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Project 131, YCDTOTV reunion episode, now on YouTube!

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Joined: 18 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:15 am    Post subject: Project 131, YCDTOTV reunion episode, now on YouTube! Reply with quote

Background info from producer Josh Yawn:

As stated below, Project 131 is the official reunion episode of You Can't Do That on Television. The idea was conceived when SlimeCon 2004 co-coordinator Byron Smith and I were trying to figure out how we could send SlimeCon out with a bang and commemorate 25 years of You Can't Do That on Television. The idea seemed impossible for a number of reasons which posed many questions. Would CJOH give the clearance to produce a new episode? Would the actors agree to reprise their roles not only as adults but for the first time in over 15 years? If so, for those who were no longer in the business, could they still act? How would the episode be funded? And if all of these things fell into place, where would the crew come from?

Without knowing if CJOH would even clear the episode, I began assembling a crew. Byron Smith and I set out to write a script but we quickly learned we could not do it alone. I brought three writers on-board who knew the show and could write sketches in its styling. Of these were New York comedian Mark Malkoff. As the script began to come to life, I approached freelance director David Dillehunt to join the crew. As a lifelong fan of YCDTOTV, David quickly agreed and began contributing his own ideas to the project. I kept correspondence with our contact at CJOH-TV, audio man Jim Clarke through this time, who finally informed me that the station had given its permission to produce the show. It's a little known fact that CJOH-TV owns the show, not Nickelodeon, which is why they were such a crucial card.

With this in stone, I began approaching cast and crew. I assembled in my head what I believed to be the "all-star" cast and approached them. Brodie Osome was the first to quickly hop on board, as was Rodney Helal. Stephanie Bauder was one of the next to agree, followed by Vanessa Lindores (Farah) and Marjorie Silcoff. Unfortunately, due to time and schedule restraints, cast members such as Christine McGlade were unable to perform. The script was written for the five of them, and Les Lye, who had previously expressed interest in doing a reunion show. As the script reached an end, I began confirming which sets still existed at CJOH-TV and which we would need to re-create. From my prior time in the studios for the original SlimeCon, I already knew which sets didn't exist. But, my objective here was finding out which sets were thrown away in the two year period between the two SlimeCons. Luckily, none...but just barely.

We had marvelous sponsors for SlimeCon 2004/Project 131. Even so, the money had to be distributed among both projects, and because SlimeCon 2004 had to happen regardless, we couldn't afford to carry too much money over to Project 131. The most recognizable set from the show did not exist any longer -- the "link set." We needed to re-create it somehow, because it would be impossible to do the show without it. After pricing how much it would be to have it constructed, I opted to take an alternate route and have chroma key graphics created by a brilliant artist named Brandon Bridges. Brandon had never seen the show, but with a few photos and many tweaks, managed to pull off a chroma key graphic that was completely undistinguishable from the real thing.

It's Murphy's Law that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. That proved to be true the day before production and things seemed to be going all too well. Within a matter of hours, we lost cast members Rodney Helal and Stephanie Bauder due to last minute work obligations, and Les Lye for unfortunate health reasons. With a cast of three and a script for six, I was ready to throw in the towel. I couldn't afford to push the production back a day. As I paced around CJOH studio D where we were set to shoot in less than 24 hours, weaving through sets and crew members, I tried to come up with the executive decision the executive producer was expected to make. I was approached by camera person Adam Wurtzel who suggested that we create a retrospective special with new scenes in between old "best of" moments. As I realized this was the only way at this point we could get the show done, I got ecstatic and informed that is what we would do. Adam's dinner was on me that night.

We all quickly relocated to the Macies Hotel, where we were graciously put up for free, and began re-writing. One by one, however, writers began to drop and give in to the lack of sleep we had all suffered from. By 3:00 am, it was down to director David Dillehunt and myself. I got to a point where my vision was compromised and I literally heard someone else's voice instead of my own when I spoke. I had never been so sleep deprived in my life, and I too turned in for the night, leaving David with the assignment of finishing the re-write. The next day, I woke up to find David still awake, just finishing what I assumed would have only taken him an additional hour. David's dinner was on me that night.

The day of shooting, we were fortunate enough to have several original crew members on-hand as well as cast. Jim Clarke handled audio and lighting, and Liz Ciesluk returned to do make-up. What fun it was to see the cast of Vanessa Lindores (Farah), Marjorie Silcoff, and Brodie Osome reprising their roles and doing a fabulous job. The production went without a hitch, including the world famous locker jokes. Still, we had a cast of three yet would have the majority of the cast with us the first night of the reunion/convention. We weren't premiering the show until Sunday. If we could shoot at least one additional scene with additional cast members Friday night, we could enlarge our cast. And after quick negotiations, that's exactly what we did.

After the first day of the reunion/convention, we held the oblivious audience in one studio while we shot a new scene with cast members Alasdair Gillis and Justin Cammy. We now had a cast of five, and with the SlimeCon staff making small cameo appearances, we had enough faces to validate a full show. After spending even more time awake overnight, director David Dillehunt (then stepping into the shoes of editor) fused our visions together in completing the episode. It played twice to a teary-eyed audience on the last day of the event before being locked away in the CJOH-TV vault with the rest of the masters of the show.

Early 2006, Nickelodeon was looking to put You Can't Do that on Television on DVD as part of the Nick Rewind series. They were interested in putting the reunion episode on the first season set as a bonus feature. I had correspondence with the Nickelodeon home video department for several months. After much talk and negotiation, the entire project of putting the series to DVD was canceled due to reasons I'll not disclose. With that, the outlet for releasing the reunion show was also snuffed. The show remains in the vault at CJOH-TV today. In addition to serving as executive producer of Project 131, I also composed a remix of the original theme song to be used in the intro of the show.
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Little Dreamer
Little Dreamer

Joined: 12 Nov 2006
Posts: 63
Location: Latvia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:25 pm    Post subject: WOAH! Reply with quote


Nickelodeon Studios isn`t closed
Check and see "Studio Nick"
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