Our latest home design TV show airs on W Network!


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New TV Series Real Houses of… to Air Beginning Sept. 8, 2015 on W Network

Series Represents First Joint Venture Between Saint John-Based Co-Producers,
Talons of Venice and Hemmings House Pictures

Saint John, NB – On Tuesday, Sept. 8, a new lifestyle television series will air on the W Network, Talons of Venice and Hemmings House announced today.

The series, Real Houses of…, represents the first joint venture between Hemmings House Pictures Ltd. and Talons of Venice – the content creation arm of Saint John-based marketing agency, Revolution Strategy.

“With the launch of this show, we’re showing broadcasters and networks around the world that content producers on Canada’s east coast are producing premier programming,” said Greg Hemmings, President and CEO of Hemmings House. “This has been a wonderful opportunity to showcase the creative talent force we have here in Saint John.”

Derek Riedle, Executive Producer with Talons of Venice and founder of Revolution Strategy said, “We are always looking for the next creative pursuit, and from concept to air date, we are thrilled with how quickly this series came to life. This show is proof that we can execute on smart ideas, and produce creative products for global markets from our home in Saint John.”

“This is world-class programming with creative excellence in research, production and post-production, thanks to our teams in Ontario and New Brunswick,” said Arnie Zipursky, Executive Producer at CCI Entertainment. “We are proud to present the series with The Fremantle Corporation to the global market at MIPCOM next month.”

Fifteen 30-minute episodes of Real Houses of… will air this fall, two episodes every Tuesday night, beginning at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET / PT, beginning Sept. 8 on the W Network. Episode locations will span North America, focusing on five regions: Texas, New York, Los Angeles, Western Canada and Atlantic Canada.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, Talons of Venice and Hemmings House will co-host a Real Houses of… launch party for the series at the Saint John Ale House in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The production of Real Houses of… employed a crew of about 20 full-time employees – all based in New Brunswick.

In February 2014, Talons of Venice and Hemmings House formed a partnership with CCI Entertainment to produce and distribute content for television networks in Canada and around the world. CCI Entertainment and its global sales agents also introduced the pilot at MIPCOM – the four-day, international entertainment content conference – in Cannes, Oct. 13-16, 2014.

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About Real Houses of…

Real Houses Of… invites you into some of the most incredible homes in North America. You won’t find “cookie cutter” here. These fabulous spaces are one-of-a-kind, custom-designed to fit the needs and lifestyles of their remarkable owners. From historic east coast manors to ultra-modern Pacific pads, these Real Houses push wow factor to the max. With luxurious bedrooms, resort-worthy pools, spectacular bathrooms, million-dollar views and kitchens hot enough to make a French chef swoon – this series is guaranteed to astonish and inspire.

About the Creators

Hemmings House Pictures Ltd. (hemmingshouse.com) is an award-winning content producer that focuses on documentaries and factual television series with a vision to inspire and engage audiences around the world to positive action. Hemmings House has earned a reputation as the production company that injects 'real' back into reality television through their work with productions like Cubicle to the Cage. Leaning heavily on a decade of documentary passion and experience, Hemmings House produces authentic stories that accelerate change.

From New Brunswick, Canada and California, USA, Talons of Venice Entertainment Inc. (talonsofvenice.com) is the content creation arm of Revolution Strategy (revolutionstrategy.com), a fully integrated, Saint John-based marketing and communications agency. We invent and unearth compelling content and leverage it through great creative, storytelling, positioning and digital strategy. Talons of Venice has set up shop in LA, but Saint John will always be home.

CCI (Cambium Catalyst International) Entertainment Ltd. (ccientertainment.com) has over 30 years of experience in television production and international distribution in all genres including kids, lifestyle, drama and factual programming. During this time, the company has set new standards for excellence, service and integrity in the international entertainment arena with over 2,000 hours of award-winning content including factual programming such as Paws for Autism for Animal Planet, Living Through Dying for Discovery Network, recent children’s and family content including two seasons of Extreme Babysitting and three seasons of Ghost Trackers for YTV and HBO Family, the award winning holiday family movie ANYTHING BUT CHRISTMAS for ION in the US, BBC in the UK and M6 in France. The exceptional in-house talent, combined with the expertise of a global network of production partners, has contributed to CCI’s strong track record as a trustworthy, innovative and successful force in the entertainment industry.

For more information, please contact:

Greg Hemmings

Executive Producer – Hemmings House

O: 506.642.0872 / M: 506.639.6577


More on W Network here: http://www.wnetwork.com/shows/real-houses

Crew shot at Judith Mackin and Robert Moore House for "Real Houses of" shoot



Can Getting Kids to Code Change Our Collective Future? Code Kids Documentary Explores.

It has been almost exactly a year since we visited Estonia and Finland to film the incredible success they have found in creating digital economies and preparing their youngsters for a wild digital ride that awaits them – and all of us – not so far down the timeline. 

What we found about these two visionary countries is that in order to secure a prosperous future, we can not solely rely on natural resource and traditional industries anymore. We need to inspire a rich stock of enthusiastic, passionate, open and entrepreneurial young minds to lead us into the quickly evolving digital society. And this work needs to start as early as Kindergarten. 

Our film 'Code Kids' explores the direction Estonia and Finland took in their development and offers up the question to people who live in my region of Canada; "Can we do the same here? And if we can are we actually at an advantage being a small rural and hyper connected community then if we were elsewhere?".

Our friends at the CBC have allowed us to lift the geoblock of our film so viewers around the world can watch our film, we are very grateful for this as we want to share this film for the 'Hour of Code' week starting December 8 – 12.

We filmed Code Kids with the Atlantic Canadian community as the focal point, however the stories and the issues are universal. Please help us spread inspirations to get communities bought into the Code Kids movement by sharing this film. 

You can see the film and video extras at CODEKIDS.CA as one of the FYA.tv movements.



Behind The Scenes of Innovation

The Making of the NBIF Television Commercials

When the fine folks at the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation approach Hemmings House to partner with them on a series of three commercials that celebrate New Brunswick’s past and present world of innovation and general awesomeness, we immediately cracked open our creative whiteboard markers and got to work! It didn't take long to realize that we had a wealth of cool ideas to pull from. There are SO MANY cool stories of innovation in New Brunswick, past and present. Heck we could have done a hundred of these little films. We are really proud of these three commercials and proud of our creative and innovative heritage. We were really stoked as well that the NBIF team allowed us to exercise our own innovative film making techniques on these films, kinda fitting eh? There are some cool stylistic references that we borrowed from in these commercials ranging from Wes Anderson’s ‘Life Aquatic’ to Red Bull Media House’s ‘Art of Flight’. Check out the behind the scenes film as our team brings a great team together, builds an epic set, and gives birth to three really neat commercials. If you are from New Brunswick you are going to be proud of what our province has invented over the years, if you aren’t from New Brunswick I hope these films encourage you to take a look at what cool things were invented in your home town!

And if you have an innovative idea, check out www.NBIF.ca in case they can help make your brilliant idea become a reality!


Innovation Connection Between the Snow Blower and Social Media Monitoring!

What the heck did we do before 1870, the year that the snow blower was invented in New Brunswick, Canada? There must have been lots of back aches and hard attacks from all that shoveling!

As it turns out New Brunswick, the small province of less than a Million people, is the home of a ‘shovel’ load of innovations and inventions that have had global impact over the years! Pretty cool eh? Get my drift? It snow coincidence that a New Brunswick innovator Robert Carr Harris (who lived in a province that knows a lot about shoveling the white stuff) invented the snow blower!

Fast forward over a century and a half and we see innovations happening in the very same place. The super smart team at Radian6 innovated a way to monitor social media conversations, changing the way brands interact with their customers and fans!

So next time someone ask’s what the connection between snow blowers and social media monitoring, well now you can tell them with confidence! And you can show them this little film that the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation commissioned Hemmings House to Produce. And if you have an innovative idea, check out www.NBIF.ca in case they can help your brilliant idea become a reality! Robert Carr Harris would be proud!


Innovation Connection Between SCUBA & IPTV Technology!

What the heck did we do before 1839, the year that the SCUBA tank was invented in New Brunswick, Canada? There must have been lots of really long snorkels, and talented skin divers who could hold their breaths for epic periods of time!

As it turns out New Brunswick, the small province of less than a Million people, is the home of a ‘depth’ load of innovations and inventions that have had global impact over the years. James Elliot and Alexander McAvity gifted the world with a tank that would hold the oxygen needed for us crazy humans to explore shipwrecks and take underwater pictures of cool fish, coral and stingrays.

Fast forward over a century and a half and we see innovations happening in the very same city! The brilliant folks at Encore Interactive have built a television user experience that allows people to watch their Jacques Cousteau movies on many different platforms! How rad is that? 

So next time someone ask’s what the connection between SCUBA tanks and IPTV cross platform user experience technologies is, well now you can tell them with confidence! And you can show them this little film that the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation commissioned Hemmings House to Produce. And if you have an innovative idea, check out www.NBIF.ca in case they can help your brilliant idea become a reality! James Elliot and Alexander McAvity would be proud!


Innovation Connections Between Toilets and Robotic Hands!

What the heck did we do before 1907, the year that the Vortex Flushing Toilet was invented in New Brunswick, Canada? Remember the cute little moon holes in the doors of outhouses? Yeah, they were pretty neat. As it turns out the Canadian province New Brunswick, the small province of less than a Million people, is the home of a ‘Crap’ load of innovations and inventions that have had global impact over the years! Did you know many argue that the origin of the word ‘crap’ refers to late 19th century plumber & innovator Thomas Crapper who invented the siphonic toilet that hosted his Crapper brand name etched into the toilet's porcelain? But we are not here to talk about Mr. Crapper’s toilet, we are here to talk about the evolution of his toilet, toilet 2.0 if you will; The Vortex Flushing Toilet! This bad boy was Innovated in New Brunswick by Thomas McAvity Stewart.

Fast forward over a century and we see evolutions of many other innovations happening in the very same province. The brilliant engineers, scientists and designers at the University of New Brunswick have evolved the prosthetic arm and hand to a point where movement of the hand is controlled by thought! How cool is that?

So next time someone ask’s what the connection between a toilet and the thought-powered prosthetic hand is, well now you can tell them with confidence! And you can show them this little film that the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation commissioned Hemmings House to produce! And if you have an innovative idea, check out NBIF in case they can help  your brilliant idea become a reality! Crapper would be proud.


The Creative Class Promotes Open Communities

Press Play Above to hear the Boiling Point Episode that relates to this blog post.

I come from a small city on the East Coast of Canada called Saint John (a.k.a. The Renaissance City). We typically are a drive by city. Our city once was an industrial superstar boasting the busiest port North of Boston, and we were known as the New York of Canada. But that was then, and we are NOW! Many years ago our city's population started to decline, and after I graduated High School we lost a keystone ship building industry which seemed to be the last nail on the municipality's coffin. 

But there was one thing that keep our city from meeting our maker, it was creative resiliency. This port town is full of fighters with heavy work ethic and an authenticity that has created a very unique culture. Our art scene is the real deal underground. The creative energy here goes unrecognized fro the outside, but for many that's ok, art for the sake of art happens here. 

A good friend of mine is one of those resilient creatives. Her name is Judith and she runs an interior design shop called Tuck Studios. In our episode of the Boiling Point Podcast, Judith chats about bringing new ideas into a small, supportive and open city. We talk about how you can make a significant dent in places like St. John. 

Judith is a part of the creative class of this town that truly helps pump the life blood back into the place. The power of this class should not go un headed in communities around the globe, it has power to transform people, places and economies.





Coding in Schools Can Change Lives and the Economy

code kids girlThe Hemmings House documentary that is helping the ‘Coding to Schools’ movement gain momentum in Atlantic Canada will premiere this Saturday, July 26th at 8pm on CBC Maritimes. Code Kids follows a group of passionate tech entrepreneurs, students, teachers and influencers in Atlantic Canada over a period of a year as they attempt to change the way students use technology in elementary and middle school. Despite the regional focus, this is a global story that is relevant in communities around the world. The film explored how countries like Estonia and Finland are using coding and technology in the K-12 school curriculums.

Producer and Director Greg Hemmings sees this film premiere as a milestone marker for the movement. 

“The real horsepower of this movement happened as we filmed this story unfold. The finished film itself will be released to the public at a point where momentum has been achieved, I am excited to see this film used as a tool to inspire new thoughts about our education system and the future of our children’s economy.”

Jevon MacDonald, a tech entrepreneur and co-founder of GoInstant in Halifax believes that the technology economy is the first opportunity in over a century for Atlantic Canada to participate, and lead, in a high-growth and young part of the economy. 

“If we can bring the number of jobs in IT in Atlantic Canada up to the national average in proportion to the population, then we will have created more opportunity for young kids than ship building, forestry, bioscience, energy and agriculture. Making coding available in our schools gives our kids here in Atlantic Canada a fair shake in a world that otherwise wants them to labour their life away, either here or in some far off part of the country."

Tech entrepreneur, and co-founder of GoInstant Gavin Uhma recognizes that information technology is everywhere and if Atlantic Canadian shoals are not inspiring students to learn coding skills, then they are at a disadvantage.

“It's difficult to think of a job that does not involve some sort of information technology. Now, imagine the disadvantage Canada would be at if every other country taught coding in their schools. Fortunately, this is not a reality today, but is actually an opportunity. If we include programming in our k-12 curriculums, we'll be at an advantage.”

Coding advocate David Alston believes Atlantic Canada has a much higher chance of success because of the small population and supportive tech industry in the region. 

“Right now we have the edge.  Relatively speaking we have a large startup scene that other jurisdictions would love to have.  We can continue to feed this momentum by allowing students to embrace a modern skill, one that not only allows them to program the world around them, to improve it, but one that teaches them to embrace problem solving and turns on their entrepreneurial DNA. “

Code Kids airs on CBC Maritimes this Saturday Night, July 26 at 8pm. Web release in Canada and the rest of the world will be released in the near future. Please stay in touch via twitter #CodeKids and via the website  www.codekids.ca . And please watch and share the film trailer below! 


Greg Hemmings





Cutting out good Content Marketing material is OK!


Do you ever get frustrated trying to compress a lot of information into small, digestible bits of content for audience consumption, engagement and retention? You always want to give your audience relevant info that will relate to their needs and pain-points, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with a boat load of facts and figures that will drown them before they even get to enjoy the heart of the message. 

We include video in our content marketing toolbox with the hopes that it will not only compliment our blogs, whitepapers and presentations, but that it will also become the magnet that will attract and retain audiences. The video medium, if executed with enough care, can take relatively mundane information and bring it to life by educating people through entertainment. 

The Bill Gale Animation

Hemmings House was hired a while back to produce a fun animation that would sum up the life of a community leader named Bill Gale. The video would be used at a Roast in his honour, and then released on the web. His biography and resume are a truly impressive collection of honors and accomplishments. When our client asked us to produce the animation, they gave us a six-page document that summarized years and years of Bill’s action-packed life in the finance world. There was far more information in the written document that could be compressed into a 90 second video.  And despite the accomplishments, it is a bit of a challenge to communicate an engaging message based solely on a list of resume highlights. 

Our team discussed the challenge and we came up with an entertaining Monty Python-esque cartoon that would sum up Bills life in a metered 90-second period of time (start the clock!). We used humor, colorful animation, and a very rapid narration to tell this story. 

Don’t be Scared!

Never be afraid of compressing allot information into something with less details. As a filmmaker myself, I was always taught that the greatest film editors knew which of the best scenes to cut and throw on the floor, even if they were the nicest looking shots of the whole production. Sometimes to get to the meat of the message you have to trim the fat, even if the fat is great content. 

When you have more data than you feel you can sift through, don’t let that discourage you. There is always a very simple story that can be told in an entertaining and engaging way, you just need to simplify. People do not consume stories because they are rich in statistics and cerebral concepts. People consume stories because they are simple, entertaining and they can relate to them.

This is also true for any of your content marketing production. Give the audience valuable data that is detailed enough to bring value, but not so deep that you loose them after 10 seconds. Using humor and unique styles in the way you tell your stories is also a great way to keep eyeballs on your content. 

me and Steinbeck






How Brands Help Storytellers Fight Their Way to the Screen

cubicle to the cage DRAKO








The Hemmings House team and I have been producing television and web content around the world for over a decade. During that time we have experienced a massive shift in how great film stories are financed, consumed and even told. As ad spend is bending away from traditional television spots, it is becoming more and more difficult to finance television shows as the customers (the broadcasters) are spending less and less for great content because their advertising dollars are being depleted.  

So how do we continue to produce high quality content with limited budgets from our customers? Well that's where the world of 'branded storytelling' comes in. Partnering with brands that have aligned vision and values with the target audience of the content is critical. When synergy is found, the brand becomes a part of the story in an authentic way. It's not product placement, its more of a DNA sort of thing. Our latest TV series 'Cubicle to the Cage' is a great example of this. The company we partnered with is a martial arts gear and clothing company called DRAKO Sports. Their brand and products are literally baked into the series…and because they are MMA related, it makes all the sense in the world that we would see our MMA athletes training with their gear. It also makes sense that the owner of DRAKO makes an appearance in an episode as a character. We can bring a lot of value to brands when we authentically make them part of the process and the product. 

Companies like DRAKO help content creators do what they do best, tell great stories. The brands that are investing their ad dollars to fund the production of killer stories are the ones who are kicking ass!

Cubicle to the Cage Promo from Hemmings Films on Vimeo.