Gemini Award nominations are nothing new to Rothesay brothers Matt and Mark Bishop.
In the last decade they’ve each enjoyed several nods at the Gemini Awards – which honours the best in Canadian television each year – but have yet to take a prize home.
With four nominations between them this year, the brothers are hopeful they’ll finally get to toss the proverbial bouquet after the ceremony on Nov. 13 in Toronto.
“Unfortunately Mark and I are sort of perennial bridesmaids,” quipped Matt Bishop shortly after arriving in his native Rothesay from his home in Toronto.
That could all change this fall, though.
Matt, 30, and his colleagues at Sinking Ship Entertainment were given two Gemini nominations in the best pre-school program or series for Dino Dan and Ocean Room.
Mark, 33, along with his marblemedia crew, were nominated twice in the best cross-platform project – children’s and youth category for the shows Stoked and Taste Buds.
And while both have been in this position many times – Mark and his company, for example, have garnered more than 20 nominations since forming in 2000 – the morning of Aug. 31 when the nominations were announced was still an exciting moment.
“I was actually on a conference call when all of a sudden there was a flurry of email and facebook activity,” Mark recalled. “Of course, I was pretending to pay attention to my conference call (while) seeing all these emails come in from our team who are quite excited about having multiple nominations.”
Not only was it exciting because he’d been nominated after a two-year drought, the recognition reflected the cutting-edge work his company does.
“It’s a new category and quite representative of what we do,” Mark said, “in that we do television content and web content.
“Our process at marblemedia has always been to develop both television and interactive content at the same time,” he said. “(Online content) is really about giving the audience a chance to actually interact and engage with the content … in games and activities and be a part of the brand in a way that you just can’t do in television.”
Matt and his colleagues at Sinking Ship Entertainment were likewise elated by the nominations, but for a different reason. They’ve enjoyed nominations in the Gemini’s pre-school category every year since forming the company in 2004.
“The nerves were creeping up that this might be the year that we’re not nominated, so it came as a sigh of relief and jubilation when we got two in the category,” Matt said, noting it’s the second time his team had two nominations in best pre-school program or series.
“We were really excited (because) pre-school is such a competitive field in Canada; some of the top pre-school shows in the world come out of Canada,” Matt said.
Dino Dan, a “Jurassic Park for kids,” is currently rated the No. 1 kid’s show in Canada and the No. 2 show in Australia. It launches in the U.S. this October.
Members of the Sinking Ship team were also nominated for Dino Dan in the best visual effects category, marking the first time in Gemini history that a pre-school series was nominated in the category, Matt said.
While thrilled to be recognized and hopeful for a victory, both brothers admit it’s tough to take home a Gemini when you’re competing with the behemoths of the industry.
The Tudors – one of Dino Dan’s competitors in the visual effects category – spends more money on effects than the entire Dino budget, Matt noted.
But a nomination almost means more to the brothers, anyway.
“We take the nomination with a great deal of respect because that was voted on by a small jury of our peers,” Matt said. “Having that recognition in the industry is quite rewarding for us,” added Mark.
Both graduates of Kennebecasis Valley High School, who cut their teeth in the entertainment industry on stages around the Kennebecasis Valley, the brothers hope to serve as inspiration for New Brunswickers who want to make it in the competitive TV world.
“If people have a passion for the arts – whether it’s music, theatre or entertainment of any form – you can make a living off it and you can get jobs off it,” Matt said.
“Both Mark and I started our companies (in their early 20s) and it’s important for kids to know that it’s within your reach to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Saint John or Timbuktu – if you’ve got the passion for it, just go ahead and do it.”