Skip to content

Talking Ruby With Jay Fergusen


My chat with Jay Fergusen from Guidestones about money, marketing and web series. I get a little passionate at the end. :)

Limited Release: Spotlight on Ruby Skye P.I.


I spoke to Nick Montgomery from Limited Release Podcast about Ruby Skye P.I. and some of the reasons I love creating for the web.

CBC Announces Launch of Ruby Skye P.I.

The first season of Ruby Skye P.I., The Spam Scam, launches on CBC TV on December 21, 2013.  Along with the weekly episode, watch out for a contest to win cool Ruby Skye P.I. swag.

RSPI on CBC

PRODUCTION BEGINS ON SEASON 3 OF RUBY SKYE P.I.

RSPI header blip

·      Madison Cheeatow, Marlee Maslove, Scott Beaudin, Elena Gorgevska star
·      Sean Cullen joins the cast for Season 3

For Immediate Release:

TORONTO, November 18th, 2013 – Digital media producer Story 2.OH announced today that production has begun on the third season of the multi-award-winning teen/tween mystery series, Ruby Skye P.I..  Principal photography starts November 18th in Toronto on ten all-new episodes of this interactive series.

The Maltese Puppy is a third baffling case for teen detective, Ruby Skye. It includes all the features that thousands of fans have grown to love: a fast-paced plot that just keeps twisting, action, humour, quirky characters, interactivity, online engagement and great production values.

Returning cast includes award-winning young actress Madison Cheeatow in the title role of Ruby Skye; Marlee Maslove as Ruby’s sister, Hailey; Scott Beaudin as Edmund O’Fyne and Elena Gorgevska as Diana Noughton.

The cast for Ruby Skye P.I.: The Maltese Puppy also includes Sean Cullen, Hannah Spear, Araya Mengesha, Noah Cappe and Lacie in the role of the Maltese Puppy.

“We can’t get enough of our favourite teen detective, Ruby Skye.  We just have to keep on funding this series so we can find out what she is up to next”, said Independent Production Fund’s Executive Director, Andra Sheffer.  “Ruby is a great character and a million fans have discovered her antics on the web”.

”We are delighted to have the opportunity to make a third season and to have the support of so many great, like-minded partners,” says Showrunner and Creator Jill Golick.

Janice Dawe of Swing Media and Jill Golick helm as Executive Producers while Kelly Harms mans the Director’s chair for the third consecutive season.  Ruby Skye P.I.: The Maltese Puppy is produced by Golick’s Story 2.OH, with the participation of CBC, the Canada Media Fund, the Independent Production Fundthe Bell Fund and the Shaw Rocket Fund Ruby Skye P.I. is distributed internationally by Farrago Media.

Get more Ruby Skye P.I. online at:
Website – http://RubySkyePI.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/RubySkyePI
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/RubySkyePI/
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/RubySkyePI
Season 2 Trailer: http://youtu.be/noDVG4KE7JY

Downloads:
Visit http://rubyskyepi.ca/about-the-series/press-room/ to download hi-res images, headshots, logos and other materials.

Story 2.OH is a Toronto-based production company that specializes in multiplatform creation. Combining television storytelling techniques with interactivity, video, blogs, social media and more, Story2.OH creates the next generation entertainment.

Swing Media was founded by Toronto-based producer Janice Dawe to work with some of Canada’s best creative and media business talent to bring projects to market with a view to commercial success.

For further information, to arrange interviews and media set visits please contact:
Chloe Perelgut   chloe at RubySkyePI dot com

Season Three Here We Come

Here we go. Today is that last day of prep on Ruby Skye P.I.: The Maltese Puppy. Monday, we shoot.

Not every web series gets to season 3 and few shoot under the circumstances we hope to become accustomed to. Not to say we have a ginormous budget — things are always tight — but compared to most web series, we are sitting pretty.

Here are a few notes on what’s happening:

We rented the studio where they shoot the CBC television series “Cracked“. Yay, the production office is not my dining room table. In fact, I have an office all to myself that is bigger than my dining room. We have dressed some fantastic sets so for part of the shoot, we will have the comfort of shooting in the controlled environment of a studio. Luxury!

RSPITMP Production meeting smallWhat a team! Over three seasons, Director Kelly Harms and I have worked with and learned to love a number of people: editor Mike Reisacher, Sean Van Delft on location sound, Key Hair and Makeup Jessica Panetta, custume designerr Ginger Martini, casting director Marjorie Lecker, camera assist Alex Leung, Gaffer Ryan Hernandez and our music team at Studio Cat. I co-wrote with the very funny Julie Strassman as always. This season, we’ve added some fantastic new people to our team: among them Production Designer Bob Sher, Cinematographer Celiana Cardenas, first AD Aline Robichaud and production manager Bruce Hutchison. Supervising Producer Jordana Aarons is quietly keeping us on track and on budget.

The interactive elements we’re planning are the coolest ever. We have a really strong team working on them, led by Shawn Bailey who I have long wanted to work with.

The business-producing end of things is getting more complicated. And I never paid enough attention to that end of things anyway. The amazing Janice Dawe is patiently and calmly untangling my mess and guiding us toward a profitable future. She’s put a team (!) in place to handle the business. Lack of business acumen is a problem for a lot of web series creators — and by a lot, I mean me — so having Janice at my side is an incredible relief.

We have an accounting department, just saying.

RSPI TMP Cast board small

As we hurtle toward first day of Principal Photography, I feel relaxed, optimistic and pretty darn happy.

I Hate to Respond

First it was the column in the Globe and Mail and then it was the discussion on The Current… Here’s an excerpt from the letter I sent to The Current’s producers:

For those of us trying to make a living writing Canadian television, we have to serve up what our employers are buying. And they aren’t buying “golden age” programming. They are buying shows designed for mass consumption.

It is frustrating and disappointing for us as writers to be vilified by John Doyle for making what the buyers wants. And it is ridiculous to think that talent is a geographic phenomenon — that somehow an LA address bestows on you a greater storytelling ability and a deeper understanding of the human condition. In fact, what it offers is a greater marketplace open to a wider diversity of product… and a bigger pay check.

It is upsetting for me, as the president of the Writers Guild of Canada, to see my friends and colleagues flooding across the border. But who could blame them for running to greater creative challenges and away from an industry that blames them for its endemic failures.

It seems to me that we really are in a period of triumph for Canadian TV.  Our shows are great, the audiences love them, writers are working.  That’s what I’d much prefer to be talking about than responding to this kind of ill informed crabbiness.

So let’s just all wipe that whole discussion out of our minds and listen to last episode of Writers Talking TV in which Simon Racioppa talks with Mike Kiss, Exectutive Story Editor of Grojband and Phil Ivanusic-Vallee, showrunner of Oh No! It’s an Alien Invasion!  A way better way to spend your time.  You can find that podcast and many more on the WGC site.

I Wrote It

Beet Party is an animated interstitial series produced by Toon Box Entertainment.  It’s 3D animation and comes embedded on LG Smart TVs.  ToonBox made a ton of them and I got to write about 20. I haven’t seen many of the finished episodes so imagine my delight in discovering that a few of the ones I wrote are on YouTube.  The one above is called Sink-opation.

Pronunciation Book: A Story… But Who and Why Are A Mystery

Are you following what’s going on with the YouTube Channel, Pronunciation Book?

For the last three years, the channel has been posting videos on how to pronounce common and not-so-common English words and phrases. Frequently, the channel’s choice of pronunciation is debatable. But what’s interesting is that sometimes the words and phrases seem to suggest that the speaker is telling us about more than pronunciation.

What’s really interesting is that sometimes the words and phrases seem to suggest that the speaker is telling us about more than pronunciation.

On July 9th, the channel abruptly changed what it was doing and started a count down.

A new video is posted every day at 10 am Eastern.  We seem to be counting down to September 24, 2013.  But why?  And who is behind it? These are mysteries that more and more people around the net are interested in.  There’s a 4chann and reddit, a Google doc, a wiki and a blog all devoted to deciphering the mystery.

In my opinion, this is a story.  Someone is using the Pronunciation Book channel as a form for story telling.  The story is coming out in a fractured, nonlinear way.  But it is definitely a story with characters, drama and emotion.  It’s pretty impressive that this has been on a slow boil for three years, but still in all, if you collect phrases from the videos you get narrative.  This selection of phrases from the count down video is from the 77 Days Wiki.

  • 77 : “Something is going to happen in 77 days.”
  • 76 : “I’ve been trying to tell you something for 1,183 days.”
  • 75 : “I’m awake now. Things are clearing up. I’m not saying the words anymore.”
  • 74 : “I’ve got a minute, let me tell you what I think is going on.”
  • 73 : “Tension between the districts has spiked in the last few months.”
  • 72 : “You can see it in the markets. Everyone’s ready for a storm.”
  • 71 : “They’re singing a new song in the streets of the zone.”
  • 70 : “I have plenty of information to keep me company.”
  • 69 : “No one is ready. He watches the market.”
  • 68 : “I’m not talking about a disaster. I’m talking about a love triangle.”
  • 67 : “We fell into the jungle for a summer of dollar crime.”
  • 66 : “We were young heroes, gorgeous liars.”
  • 65 : “Turn off the lights and drink a cold glass of water.”
  • 64 : “No one is singing; Every day is the same.”
  • 63 : “We should’ve listened to Chief.”
  • 62 : “She’s waiting for me, I have to find her system.”
  • 61 : “Stressful day? Play some volleyball.”
  • 60 : “Her house has rooms she’s never been in.”
  • 59 : “A gemstone on a schedule.”
  • 58 : “He flew us in low. Just above the canopy.”
  • 57 : “A delicate pairing … is a heart-breaker.”
  • 56 : “Omelettes aren’t the only western food.”
  • 55 : “When we were born, we saw shapes and patterns.”
These phrases taken from different videos were collected on the Google Doc:

I can’t RSVP until I have a disguise.
We arrived at the brasserie dressed as caterers.
Her svelte figure caught the minister’s eye, just as Chief predicted.
Jackie was lucky no one picked up on his accent.
She served pepperoncini with a tight smile as I photographed documents in the kitchen.
The minister recoils from the gaudy Merlot pairing … is our cover blown?
We had no idea we were enabling the oogenesis of a new power.
The gala was ruined by jealous love.
We retreated to the jungle as fireworks lit the southern sky.
It was the first of several times Jackie would blame things on Belarus.
I lay in the hammock at base, dreaming of LA.
We would resume our reconnaissance in the morning; for now, we tried to forget about the mission.
This is all I was able to procure,’ she said, producing a bottle of Dom Pérignon.
Glyph sulked in his tent as the rest of us gathered for pinochle.
Chief, who had posed as a waiter, said Lasso had been seated at the president’s table.
I finished the last of the now-warm champagne and said goodnight.
She stumbled into my tent an hour later, surprisingly tipsy for a femme fatale.
Eventually I yield to uneasy jungle dreams.

I have no doubt that this is storytelling.

Those researching Pronunciation Book have discovered that the channel is a YouTube partner, which tells me that this is the work of a pro.  This is a money making venture.  And as the count down continues, the numbers of viewers is growing rapidly and so too, the revenues.

There are a lot of theories about Pronunciation Book and you can read about all of them on the wiki.  Some say it’s a marketing effort for a game or TV series  –The Battlestar Gallactica reboot is a favourite theory.  I’m still fond of the theory that the band Nine Inch Nails is behind this as a way of promoting their new album.  They did such and amazing job with Year Zero and I believe they might have the patience to let something like this play out for three years.  I’m dying to hear some new and fresh theories.  Share yours with me, please!

I’ve been following this for a couple of weeks now and from an entertainment POV, the one teeny video a week is way too slow. I’m bored, I want more and soon.  But if you look at the slow build and its usefulness in building audience and awareness, you have got to take off your hat to whoever is behind this.  Totally awesome!  There is still lots of time before we hit blast off for the mainstream to clue in.
It’s also an absolutely amazing form of storytelling.  I love the way the story emerges inside the form of the pronunciation video.  It reminds me a little of how You Suck At Photoshop used the format of the photoshop how-to video to tell a story.
I bow to the brilliance of whoever is doing this and I can’t wait for the end game to reveal itself.

Rights and YouTube – Making It Harder than It Should Be

Sometimes dealing with YouTube is a huge pain.

Like when they send you one of those emails suggesting you might not have rights to your work.

Once you turn on those ads and start to monetize, contracts, releases and other documents that give you have the rights to commercially exploit your work are important.  I have binders full of detailed, lawyer-approved paperwork.

The problem is that YouTube is so monolithic that it’s near impossible to communicate with them or prove your claim.

Here’s the text of the email that arrived today (not the first time I’ve gotten one of these babies either.  I have no idea what the status of the last one it.  YouTube hasn’t bothered to tell me.).

Dear RubySkyePI,

Thanks for submitting your recent video “Tween Web Show: Ruby Skye PI – Episode 11: Best Served Cold” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89LbT92Ue1o) for monetization. We may consider your video for further review provided you verify that you are authorized to commercially use all of the visual and audio elements in your video such as:

Visuals:

  • Images, video games, or software visuals licensed for commercial use require a copy of a license agreement, or a link to the terms
  • Original visuals from third parties require written permission from the rights owner(s) stating that you are permitted to use their content commercially containing the video’s URL
  • For visuals in the public domain, please link us to a primary (original or scholarly) source proving this

Audio:

  • Royalty-free music requires: the song title, artist name, a direct link to the track, and a link to the terms
  • If you are the artist, please provide us with your name, song title, the composer/publisher, and music label (whether you own or not)
  • Music you created using software or other music requires that you identify the program used and its terms
  • Original compositions from third parties require written permission from the rights’ owner(s) stating that you are permitted to use their content commercially containing the video’s URL
  • For a musical composition in the public domain, please link us to a primary (original or scholarly) source demonstrating the status of the composition

Please submit your additional information here. Note that we may disapprove your video for monetization if we do not hear from you within 14 days.

YouTube reserves the right to make the final decision whether to monetize a video, and may disable monetization for users who repeatedly submit ineligible videos.

Thanks,

The YouTube Team

You look at the video in question and tell me what element they are on about. I have no idea what they think I don’t own.

Here’s the answer I sent them:

As much as I may look like a mind reader, I have no idea which element of this video you are challenging my right to commercially exploit. I have hundreds of pages of contracts and you are only offering me the opportunity to upload a single file. Awesome!

I’m going to take a wild guess that your problem is with either the music rights or the rights to show the mural that appears at 0:47 and again at 1:25 which is on the side of the ice cream parlour The Big Chill. Thus I am uploading a file which includes our contract with the composers of our original score and a location agreement with The Big Chill ice cream parlour which gives us the right to shoot at their establishment and show images of it including the mural on the wall outside.

Now, say I’m wrong and you take issue with my right to exploit some other element of the video.

Perhaps you could email me again and tell me what element that is? Or at least give me a little more of a hint than “all of the visual and audio elements”.

Alternatively, I’d be happy to invite you over next time you’re in Toronto so you can go through all of the contracts and permits that I have in order to verify that I have carefully and thoroughly — dare I say, professionally — acquired all the rights necessary to exploit this work in all media now known or yet to be invented, in this universe and all others until the end of time.

And while you’re going through the paperwork, I’ll make you a nice cup of coffee and some of the delicious brownies that appear in our episodes — which by the way — if you’re wondering — are an original recipe.

Just sayin’ :)

 

I’m really hoping they’ll come by the that coffee.  In fact, I’m preheating the oven right now.

The Dreaded Letter from <no_reply@youtube.com>

 

The helpful form that YouTube provides for you to prove your rights

LAWebFest Grand Prize!

Grand Prize for Ruby Skye P.I.: The Haunted Library

Award-Winning Tween/Teen Web Series Wins Big at LAWebFest

http://rubyskyepi.com

April 4, 2012 [Toronto, ON] — Ruby Skye P.I., the award-winning web series for tweens and teens, took home a Grand Prize from the LAWebFest this week, along with four Outstanding Achievement Awards. Chosen from more than 400 submissions, the Grand Prize includes an all expenses paid trip to Marseilles, France for the Marseilles WebFest to be held in October 2013.

The Haunted Library – the second season of the Ruby Skye P.I. web series – also won four awards in the Interactive Narrative Drama Category: Outstanding Directing: Kelly Harms; Outstanding Lead Actress: Madison Cheeatow (Ruby Skye); Outstanding Guest Star: Geri Hall (Gifted Sarah) and Outstanding Cinematography: Alex Dacev. Held March 28-31, 2013, the LAWebFest is the world’s oldest and largest festival devoted to web series. The Marseilles WebFest, which will be held October 11-12, 2013, is the only web series festival held in Europe and one of four web series festivals held worldwide. Ruby Skye P.I. is produced by Story 2.OH, was created by interactive storyteller Jill Golick and is directed by Kelly Harms. Harms and Golick executive produced the series along with Steven Golick.

Ruby Skye P.I. is one of many Canadian web series to have fared well at the 2013 edition of the festival. Vancouver’s The Last Fall of Ashes was also a Grand Prize winner. Other Canadian series celebrated at the event were Clutch, Out With Dad, Pete Winning, Bill & Sons Towing, The Verdict, Guidestones, Prison Dancer, Verdict, The Runner, Model Mayhem and The Casting Room.

“With web series from fifteen countries represented at the festival, it so exciting to see Canadians leading this new industry,” says Golick. “The LAWebFest does a tremendous job of bringing recognition to web series creators around the world and we are delighted to be heading to Marseilles this fall!”

Ruby Skye P.I.: The Haunted Library is currently nominated for a WGC Screenwriting Award and for an Alliance for Youth Media Award of Excellence. The series is available on RubySkyePI.com, KoldCast TV, blip, YouTube and DailyMotion. The series has topped over 2 million video views and developed a large and devoted fan base.

Launched in early October 2012, Ruby Skye P.I. The Haunted Library advances the story of intrepid teen detective, Ruby Skye (Madison Cheeatow) and her small, tightly knit group of friends. A natural next step in young adult entertainment, Ruby Skye P.I. takes the girl detective genre into a new realm of problem solving as high-tech tools meet good old-fashioned sleuthing. Along the way, Ruby gets herself into plenty of hot water en route to an action packed resolution.

In addition to the over one hour’s worth of original, narrative video content, Ruby Skye P.I.: The Haunted Library includes 50 behind-the-scenes and “extra features” videos, four web sites, four Tumblr blogs, multiple social media channels, and ten interactive clues. Between episodes, viewers can study and solve the clues which Ruby finds in the story. Mystery-loving tweens and teens can also solve puzzles on the companion website ODearyPuzzles.com or explore the “haunted” O’Deary Library to learn more about the characters, the books mentioned in the mystery and to find – or submit – book reviews, author profiles, interviews with YA authors and book cover art work.
____________________________________________________________________________

How a TV-PG Show Became the Edgiest Series Online: Rube Skye P.I.’s Case of the Missing Rulebook | The Sixth Wall, 11.21.12
____________________________________________________________________________

Ruby Skye P.I.: The Haunted Library stars series regulars Madison Cheeatow (Ruby Skye), Marlee Maslove (Hailey Skye) and Elena Gorgevska (Diana Noughton). Season 2 cast includes Scott Beaudin (My Babysitter is a Vampire), Rosemary Dunsmore (Anne of Green Gables, Murdoch Mysteries), Geri Hall (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Jordan Prentice (Mirror Mirror, In Bruges), Laura de Carteret (My Babysitter’s a Vampire), Samanatha Wan (Leslieville) and Shaun Shetty (Call Me Fitz).

Ruby Skye P.I.: The Haunted Library was shot at the Emmanuel College Library (University of Toronto) and at various location in Toronto, Canada.

The series was produced by Story 2.OH with the participation of The Independent Production Fund (IPF) and made possible with the support of The Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC). Ruby Skye P.I. Season 1: The Spam Scam has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Parent’s Choice Silver Honor, a Youth Media Alliance Award of Excellence, a 2011 “Rockie”, the New York Television Festival’s Best Family Pilot and eight Outstanding Achievement Awards from the L.A. Web Fest.

Links:
Website — http://rubyskyepi.com
Facebook — http://www.facebook.com/RubySkyePI
Twitter — http://www.twitter.com/rubyskyepi/

Downloads:
Visit http://rubyskyepi.ca/about-the-series/press-room/ to download hi-res images, head shots, logos and other materials

Tags:
#rubyskyepi #webseries #transmedia #story2oh #jillgolick #interactive

About:
Story 2.OH is a Toronto-based production company. Stepping beyond the television model, Story2.OH combines video, photos, graphics, blogs and more to create the next generation of screen-based entertainment.

- END -