An Interview With Grand Benders’ Field Producer Mikey Lalonde
Mikey is the field producer for GRAND BENDERS and the production’s main bunny wrangler. Here is his interview.
Q: Mikey, you’re the field producer and go-to person wrapped-up into one skinny guy. How do you do it all?
A: Well Papa’s gotta bring home the bacon and obviously I need to eat more bacon so…..! Basically, I make list after list and rewrite them at the end of each day to remind myself of what I need to do. The point of this is… when something needs to get done, write it down!
Q: With one season already under your belt, did you know what to expect with Season 2?
A: In a way, yes I knew what to expect. But when it’s Cocos Grand Bend and Mickey Rapport you never know what you are going to get!
Q: Any unique challenges you encountered while shooting Season 2?
A: The biggest challenge we had is that too many people knew about the show. There were a lot of wanna-be actors showing-up looking for their moment in the sun. We have enough natural craziness from the Grand Benders that we don’t need fake craziness.
Q: It must be a bit nerve wracking not knowing what the story will be until it’s shot and in the can. Do you set-up situations or do you trust the characters to bring home the bacon (so to speak)?
A: Following nineteen to twenty-six-year-olds around while they work and play their summer away can be a little difficult on the old health! Nineteen to twenty-six-year-old minds only think in 24-hour chunks (When do I wake up? Do I have to work tomorrow? Do I have beer money for tonight?) so trying to keep track of their plans and activities as you simultaneously plan for a shoot is a challenge. You have to have faith that what was communicated on a Thursday night is going to stick in their heads and that they’ll be there when the crew shows up on Friday morning! As far as “bringing home the bacon”, the Grand Benders cast is the best!
Q: You work long hours during production. What’s your prescription for keeping everything together?
A: Long hours!??? That’s an understatement! Yes, I’ve been told partying in Grand Bend usually ends up being a weekend you’ll clearly want to remember, yet a weekend you can’t seem to remember clearly. So, shooting in Grand Bend is all the above plus a couple extra sober hours sweating in the sun!
Keeping it together is all about enjoying the special moments… hard-bodied kids going through their rights of passage… seeing people enjoy their families and friends on vacation… watching people trying to find love on the beach… then getting depressed that you are not doing the same thing.
I get to witness all this madness through the lens of a camera, while being in the sun and on a beach. Let’s just say I have been on a lot worse sets in my career! I guess realistically the only way I survived Grand Bend weekends was knowing that Monday and my bed were only around the corner!
Q: So… you must live by the Grand Benders’ motto: Work hard, play harder. Is that true?
A: Yes, MDF Productions has always had the motto of work hard, play harder.
Q: Who is your favourite Grand Bender? Why?
A: Princess Coco! She always causes a good ‘ruckus’ that is great for the camera. She never changes her mind, never asks questions like… “Why do you want to shoot that?”. She’s always ready to perform and loves to sex-it-up for the camera with her glasses and hair stylings. Everybody loves Princess!
Q: When you were in college, did you go to the beach? Anything you’d like to share with us about that experience?
A: Well, I grew up in Ottawa where beach culture is non-existent. Funny enough, the one beach I do recall visiting was Grand Bend when I was in high school. I was too young to get into this crazy, hot club called Coco’s. Thank God that no one took and shared pictures back then and the creator of Facebook was still in high school…
Q: Where did you go to school? And how did you get into the TV industry?
A: I went to Algonquin College in Ottawa. I was in the Television Broadcast Program.
Q: What is it that you love most about your job?
A: First of all this is no job, it’s my work. A J-O-B is “a regular paid position of employment” … something you punch a clock on and have certain parameters. W-O-R-K on the other hand is “an activity involving mental or physical effort in order to achieve a purpose or result”. I grew up in Ottawa and never liked the clock punching mentality. I wanted more so I moved to Toronto to be come an artist. Doooohhhh! But an artist with a purpose and hopefully with results… The greatest thing about the work I chose is that every eight to ten months I get to learn something completely new and fascinating about human nature. I’ve worked on all kinds of subjects — from Jack the Ripper to the Grand Benders and from the Canadian mafia to prima ballerinas.
Q: Any words of advice for anyone wanting to get into TV production?
A: Everyone wants to be a director or a producer, and anyone who holds down either of these jobs has worked a long time to get there. Getting into the TV industry… For starters, learn how to drive a mini van and order a latte from Starbucks and you’ll have your foot in the door! I am not lying in saying that common sense is truly half the battle in the industry. The other half is about letting everyone know what you bring to the table and more importantly being able to prove it to them once you’ve figured it out! Most people don’t realize they are choosing an artist’s life in a corporate world when they get into TV. And, as much as television is an art form it is more of a business. However, if you’re looking for a nice nine to five job, TV production is not where you should be.
Q: Jersey Shore? Or the Lambton Shores?
A: Lambton Shores…the country side and provincial parks are outstandingly beautiful. The area has so many things to offer… camping, swimming and shopping not to mention sunsets that would make even the National Geographic jealous.
Q: Drake? Or Bieber?
Bieber, only because his father has been known to frequent Cocos and Grand Bend as he lives close by….
Q: Can you give us a hint of what can we can look forward to in Season 2?
A: Well for starters, we are going to have eight episodes of Grand Benders this year three more episodes than last year. Season 1 was a year of change at Cocos as they lost two key employees — Nathalie and Patrick. This season is more celebratory with patio parties, bikini contests and more as Cocos celebrates its 25th anniversary. Season 2 or as I prefer to call it, “Summer 2”, will premiere in Spring 2013.