The television industry can introduce you to some real characters. Whether it is in front of the camera or behind the scenes, it’s really easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of this land of “make believe”. Make no mistake about it even the “reality” shows are about as far away from reality as you can get. There are times you can look around in a studio and not see one person you would call a “friend” or would want to actually invite into your home.
On rare occasions someone will walk in that you know is the genuine article.
Recently, a friend & colleague I know was given the honour of being appointed to the Order of Ontario for her achievements in journalism. This is the most prestigious official honour in the Province of Ontario. It recognizes the greatest minds, forward-thinkers, humanitarians, activists and pioneers in the province. I don’t believe that “given” is really the appropriate word as she earned this honour. Connie Smith is definitely the genuine article. Connie is a veteran in the Canadian Broadcast industry. She is a respected journalist, reporter, producer and mentor. Her husband, Dave Wilson, is also a veteran in the industry and one of the finest Directors I have ever had the privilege of working with. Connie and Dave are two of the most socially responsible professionals I have ever met and have a gift for treating people with respect and putting them at ease.
As I watched (via Facebook) the progress of the celebrations for Connie’s appointment I thought of some of the truly talented and gifted people I have worked with over the years and am honoured to call my friends.
This list has to start with Tanya Prokomenko. When I first met Tanya she was just finishing the Broadcast Program at Mohawk College. She was smart, eager and talented. Tanya has a presence about her that can take your breath away when she enters a room. When an opportunity came to put her in front of the camera it was a no brainer and the rest, as they say, is history. Tanya has always been a hard worker and was never afraid to get her hands dirty. She is just as comfortable sporting the latest runway fashion as she is sitting in a boat angling for the “big one”. The thing that I love most about Tanya is her sense of humour. Over the years we have found ourselves in some pretty incredible situations and her quick wit has always made me smile, if not laugh out loud until I am crying uncontrollably. The comment I hear the most about about Tanya from camera people, editors and producers is that they love working with her because of “her sense of humour”.
Kristi Stewart is the epitome of professionalism. Kristi has was of the most amazing, versatile voices in the industry. I am always amazed how she can nail the exact intonation you are looking for within the first few seconds of a read with very little direction. Kristi is not just a voice, however. This woman has the patience of Job. On set with children shooting their first commercial, I witnessed her coaching, encouraging and directing them into brilliant performances. She also spends a great deal of her personal time working with people like Elizabeth Grandbois in her search for an ALS cure. Kristi brings a dynamic energy to everything she does including friendships.
As I write I am surprised to find that my list is getting longer. Producer Dorie Cowling, Graphic Designer Lynn Demers – Callewart, Actress Sandra Jackson and Senior Executive Producer Richard Landau are just a few who have come into my professional life and become much admired friends and colleagues.
It has been an honour to work with and know all of these people. And there are more. Perhaps the real truth here is, there are far more kind, generous and genuine people working in the industry then those that are not. It might be time to start talking about them.