Tag Archives: tv production

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.


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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“To Appomattox” Kickstarter Campaign to Launch April 16th!

Last year, I had the pleasure of promoting internationally renowned artist, BRUCE LAWES (www.bklawesart.com) to the US Civil War re-enactors and visitors to the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg during the July 4th long weekend. Since then, Bruce and I have developed ongoing relationships with those involved in the historical event, the battlegrounds preservation groups and Civil War historians and Bruce will be returning this year to continue painting his large format work on Pickett’s Charge. One leading Civil War historian and award-winning author, J.D. PETRUZZI, introduced Bruce and his work to the producers of the upcoming TV series “To Appomattox” and hopefully Bruce will be contributing his unique artistic skills once the series starts rolling.

I am honoured to support the production in its quest to secure funding via KICKSTARTER and ask that you kindly read of their media advisory (below) announcing how/why the producers want to make history by creating the largest crowd-funding attempt ever!

cropped-toappomattoxbannerBREAKING NEWS: “To Appomattox” Kickstarter Campaign to Launch April 16th!

As many of you are aware, the producers of To Appomattox have spent many years trying to bring this epic miniseries to life. But as has been the case, roadblocks have continued to prevent this series from getting the green light. But now, the production team is moving forward with an exciting new way to help get this series made: Kickstarter!

toappomattoxkickstarterlogoThis Kickstarter is the brainchild of Michael Frost Beckner, the project’s writer and producer. He has been working on the project for over a decade now, and has put everything he has into bringing this series to the screen. He has pitched the series to several networks and studios over the past five years. Each time, he would find some people very interested, only to have it reach the very top, and be told the same thing over and over: “We just don’t see it.” It is the intention of Michael Beckner to use this Kickstarter Campaign so that those network and studio executives will see it!

The set goal of the Kickstarter Campaign for To Appomattox is the largest ever attempted: $2.5 Million. This money will then be matched dollar-for-dollar by a Private Financial Group, which will bring the total to $5 Million. This money will be used to create a feature-length version of the first episode of the series. This film will then be taken to networks to be pitched as a Backdoor Pilot, and generate interest in creating the entire series. What is great about this plan is that, even if a network does not pick up the series, the producers will have the option to release the first episode as a feature film.

But what makes the Kickstarter for To Appomattox unique is that the rewards for the campaign have been designed to encourage backer participation in the making of the film. Those who donate to the campaign will have the chance at several opportunities to help out in the production, such as involvement in front of the camera, or behind the scenes as part of the crew. Backers will also have the chance to take part in private screenings of the director’s cut, and offer their feedback on how to make the film better. These, as well as other rewards, offer those who back the project a chance to take part in the production process, a first for a Kickstarter Campaign. In effect, the backers who donate to the campaign become the studio!

The Kickstarter Campaign kicks off on Wednesday, April 16th. But you can help begin to spread the word. Talk to everyone you know about the campaign. Let them know that this is an important project that will not only entertain, but also enlighten about the people and events of that period of American history, and how that story remains relevant today. This is your chance to help take part to help get this epic miniseries before the cameras, not just in helping to fund the project, but also taking part in the production process itself!

by Steven Hancock

Read Variety’s article on the Kickstarter Campaign here. To learn more about the Kickstarter Campaign, visit the Official Facebook Page. And check out the updated Official Website to learn more about the production!


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