Excerpts from Linda Schuyler and/or Stephen Stohn on production of Season 3 of DTNG

Just walked back from set to my office, we are just completing the final shot of the day. All of the cast have been here, as we have been shooting the new opening sequence. And Monday, the cameras roll on the first episode of Season 3–a one-hour special (301/302) that at this time is called “Father Figure”. It’s great to be back!
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And there may be someone else who we discover has a disability in the Season 3 opening special. Oops! I’ve said too much!
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7:58am, outside the school set with about 50 extras in the background, Paige and Spinner close together chatting–the clapper board goes up, Linda calls “1 take 1”, clapper board down, Bruce McDonald calls “Action”, Craig steps into frame with his camera–and that’s how Season 3 all started this morning!
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This morning we were shooting a scene which involves butterflies. Did you know that if butterflies are kept cool, they get a bit dozy and don’t fly away, and then under the camera lights they get a bit warmer and then fly
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Today we’re shooting everything inside–yesterday was half on the backlot (and in the woods for the butterflies) and half inside. I had a nice chat with Jonathan Torrens who is playing a guest role on this episode. In the U.S. viewers may not be as familiar with him, but he is terrific, and I think a lot of the Canadian viewers will recognize and like him…
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05/29/2003

Apparently shooting went really well today… I’m not at the studio, but am in meetings outside Toronto for today and tomorrow. Bruce Macdonald is directing the opening special, and always does some crazy things that we’re not expecting (like having extras carry a hug rhinoceros head in the background).

I’m surprised nobody has wondered what role Jonathan could be playing!

We’re not sure when Season 3 will start on CTV–the earliest would proably be the third wek of September…

6/19/03, 4:43 pm

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05/30/2003

Just had nice catch-up chat with Stacie Mistysyn (Caitlin)–she and Pat Mastroianni (Joey) are in a scene which is shooting right outside my office–it’s being dressed to look like a production office, which of course it really is anyway! (I hope my fish make it into the episode!) Normally we shoot everything in one of the three studios (A, B amd C) or on the Backlot, but occasionally (like now) we shoot in the office space itself. Last year the corridor at right angles from my office became the hospital corridor where Craig’s father used to work as a doctor in Tears Are Not Enough. And we quite often shoot in the production washroom–when it is supposed to be the Girl’s washroom we put up a Tampax dispenser, and when it’s supposed to be the Boys Washroom, we take down the Tampax dispenser and put up a wall of fake urinals–check it out next time you see a scene in a washroom!
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Just got back from the offical CTV annuoncement of their fall season. It was an amazing party. A lot of our Degrassi gang were there, and a number of American stars, including Ruben and Clay from American Idol (each sang a song) and all the 100 finalists for Canadian Idol who got on stage and sang along with Clay and Ruben. CTV officially announced that this fall Degrassi will always be on Wednesday evenings at 8:30pm. We consider that wonderful news–I know there will be some of our viewers who prefer the Sunday evening time slot, but we have a shot at much bigger audiences on Wednesday in full weekday prime time–and there should be fewer pre-emptions. We will follow My Wife and Kids, and lead into West Wing
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06/04/2003

A rare occurrence–today, tomorrow and Friday we are shooting on location. Usually we shoot everything in the studio, but for reasons wou will see when you see the shows, we need to be on location for these days. It’s a lot more expensive for us to be on location, so we like to bunch the days up when we do it. So today is the final day of shooting on 301/302 (“Father Figure”, and tomorrow and Friday instead of shooting 303, we are going to be block shooting 304 (“Pride” and 305 (“Why”, on location. Block shooting means we shoot 304 and 305 together as though they were the same show, but then they get separated into two shows in the editing. This way we maximize our location days. But it also means I can’t just sit in my office and know whats going on on set by watching my video monitor, the way I can when we’re at the studio!
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06/06/2003

Today is a beautiful day in Toronto, we’re shooting on location in a park and in an arena with Jimmy, Spinner, Craig, Paige and Marco. Yesterday was spitting rain, but we were very lucky. We got all the scenes we needed to, with the rain holding off. Then there was one where Joey is angry with Emma and Craig for something they have done (can’t say why!), and he has had to drive out to pick them up. The way the scene was originally written, Joey was in his open convertible and it was sunny. But it actually works much better to have them all miserable and pissed off in the rain!!
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06/11/2003

We’re flying back today, and it will be great to get back to set. Someone asked what a typical day is like on set for the cast, and to use today as an example it is a 7:30am start, and the first actor required (today its Emma) has to be on set after clearing Hair, Makeup and Wardrobe at 8:15 (meanwhile they’ve been setting up the lighting and blocking the camera positions with a stand-in). We’ll shoot about 6 scenes today, all of them interior (including a “swing” set which has been refitted to be a doctor’s office). Since we shoot a half hour episode in 4 days, and since the episodes actually last just over 22 minutes without commercials, we’ll be shooting between 5 and 6 minutes of the final episode today, but of course we’ll do multiple takes and angles on each scene. Lunch will be at 1:30pm, but there is tons of food available all day. We should complete today at about 7:30pm.
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06/12/2003

Was just in Editing trying to pick music for the scene in 301/302 when Emma and Craig are on the train, and also for a scene near the end of the show that I can’t talk about. And watched a partial assembly of 304 (we’re still shooting the remainder of the episode). Neat scene with Marco and Spinner having a serious conversation in the washroom! Also, Ashley looks fabulous this year–her hair is longer and more dark-reddish. Someone asked if all the cast are here every day–no, we are very specific about what scenes will be shot, so only the cast necessary for those scenes are here, and if they are only needed for part of the day they are only here for that part, so they can spend the rest of the day back at their own school…
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06/13/2003

in reply to a question …newcomer Daniel Morrison joins the cast as Chris Sharpe, a new Grade 9 student and budding hiphop DJ… and Stacie Mistysyn joins the cast as a regular this season playing Joeys high-school flame Caitlin Ryan…
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06/15/2003

omorrow I will be able to fill you in a little bit on the storyline for the opening special… CTV is issuing a press release which announces the start of production (of course you already know that we actually started production a few weeks back) and as soon as they issue that release I can fill you in a bit… Also tomorrow, we are shooting a scene for Episode 305 (“Why” that I can NOT tell you about but it will be a very moving scene and very difficult to shoot (for reasons that will become apparent when you see it!!). Then Tuesday and the rest of the week we take a break from shooting so that the cast members can focus on exams this week at their normal schools before we start shooting 303 which is tentatively called “U Got The Look”–as I mentioned before we are shooting out of order which is why we will have already shot 301/302, 304 and 305 before shooting 303.
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06/16/2003
Here are some excerpts from today’s release: Season 3 begins with the pending arrival of a new baby for Spike and Snake, inspiring Emma to start a search for her birth father just as she starts high school Degrassi kids will continue to deal with tough issues this year, including homosexuality, abortion, cutting, racism, teen pregnancy and cancer These storylines will be blended with dating woes, friendship challenges, peer pressure and a healthy dose of fun and laughter Acclaimed director Bruce McDonald, winner of the 2002 Directors Guild of Canada Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Television Series for his stellar directorial work on Degrassi, will once again kick-off the school year by directing the season premiere episode…
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06/17/2003

We’re on hiatus today, no shooting, it’s very quiet at the studio! So maybe I can answer a couple of questions that have been posted:

Someone asked whether any cast will NOT be returning this year–in fact everyone will be back!

Another question was when Season 3 would be on The-N. OK I know (and when I speak to the people at The-N THEY know) the frustration that all the American viewers feel. Here is what I understand, although things have changed from what I’ve understood before:

Starting July 11th The-N will run every episode in Season 2 that has not been seen–starting as most of you know with the three episodes that deal with Paige’s rape (Shout Part 1, Shout Part 2 and How Soon Is Now, which is actually from much later in the season), and then new episodes every week after that. So that gets Season 2 complete.

Then in September they are talking about doing something that would not be available to Canadian viewers. I can’t talk about what it is, but it sounds quite cool.

Then probably starting the first week of October they would start running Season 3–however after maybe five episodes they would probably take a break as they did last year, then run some more, then take another break. That is just the way that they program their channel and there’s not too much we can do about it! (Except for one thing–we are talking to a U.S. distributor who could potentially release Degrassi: The Next Generation DVD’s, which would include the uncut versions of the shows.)
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