Category Archives: Television

Tone Innset: The Producer Behind some Of Norway’s Favorite TV Shows

Tone Innset
                                              Producer Tone Innset shot by Mark Newton

Documentary series producer Tone Innset has been wildly successful as the creative force behind some of Norway’s best reality television shows. For the past five years she has continued to produce the kind of work that glues audiences to their TVs with the captivating and often intimate personal accounts of those whom she presents with the honed expertise of a storyteller.

As Norway’s top showrunner in the docuseries genre, Innset has produced more than 160 episodes of an array of titles, including 118 episodes spanning 12 seasons of Unge Mødre, the Norwegian version of MTV’s Teen Mom. Much like its American counterpart, the show gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of young women and teens who are either pregnant or have given birth as they deal with the day-to-day blessings and adversities of their newfound family lives.

Filming a show like Unge Mødre comes with its own difficulties, which is one area where Innset’s knowledge and expertise prove how valuable an asset she is to the entire production.

“These are young adults and teenagers with a lot of responsibility on their hands and a lot on their plate,” Innset said. “You also have to remember that in these kinds of series you follow someone’s life, and the most interesting things in a person’s life doesn’t necessarily happen between nine and five.”

Innset was also the producer of 12 episodes of Charterfeber aka Charter Fever, a series that follows a group of real-life Norwegian vacationers as they travel to exotic locales in southern Europe. The show documents their lives as they prepare for the trip, their time on holiday and their return home at the end of the journey.

“I loved that because it was really funny,” Innset said. “You know Scandinavians love to escape the cold weather and go to southern Europe to have fun… We filmed for two months on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. It’s a humorous and edgy series, and a lot of people relate to the characters and have a laugh.”

Her intense hands-on work on Charterfeber made the show’s 2013 premiere the highest-rated premiere on the TV3 Norway channel in four years. Charterfeber’s widespread popularity garnered the series a nomination for the prestigious Gullruten Norwegian Television Award. The show is also known for having helped launch the career of one of Norway’s hottest celebrities, Svein Tore Ostvik.

Innset’s latest project is the second season of the food series Norges Grillmester aka Norway Grill Master, a star-studded cooking show, which sees contestants facing off through challenges to be named the titular Grill Master. The popular docuseries is hosted by Norway’s golden boy, actor Stig Henrik Hoff (The Thing, Into The White, Lilyhammer), and world-renowned chef Jonas Lundgren.

As a producer with a reputation for being someone who is always on-call and prepared to handle any curve ball in order to keep a production running smoothly, Innset was quick to respond when logistical complications threatened the filming process of Norges Grillmester. After an unforeseeable obstacle arose where a massive tent that had been specially designed as the set for one of the episodes was erected without all of the necessary pieces, it was Innset who came to the rescue.

“Well, on Thursday, we saw that a quarter of the floor in the tent was missing; it never got delivered, and that kind of flooring was very hard to come by,” explained Innset. “Somehow we miraculously managed to find a place where we could get a material similar to the floor we already had, so we painted it to look the same and it all worked out.”

This is only one out of hundreds of examples of the way Innset’s quick thinking and experience has helped to keep one of her productions on track. This particular season of Norges Grillmester premiered April 13 in Norway, and has been an exciting ride with unpredictable twists and turns from contestants Per Thorvald Thorgesen and Terje Inngjerdingen dropping out for health reasons to Sylvia and Luis Vavik winning the title earlier this month.

Innset is also working on the next season of Unge Mødre, which is set to premiere this fall. Her passion for the documentary series genre, which has made her a prolific name in the field and shines in the quality of her productions, stems from a human-interest perspective.

“I strongly believe that when people feel that they are seen and heard they feel a kind of ownership over the project, and when you feel ownership you put a lot more energy into it,” she said. “I have a great passion and love for telling stories, and I am a curious people person.”

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Alexander Davis: A Child Actor That Needs to Be On Everyone’s Radar

Alexander Davis
Alexander Davis shot by Denise Grant

To find one’s calling can take a lifetime, but Canadian actor Alexander Davis found his in acting when he was just three years old.

Since then, the eight-year-old prodigy has already played lead roles on stage (A Christmas Story, The Little Mermaid) and in film (The Closet, Volition).

Davis portrayed the lead character of Randy Parker in A Christmas Story, which ran for 48 shows in just six weeks at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Davis’ portrayal of the quirky Parker was so well done that it earned him a 2015 Young Artist Award for Best Performance in Live Theatre.

Though Davis’ work in A Christmas Story was a resounding success, it was not without its challenges. Just before intermission of one of the shows, Davis fell on the set’s stairs and hurt his leg. He was bleeding, in pain, and his next stage direction was to walk out the door. That’s when he learned the meaning of “the show must go on.”

“My acting mom was amazing. She just carried on with the show and picked me up to carry me out the door,” Davis said. “I don’t know if the audience knew what had happened was real or not. During intermission, I put ice on my leg and went back out and finished the show. Now that’s show business.”

Despite working through injury, Davis was hungry to act again when the show’s run ended. On the flight home from Halifax, he asked his mother if he could go back for more.

“I feel like I was born to perform,” Davis said. “I loved performing to sold out audiences and making the crowd laugh. I think my role at the Neptune Theatre really prepared me well.”

But Davis’s budding brilliance has not been confined to just the stage. He played the lead character in The Closet, a film in which he flawlessly executed the difficult proposition of playing his own twin.

“I had to be exact with where I stood to make sure the shot worked with both of us in the scene,” Davis said. “They edited it or layered the scene to make it look like there were two of me. You learn a lot being an actor.”

Davis’s rapidly expanding reservoir of acting knowledge continued to expand when he played the lead character in Volition, a film about a terrorist who saw the world through a different lens after he met Davis’ character on a train.

The film’s production schedule forced Davis to adapt, which he did with flying colors.

“We filmed late every night on the train, so I had to change the time I went to bed,” Davis said. “It was worth it and so much fun.”

Volition co-star Romaine Waite (Antisocial, One Night a Stranger) liked Davis’ performance so much that he asked the emerging star to be in a music video for rapper Pas Da’ Millz that Waite would later direct.

From stage to film, Davis has achieved more before his ninth birthday than many actors do in a lifetime. But the young Canadian has barely scratched the surface of his brilliance, and is already taking his career to the next level.

While in L.A. to receive his Young Artist Award earlier this year, Davis caught the attention of veteran Hollywood executive producer Irene Dreayer (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, The Suite Life on Deck, Smart Guy).

Dreayer’s known as an honest-but-tough executive producer who’s often told parents of young actors that L.A.’s not a starting point for a growing career, but rather an end result of a successful career. She’s usually recommended to families they go home, but that was not the case for Davis, according to the young actor’s parents.

Instead, Dreayer spent a lot of time convincing Davis’ parents that L.A. was where the sought after actor should be, according to Davis.

Most recently, the young thespian used his voiceover chops to portray the characters Brownie and Checkers in the animated TV series Super Why!, a popular, animated kids show about the magical adventures of reading-powered superheroes on PBS.

Whether on stage, film or television, Alexander Davis has proven himself to be a talented, reliable and dedicated actor who will no doubt make his presence felt in Hollywood and beyond for many years to come.

Born to Be a Star: Australian Triple Threat Jessica Waters

Jessica Waters
Actress Jessica Waters

Born into a family of entertainers, actress Jessica Waters has been in the spotlight her entire life. Together with her four siblings and her father, the lead singer of a local band, she was playing music, dancing and acting beginning at just five years old. By the time she was eight she had her heart set on acting professionally, and in the years since she has grown from one of the most promising young Australian talents into an international powerhouse of the screen.

In 2014, Waters joined the cast of The War That Changed Us, a four-part documentary drama series recounting the stories of real-life Australians who fought in World War I. Waters played a nurse traveling with soldiers on the front lines, and said she fell in love with the role.

“This has to be one of my favorite TV shows I have worked on,” Waters said. “I loved the costumes, and dressing in all the lovely clothes they wore really made me feel like I was back in that time, and I had to do some nurse training for the role.”

The War That Changed Us aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2014 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Australia’s entry into the war.

Recently, Waters acted alongside Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator: Salvation, Clash of the Titans) in Paper Planes. The film tells the story of a young boy who, after suffering the loss of his mother, finds solace and hope in a competition to design the ultimate paper airplane. Filmed in her hometown of Perth, Waters played the mother of one of the children competing in the whimsical tournament and said it was a fun project to be a part of. The film received nominations at both the Australian Directors’ Guild Awards and the Berlin International Film Festival.

In her latest television role, she plays an American reporter in the SyFy Channel adaptation of the Arthur C. Clarke classic novel Childhood’s End. As an Australian, the role was a unique challenge for her, and required a great deal of intensive voice training to master the accent required for the part.

“I’ve been training my American accent for a year,” she said. “They loved my accent, and I got the part on the spot.”

Childhood’s End is the first screen adaptation of the science fiction masterpiece. Following the arrival on Earth by a race of mysterious but benevolent aliens, the human race begins to thrive and prosper; however, almost immediately suspicions begin to grow among people about their new isolationist neighbors. As a reporter, Waters is on the scene to cover their arrival. The series airs on SyFy later in 2015.

Waters played a reporter once before in The Great Mint Swindle, the true story of a massive 1982 Australian heist where more than $2 million in gold bars were stolen from the Perth Mint. The crime remains unsolved, adding to the mystery and making it one of Western Australia’s greatest and most famous true crime stories.

“I love being in true stories,” Waters said. “The set was very Australian, and I enjoyed being a news reporter because if I didn’t decide to be an actor, I was going to be a TV reporter.”

Not limited to film and television, Waters’ experience as a performer shines in her work onstage as well.

“I have spent three years working with the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Western Australia,” Waters said. “I was not only an actor, but I was also the dance choreographer and a singer.”

In her time with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, she’s worked on iconic Shakespearean plays including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and Comedy of Errors.

Audiences can catch Jessica Waters in her upcoming feature film Reality, a satirical comedy in which Waters plays the lead.

“I just know it’s going to be a fantastic film. The script is amazing,” she said. “I have a lead role and it’s a film that kind of makes fun of reality TV shows.”

Reality is currently in the process of filming so eager fans will have to wait to learn more about the project. However, it’s guaranteed to be a fresh look at a genre, which provides a goldmine of comedic fodder.