Pictou County shaped comedy writer’s perspective

Amanda Jess
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New Glasgow raised filmmaker to do Q&A at Celtic Circle

HALIFAX – Iain MacLeod considers himself an outsider, or at least he used to.

Iain MacLeod will be returning to his hometown to show his short films and answer questions over a meal at The Celtic Circle on July 26.

It helps give him perspective, and get others laughing.

“I don’t think popular kids make very good comedians,” the New Glasgow-raised comedy writer said.

Being from this area has helped shape his comedy, a type he considers absurd.

It’s that background that sets him apart when he’s working with writers from Toronto and other large cities.

When he tells stories to others in the television community, they’re surprised by some of the things that happen here, he said, naming stupid crime and ‘people doing ridiculous things.’

He even finds being named the worst town in Canada funny.

“It’s this kind of very real place. People are very proud of it.”

MacLeod will soon be coming back home to try to pass on a little bit of what he knows to a senior’s comedy workshop, put on the Forbes Street Presenters Society.

Though he believes much of comedy is based on perspective, there are still ways to improve.

“I do think that you can get better at comedy by understanding it, and studying it.”

The comedians MacLeod is working with are trying to build a five-minute routine.

“I think in stand-up, comics are constantly honing their routine and you have this instant feedback of an audience.”

That’s a little harder for MacLeod to get.

Working in feature and short films and television, there’s not a lot of opportunity to improve on any one piece of material.

While in town this week, MacLeod will also show a few of his short films over a public dinner at The Celtic Circle, followed by a question and answer session.

“I think if time allows, I’m going to play the film through and play it again and do a director’s commentary and talk about how it came together.”

MacLeod was a writer for many years on the Trailer Park Boys, co-wrote on feature-length film Beat Down as well as several shorts.

Each medium requires its own approach.

Television is collaborative, he explains, allowing for an excitement to build when there’s time to get to know the characters and situations.

Film is solitary, drawn out, and a bit uncertain, he said, as it may be written long before production begins.

The storytelling is different too, he said, with many not lending themselves to TV.

“In TV, the story keeps on going. In movies, the story comes to an end.”

MacLeod has a few scripts in development, and is hoping to direct a feature film within the next two years, focusing more on film at the moment.

MacLeod will be talking about his work on July 26 at 6 p.m. over a two-course meal at The Celtic Circle.

Tickets are $25, including the meal.

 

amanda.jess@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

Geographic location: Pictou County, New Glasgow

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