Interview: Pete Winning and the Pirates

Tell us what Pete Winning and the Pirates is all about.
It is a classic Errol Flynn style swashbuckler story – only set in the future, with laser guns, in a global-warming flooded Canada.

How did you get the idea for the series?
It actually started as a film we made for a contest in 2011 – which was originally supposed to be a one-off short. But we kind of became obsessed with the fun of it all and decided we had to expand it into something more – and the idea of a web series REALLY appealed to me.

Whose boat is that? Did you steal away on to some millionaire’s yacht to shoot this?
I wish! Actually I live on a boat in Toronto! So Pete’s boat is my boat, and the villain’s boat is my neighbour’s boat. It was part of the reason we did the short as a pirate movie in the first place: “What do we have for free that we can use that most other people can’t?”

How many ABBA songs do you have on your iPod? Be honest now.
You’re going to assuming I’m lying here – but I just checked and I actually don’t have any! Does that make me a soulless person now? Maybe I should make a trip to the iTunes store…

What a shocking oversight. For shame. Get thee to the iTunes store!

Moving on, what are your filmic influences?
I’m definitely a fan of the stuff I grew up on – classic Spielberg movies like ET and Raiders of the Lost Ark are things I ate up as a kid. And everybody loves Star Wars, right? I think the thing I like most about movies is the aspect of them that carries you away. I really dig the make-believe aspect of movies. When they can make you feel INSIDE THIS MOVIE that this ridiculous premise is totally believable, for those two hours. I’m a sucker for that movie magic.

When did you first start making movies?
Technically I was five – I was inspired by a ride on a family trip to Disneyworld and came home, convinced my parents to operate the family’s 8mm camcorder and did a ‘special effect’ of a Ninja Turtle doll being transformed with my “shrinking machine” prop. Now that was cinema.

Many of Spindle’s readers are British. If you could meet the Queen and ask her one question, what would it be?
I’d ask her, “Your Majesty, do you listen to ABBA? Be honest.”

If you could have your dream guest star during season one, who would that be?
I think Dustin Hoffman with a laser gun would look even more awesome than when he was Captain Hook.

What would you say is the hardest part of being an up and coming artist today?
Hmm. That’s a serious question! Probably finding a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. So many talented people are able to actually make art and distribute it these days that it gets easy to be camouflaged in with the rest – and of course that equals a much smaller audience being able to see your work. So I think while there are SO MANY wonderful options for showing your stuff these days – everybody has those options and so it’s still a challenge to reach out to your audience. A different kind of challenge than in the past though. You need to get creative with it! Then again I suppose an artist can’t complain about needing to be creative.

What’s up next?
As an actor I’ve got a couple of scripts that I’m looking at right now, with people I’d love to work with behind them. As a director, I’ve got a few music videos on their way featuring my long-time collaborator, the wonderfully musical Aaron Tsang. And of course, as a producer, there’s planning the rest of Season One, and then eventually Season Two, of Pete Winning and the Pirates!

Why should people part with their hard-earned cash to help you?
Well I can personally attest to the fact that our cast and crew are very, very nice, hard-working people. And we’re offering cool perks for people who donate! But assuming that isn’t a good enough reason – there’s a lot of fun to be had on this show. When you really think about it, who doesn’t like pirates, laser guns, and swashbuckling adventures? And it’s funny! We’re going to work our hardest to make something that feels fresh-yet-classic, old-school-yet-contemporary, and to ensure that you have a good time watching. And we can’t do it without your help – so let us entertain you! We will work our hardest to give you something that you’ll love.

Keep up with The Swashbuckling Adventures of Pete Winning and the Pirates on Facebook and donate to their campaign at Indiegogo. Check out their swashbuckling preview below!

Thomas Dearnley-Davison is Spindle’s Canadian Correspondent. You can follow his insane trans-Atlantic ramblings on Twitter @such_doubts