Did you know Ottawa has a thriving dance battle scene? Or about Ottawa’s funny af improv comedy scene? Do you know where in town is good to eat for under $20? Those are the types of questions being asked by Apt613’s web series team, also known as 613TV.
On Friday, November 30 at 8pm we’re screening a program of works created by the 613TV team in 2018. You can join us at Arts Court Theatre for the first-ever Apt613 Screening Party, an entertaining night of new films and videos from the Apt613 filmmaking community. Scary Bear Soundtrack is going to perform live, fivepee is selecting music, and there’ll be free popcorn all night.
Admission to the screening is by donation (RSVP on Evenbrite) and all event proceeds will fund 613TV productions in 2019.
To get a sense of Apartment613’s YouTube project and where it’s going, we chatted with local filmmakers Hingman Leung and Chantalle Clarkin, the co-creative directors of 613TV. They’re already thinking about what Apt613’s volunteer crew will produce next year.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Apt613: What was your favourite on-camera moment in 2018?
Hingman Leung: Basically anytime [Amuse Bouche host and producer] Shannon Ing makes a face.
Chantalle Clarkin: At C*4 Wrestling we interviewed wrestlers after their matches. I definitely wasn’t prepared for the glares, growls, and garb that accompanied each wrestler’s persona. Wrestling fans are some of the most enthusiastic fans I’ve ever seen and independent wrestlers are 100 per cent committed to their craft. I loved every moment.
Hingman Leung: [C*4 Wrestling] stands out in my memory because it was the first Ottawa Minute episode. I was blown away by how welcoming the wrestling community was. It was the first time Cece and I worked together, and it’s just so fun. Also, it was shot and edited within 24 hours. In my mind, it marks a milestone for 613TV.
Your favourite off-camera moment?
HL: When we were shooting at Arts Court one time, someone was cooking big hunks of salmon in the room where we were supposed to be filming. It smelled pretty strong. A crew member said, “I don’t know about you… but I prefer to not work in a fish environment.” We ended up shouldering on and filmed in there anyway, and eventually we got used to the fish smell… A close second is when we were at a Fury FC game and I was a human shield for Cece.
CC: The best moments of 613TV happen off camera—that’s an insider secret! I once used Hingman as a human shield. We were shooting behind the nets at a Fury FC game when a soccer ball veered for us. In this moment, my true cowardice was revealed. This was the first (and last?!) time I’ve used another person as a human shield. Hingman, on the other hand, was cool as ice and landed an incredible shot.
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Sun and beer with friends Watching fantastic open Cannot ask for more . One of my favourite shots from today’s outing with @apt613 crew – so very cool to be so close to the action at the first game of the season. I am really loving the stadium experience!! . #Ottawa #FuryFC #soccer #firstdayofrpring #specialaccess #haiku #apt613wknd @tdplace
CC: Another time we featured contemporary choir in an Ottawa Minute, and were were given special access to a church balcony during the performance. The vantage point was incredible… but the pews up there were so, so old… and by old, I mean incredibly noisy! I was camera 1 and ended up on an unbelievably loud, crickedy-crackedy, wooden pew that let out cries for help every time I moved in the slightest. This, of course, triggered so much awkward giggling, and then more creaking, and then more giggling—just what you want from a camerawoman during a delightful choir performance.
“I don’t know about you… but I prefer to not work in a fish environment.”
What was your favourite location?
CC: Westboro Beach for Fiesta Cubana. Getting to watch a sunset on the beach and film at golden hour is always such a treat. Having to sashay through a crowd of fervent salsa dancers without breaking their grooves, in order to get our shots, was also hilarious.
HL: On our first shoot together, Cece and I were shooting C*4 Wrestling in Vanier, and it stands out in my memory because we had no idea how crowded it would become, and how we would have to maneuver around the space. But, as we’ve proven time and time again since that shoot, we roll with the punches (literally!) and find workarounds as a team. It was also super cool to shoot behind the scenes at the tryouts for Ottawa’s baseball team.
What’s the most gear you’ve taken to a shoot? How many crew volunteers helped out?
HL: We tend to be very efficient with gear, since none of us have cars. I think we do pretty well never bringing too much gear. I can’t remember a time when I thought we were overloaded. In our ideal situation, we have two cameras, one sound person, one production assistant, and a director—most times our crew double up on roles and I’d love to see more volunteers come out to be on crew!
CC: The most gear at a shoot has to be from our “Off the Record” series (pilot episode premiering at the screening party!) where we invited local musicians to perform inside the Innovation Pod. We’d have 2-3 cameras set up, bands with their gear, many mics, a sound tech, 613TV crew, and sometimes spectators. It was tight quarters, long hours and often either too hot or too cold in there, but so worth it. Everything about the logistics of this series was new to me and no two shoots were ever the same (especially the time we lost solar power and really had to improvise).
One year into this project, what’s been the biggest surprise?
CC: Hingman says it best below, I totally agree!
HL: I’m always surprised that at the places we go to shoot, most people aren’t familiar with Apartment613. What this tells me is that there’s huge potential for the blog and for the channel to really get out there and into the pulse of the city, reach more communities and tell more stories that are relevant to our times. There are untapped audiences out there!
Which episode is a sleeper hit?
CC: The 2018 Pride Parade episode is a very special one that could use more love. We hit the streets to explore what pride means to different parade-goers. The discussions sparked while filming this were meaningful, thoughtful, and heartwarming. I’m already looking forward to Pride 2019.
The best way to support 613TV is by subscribing on YouTube. Please share our videos far and wide—like everything in Ottawa, word of mouth goes a long way.
What new series are you working on for 2019?
HL: You’ll have to come to the November 30th screening party to find out!
CC: We’re working on so much! We actually have more ideas and inspiration than we do crew, which means that we can’t achieve all of our goals (wink, wink—call to action: take the leap to volunteers and we’ll train you!)
Interested in video and filmmaking? Visit apt613.ca/tv to learn about volunteer opportunities.
Is Ottawa Minute coming back for a second season?
CC: Absolutely! We’ll be looking for more story leads for season two. Please feel free to reach out if you’re interested in taking part or have an episode idea—no idea is too wild for an Ottawa Minute.
HL: We’re looking for a fresh batch of volunteers to take this on—so let us know if you’re interested!
The Apartment613 Screening Party is happening at Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Ave) on Friday November 30 at 8pm. You can reserve tickets via Eventbrite. All event proceeds will fund 613TV productions in 2019.