The cast of Degrassi: The Next Generation
the story continues… [from Queens University Alumni Newsletter]
If you’re under 30, there’s no doubt you remember them: Joey, Snake, and Wheels. From 1986 to 1991, the cast of Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High entertained Canadians (and subsequently, audiences in more than two dozen other countries) through their weekly trials and tribulations of growing up in inner city Toronto.
By Greg Hughes, Arts’02
Fast forward to 2001, in which the Canadian television network CTV, along with series’ co-producers Yan Moore, Arts’77, and Linda Schuyler have launched Degrassi: The Next Generation. At the heart of the show lies Queen’s graduate Aaron Martin, Arts’94. As the senior story editor for Degrassi: TNG, Aaron has been central to the new series’ development, helping to create new storylines and characters–yet remaining true to the central core of the original series.
“Schyuler and Moore–the team behind the original Degrassi–hired my writing partner Tassie Cameron and I right out of the Canadian Film Centre in 2000 to help with the development of the new series. So I’ve been involved almost from the get-go.”
Aaron, a native of Brantford, ON, who studied drama and history at Queen’s, has played a major role in deciding which stories have been told over the first 13 episodes of the new series.
“It was very strange writing dialogue for Joey Jeremiah and friends, to say the least,” he says.
Aaron’s auspicious start in television has also extended into the world of film. After a short stay at the Canadian Film Centre, he went on to co-write the short film Martirio, which ended up on the short list at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film focuses around identical twin trapeze artists who make personal sacrifices for each others’ happiness.
“It [Martirio] has played at festivals all over the world, and has been licensed to both the Showcase cable network in Canada, and Canal+ in France,” says Aaron.
While his career is off to a fast start, he believes that his experiences at Queen’s helped to shape his goals and ambitions for his future career.
“The Drama Department provided a great, hands-on, student-centred degree. My history degree has also played a big part in my post-Queen’s life–critical writing and thinking skills and a broad base of knowledge,” Aaron explains.
In terms of his future plans, Martin is currently gearing up for the second season of Degrassi: TNG, and would eventually like to get into pursuing feature writing and directing. He’s aiming for the top.
“And then, of course, there’s always Los Angeles,” he says.
Writer Greg Hughes, Arts ’02, is a former Editor at The Queen’s Journal and was in charge of the Queen’s Encyclopedia this past summer.