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- Posted on 08/12/2011 by Mary
On the Degrassi set, toward the final days of Ray Ablack's reign of awesomeness, I sat down with Ray and Cory Lee (aka Ms. Oh). Who, by the way has a brand new super-super catchy single (featuring Shaggy) out called "Best Shot" (available on iTunes) and a new album on the way. You go, Ms. Oh. Anyway, interview!
Ray, how does it feel to be approaching your last day on the Degrassi set?
RAY: I don't know, I'm scared? I'm scared as hell. Right now scared is totally eclipsing excited, but I've also been really excited. I've started to re-do my whole wardrobe; this whole era of my life is ending. I'm graduating high school for the second time and graduating this section of my life. I'm ready to try and start a new one.
Any senioritis? You've been here and in this building for so long, ever get that feeling of like itching...
RAY: ...To leave? No. No-no-no. I don't ever get the feeling of itching to leave. More often, I might be done after like the third scene of the day, and then I'm waiting around here for free lunch. And then after free lunch, maybe I'll go kick it in Steph Cohen's office, sit and talk for an hour. Yesterday I came in early and just hung out for like an hour and a half. There's no me wanting to leave at any point.
What about... you know how with Senioritis, one of the symptoms is knowing you can't really get in trouble?
RAY: These last two days I definitely feel like that. We're downstairs doing these prom scenes; there are so many background actors down there and so many cast, and only two or three have lines, but the rest of us just have to frolic and mingle quietly. And I know it's annoying for the Assistant Directors to have to continue to tell us to be quiet, but they'll swoop around and see that our table is like: me and Samantha and Shannon, and they don't really want to yell at us. I've been yelled at, many many times over five years. But what I would have been yelled at for in the past, I'm not being yelled at for these past few days.
What are you going to do on your first day off?
RAY: My girlfriend and I are going to this really chic hairdressing place; there are two hairdressers there that I know are quirky and crazy, and we're just gonna sit down and say, "Do whatever you want." I've had to have my hair monitored so closely for the past five years, I'm ready to just do something nuts and crazy that's Not Allowed.
Tell us what we need to know about Cory Lee (aka Ms. Oh).
RAY: She always smells like Curious by Britney Spears.
CORY: (laughs) It's Jessica Simpson. But, same family of stars that make perfumes.
Did you guys know each other well before your storylines started... intersecting?
CORY: Actually I have an interesting story. When we did the opening sequence, it was the first scene we'd done together. And I was like, "Something is gonna happen here. This is foreshadowing."
RAY: Yeah, she put her hand on my shoulder. And Stefan [Brogren; director & Mr. Simpson] came over and was like "No, you can't put your hand on his shoulder."
CORY: "Teachers don't touch students."
Did either of you ever have a crush on a teacher in high school?
CORY: I think it might be more of a guy thing? I didn't have any crushes on any of my male teachers...
RAY: I totally forgot: Ms. Diaz. She was a science teacher. The last night of the school play, down in the basement there was a big dance for the cast and crew, and she was there chaperoning. And I asked her to dance with me, and she said no. But I had a huge crush on Ms. Diaz.
I can't believe she said no! Well, I guess I can...
RAY: I think she liked me, that's why.
CORY: [sad trombone noise]
- Posted on 06/01/2011 by Mary
Hi all. The lady in that picture is Olivia Bee. She's a professional photographer who's still in high school -- she's 17 -- and she took all of the gorgeous still photos at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot with all the fireworks and whatnot. We like her very much. Especially after talking to her. (Btw, most of this interview is about the life of a teenage professional photographer, but if you just want to skip to the part about the Degrassi shoot, click here.)
So, first of all, how did you start getting paid to do photography while you're still in high school?
Well, my freshman year in high school I got a bunch of emails from VSA Partners, and I kind of disregarded them because I was like, "That's probably spam, whatever." And then I got an email from Converse directly and they were like, "Hey, we'd love to have you take some photos on a shoot, kind of a mentoring process and we'll pay you, and it'll be really fun," blah blah blah, so I got to skip school and go on a shoot in Portland for Converse. And I just got to experiment and see what it was all about, take some photos, and then everything just kind of followed. They took a chance on me and now, this is happening.
That's amazing. How did they find you, Flickr?
Wow. Did you already have a ton of contacts on Flickr before that?
Yeah, I had a lot of followers, and that came with the popularity I guess. It was all pretty much by luck.
Were you nervous at all? Does any of this faze you? It sounds like it could be really intense.
It is intense. Before I worked with Converse I was so nervous. I didn't even want to go, I was so scared. I was like, "What are they gonna think of me? I'm totally not gonna be able to take pictures once I get there because that's just what'll totally happen to me." But it was fine. I'm always a little nervous right before, if things aren't working out, or if there's no schedule, or the shoot is disorganized. But if I'm just taking pictures then I'm totally fine.
New Degrassi guy alert: Jake, played by Justin Kelly
I would imagine there's a huge difference between taking pictures of your friends in a relaxed atmosphere and like "Well, we're on a deadline, and these people are only here for four hours, and you need to get the shot."
It's really different. It's like I have to be an adult, I have to transfer from being this stupid kid who just hangs out with her friends all the time and I have to be a professional, and I have to deliver. There's a lot of pressure, actually. But as long as I'm still taking pictures I can deal with it, because that's what I do for fun anyway.
Has anybody ever been snotty to you because you're 17? Or underestimated you?
Yes. All the time. I get so much snottiness. People just think I'm like a little kid, and 'why are they paying her to do what all these other people can do; why would they ever hire someone who's that old; she's never gone to college."
You just brush 'em off?
I'm just kinda like F.U.
Haha, word! So how did you fall in love with photography in the first place? Well, I took a darkroom class in 6th grade because I went to an arts-based middle school. And I really was really bad at it at first. I took a lot of pictures of Christmas ornaments and stuffed animals, things it wouldn't be embarrassing to take pictures of. And then I just started spending extra time in the darkroom -- I don't know, it was kind of an accidental, found love. But now I can't live without it.
How do your friends feel about being photographed all the time?
I think they like it? I guess some people are annoyed like "Aw, why do you have that camera again" but it's just playful, not pissed or anything. Most of the time, they really like it. It's kinda cool, they're like the characters of my life and I think they realize that. And no one takes family photos anymore so the moms like it, too.
I have friends who are videographers or photographers who always have a camera at any event, and they've told me how people are sometimes like "Oh God, put down the camera and just experience this" but the next day, everyone's SO psyched that the pictures and video exist.
TOTALLY. Totally. The whole "Time" thing. [By this I assume she means like capturing time, time being linear. You know. The whole Time thing.] Plus, I feel like, people can say that to me, but it's like "No, this is MY way of experiencing it. This is how I want to experience everything." It's not their deal, it's mine.
What is awesome about photography?
There are a million moments you could capture, but capturing that one that's perfect... it's pretty amazing. You can make a whole other world with things you already have. It's... it's like real life on paper. Or fake life on paper, depending on how you look at it.
Does having a camera ever help you meet people?
Oh yeah, all the time. It's mostly short little conversations, but I like short little conversations.
So. This Degrassi shoot. What was that like?
It was crazy. 'Cause I'd never been on a TV set before. Usually still production [as in still photography, vs. video] is: a producer, you have your assistants, you have your gaffer, the stylist, the make-up artist, and then I'll have a studio teacher. But with this there were like 150 people and they all had different jobs and that was just crazy for me.
A studio teacher -- so even if it's a one-day shoot you have to have a studio teacher because you're a minor?
It depends on what state, but yeah. California, definitely.
Were you already a Degrassi fan?
We actually watch it in Health class at school. Usually episodes about STDs or relationships, violence... because Degrassi covers a lot of teen health things like that. Usually we had a separate episode for each lesson but sometimes we would just watch it, just 'cause.
Your health teacher sounds awesome.
What do you remember from that day?
Well, it was freezing. It was going from like 7pm to 5am, which, I'd never done that before! I had a 4:20 am call time a couple weeks ago but this was like ridiculous.
Oh, and it was actually pretty funny... when they were filming the scene where Sav was standing on the lifeguard chair swinging his jacket around and there were all these fireworks going on, and since they weren't filming for sound, he was just kind of yelling things because it was supposed to look like he's yelling. And he was just like "[BAD WORD] DEGRASSI! THESE KIDS SUCK!"
Hahahaha. I love that guy. Did you have favorite characters or favorite episodes before?
Now I've met them and I can't pick favorites! I like 'em all, they were really sweet in person, too. It was really nice to know that they weren't stuck-up or anything.
- Posted on 05/30/2011 by Mary
Well, wait, one very important comment... these pictures were taken by our new friend Olivia Bee, who is 17, and who kicks copious amounts of ass, and ok, no more comments.
Oh wait one more: I interviewed Olivia about her experience at the shoot and life in general; I'll post it here soon.
OK shutting up now. Here.
Ray Ablack aka Sav at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot. Olivia has a funny story about this moment. Coming soon.
New character Imogen and Eli at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot
Drew, new character Katie, Marisol, and the back of Holly J at the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot.
Why not... another gorgeous picture of Clare from the Degrassi: Now or Never teaser shoot.
More pics to come! Promise!
And don't forget, the video will be shown during Bring It On tonight at 9p et. Which of your friends has the biggest TV? Go there and watch.
- Posted on 04/15/2011 by Mary
SPOILERS UNDERNEATH ME! Click here to watch Part 1 of Degrassi: In Too Deep "Drop the World", but if you're all watched up... let's talk about break-ups, bylines, the relativity of weirdness, and school dances.
Eli Goldsworthy is not amused.
1) Cast your votes. School dances, balloons, and banal top 40: "trivial" per Eli, or "fun" per Clare?
2) So, the things Eli was doing at the top of the episode... like giving Clare a byline on "Stalker Angel" without asking her, asking her mom for permission to take her to the goth lit con before confirming Clare wants to go... I've noticed that some people think he was being weird and pushy and overstepping his bounds, and others think he was being sweet and romantic. I can see how those actions can play out either way, mostly depending on the general vibe Clare was feeling toward him at the moment. I wonder: before the shotgun scene, did you think Eli was being creepy or sweet, AND, before this episode were you a member of the Eli Goldsworthy Estrogen Army or... not that into him?
3) I'm pretty worried about Eli at this point. You? And what do you think Clare should do about it all?
4) Sally J! Over! Who else is mourning this? I'm genuinely bummed. I liked her better with Sav than with Declan... (I'm on Team "I Think Declan Is Kind of Self-Centered and I'm Still Pissed about What Happened When He Came Back for the Drama Awards"). Are you pro-Sav, pro-Declan, or pro-Holly J just on her own, doing her own thing?
5) Dude, break-ups are the worst. For the dumpee and the dumper both. The way Holly J tried to kamikaze the relationship to avoid having to dump him... so human. Have you ever been dumped or dumped someone? How'd you handle it?
- Posted on 03/18/2011 by Mary
This blog has SPOILERS DOWN THERE so don't scroll down 'til you've watched the new episode. You've been warned. If you've already watched... we got some talking to do.
1) Reading your "yes, I am as stressed as Holly J" comments on yesterday's blog made me so worried! I mean Holly J is a fictional character and I'm worried for her too, but people! You! Real people! Take some serious "100% unscheduled me time" this weekend! It's almost spring and you have to. I am hereby forcing you.
2) So, remember that scene where Alli was looking at her "facerange" and there was a mix of comments on it, where some people were showing concern and some people were like "I'm glad she's gone," or "the dress code is her fault"? That made me go ruh ruh like a dungeon dragon. They were just like "la la, I'm posting something funny on the Intornets that my friends will click 'like' on" rather than, "la la, a real human being is in so much emotional pain that they have put themselves in danger and I am making fun of it and kicking them while they're down." The internet sucks sometimes.
3) I love that 12 year old Wesley wrote 16 year old Wesley a note. I heard about this site where you can write an email to yourself in the future and it'll deliver it to you on the date you set. (OK... the internet rules sometimes, too.) I'm not gonna link to it right here because on the site, some people choose to make their letters public on the front page, and one I just saw has what we in the biz call "inappropriate language" but if that's ok with you, search the web for "Future Me".
Anyway, what did the you of four years ago think the you of today was going to be like? And were You of the Past wrong, or right, or somewhere in between?
4) I can't be the only person who was thinking the whole time "Omgomg what if Holly J is pregnant?" WHEW. Except, eek, 'cause if it's not that... whatever it is doesn't look good, either. What are your guesses about what's up?
5) "I stood next to a dude that stabbed a guy that everyone LOVED, and then I had to go to that guy's school." - Johnny DiMarco. You know... I never really thought about the fact that going to Degrassi must have been scary as hell for Johnny.
- Posted on 03/11/2011 by Mary
THERE ARE SPOILERS DOWN THERE! DON'T LOOK until you've watched the full episode here. Once yr caught up... we need to talk RIGHT NOW.
1) Critical line from Fitz tonight: "What I did was wrong, and I've changed. Eli never will and you know that." I have several questions:
a) Will Eli ever change (as in get over his temper, his grudge-holding, his pessimism about human nature)?
b) Should Eli ever change? Is he perfect as is or does he have some things to work on? In your opinion?
c) Has Fitz changed? Do you buy his conversion? Would you date him, or be cool with a friend of yours dating him?
2) Do you think religion is something that a couple (like Eli and Clare) can agree to disagree about, or is it the kind of thing you NEED to be on the same wavelength about?
3) Do you guys think Jenna and KC will make good parents? Which Teen Mom couple do you think they'd be most like?
4) Does Sav get his "Good Big Brother" badge back yet? You guys... I'm really scared for Alli. She's in such a vulnerable emotional state, not to mention being physically vulnerable out there... so many people might try to take advantage of her. It's stressing me out.
- Posted on 03/04/2011 by Mary
SPOILERS AHOY FOR DEGRASSI LAGGERS. Click here to watch the full episode if you missed it, and then let's have a little chat shall we?
Eli Goldsworthy, Fitz's number one fan, on Degrassi: In Too Deep "Jesus, Etc., pt. 1"
1) So. Was Clare right to accept Fitz' apology? And... was she right to chastise Eli ("That's all you can say?") when he didn't accept Fitz' apology?
2) "As your boyfriend my job is to protect you." - Eli. Hmm... true or false? Whose job is it -- if anyone's -- to protect whom in a relationship?
3) "The day I met drew is the day this all started." - Alli. Again, hmm... true or false? Well, actually Sav already pointed out that it's false -- Drew didn't exactly tell Alli to send those pics to DiMarco, frintance. BUT, that said... what percentage of Alli's Life Problems do you think are directly or indirectly Drew's fault? If she had never met Drew, what do you think her life would be like today?
4) "Who's on bass, Valdemort?" - Alli. Haha. What would you have done in Sav's position? How much should Drew and Alli's past weigh in to his decision?
4b) Also, if you were Sav, and Drew was off the table as a possibility for drummers... would you have picked:
- "I'M GONNA ROCK" guy. (Was that who Sav meant by "the heavy metal dude"?)
- the bang bang bang bang bangbangbang bangbangbang girl
- stick-dropping bandana guy or
- the beat boxer
5) So, Jenna is approximately a bajillion months pregnant. At this point... perhaps whipping out a skateboard was a touch idiotic but, is KC right that they need to be squeezing out every last bit of pre-baby fun before their lives change forever? Or... has that ship already sailed, and their lives have already changed forever whether he likes it or not?
- Posted on 12/25/2010 by Mary
We at TeenNick wish you Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and Happily Ever After Your Whole Life Long!
And, good news! We picked your names out of the Secret Santa hat, so here's your prezzie... a new Degrassi poster! It looks like this:
This way you can print those out and put 'em together to make your very own Deg-oration. Oh my God, I just said Deg-oration, clearly I need to stop working and go to Australia. Have a GREAT holiday, enjoy your winter break, I hope it snows only exactly as much as you want it to, and I hope all of your wishes come true forever. Unless you make bad wishes.
Enjoy your new poster!
- Posted on 11/08/2010 by Mary
More new Degrassi this week! Just one ep before the fall finale...
Can Adam really keep Fiona's attention?
What did Wesley just say to Connor and Dave?
And... well, place your bets on what's going on with Jenna and Sav...
- Posted on 08/26/2010 by Mary
"OMG" does not even begin to cover it. Let's attempt to break things down...
IS Degrassi out of hand?? Do you think Simpson is right to be completely at his wits' end after tonight? Do the students of Degrassi need a totally different environment? Or are they just another high school? (It's funny... there's sort of a perpetual debate in the message boards about whether Degrassi is tamer than a real high school, or completely off-the-wall bonkers. Which side do you fall on?)
Eli and Clare. OK. First of all, thank GOD he's alive. Second of all... what do you think the future holds for these two? Do you think Eli really learned his lesson tonight... or is he going to be even more angry and vengeful about being put through that?
Drew and Alli: Opinions on whether Drew is a good guy or a bad guy seem mixed... what's yours? (Mine is that he's neither good nor bad... he's a human teenager who makes super, super-dumb choices sometimes.) Also: that whole thing between Alli and Mrs. Torres... I have known sooo many moms of teenagers who are like that. They think their kid can do no wrong, so their friends take the fallout when everyone gets in trouble together. Sucks.
Holly J and Sav: Daaaag, girl! I have to say: Charlotte Arnold is probably my favorite young actress in the world. The subtle stuff happening on her face in that scene... she is one talented lady. And she looked really pretty tonight, and I dig her and Sav together. You?