As Canadians, we've seen our cities and towns turned into foreign movie sets, our lives flooded with the history of other nations. We want to do Canadian history the justice it deserves, and bury the phrase "Canadian history is boring," because it's anything but.
Our mission is to make episodes that entertain and engage you with the stuff you didn't hear about in history class. Stories you aren't going to find elsewhere. We are going to cover the highs and the lows, the heroes and the villains, and everything in between. All in a form we think is best suited to the content: high-quality YouTube videos. We aim to make episodes about once a month anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes long. We've chosen to do this as a web series because we want to build an open tapestry of stories. Too often history is crammed into an arbitrary broadcast length. We want each story to take the time it needs, and no more. And rather than a linear series, we want to create an interconnected web of stories that can grow endlessly and collectively produce a remarkable new image of our country.
To do that, we need help. We aren't trying to profit from Patreon, we are trying to keep the series sustainable. So...
Where does my contribution go?
One of the driving factors behind the idea for Canadiana is our desire to feature the locations that the stories took place in. Instead of a couple of images, textbooks, and articles, you get to see the places that were defined by the history. Whether or not buildings have been torn down, landscapes have changed, or modernity has erased the past. The idea being: the next time you walk past that building, down that unremarkable street, or by the statue you see everyday, you might stop for a moment to feel the history running beneath everything. Nondescript buildings will suddenly become memory palaces. The suburb/city/town/village you grew up in may take on a new character. You might even see ghosts. We think this sense of discovery and wonder has been completely ignored in Canada and we'd like to try and contribute to it. We are going to capture these places on camera like they never have been before. Some will be new views on locations you know, others will have never seen the inside of a camera lens. We aren't after stock footage B-roll, we are after the character and narratives behind it all.
To do this, we need gas money, and ultimately...plane money. We need to cross the country to do this right. Hostels and travelling costs are our primary reason for signing up with Patreon. We want to show you Dawson City in the Yukon, Iqaluit in Nunavut, Fogo Island in Newfoundland. We want to offer virtual tours of ruins, of abandoned bunkers, of mountain ranges. We want to combat the never-ending wave of films and TV shows pasting other countries on top of the already storied places in Canada that deserve to show-off their own historical and cultural identities.
When we set out to make the series, we knew that filming with shoddy gear in our apartments was out of the question. No matter how great the story is, covering it with a veneer of mediocrity would only serve to further the trend of Canadian-history-done-wrong. No more underfunded and lazy re-enactments. We wanted to produce the best images that have ever been captured of these locations, with broadcast quality sound and video. We've invested heavily in our gear so far, but cameras break and mics fail. We need to rent some of the tools required to do this as well.
We also shoot in a studio space for various segments, which we rent by the hour. In that studio, we need to be able to fill it with props and a set based on the episode's content. Set design and rental is a realm we have no way of funding ourselves.
All of this leads to post-production. You may have seen slideshow-style videos on YouTube channels before. Some are great, others are not. We don't want to just toss a photo on screen, and then another one, and then another one...ad infinitum. We want the archival and animations we use to stand-out as visually entertaining pieces that help tell history in a new way. We are determined to never release a simple slideshow on YouTube. The archival sections are not filler, we strive to make them work in tandem with the location shooting to boost the experience and give a fresh new take on the history. But they take an enormous amount of effort to create. Animations that are so crucial to tell these stories require an insane amount of time for what could be a few seconds in the video. At the moment we are scrambling to cram it around our day-jobs, but the hope is that if Canadiana can get self-sufficient, we can work on it full-time.
This series is dead-on-arrival without your support. We think Canadians would love to learn more about the events, people, and places that make this country so often weird and wonderful, whether or not they're already fans of history. We're confident our team will be able to contribute to that in a new and entertaining way—we plan on proving it to you over the course of the episodes we've already shot. And we're desperately excited to share even more stories with you (it's a never-ending list). And so, we want to thank you for watching, and if you consider dropping us $1 a video or more, we owe you, big-time. We are going to do this thing until we can't anymore, and we hope we never hit that mark because this country is packed from coast to coast to coast with some of the best (and worst) stories you'll ever hear.
WARNING: Patreon only works in US dollars (it took us a while to realize that), so keep that in mind if you do choose to support us! Thanks!