Some Assembly Required is a locally made, kid-friendly sitcom about a six teenagers with wildly different personalities coming together to run a toy company. I was on set recently to do cast interviews, and what I saw was authentically special. What other set has a functioning rollercoaster?
Some Assembly Required is filmed in front of a live studio audience full of kids. There are games, prizes, pizza, and autographs after the show. It is a fun – and free – experience for the young fans, but they are not the only ones having a good time.
It is clear that the cast all enjoy working with each other and the crew they are surrounded by. They work hard, but they also find time for things like musical jam sessions and lunchtime football, which often includes members of the crew in addition to actors.
Kolton Stewart (The Next Step) plays Jarvis, the owner of the company who brings the rest of the characters together. Stewart has a background in music and musical theatre, having played young Simba in The Lion King National Broadway Tour. Going forward he wants to stay active in both acting and music.
You did a lot of musical theatre and you’re still now performing for a live audience. How important is it to you to have that immediate connection?
Stewart: I really enjoy having a live audience to feed off of and when they laugh I know that I’m doing my job and that’s kind of where I come from with the theatre and all that so to be able to get a job here where it’s filmed but we film in front of a live audience is really the best of both worlds.
Charlie Storwick is both an actress and a singer-songwriter. She previously won the talent competition show The Next Star and her new single Ghosts is available on iTunes. On Some Assembly Storwick plays Piper, the tough tech expert heading up the video game division.
You won The Next Star. Is that experience at all comparable to this experience?
Storwick: Definitely the work ethic. … With Next Star I fell in love with the schedule and the hours and the practicing and the rehearsals and the show and the business. Moving from Next Star to this was the same sort of work ethic. I just love it so much.
Harrison Houde (Finding Stuff Out, Spooksville) has been creating original online content – complete with self-composed scores – since his early teens. He plays numerous instruments, including drums and keytar, but his current favourite is the piano. Houde plays Bowie, an aspiring engineer with some very risky ideas.
There’s a lot of musical talent in this cast. Have there been any jam sessions?
Houde: We jam so much. Me and Charlie put together a little mashup, it’s on my youtube channel, and me and Kolton are working on music. We’re always working on music, on set and off set. Even some of the crew members play music so we’re jamming with them.
Sydney Scotia is a dancer and gymnast as well as an actress. She plays the role of Geneva, a kind and pretty girl whose relentless luck gets under Piper’s skin. Scotia hopes to use her dance and gymnastic skills throughout her career, perhaps in action movies.
What kinds of shows are you hoping to do in the future, if you’re looking to do something with dance?
Scotia: A big dream of mine is to do an action where I can work in my physicality and my dancing and my gymnastics as well as do a really cool super hero role. Like Scarlett Johansen in the new Avengers and Jennifer Garner in Electra and Angelina Jolie in Wanted. Something like that where it’s really intense and really dark subject matter but still super action packed.
Travis Turner (Caprica, Marley & Me: The Puppy Years) has had a wide variety of roles in television series, tv movies, and theatrical productions. He also sings under the name ‘Little T’. His character Aster is passionate about design to the point where he is bothered by any lack of fashion.
What’s it like transitioning between dramas like Caprica and kids tv?
Turner: It is a bit of a transition because I originally come from theatre and I had to beat that out of me – take so many courses where they’re like ‘stop acting, you’re over acting!’ you know – to get that to where tv is, to Caprica or Supernatural or something where it’s more serious/dramatic. Then you come back here and you got to reverse it again, you got to go really big and there’s a live audience. It was a bit of an adjustment but once you get into it it becomes easier.
Dylan Playfair (Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story) has his roots in the sport of hockey. His popular short Letterkenny Problems spawned an upcoming tv series called Letterkenny on Comedy, in which Playfair will play a hockey player named Riley. In Some Assembly, Playfair puts his health on the line to test toy safety as the ever-loyal Knox.
Knox is an extreme sports junkie. What’s the most extreme thing you’ve ever done?
Playfair: Lifestyle wise probably switching from hockey to acting, which was a big shift because I come from a hockey family. It’s pretty deep in my blood, that sport and when I switched over it was a big transition but one that’s paid off quite nicely. As far as actual extreme sports goes, probably tubing with my father at the wheel. He likes to chop it up on the lake, we have a summer home up there, and water sports with the right driver can be pretty extreme stuff. Water sports I would say – tubing, wakeboarding.
Some Assembly Required airs on YTV in Canada. Just recently, it was picked up by Netflix and is streaming there for the rest of the world.
They are currently filming the third season and have live shows coming up on September 18, October 1, October 9, and October 29. Tickets to the live shows are free and you can get them through firstname.lastname@example.org.