Kids today will never understand the joy of going to the video rental store on a Friday night and browsing the aisles for the latest movie releases.
A new game show about to start production in the Calgary region hopes to bring participants back to those glory days.
Rental Rewind will see teams of three collect VHS tapes by answering movie trivia questions, playing mini games, and wagering points.
The Airdrie-based production company behind the game show, Crooked Cinema, was started by Mitchell George almost 10 years ago.
George has directed and produced music videos, corporate videos, short films, and even a children’s science show called Film Labs—in which he stars with his niece.
Be kind, please rewind
Project manager Brodie Parker has worked with George on a couple of projects in the past and was brought on to assist with Rental Rewind. The show will showcase the nostalgia of going to a video store and renting a movie.
“It seems like game shows are extremely palatable. And it doesn’t really matter what else is going on out there, everyone always loves a game show,” Parker says.
“We’re really excited to bring people in and have some fun with it.”
Parker says they want to show participants a good time and make sure they leave with smiles on their faces.
“It’s like taking someone into the mountains for the first time. You just watch their face light up. Whether they’re in front of the camera… or behind it, they just love to be a part of it. One of the most fun things is to have people on set.”
Filming in Airdrie
Parker says they’ve received some funding from Telus for three pilot episodes, which will air on Telus Optik TV sometime next year.
“It’s important to us that when we do receive funds from companies like Telus that we’re good stewards of their money and we show them that we can create a really good product. But for us, too, it’s getting to the point now where we’re ready to take the next step with the business.”
Filming in Airdrie is important because it’s where Crooked Cinema is based and Parker says they want to show that the small city can be a local film hub.
“Not only can we do it, but it’s like a really good product, you know… We want very professional productions coming out of Airdrie.”
Parker is hopeful that Rental Rewind will be a success and get picked up for a full season.
Benefits of a local film industry
Alberta offers a film and television tax credit, which Parker says is a huge benefit.
“It brings in so much money for an economy, whether it be provincial or at the local level,” he says.
“The tax credit is only available for medium to large businesses, which is just an incentive for us to become a medium-sized business. We’re not looking to compete or take away business from any of the existing studios, we’re simply looking to service the industry.”
Parker says officials with the city of Airdrie have been very supportive of the Rental Rewind project and that there are sponsorship opportunities for local businesses.
“The response has been unbelievable from businesses just wanting to help, and I think maybe that’s just kind of the Alberta business community. It’s full of entrepreneurs, they just want to see people be successful,” he says.
“A good business deal is good for everybody, not just one side. So that’s been our approach with it and it’s been really well-received.”
Timeline for filming
Parker and the rest of the Crooked Cinema team will be hard at work over the coming weeks.
The set for the game show needs to be built and Parker has a goal of wrapping filming by Christmas to give the creative team plenty of time with post-production.
Editing needs to be done by February, with the three pilot episodes airing sometime after that.
Anyone wishing to participate must apply and submit a video by the end of November.
“I can’t wait until we can actually get filming and have some fun,” Parker says.
“People get to be movie stars for the day. You just see it all over their faces and it’s so much fun.”
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