An independent Nanaimo film production company is funding a pilot series featuring a “devil on your shoulder” character in a dragon jumpsuit.
Producer, screenwriter and director for Toxic mascotlinityMatt Haley has said that if the project gets the financial backing it wants, he considers it an episodic sitcom that meaningfully addresses mental health issues.
“We really want to talk about current social issues and global issues. And using an interesting brand of comedy to bring some light to it as well,” he said. “But walking that fine line between what’s appropriate and what’s funny – we don’t want to overreach or insult anyone.”
He envisions the first season, if green-lit, will follow lead character Bree as she navigates the world with Kevin, her “gross, vaping, croc-wearing, poisonous fantasy dragon.”
“Kevin is like his shattered psyche. He’s there to help him with his loneliness and other…issues,” Haley said. “Your first instincts aren’t always your best instincts…and Kevin is that guy who always Something to say.”
From a director’s perspective, Haley said the series would be interesting to film since Kevin, played by Jonee Janolino, will provide a near-constant narrative, while only Bree can see or hear his antics.
Haley has speculated that her own drug and alcohol treatment experiences played a significant role in the story’s concept.
“When I got sober, I really wanted to tell stories that helped people… And as an ex-military person, I had mental health issues myself,” he said. “And I always had this idea of the angel and the devil on your shoulder, to guide you in your decision-making.”
He said he expects many people can sympathize with the experience of having a “toxic sidekick hovering over their shoulder” as they try to live their best life.
The story of Toxic mascotlinity started as a short film script about six months ago. However, after contacting several production companies and agents, Haley said she mostly received requests for multi-hour episodic material. He then reworked the 12-page short into a 21-page pilot episode after numerous rewrites.
“Originally, there was going to be a large baseball-type mascot. And we weren’t going to show his face. But we decided that bringing in a working actor…and showing his face and having him in a dragon jumpsuit would be a lot funnier,” Haley said.
If successfully backed, the project will require the hiring of four additional actors, two potentially as recurring characters – Bree’s brother and her therapist.
Kaliandra Capri, who plays Bree, said she intended to “bring a bit of herself” to the title character.
“I see myself in this character a lot because we really focus on the mental health aspect, and also the sexism aspect…,” she said, adding that she has experienced her fair share of toxic masculinity. , especially working in different male-dominated industries. .
Capri also said she eagerly jumped at the chance to work alongside Janolino again, having starred in several Haley House Productions films with him before, including The colon and 12-step choke.
Although the characters and story were created by Haley, he said Capri and Janolino played a significant role in the project by helping him come up with story ideas and character development.
“It’s my story, but it’s their characters…It’s really important to me that these guys have a voice.”
With a hopefully successful Kickstarter campaign, Haley intends to submit the “proof of concept” pilot to streaming service providers and distributors in early 2023. They aim to begin filming, with potential locations in Nanaimo, Nanoose, Victoria and the Comox Valley, for five days in late October, followed by about six weeks of editing.
As of now, the campaign has reached about 25% of its goal of $11,200. The majority of the money raised will go to the cast and crew, and the rest will cover incidental costs such as insurance, securing locations, travel, accommodation and post-production.
arts and entertainment