August 15, 1994
LENGTH: 782 words
HEADLINE: Liberty Street
BYLINE: Janice Lee
By Janice Lee
Late 1991: Principal photography wraps on
School's Out!, the last chapter in
the Degrassi chronicles. Kit Hood and Linda Schuyler,
executive producers of
Toronto-based Playing With Time, feel they have told all the
stories they had to
tell about the Degrassi characters.
Schuyler's fascination with the teen
generation, however, does not end with
the series. She wonders about following these
"inexperienced adults" as they
mature and live on their own for the first time. She thinks
building would make a great forum for this idea.
Early 1992: Having recently completed
Degrassi Talks, a six-part, half-hour
primetime documentary series for cbc, Hood and Schuyler
embark on yet another
project. They pitch a two-hour feature documentary, Degrassi
TalksOn the Future,
about the offspring of the flower children. cbc gives them
the go-ahead and
signs on as the broadcaster.
Mid 1992: Knee-deep in research for the
documentary, Schuyler begins to feel
the material dictates a different genre. Using the
information they have
uncovered, the pwt partners put the documentary on hold to
develop a one-hour
dramatic series, X-Rated.
As creative producer, Schuyler begins to
develop the initial characters and
outline of the series, which is set against the overeducated
tapestry of the twentysomething generation. Telefilm Canada
kicks in $310,000
from the Canadian Broadcasters Program Development Fund and
Revenue Sharing Program for development. Much of the money
will be invested in
Late 1992: It is becoming more and more
apparent that, professionally, the
longtime partners are going in different directions. Hood
wants to concentrate
on one-offs while Schuyler is committed to producing
The first three episodes of the X-Rated
series are almost completed. Hood and
Schuyler amalgamate them into a two-hour mow. This works
well as a last project
for the pair - Hood gets to work on a one-off mow and
Schuyler gets to see her
characters on screen. They form Epitome Pictures for the
purpose of making the
mow and begin their search for "The Pit" - the
apartment building that will
house the twentysomethings.
June 1993: A good omen: they find the
July 1993: Epitome holds a series of
actor's workshops before shooting
August 1993: Principal photography begins
on X-Rated, budgeted at $2.2
million. Schuyler develops the series as one-hour episodes
concurrently with the
September 1993: Schuyler buys the rights
to the series and Epitome. She
begins talks with cbs for an American presale of the series.
February 1994: cbc broadcasts X-Rated.
March 1994: After X-Rated airs, Schuyler
and cbc focus test the mow, taking
out the bits that didn't work and finding out which ones
did. The series will be
based on some of the characters from the movie and will be
Street. Creative players for the series are Susin Nielson,
Barry Stevens and Yan
cbc informs Schuyler that its 1994/95
primetime schedule will not have room
for a one-hour dramatic series. Schuyler is resistant at
first, but redesigns
the series and the scripts to fit a half-hour format. She
realizes that the new
format will make getting an American network impossible - it
has already cost
Epitome the potential of an American presale to cbs.
Schuyler sees the change as a blessing in disguise - American
sales are often
accompanied with a lot of creative interference.
Funding for the series comes from the
Telefilm Broadcast Fund, Schuyler's
share of the prsp, cbc, Health Canada, tax shelters, the
Ontario Film Investment
Program and Schuyler's own personal investment.
Outside of North America, Atlantis
Releasing will handle distribution.
July 1994: Schuyler holds an intensive
three-week workshop for the actors.
Principal photography begins on Liberty
Street, budgeted at $450,000 per
episode. Although the schedule is hectic (11 episodes by
mid-October), the cast
and crew are very enthusiastic about this project. Two weeks
into the shoot,
Schuyler has started to screen cuts for the first two
The first three episodes of Liberty Street
will be directed by Paul Lynch.
Other directors for subsequent episodes include Gail Harvey,
Centre director trainee Alex Chapple, Bruce McDonald and
Ann-Marie MacDonald and Paul Aitken have
also joined Epitome's writing team.
The 11 episodes of Liberty Street will air
on cbc beginning January 1995.
Schuyler hopes to use the episodes, which only have a
Canadian broadcaster, as
an extended pilot.