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Ryan and Jason Belleville

The 2011 Ten to Watch: Jason and Ryan Belleville

"We don't have a mean bone in our bodies, comedy-wise," the writing and producing duo behind TV series Almost Heroes say.

Each year, Playback puts out a call for the industry to recommend its best and brightest
up-and-coming talent for our 10 to Watch list. With over 100 nominations this year, including only 10 seemed impossible — virtually every nominee deserved to be on the list. The selection represented here is the culmination of careful consideration by Playback’s editorial jury, in association with film, TV and interactive industry execs and organizations. Having already made a splash, these talented 10 are poised for great things. 

Jason and Ryan Belleville / screenwriters & producers

Hometown: Calgary
Agency: United Talent Agency, Los Angeles
Big break: Creating, writing and producing Showcase’s Almost Heroes

The buzz: Hailing from a family of entertainment pros, the brothers are quick to say they’re at their funniest when they work together. Both have achieved success in different fields in the TV biz with Jason screenwriting and producing for FX’s Testees and CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie, and Ryan as a stand-up act and comic actor in Fox’s Life on a Stick and 2008′s Finn on the Fly. Earlier this year, the duo found themselves in Toronto together and between projects — the next thing they knew, they found themselves with a deal for Almost Heroes.

How would you describe the comedy of Almost Heroes?
Jason: We don’t have a mean bone in our bodies, comedy-wise. We wanted to create a family within our characters, something that everyone can relate to. Our favourite shows aren’t necessarily hip or edgy.
Ryan: We don’t want our show to have humour that you have to watch twice to understand — we want broad stuff. Sometimes we’re wrong, but it’s a fast-paced comedy, so if there’s something that doesn’t work, well, on the next joke.

Tell us about developing the script. who were you hoping to reach?
Jason: We aren’t doing a show for boomers or teenagers, it’s for people who haven’t figured things out yet, people who are 20 to 30 years old…I think with our comic shop in this little crappy strip mall, we found the perfect setting for some fantastic characters. There’s an instinct to have nothing really matter to sitcom characters these days, for them to be very glib, but we think ideally, audiences would be invested in our characters.

How do your personalities balance out in your work?
Jason: I’m more serious, Ryan reminds me to have more fun. I remind him that we need to actually get the work done.
Ryan: More silly, I wouldn’t say fun.
Jason: Yeah, you’re no fun. Ryan has more guts; he makes me push the envelope. RB

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