Spending Money To Make Money, Or At Least Get a Spot On a U.S. Network

Tassie Cameron, the Flashpoint writer producer who has created the upcoming show Copper for ABC, says that one of the key components in Flashpoint‘s success was that they spent extra money to create the sense that the show has major-league production values:

Flashpoint‘s success is due both to its storylines as well as the decision to invest in the show’s look and feel, so it doesn’t seem “Canadian,” Cameron said.

“It was shot in 35 mm [film]. It was very rich colours. It was the very first show I’d ever worked on in Canada where we were allowed to have a police dog. You’re never allowed to have a police dog, because it is expensive working with dogs,” she said.

“They spent money on going through plate-glass windows. They spent money on the things that show up on the screen and I think that accounts for people watching it, [saying] ‘This doesn’t feel low-budget.'”

This doesn’t men that only Canadian shows have that “low-budget” look. Plenty of U.S. shows, whether they’re produced in America or Canada, cut corners on the same things as Canadian shows — film stock, for example. (Smallville is one of many shows that recently switched from 35 mm film to the cheaper format of digital HD.) But I do get the sense that a number of Canadian shows have had a problem establishing what I might call a big-studio look; in particular, shows produced in Toronto often have a look and feel that’s reminiscent of U.S. syndicated shows from the ’90s. Doing procedural shows that look like other CBS procedurals (the CSI shows are shot on 35 mm) doesn’t guarantee success, but it does help to create the sense that the show is operating on a level playing field with the big shows in the same genre.

(Link via Diane at TV-Eh.)

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