Agent: Meridian Artists (Toronto)
Agent: The Characters Agency (Toronto)
Buzz: This writing duo collectively spent years on Degrassi, along with other youth-oriented Canuck series, and are now in development with a number of prodcos and other industry folks for their own original projects
As assistants at The Characters Agency, Cole Bastedo and Matt Huether would observe writer clients coming in and making their pitches. “Some things were amazing, some things were half-baked and that’s just the nature of what it is,” says Huether.
“And we were like, ‘Well, we can do something half-baked.’”
Reflecting on that time six years ago, they admit their initial concept of a celebrity dad who’s haunting his own mansion – but doesn’t know he’s a ghost – was a half-baked idea. (Though after recalling the memory, Bastedo said, “I kind of want to go back to that.”)
The pair has come a long way from the days of sitting next to each other at the agency, cracking jokes and writing them down. They decided to take their love of storytelling to the next level and both jumped into story coordinating in 2008 – Bastedo on Little Mosque on the Prairie and Huether on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Bastedo also came on board Degrassi as a story editor and the two then found themselves writing web shorts for Hot Wheels, which led them to the animated series based on Mattel’s popular toy cars, Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5, Overruled! and How to Be Indie.
But it was at Degrassi where the two spent much of their time, with Huether on board for four seasons. Bastedo left to work on Women’s Survival Guide, then came back and they were once again back together working on a 48-ep order.
“The biggest challenge is trying to tell new stories,” notes Huether of the series that’s just entered its tenth season. “It’s supposed to be about firsts and first experiences. Now, we have to pick stories that are new and fresh. Last year (for example), I did an episode on sexting, which didn’t exist 10 years ago.”
He adds that bringing in new characters is another way to keep things fresh. The past four seasons, we brought in a bunch of new characters to help rejuvenate the series,” he says. “So the audience can fall in love with new people and that’s how we’ve managed to keep it going.”
Right now, though, they’re occupied with their own projects, including adult sitcom Stay at Home Dad, currently in development with Shaftesbury, as well as projects with Temple Street. Though they’ve dabbled in a range of genres, Bastedo and Huether say they naturally gravitate to comedy and adult sitcoms. They’re also embarking on their first feature, a teen comedy for APB Pictures.