Sloppy Jones was co-created and co-written by Jamie Hart, Jonathan MacDonald, and Sophie Nation. The three friends have all trained and worked in performing arts and writing. They have also worked or work currently in the restaurant industry. Jamie is a bartender, Jonathan is a fine dining server and Sophie worked as a server in a vegan restaurant. The restaurant scene is a messy and vibrant space. Producer Susan Nation saw an opportunity for a fresh new digital series set in a restaurant that explored millennial angst, finances, and relationships today. She and Creative Mentor Carrie Cutforth researched the competitive environment and millennial #serverlife. Challenged with the economic realities of the time, millennials are anxious about so many things: Can I pay my bills? How will I pay off my student debt? How will I pay rent let alone buy my own home? Will I find a lover or companion, do I even want one? Will climate change destroy the planet and my future, and doesn’t anybody in power care?
Susan invited the three to co-create a fresh, modern, and authentic series based on her original concept YOLO Bistro. They explored their own life experiences, good and bad, to make Sloppy Jones real and relevant. All three have a passion for LGBT and feminist representation. They wanted to develop queer characters facing exciting and complex challenges that are not about gender identity, but other aspects of life. Their queer characters do not have to come out to prove themselves as queer people, rather, they exist as they are. The creators wanted to tell their stories in an unfiltered, unapologetic but heightened funny style that is truthful and entertaining for them and their target audience of LGBTQ millennials.
The trio worked hard over many months with Creative Consultant and Mentor Amanda Walsh to develop the project with the support of Susan and the CMF and Ontario Creates. It became a dark queer comedy murder mystery that’s a campy, absurd portrayal of working at a restaurant as a twenty-something with bad bosses and some very funny characters and scenes.
Mentor Judy Croon from Second City helped the group develop their comedy skills. She did a series of workshops had the them do stand-up exercises to help encourage and exaggerate ideas and to get touch with each character’s tone. Lory Mpiana, who plays Cassie Ley, was brought in as a creative consultant and joined a final workshop.
They did and continue to do writing workshops with mentor, Jill Golick, who was a great asset to the team in helping shape the characters dynamic and helped inform the murder storyline.
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