As I previously mentioned here, this new mini series of blog posts will be looking at my ‘Lockdown Loves’. In other words, the podcasts, the TV shows, the books… just the things that saw me through most of 2020 when I was in lockdown.
First on my list is the YVR Screen Scene podcast, hosted by Sabrina Furminger. To give a quick overview, Sabrina is an award-winning film and television industry journalist, podcaster, and content creator based in Vancouver, Canada. She has written for publications including the Westender and Vancouver Courier, and her twice-weekly podcast (YVR Screen Scene) is a chance to hear her chat to some of the biggest names within the industry.
In addition to all of this, Sabrina hosted the UBCP/ACTRA Awards Red Carpet in November 2019 (plus hosted and produced the first UBCP/ACTRA Awards Virtual Red Carpet in 2020); while she has also moderated at events including Women in Film and Television Vancouver and the Vancouver International Film Festival. Oh, and she also co-owns Fish Flight Entertainment, a boutique animation and visual effects studio based in Vancouver.
So, it’s fair to say that Sabrina is at the top of her game. She knows what is going on in her field and does great work to allow other actors and content producers to have their voice heard when they can often be overlooked.
Now, I live in a little village in the north of Ireland so I’m not exactly Sabrina’s target demographic, but I first came across her work back in 2013 when a friend (who lives in Canada) sent me a copy of WE. The newspaper featured an interview, by Sabrina, with Amanda Tapping as she discussed her career aspirations as she started to move away from acting and into directing instead. It was a really nice feature and I liked Sabrina’s style of writing and interviewing.
Then, last year, I discovered the YVR Screen Scene podcast – and I was so excited when I discovered it was Sabrina’s project!
I admit, I came into the podcast game a little late. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the concept of a podcast (because I do, I think it’s great), but I struggled to listen to a podcast playing in the background as I worked or cleaned the house. Music is fine, but for podcasts – and even audiobooks – I have to concentrate otherwise I miss more of the conversation than I catch. I’ve since improved at listening to podcasts, and as I had a lot of time on my hands last year, I was able to sit down and happily binge-listen.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an interest in Canada (and Vancouver in particular) and it’s probably because some of my favourite TV shows have been filmed in and around the city. I’ve grown up seeing all these different locations and thinking, ‘that’s a place I really want to visit someday’. Over the years hundreds of TV shows, not to mention movies, have been filmed in Vancouver including The 100, Andromeda, Battlestar Galactica, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Eureka, Fear The Walking Dead, MacGyver, Once Upon A Time, Smallville, Stargate SG-1, Supernatural, The Twilight Zone and The X Files. Many of my favourite actors have also appeared in these shows – and as Sabrina has interviewed a lot of them for YVR, it’s one of the reasons why I love her podcast so much.
Vancouver is known for having one of the busiest film and television production centres around and the twice-weekly YVR Screen Scene podcast talks to those who help to power this industry with not only their work, but also their voices.
The tone of the podcast is friendly and fun but honest. It’s not like the actor is sitting down to some kind of stuffy interview; it’s the complete opposite, so even though there are serious discussions that take place, there’s also a relaxed vibe to the episodes which allows the guests involved to open up and really talk about their work and the other issues that are important to them or have changed their lives. Sabrina also uses her position to discuss topics that have so often been missing from discussions in the media. From the Black Lives Matter movement to those within the industry who have been the victims of abuse to endometriosis – it’s all laid out in her podcasts.
There is so much to unpack with every episode and there are currently 146 episodes to listen to but here’s just a few of my favourites (and I’ve deliberately stayed away from most of the Stargate interviews, but they are also fabulous):
Aleks Paunovic has starred in a wide range of television shows over the years including recurring roles in Battlestar Galactica and The 100, but he is probably best known to many for playing Julius in Van Helsing. On this opening podcast, Sabrina chats to Aleks about a host of subjects – from his childhood in Winnipeg to how he got his acting break. It’s a really fun episode, and one of my favourite moments is when Aleks shares the story of how he met, and spent some time with, one of his heroes: Muhammad Ali.
I know Keegan Connor Tracy best from her role in Once Upon A Time, but she’s also starred in The Magicians and Bates Motel, as well as the Disney movie franchise The Descendants. Away from acting, Keegan has also written two children’s books (goals, right here). In her podcast with Sabrina, she talks about her ‘magical’ career, as well as her fangirling over astronaut Chris Hadfield.
In this episode of the YVR Screen Scene, Sabrina spoke to Tom Charity, the year-round programmer at VIFF Vancity Theatre (the home of the Vancouver International Film Festival) and I found it really interesting to hear more about this side of the industry, as well as how it was embracing new technology and ideas in order to try and meet the changes that Covid-19 has presented over the past year. As someone who loves the arts and had been going to the theatre a lot prior to lockdown, this one was riveting listening.
Okay, so I know I said I was deliberately staying clear of Stargate for this piece, but I couldn’t finish off my episode recs without including this one featuring Joseph Mallozzi.
Joe is a producer, writer, and showrunner for shows including the SG franchise (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe), Dark Matter, Utopia Falls… as well as some new upcoming projects, but any interview with him always promises to be interesting. Here, he chats to Sabrina about Stargate’s legacy and what the future may hold for the show; fandom; food; and what really happens in a writers’ room.
YVR Screen Scene is also on Patreon where you can donate just a few pounds/dollars/euros/insert currency a month for additional perks.