Degrassi Shoot Experience!

On May 14, Epitome Pictures (Degrassi) invited fans to participate in a unique filming experience at Canlan Ice Sports.

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My friend Amy and I went to the Degrassi shoot yesterday and it was an awesome experience being an extra! It was Amy’s first Degrassi event, so I think I was even more excited for her that we were there! We got there around 11:30, and waited in line until they let all of us in. I was surprised at how many people were there already! When we were waiting in line to get into the arena, we saw Krista and I talked to her for a bit. Around noon, they started to let people in and we went and went to our seats in the arena- which was thankfully cold since all of us were wearing winter clothes!

There were a lot of cast members there (Annie Clark, Munro Chambers, Lyle O’Donohoe, Olivia Scriven, Chloe Rose, Justin Kelly, Shanice Banton, Demetrius Joyette, Craig Arnold and Dylan Everett) and all they showed up at different points during the day. I don’t even think Munro or Annie were filming, but it was nice to see they came out! Plus, I’m sure Munro wanted to skate on the ice- which he did!

I didn’t take any pictures during the day, but I’ve seen some pictures floating around the Internet- especially Tumblr!

Throughout the day, Annie and Munro would come out and give out prizes (through the raffle tickets). Some of the prizes were signed scripts, a signed Degrassi poster, a TeenNick mini ping pong table, Degrassi DVDs and the grand prize- a day at the Degrassi set with a walk on role! Also, people from the crew came around in the audience and were giving out Degrassi Soundtracks!

I won’t say anything about what happened during filming- but there’s something very surprising that happens! I don’t want to spoil anyone, but I was definitely shocked!

It was really cool to see how Degrassi was shot. I definitely didn’t know that it took so many takes and shots to get the scene just right! I knew that there was a lot of work that went into the show, but it was interesting to see how everything was put together!

Even if we didn’t get to see any of the cast members, it was still an awesome experience, but towards the end of the shoot, I asked Krista if anyone was going to come out, so that my friend could meet someone from the cast. She asked who Amy’s favourite was (since I mentioned that it was Amy’s first Degrassi event) and Amy said Justin Kelly. She said she’d see where Justin was at with filming and would see if she could possibly bring him over. We weren’t really expecting anything, since we knew that it’d probably been a long day for him (and everyone), but after Justin was finished filming she brought him over to see us so we could get pictures with him, which was the nicest thing ever! I probably thanked Krista a million times- she probably thinks I’m nuts, and I don’t even know if she remembers my name. We also met Munro too and my friend got a picture with him.

After a long and exciting day, we headed home!

I just want to thank Epitome for giving fans the opportunity to participate in the filming of Degrassi! It’s definitely something that doesn’t happen everyday and I’m glad that I was able to be apart of it.

If anyone has any other questions about the day (since this was a very brief summary), you can tweet me @ashleyshimski


Production Begins on Highland Gardens

Filming for Epitome’s new show Highland Gardens began today. The show, which stars former Degrassi cast member Cassie Steele, was originally rumoured to be a Degrassi spinoff. However, a new press release that came out today suggests that that is no longer the case. The series also stars Joe Dinicol, Chelan Simmons, Jewel Staite, and Benjamin Watson. It is about a group of young performers who are living in an apartment-style hotel in Hollywood. Read more about the show in today’s press release:

Whether they stay a week, a month, or 40 years, the denizens of HIGHLAND GARDENS provide something to each other that’s in short supply elsewhere in Hollywood: support. The ensemble drama stars:
•Joe Dinicol (MURDOCH MYSTERIES, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) as “nice-guy” Nick, a struggling stand-up comedian from Edmonton who is always the best friend and never the boyfriend;
•Andra Fuller (The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Entourage) as Kaldrick, the extremely successful Hip-Hop artist hailing from the streets of Oakland, California;
•Jonathan Patrick Moore (Neighbours, All Saints) as Connor, a break-out Australian with drop-dead good looks and a dark past;
•Chelan Simmons (SMALLVILLE, SUPERNATURAL, KYLE XY) as Alicia, a sensitive, aspiring dancer from Regina who will do whatever it takes to make ends meet;
•Jewel Staite (FLASH FORWARD, STARGATE ATLANTIS) as the street-smart Haligonian Raquel, who’s frightened of becoming yesterday’s news;
•Cassie Steele (DEGRASSI, RELIC HUNTER) as Abby, the naïve Toronto actor who is ready to fight to get to the top;
•and Benjamin Charles Watson (Todd and the Book of PURE Evil, The Listener) as Tariq, the confident and talented African-Canadian hip-hop artist with a secret on the down low.


Tonight’s Me To We Degrassi Event Cancelled

In case you guys haven’t heard, tonight’s Degrassi meet & greet at the Me To We Store in Toronto has been officially cancelled.

Me To We has been doing these Documentary Series for the past couple of months or so. They would screen one of the Degrassi documentaries, and then do a Q&A session with cast members. Tonight was supposed to be a screening event for Degrassi In Kenya.

Last night I received an email from Epitome Pictures saying that there was no meet & greet scheduled. There was some confusion. Other fans claimed to have spoken with Me To We recently, and were told that the meet & greet was still happening. However, this morning Me To We sent out the following email:

Greetings from the Me to We Store!

As you may or may not have heard, the Degrassi documentary viewing, “Degrassi in Kenya,” is unfortunately cancelled for tonight. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. If you are interested in learning more about our trip opportunities, please write me back and we can set up an alternative viewing. In addition, every Wednesday night at the store are our Trip Information Nights and I encourage you to come to learn more about our programming.

Have a great Tuesday and I hope to see you at our next event!

Thank you for your patience and understanding

Too bad — hopefully there will be another meet & greet soon!


Epitome Pictures Announces New TV Series

A Degrassi spinoff? Not quite. But CTV announced in a press release today that the network has ordered a new drama series from Epitome Pictures (Degrassi’s production company). Ever since the cancellation of Instant Star, we’ve been waiting to hear when Epitome will take on another show. Now we have an official announcement! The one hour drama series is called Highland Gardens, and focuses on 6 young Canadians as they pursue their dreams in Hollywood. Here’s what the press release had to say:

CTV Orders Two, New One-Hour Original Pilots SAVING HOPE and STAY WITH ME // MuchMusic and CTV Order New One-Hour Drama Series HIGHLAND GARDENS

Toronto, ON (December 9, 2010) – CTV announced today that it has ordered two, new one-hour original drama pilots for the network. Additionally, MuchMusic and CTV also announced today that they have ordered a new one-hour original drama series.

For MuchMusic and CTV and from the internationally acclaimed and Gemini Award-winning Epitome Pictures producing team of Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn (DEGRASSI) comes the six-episode one-hour drama HIGHLAND GARDENS (working title). Executive Produced and written by Martin Gero (Bored to Death, Young People F*cking), HIGHLAND GARDENS follows the ins and outs of an apartment-style motel in LA which draws aspiring Canadian hopefuls looking for a place to rest their heads while they chase their Hollywood dreams. Production is scheduled to begin in Summer 2011.

Small fish. Big pond. Huge dreams. The sexy new drama HIGHLAND GARDENS focuses on six young Canadians as they try their luck in LA, pursuing celluloid and stardom, along with a few thousand other uber-motivated hopefuls. Moving into an apartment-style motel for displaced dreamers, each dubbed “most likely to succeed”, they all face the challenges and opportunities of a lifetime. Can they achieve their heart’s desire without selling their souls? The six-episode first season of HIGHLAND GARDENS will be showrun and executive produced by Martin Gero (Young People F*cking, BORED TO DEATH) and executive produced by Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn from Epitome Pictures (DEGRASSI) in association with MuchMusic. The series is funded by the CHUM Benefits Trendsetters and Risktakers fund