Named one of The Globe and Mail’s 25 most influential people in Canadian Television in 2023, one of The Hollywood Reporter‘s Next Generation Under 35 in 2014, and one of Playback‘s Top Ten to Watch in 2012, Mark Montefiore is no stranger to industry accolades. His production company, New Metric Media, was named Playback’s 2022 Production Company of the Year, and Mark continues to gain recognition in the industry and among viewers at home and abroad for his work as executive producer on hit shows like the multiple Canadian Screen Award-winning fan-favourite series Letterkenny, its spinoff Shoresy, and CTV’s comedy series Children Ruin Everything, to name a few. In addition to his TV credits, Mark has a number of films under his belt, including Eating Buccaneers, Cas & Dylan, starring Tatiana Maslany and Richard Dreyfuss, and Pretend We’re Kissing, starring Zoë Kravitz.
Since completing the Norman Jewison Film Program Producers’ Lab at the CFC in 2006, Mark has become a powerhouse producer in Canada’s screen industry. As founder and CEO of New Metric Media, Mark develops, finances, and produces premium scripted content for an international audience, and is responsible for leading the Letterkenny brand across a variety of revenue generating marketing initiatives, including a North American live tour, apparel lines and collectibles and a partnership with Labatt’s for Puppers Golden Lager.
We had the opportunity to chat with Mark Montefiore on his upcoming projects, his creative vision for New Metric Media, and to discover what’s next for the Canadian creator. Read along to discover how Mark is shaping the future of the Canadian screen industry.
Let’s get started by going back to the very beginning. What inspired you to pursue a career in film and TV?
I watched the movie LaBamba when I was five years old and I was convinced I wanted to be a professional musician and buy my parents a house when I was older like the legend, Ritchie Valens. Well, they already had a house and I was a good guitarist but not a great one and I can’t sing, but I knew I loved entertainment. So, I pursued acting for about five minutes in college and through that I discovered producing, which I love.
In 2013, you launched New Metric Media, an award-winning production company. Can you tell us a little bit about how that journey started and how it’s going now?
I had just completed two full years where I was 100% focused on my first feature film, Cas & Dylan. While I was super proud of it having won a few Audience Choice Awards -TIFF Film Critics and Whistler, it made no money. In 2012, I was catching up with a writer friend and while we were exchanging pleasantries, we asked each other what films and shows we were watching. To my surprise, everything we named was on television! I left there thinking, “Everything I’m inspired by these days is in television.” There is a great history of successful Canadian TV production companies and I’m over here developing features…” It truly was the ‘Golden Ages of Television.’ That was my lightbulb moment. I started New Metric Media with a partner one year later.
New Metric Media was recently named Playback’s Production Company of the Year 2022 – congratulations! How does it feel to receive this recognition? Can you tell us some of the key factors in creating a successful business and team in your experience?
The business plan back in 2013 was a simple three words: Make Cool Shit. And 10 years later, we continue to do this on every show. What I didn’t realize then was that “Cool Shit” wasn’t limited to just television. We are mass producing beer with Labatts, live touring with AEG and Live Nation, selling merchandise and licensing our IP. Our “Make Cool Shit” approach has turned us into a pretty exciting 360-degree entertainment studio focused on building iconic comedy brands beyond the initial medium they are produced for! It’s really a relentless pursuit from an amazing team to over deliver on all fronts.
You have loads of successful projects under your belt, including Letterkenny, Shoresy, Bad Blood, and Children Ruin Everything to name a few. What do you look for in new project(s) before you decide to take it on?
New Metric Media continues to be at the forefront of Canadian content, with series like Shorsey – the most-watched Canadian series debut on Crave – and Children Ruin Everything, which had the “biggest debut for a Canadian comedy among the 25-54 demo,” and of course the cult-hit Letterkenny. In your opinion, what are some elements that make a great story and a great TV series?
Authenticity and relatability.
What’s been the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your career journey to date?
The most rewarding part of my career has been building a company with a team who are proud of what we do and excited to take it further and also to have shows that speak to and influence Canadian culture. Our shows are a giant mirror that reflect who we are as Canadians, albeit a bit exaggerated perhaps.
You completed the Producers’ Lab at the CFC in 2007. Can you tell us about your experience at the CFC and if/how it helped shape your career and you as a creator? What’s your biggest takeaway from your time at the CFC?
CFC was the difference between being able to hit a baseball in the backyard and learning to build an MLB franchise. The CFC fostered, shaped and challenged my skills and instincts as a producer and introduced me to a side of the business that I wasn’t really aware existed. Also, I met some great folks who to this day are close friends, collaborators and colleagues.
In your opinion, what makes the programs that the CFC offers so valuable to Canadian creators and the screen industry overall?
A lot of people just want to make great art but without understanding the business and how to navigate it. It’s very difficult to put food on the table. The CFC gave me the balanced perspective and necessary skills to leverage both the creative and business.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring creators?
- Step 1. At the beginning, just “make it.” Whether it’s a short film, a music video or whatever – go through the process to create it and do as much of it as you can whether there is money or not.
- Step 2. “Make it Better.” Keep challenging yourself and improve your craft.
- Step 3. “Make money from it.” In that order. In my opinion if you chase the money too fast or don’t keep trying to improve every step of the way, you’re asking for trouble.
What’s next for you and New Metric Media?
New Metric Media 2.0
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