are a few more random shots of my exciting day at the Auto Show…big thanks to the organizers of the media day – bravo, good job on keeping us well fed and watered!

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Lights, camera, ACTION! Chatting with actor Brian Kaulback.

Back in the late 70’s, I was a working actor (which meant I was also a waitress or bartender!!). One of my favourite gigs was actor/writer at the Flamingo Cabaret located in what was then the German-Canadian Club on Sherbourne St, Toronto – now home to the Phoenix Nightclub. We were a group of crazy improv actors, much like Second City, but we didn’t have the big show budgets they did. We were lucky if we made $50 a week each back then, but we loved creating comedy sketches and making people laugh. And we were especially happy when our shows scored better reviews than Second City did…and that was pretty frequent (I still have the press clippings to prove it!!).

img241L to R: Brian, Jim, me & Lawrence on stage at the Flamingo Cabaret (1979)

I’ve kept in touch with a couple of my cast mates and recently sat down with the hard-working Brian Kaulback  whose face you may recognize from his numerous appearances as Constable Hodge on the hit tv series, Murdoch Mysteries. (Brian is below right with Murdoch star Yannick Bisson, centre) and movies such as Tommy Boy, Gotti, Cold Creek Manor and X-Men.

BK murdochPhoto: Craig Grant/Shaftesbury Prods.

Q: Brian, did you always want to be an actor, and when/what was your first acting job?
BK: When I was in Grade 3, I entered a school talent show and sang Perry Como’s “Catch a Falling Star” and I remember the applause at the end of the song….and I was hooked on wanting to be on stage. By the time I was in Gr. 7 or 8 and I saw my older brother, Gary, in a school musical “My Fair Lady” and I followed a few years later by getting involved in my high school production of “Oliver”.

Q: Theatre, film or TV…which do you like the best and why?
BK: I love theatre, although I’m unfortunately out of the loop in the Toronto theatre scene right now. It’s more about who you know and being connected, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t do a theatre production if asked. It makes more financial sense for me right now to focus on film and television like I have for many years.

Q: You’ve been working on Murdoch Mysteries, one of Canada’s most successful series airing around the world. What’s it like on set – who do you hang with and how did you flesh out the character of Const. Hodge?
BK:  After 8 seasons on Murdoch Murder Mysteries, it really has become a family with the cast and crew. Mostly I hang out with the other regular Constables as they have a nice room set aside for us with couches and lockers – all very comfortable and relaxing.

Brian KQ: You recently wrote an outline for a tv series called Forensic Fringe Cop and a pilot has already been shot. What inspired the story and what are your aspirations for the show?
BK: I wrote an outline for “Forensic Fringe Cop” while hanging out with the Murdoch constables. It was my first time ever doing something like that and when I showed it to a couple of the other constable actors (Jason Barbeck and Rafael Kalamat) they said why don’t we shoot this. So they became my director and producer and we shot it in one day. I live in The Performer Arts Lodge (PAL building) in downtown Toronto and fellow resident native Canadian actor Billy Merasty inspired the story. However, when it came to shooting the pilot he wasn’t available to play the lead so we had to recast. I feel that Tim Hill, another native Canadian actor, did a very good job in the role, and I would love to “Forensic Fringe Cop” be developed into a series.

FFCQ:  Among other great directors, you’ve also been directed by one of my favourite Canadian actors, Clark Johnson, who starred in Homicide: Life on the Streets – a brilliantly written cop show set in Baltimore. Did you learn anything from Clark that you are now applying to your work as a writer/actor?
BK:  I met Clark Johnson when I was standing in for the lead actor on series called “Katts and Dog”. At the time, Clark was keeping himself busy working for the Special Effects Department. He really knows how to work with actors and through the years I would bump into him and once in awhile, hand him my latest demo reel and thankfully he would remember me. He brought me in to audition for a couple of good projects and I got the roles. He never forgets what it’s like to be a struggling actor and he was willing to give me opportunities. As an actor, I really appreciated the faith he put in me and I’ll never forget that.

Q:  Any upcoming films, tv shows or stage appearances we should watch for?
BK: I had a small role on “Haunted Peak” directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hiddleston, and I hope my scene is still in when it comes out. Having del Toro’s name on your resume certainly doesn’t hurt. I’m also waiting to hear on a few more projects but nothing certain yet…oh the life of an actor!

Q: Do you have a website or social media account we can follow you on?
BK: I’m not too computer savvy so Facebook is the only social media I’m on. I welcome tv and film fans to come on over and Like my Facebook page: Facebook.com/Brian.Kaulback

BK photo 2Congratulations to Brian on successfully shooting his “Forensic Fringe Cop” pilot with Rafael and Jason of RDG Entertainment Inc.  http://reeldealguys.com/ and fingers crossed we’ll soon see Brian chasing down the bad guys in his own TV show!

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ALL STAR LUNCHEON….THE BEST ANNUAL PARTY @ TIFF!

Every year I look fwd to receiving my invitation from Sari & Bill Marshall, Founder of the original Festival of Festivals, now known around the world as the Toronto Int’l Film Festival, and without a doubt this year’s luncheon was the bestest ever!! LOL.  Held at the legendary Barberian’s Restaurant in downtown Toronto, the food was spectacular, the drinks never-ending and our hosts held court over an amazing cross-section of the film industry’s elite, politicos, rock stars, sports celebs, media…and us. My lovely, charming assistant, Kaneesha, and I schmoozed our faces off, connecting our clients Peter & Edna Pereira of Fit2Touch  www.fit2touch.com and filmmaker Joseph Procopio  www.josephprocopio.ca with all the cool party revelers.

(below – Kaneesha w/Edna & Peter of Fit2Touch)  20130907_125307 20130907_125547                                          (above – Edna, Peter & Joseph Procopio)

We were thrilled to connect with Yannick Bisson, star of the hit TV series Murdoch Mysteries and his gorgeous actress wife Chantal.  Murdoch has been sold/distributed around the world and has become one of the biggest TV series to come out of Canada. Fingers crossed that the US market picks it up for network broadcast – Murdoch Mysteries has become a brand synonymous with quality dramatic acting and writing and showcases Toronto and turn of the 20th century Canada so brilliantly. (below – Yannick & Chantal)

20130907_135943Joseph Procopio recently returned from screening his latest film, Sundae, at the renowned Rhode Island Film Fest where the film took top honours with the GERALD LAMOUREUX AWARD. He flies off on Monday to appear at the LA Shorts Fest where Sundae is again in competition. Good luck, JP!  Here he is with Edna & Peter.20130907_125547

Can you spot the pop star here? Photo below features 70’s pop icon Andy Kim (Rock Me Gently & Sugar Sugar) mixes it up with political animal John Tory (L) and their respective ladies. Check out Andy’s website www.andykimmusic.com  John Tory with Andy Kim

And speaking of politics, we were thrilled to meet Senator Don Meredith and his beautiful and elegant wife Michelle who graciously posed for photos with Kaneesha, Edna & Peter…and I finally got the guts to get in front of the camera myself.

20130907_14550520130907_145930Sari Marshall welcomed legendary writer & film aficionado George Anthony (below L) and Bill Marshall chatted with guests Michael and Jessica (bottom photo).Sari with Geo Anthony Michael, Jessica & Bill MarshallAnd CBC TV was well-represented at the All-Star Luncheon, too (centre)

CBC boysand first time TIFFer’s Edna & Peter really got around – here they are with Canadian Olympic cycling medalist & World Record holder Curt Harnett who couldn’t have been nicer to chat with.  20130907_151032

Here are some more maaahvelous guests including the oh so fabulous Jaymz Bee (in elegant blue suit) with his lovely date, singer Barbra Lica www.barbralica.com and then a very powerful threesome – my ex-boss & Founder of Yuk Yuk’s Mark Breslin, Bill Marshall and Telefilm Canada’s Dan Lyon (I can only imagine what naughty showbiz stories those fellas are sharing!)

Jaymz Bee Breslin, Marshall & LyonOne of the charming caterers was Nisha Amin of Bite Bar www.bitebar.ca who made sure we all satisfied our sweet-tooth cravings with deelish cheesecake and mini cupcake treats.Bite Guide

And I think Kaneesha boarded the Love Boat with Commander Tim O’Leary, Commanding Officer of the HMCS York (below)Comm. Tim O'Leary & Kaneesha

When I arrived at the party, there was one heck of a musical mash-up happening outside with cast and musicians from the new Avi Federgreen movie, The Cocksure Lads Movie which stars Alan Doyle of Canada’s award-winning Great Big Sea band. Writer/Director Murray Foster (below R) also of Great Big Sea was leading the wacky troupe – you can check out the trailer at www.thecocksurelads.com

The Cocksure Lads

Needless to say, wherever there is film business being done, you’ll always find “the suits”. Ah yes, the legal beagles – the lawyers! But we found a couple of real cuties: Michael and David joined the Fordham PR gang (pictured below) for a cocktail and I made sure to get a biz card…you never know when a girl’s gonna need a lawyer!

Clients & lawyers!BIG THANK YOU’s to Sari & Bill for yet another superb soiree, and to BARBERIAN’s for being the brilliant old-school restaurant that Sammy, Dino & Frank would have loved. Bravo, everyone…see you next year!

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