Just Passing Through – Review and Interview!

As someone who was born and raised in the Maritimes, I have to say that this show is one for the ages.

Just Passing Through is a PEI – based web series created by brothers Jason, and Jeremy Larter, and Geoff Read. It stars Dennis Trainor (Terry Gallant)  Robbie Moses (Parnell Gallant), Tyler Seguin (Owen Stephens) as well as Bridget Tobin (Alex) and Sydney Dunitz (Vanessa).
Season 1 begins with Terry and Parnell all ready to set off to Alberta with big dreams of making it big, and getting ‘loaded rich.’ Things, of course, take a turn when their car, given to them by Grammie Gallant breaks down in Toronto. Luckily, their ‘cousint’ Owen Stephens
(played by Tyler Seguin) lives there. From there, Terry and Parnell arrive at his apartment, uninvited, of course, That is, of course when all of the excitement begins! I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say whether it be encouters with ‘real life hookers’,
rips on the ‘Handy clam’, or trouble with the Martime Mafia, among other things there are laughs around every corner. The first season ends with Terry and Parnell leaving Toronto for Alberta and Owen finally being rid of his ‘PEI cousints’….. or so he thought.

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In season 2, which recently premiered online on January 31st, 2016, we see Terry and Parnell have returned to PEI from ‘out West”, well… the Potash Mines of Saskatchewan, happy and loaded rich! So, with that, they devise a plan to get Owen, and his friends Alex (Bridget Tobin), and Vanessa (Sydney Dunitz) to come to PEI for their “Pogey Summer.” Like, Season One, you can pretty much guess what comes next….Since the 2nd season is so new, I won’t give any spoilers  – you’ll just need to watch and see!

Just Passing Through is a show that is so unique – yet so incredibly Canadian in every stretch of the word, and a real gem. This breakout success with its regional humor, mixed with the hilarious on-screen chemistry of the cast makes it very easy to fall in love with the show.
I know we, at ACR were hooked, and still are!

Before the release of Season 2, the creators held a 3-day viewing party that allowed fans to purchase tickets and come to Charlottetown, PEI’s PEI Brewing Company. With no surprise, the event was extremely successful with
each night selling out!

I had the privilege of getting to work closely with the cast and crew this past summer while they were filming Season 2 (entirely on PEI). You can catch my acting debut in Season 2’s 2nd episode as the “Blistered Tourist”.

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After the filming was completed in early July, I had the chance to sit with Jason and Jeremy Larter, as well as Robbie Moses and Dennis Trainor and talk about the show’s origins, expectations for Season 2, as well as their next game plan.

Thanks so much for sitting down with me! You guys must be exhausted after filming! I was tired after being there one day, haha! (Season 2 was filmed in just 30 days in June 2015)
Yea, it’s been a crazy month – but it was also a lot of fun and we are happy to be doing what we love.

Where did the initial idea of the show come from?
Just Passing Through came from Geoff Read and I watching the classic film Goin’ Down the Road and watching the SCTV sketches that John Candy and Joe Flaherty did spoofing the movie.  In the film there’s a scene where the two Maritimers land in Toronto at their aunt and uncle’s house. The aunt and uncle are peering out the window looking at the two guys bang on the door. They won’t answer the door, they are looking at the flame painted shitbox car that the guys are driving and they won’t let them in. Then the Maritimers go off on their way but Geoff and I thought that if the aunt and uncle let the Maritimers in they’d basically be living in sitcom world. So we started watching lots of episodes of Perfect Strangers and Three’s Company and it helped a lot with our vision of where we wanted the show to go.

How did you cast the show, because it was so perfectly done!
We did a casting session in Toronto in July of 2012 and we cast our three main Toronto leads from here.  Dennis Trainor and I have known each other for years, we’ve done a lot of short films together and Dennis did a lot of sketch stuff and theatre stuff in PEI.  Robbie and I did a twenty episode web series called PEI Ponderings (Check it out on YouTube – it’s hilarious!) together and I’ve known Robbie for about five or ten years.  Initially we were worried because on paper the first few drafts of the scripts Terry and Parnell basically seemed interchangeable, it was hard to distinguish between the two guys.  But Dennis and Robbie are very different people, Dennis can ramp it up quite high when he needs to and Robbie’s just got a natural sweetness to him, and their personalities worked great. We cast them in August then we wrote from September all the way through to shooting, which was February.  The writing process for the show was quite long because we’d never written a show before. We weren’t supposed to make full length episodes originally, we were funded to do 10 minute episodes, but once we started getting into the writing process and ideas were combining, then Arrested Development was going to be coming out on Netflix. Netflix was starting to put out full length shows and Geoff and I were like – “I think this is probably the future”  If our goal is to get a show to be broadcast on television, if we want to make a career out of this we might as well take the risk and try to make a full length. *This is still their goal at this point and time!”

Do you have a favorite line from the first season?

“There’s lots of good jobs in Moncton” sticks out for me because that’s in the first scene. It’s great to hear people quoting lines back to us. When we were making it, it never occurred to us that people might one day quote the lines.
I like “Moncton is the arsehole of the Maritimes” too. Poor Moncton. “She’s about as European as a Pontiac Sunfire”, also the bit about the “touch of lavender” is hilarious as well.

How did you get all of your funding for the shows?
That was through the Independent Production Fund and Innovation PEI. The IPF is a private fund and they fund 10-15 different web series every year, they’ve been doing that since 2010.  I was a finalist with 2 different projects in the 2 previous years but never got through. Originally there are 150 projects that are submitted then they narrow it down to 30, then pick 10-15. We got it in 2012. Season 2, was a different story because it almost didn’t happen at all. We found out at the last minute that Innovation P.E.I. wasn’t going to come on board with the Independent Production Fund (IPF) in 2014.  Our only option for third-party financing was to do our own Kickstarter campaign. Otherwise we wouldn’t have had any funding for P.E.I., which would have meant that IPF wouldn’t have funded us.” With little time to spare and a fundraising goal of $50,000, the Just Passing Through Kickstarter campaign was created in early spring 2014 and quickly kicked into high gear. With 12 donation levels for supporters to choose from, as well as lucrative perks that ranged from ringtones and clothing to small speaking roles in Season 2, fans from across the Island and the country came on board to help financially any way they could. It was a lofty goal, and the campaign itself was a labor of love at times , but the last ten days of the Kickstarter campaign proved that where there’s a will, there’s a way. We got over our goal the same day that our IPF application had to be in It was all or nothing. We had to get $50,000 or we wouldn’t have gotten anything, so that was a huge bonus. We couldn’t have done it without all these people, both literally and figuratively. The cool thing about the Kickstarter campaign was that it fostered a more intimate relationship with our fans, and that’s something that’s pretty rare*Fans were rewarded with speaking roles on the show for their generous donations through the campaign.*

What can we expect for the next season?

They’re all gonna go to PEI – Bumblef*@k, to be exact!. We want to shoot on Pogey Beach, which is actually Tracadie Beach**. We want to include flea markets and benefit dances, they’re so big on the Island.  The benefit dance culture is getting into bizarre territory now, you’re seeing some really weird benefits for people where you don’t really know what’s going on, people who aren’t really sick, they just kinda want some money.  We’re gonna play on that a little bit. We’ll include my neck of the woods too, Tracadie Wharf and Covehead, all that. It’s a lot easier to write the second season than it was to write the first. Once you have the foundation you can build off it a lot easier.

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Before I finish, I was asked to acknowledge the tireless dedication of the JPT  production crew. Were it not for them, the show would not be at all possible!

I will just say that it was a real privilege an honor to get to work with the cast and crew of this great show. I think I can speak for anyone who has seen the show in hoping that fans will get to watch the show on a much bigger platform, as it surely deserves one!

You can watch all episodes online, read cast bios and more at www.justpassingthrough.ca., or on JPT’s Youtube Page!

Peace, Love, Rock!

Sarah

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