Saturday, May 6, 2017

Canada's thriving entertainment industry

Canadian series Orphan Black.
Listened to an interview with Norm MacDonald on Marc Maron's WTF podcast. Didn't know Norm was Canadian.

The interesting thing to me was that MacDonald had performed at a major event in Toronto just a few months after he started doing stand-up. This happened because there was a quota---they had to have a certain number of Canadian comics perform otherwise they would be overrun by comedians from the United States.

They also said--this was a joke but I assume there was some element of truth--that if you were a comedian and you remained in Canada, sooner or later you'd have your own TV show.

I've had other people tell me this---that Canada has a quota for TV programing produced in Canada. They have their own TV series, sit-coms, mini-series and so forth. Most, they say, aren't very good although I've seen some that were fine. There was The Boys of St Vincent mini-series and another mini-series shown on network TV in the U.S. 

All countries seem to have the same problem---they're being flooded with American TV shows that cost millions per episode to produce but are dumped on foreign markets at low cost. The countries' indigenous TV industries have trouble competing. For Canadians it's worse because the cultural differences are less pronounced. 

In the U.S. people in Maine will watch shows about Southern California but, in Europe, Norwegians won't watch shows from Italy or vice versa. You can drive from Germany to Romania in a day and a half---why won't they watch each other's shows? Imagine how bad American TV would be if every region of the country--every state--had to produce it's own shows.

So, anyway, go to Canada! Become Canadian! Get into the less competitive Canadian television industry! Get some of that Canadian government grant money and make some Canadian movies! You could be the next Guy Maddin! You could be the Canadian Steven Spielberg! The Canadian Werner Herzog! Even if you fail, at least they have universal healthcare and sensible gun control. The people there are nicer than in the USA, which is embarrassing because you'll always feel like a jerk for not being as nice as everyone else.

Years ago, we got a Canadian channel here. They used more profanity on Canadian TV and had nudity. But I watched the movie Bullitt and they cut out the car chase. I assumed this was due to censorship and not some terrible mistake.

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