Yellow pages: Simpsons writer guests at conference
"Simpsons" executive producer Tim Long, one of the "Canadian Mafia" of series writers that also includes Joel Cohen and Jeff Westbrook, will take part in the first-ever Toronto Screenwriting Conference, set for this Saturday and Sunday at the Ryerson University Ted Rogers School of Management.
Long confesses that he's put more than a few Canadian references into the long-running cartoon sitcom. However, he asserts that his American co-workers are equally guilty.
"I'm very wary of being the guy who pitches the Canadian jokes," says Long, 40.
"But what often happens is that we'll be talking about Canada and then the other guys will get all excited about it just because it seems so exotic and then they'll start pitching the jokes because they think it's so funny. Like the city of Winnipeg gets mentioned way more on our show than any other show but that's not because the Canadians are pitching it, it's just because everyone is amazed that there's a city called Winnipeg."
Executive producer of The Simpsons since 2004 and a writer for the show for 11 years, Long was born in Brandon, Manitoba and grew up in Exeter, Ontario (population 4,000), home to North America's only indigenous population of white squirrels. Long will be presenting two Q&A sessions at the conference. He just finished writing and producing a special musical episode of The Simpsons entitled "Elementary School Musical." This episode, slated to be the Simpsons' season premiere this year, features three original songs by Long -- one sung by the cast of Fox-TV's Glee, and the other two performed by Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie of HBO's Flight of the Conchords.
From 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Ellen Besen will speak on hybrid and animation filmmaking.
A former faculty member of Sheridan College's School of Animation (1987-2002) and infamous workaholic, Besen has been working in the field of animation for over 35 years. She is an award-winning animation filmmaker (independent and National Film Board of Canada), creative program director of the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International from 2007-09, animation film theorist and author of Animation Unleashed.
Her films have been shown in multiple international festivals, and her film analysis workshops are featured at such festivals as the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Renowned as a specialist in animation storytelling, Besen has written popular series for Animation World Network on such topics as animation and analogy, and continues to teach the principles of animation filmmaking on an intensive one-on-one basis. Work in progress includes her next film, Elusive Hearts (working title), and her next book, Whole Cloth Storytelling (working title).
Also taking part in the Toronto Screenwriting Conference will be Chuck Tatham, the Ontario-born executive producer of How I Met Your Mother. He'll be presenting two Q&A sessions.
Born in Listowel, Ontario and raised in Guelph, Ontario, Tatham left advertising -- he was a copywriter in Toronto for prestigious clients like "The Brick" â€“ and moved to Los Angeles in 1991. He has done punch-up and rewrite work on such high-profile feature films as Shrek 3 and Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Presenting two Q&A sessions, Rhett Reese has written screenplays for Pixar Animation Studios (Monsters, Inc.), Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Feature Animation (Dinosaur), Nickelodeon and Warner Brothers (Clifford's Really Big Movie), among others.
Although 400 spots to the Toronto Screenwriting Conference were available, organizers were unable to say how many tickets had been sold as of Wednesday. Admission is $369 Canadian.
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[Via Canadian Press -- http://www.cbc.ca/...100407/e040747A.html