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What-s-On

Behind the Scenes: Doug Brown

Some people in town play such an integral role that they become part of the furniture, we just get used to seeing them in a certain place. Doug Brown is one of those individuals but he’s also one of the most creative story tellers I know. The night I met my wife he was there with his camera in hand doing a story on the latest Kinship cd and of course he stuck around and danced at the event until the wee hours. He’s the man behind the camera but he is also in a lot of local plays and theatrical productions in town. For local musicians he has told the story of their songs through video (Leah West) and his independent short films have been featured and won awards at a variety of film festivals, including the growingly successful Horror Fest Film Festival.

The following is an interview I did with Doug Brown recently and I’ve placed some of his work throughout the story for those who want to take the time to see just how creative this lad is.

RD: How did you get started in the film business?

DB: The first time I ever made a movie I was about 15, my dad brought home a super 8 film camera and my brother and I made a crazy little stop motion, Monty Python-esque silent short.  I guess I got hooked.  Years later I attended art school - Emily Carr on Granville Island - and studied Film and Video.  I did some freelance, odd job work in the film industry in Vancouver, the industry was much smaller back then, and also started working for Shaw in North Van part time.

Here is one of Doug Browns first independent projects: Fields of Glory

Warning: there is some violence and mild gore in this video

 

RD: How long have you been based in the Okanagan

DB: My wife Annette and I moved to the Okanagan over 20 years ago to start a family, a full time job at Shaw TV in Penticton had opened up and the freelance thing was pretty stressful.

RD: What drives you?

DB: What drives me?  I'd say I'm a story teller, I've always had a very visual imagination and it excites me to try and realize those images, to try and bring them out of my head and into reality.  Writing, directing, shooting editing even acting are all ways to bring the story to life.  I really can't help it, it's a compulsion.

So now that we know what drives daredevil Doug here is his feature at the Penticton Speedway:

 

RD: How do you chose your next project?

DB: I'm not sure I can say how I choose, sometimes I'm lucky enough to be asked to act in a show.  Sometimes an idea will come to me and the means to make it seem to fall into place.  With Ninja King it literally started as a joke, then a dare, then the idea of how to make it came to me and we went to work.  With Nocte Agente I had this idea while walking alone at night.  I knew that to make it would require special effects makeup beyond my ability.  Then I ran into Mark Newsome who was keen on getting into movie makeup.  The timeline was really tight to pull it off, but it just seemed to be too good an opportunity to pass up.  So with an incredible cast and crew we managed to pull it off.  That's how it goes, if you really want to do something then what you need to do is start.  Do your best to solve the problems and get around the roadblocks and you'll be surprised at what you can pull off.

Nocte Agenta recently took second place at Horror Fest 2013 and the actress Ruby Bullock-spitz received the Best Actress prize.

 

RD: Whats next?

DB: Next I'm acting in New Vintage Theatre's production of the holiday classic Christmas Carol at the Laurel packinghouse in December.  Right after that it's The 39 Steps at Kelowna Actor's Studio (http://www.kelownaactorsstudio.com).  I'm editing several music videos right now and looking at shooting a few more.  Along with Michelle Deighton Hussey and Kendra Hesketh we have a Shakespeare project on the go called Bard On The Run, bringing Shakespeare's works to unusual locations.  A friend and I have an idea for a feature film that I'm writing.  Not to mention three days a week I get the amazing opportunity to host go! Okanagan and meet some of the great people who are doing amazing things up and down the Valley!  

Buy tickets for the New Vintage Theatre’s production of Christmas Carol here.

 

RD: A lot of things you do are so varied tv host, actor, theatrical performer, music video director.. why do you think you have managed to fill your bag with so many unique skills?

DB: From early on I've never had much of a budget, so to get things done I needed to learn how to do them myself.  My brother and I took turns running the camera, writing the scripts and teaching ourselves how to do special effects on our little super 8 mini-epics.  I like to know how things work. When I first came to work at Shaw I was primarily a director, camera operator, editor and instructor for the volunteers, it was a decade later that I first stepped, somewhat reluctantly, in front of the camera and out onto the stage. I think it really helps me in each role that I have a solid technical background and an understanding of how the many different moving pieces of a TV show, play or movie have to work together. I love doing the lighting to set the mood, framing the shot to punctuate the action, and finding the real truth of the emotion in a scene.  It's all telling a story, the tools change, but the heart of it is still reaching the audience with your work.

Here is one of the music video’s that he created for local singer/songwriter Leah West: Les Tournesols - Leah West et Bruno Labrie en duo

 

RD: Have you noticed a large change in the film business? Is that change for the better or is it making it worse?

DB: The film business is changing, new technology makes it possible for people to shoot and edit for incredibly low budgets and have it look incredible. So there are more voices being heard, not just the voices that have lots of money, which makes for a strong and diverse industry.  You still need to know what you are doing, of course, but the possibilities are exciting!  There is also an incredible interest right now in great story telling on TV.  From The Sopranos to Mad Men to Walking Dead and Breaking Bad and so many more, the quality and depth and richness of the stories and the caliber of the acting are really remarkable. It's been referred to as a "Golden Age of Television" and I find it thrilling and it pushes me to want to make better and better stories myself.  

 

 

Featured show this week:
 
The Boom Booms are headlining a show at Flashbacks this Friday night. Here is their song "Lonely"
 
Opening the show is local indie rock darlings: Fields of Green
 


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About the Author

Ryan Donn is a singer/songwriter, event producer, digital creative, and Councillor at the City of Kelowna

I love creating songs, which have been used by the Terry Fox Run, Kelowna’s Centennial Celebration, or heard on various local radio stations. 

In the past few years, I've focused on creating community events including Music in the Park, New York New Years, Castanet’s Free Family Skate, Talented Kids, Talented Kelowna, and others.

Originally from Scotland, I’ve lived in Kelowna for over 20 years. My wife, Kimberly, and our two daughters, Lyla and Bella, share our home with Tom (adult with diverse abilities).

In 2014, I was elected to Kelowna City Council. 

Opinions are my own, and don't represent the City of Kelowna, Festivals Kelowna or Creative Okanagan. 

To connect with Ryan:

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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