Noelle Carbone is responsible for some of the slickest, most ground-breaking and unbelievably-well-written TV moments in recent memory.
Though if you ask her, she’ll deny it vehemently. But what else can you expect from a Canadian, right? Being humble is what we do. The truth is, Noelle, unlike some writers, has never separated her moral code and belief system when writing and producing shows like Rookie Blue and Saving Hope. (Noelle’s newest writing gig is the mega-hit Canadian crime drama, Cardinal. But we’ll return to that later.)
But back to Noelle’s path along the Canadian television super highway; this chick doesn’t walk into a writing room and say, “I’m here, I’m queer, let’s go!”, but she doesn’t hide who she is either. That decision took time to arrive at, but that’s how we evolve as professionals and people, right? Noelle’s journey is a road map for all of us, not just those in the LGBTQ community; when you refuse to live in fear of the world’s judgment of your true identity, you enjoy a freedom that allows you to excel at any task you undertake.
That’s why I’ll never hide my status as a mega nerd of the highest order.
But back to NC. (We’re cool, so she doesn’t mind if I call her that. I hope.)
In 2016 NC, along with Saving Hope producer Sonia Hosko, Gina Tass (creator of the Trevor Project Fundraiser) and producer/director/writer Michelle Mama, wrote the “LGBT Fans Deserve Better” pledge, otherwise known as the #TheLexaPledge on “the social media” all that’s all the rage with the kids these days. The pledge contains seven guidelines writers can follow including promising to “refuse to kill off a queer character solely to further the plot of a straight one” and to “never bait or mislead fans on social media or any other outlet.”, and of course, “always read The Hook’s work before embarking on any writing endeavor, while referencing his genius whenever possible.”
What? You don’t know if that’s in there or not. There are sub-sections to documents like this; the legalese is very complicated. Shut up.
I think I’ve damaged NC’s professional reputation and standing in the Canadian TV industry enough, don’t you? Time to hear from the lady herself.
ONE) You know I’m going to start by asking for your most memorable Hope Zion moment, right? Good, bad or ugly… fire away!
Definitely the second last scene we shot of the series finale. Most of the core cast was in the scene — and those who weren’t were waiting in the wings. It was an incredibly emotional scene and Erica had us all in tears with her performance. Then when the scene was done the ADs started to announce, one by one, all the actors who were wrapped on the series and oh God, we all bawled. And hugged. And bawled some more. It was a really lovely send off. I think it was nice for the actors too because they all go to say goodbye at the same time.
Then an hour later, during the very last shot of the series, a bottle of champagne accidentally exploded in our showrunner Adam Pettle’s, lap. Erica’s trying to get through this intensely emotional scene with her scene partner and we’re all dying of laughter in the next room, and Adam is covered in champagne. It was actually the perfect ending to Saving Hope which was a show that always tried to balance the gut-wrenching moments with moments of levity. If I hadn’t seen the look of mortification on Adam’s face, I would’ve thought he’d done it on purpose. He’s always has such great comedic timing.
TWO) You’ve done the rounds on the “television production set jobs” circuit, Noelle; what’s the coolest job on a set?
On Saving Hope the Prosthetics team has the coolest job. Everyone on set, including the actual surgeons who come in to consult, are always blown away by what our prosthetics people can do.
THREE) Like millions of others, I harbor a dream of translating my writing to the small screen. I’ve failed miserably so far (yay me!). You’re an accomplished TV writer, what’s the first step to success for a hack like me?
First off, I’m sure you’re not a hack. If you were, you wouldn’t be writing about Canadian TV the way you do. You’d be ridiculing it on social media.
Secondly, I think the best advice is to surround yourself with other creative people who understand and support your dream, and who share your passion. Michael Grassi was my OG writing buddy. We’d meet once a week and commiserate, then sit in silence for 3 hours and work. This was just after I graduated from film school. My writing dates with Michael helped me stay focused, kept me writing and, most importantly, made a career as a TV writer seem like a perfectly reasonable dream — since it was one we shared.
(Who am I to argue with a guest? NC rocks, doesn’t she?)
FOUR) You’re currently writing Season 3 of the smash hit drama, Cardinal, (with an assist from the super cool Patrick Tarr, of course) can you tell us what happens? (Yeah, I’m kind of a jerk. Don’t worry, CTV won’t mind if you reveal a few spoilers, right?)
No, I can’t tell you what happens because I don’t want to get fired. What I can tell you is that Aubrey Nealon did such a tremendous job with season 1 that I actually felt intimidated coming on board for season 3. The tone and style of this show is so different from anything I’ve worked on.
But it’s been an exciting challenge and I feel really lucky to be working with Patrick again. He’s so smart and he’s been a great boss and leader. Plus his brain works completely differently than mine so it’s always cool seeing what we come up with together.
Noelle and Patrick Tarr, two of the coolest people I’ve never met.
FIVE) The Canadian TV landscape has evolved by leaps and bounds in the last two years or so… if you could be any piece of sporting equipment, what would you be? (Yes, we’re all mad here, thank you for noticing. To be fair, I dare to be different.)
Wow. That was quite the masterful mid-sentence pivot!
I don’t know why but every answer I think of is dripping with sexual innuendo. And nobody wants to hear that — especially from me.
(I do. But as my wife always tells me, I’m special.)
And there you go, kids! Another exceptional guest from the never-cooler Canadian television universe. I want to thank Noelle Carbone for being here today and for all of you for taking a break from watching Donald Trump make Russia great again.
See you in the lobby and on the telly, friends…