Colin Ferguson answers questions and talks about the first ever Eureka holiday special on Tuesday, December 7 on Syfy.
You’ve done both acting and directing. What’s next for you? Anything else that you want to try out?
Colin Ferguson: I don’t know. I’d love to – no, I’d love to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m really enjoying the combination of it. I’m really enjoying being on both sides of the camera and hopefully I can continue to be on both sides of the camera.
I find that with directing you get in earlier, you can protect the story longer, get into more conversations about it and I find that really rewarding. So I’m actually really excited where things are and I hope it sort of stays as it is for a bit.
Tell us a bit about the Eureka holiday special.
Colin Ferguson: Yes, actually just on the previous question I got to say I’d like to start a show. That’s something that I’d like to do. I have a bunch of meetings and ideas and have been sort of talking about that, so I guess that’s new.
That’d be interesting to see something from the ground up. So I guess that’s what’s on the plate for me with that. As far as the Christmas episode goes it’s really, really fun.
People have said who have seen it – I haven’t seen the finished – with all the special effects in it. They say it’s the funniest episode we’ve done. It’s basically getting into the science of Christmas.
If there are reindeers who fly – if there are reindeers that can fly how did it happen? If there’s a sleigh that could fly how would it happen? How do you get around the world? It’s Eureka sort of attacking Christmas in a really fun way and it has a great ending to it.
How did you get started in the industry?
Colin Ferguson: Yes, I don’t come from a performing family or anything. I come from a pretty conservative family out of Montreal. And so I wanted to as a kid, but sort of an idol dream.
You think, “Oh, that’d be great, and I’m not going to, you know, do that. I’m not going to end up doing that.” And I was in college and I needed money, and so I sort of found myself – because I’d do anything for money. I was a poor kid so I found myself doing comedy in bars just because I sort of had a facility for it – which is ironic because I was a really shy kid, but greedy.
So, my greed trumped my shyness. And then I sort of just started doing that and then I was in Second City while I was in still university and by the time I got to the end of university, when you sort of have to make a decision about what your life is going to be, I found myself with enough in my backpack, in my little bag of tricks that I could sort of go, “You know, I’m going to – I’m actually going to take a shot at this,” and that was the decision.
It was right after university after having done sort of four years of improvisational comedy and Second City. I figured, “Okay, I’m going to give it a shot.”
Do you have a favorite episode or storyline of Eureka?
Colin Ferguson: There’s a bunch that sort of stand out as sort of watershed moments for us, and it’s usually personal stuff. Like in the first season there was a little episode called “The Games People Play,” because that was written by a friend of mine and so that was amazing.
Alexandra La Roche, who directed “Up in the Air” this year – it’s in the back ten. It won’t air till next summer. That one is the episode that explains the poster and that was her first step as sort of the director. She’s been our script supervisor since the first season. So she’s been our script supervisor for four years and has been instrumental in holding the show together. And when someone from the inside gets a leg up and gets that chance and then knocks it out of the park like you knew they would, that’s sort of really special for us because you sort of feel like, we’re all grown up. And it sort of reminds you that you’re all a team sort of pushing to do stuff that you’ve never done before.
So that was amazing from this year, that one for us. And I probably would say the Christmas episode because I really like working with Matt Frewer and I don’t get to do that a lot.
And it was – Matt Hastings, the director – good, good friend of mine. It was the end of the first season. We shot it as Episode 10 – 4 10, so at the end of the first ten we had no money left because we had done such big stuff on the first nine that we did. So we had six days to do it. It was a run and gun. It was hilariously chaotic and he just knocked it out of the park. It’s really, really funny. So probably those two from this year stand out for me.
You’ve directed episodes of Eureka and Syfy’s Triassic Attack movie. Could you talk about the difference between directing episodic versus a TV movie?
Colin Ferguson: Yes. Yes, sure. What I said some before was that the crew was new. The thing about shooting television is you all have a common language.
We’ve shot 66 episodes so there’s a shorthand and a really quick way of sort of, “Oh, we’re coming into this set again.” We know how to shoot it. And we know how not to shoot it. You make a lot less mistakes and consequently you can get more bang for your buck when you’re doing television and our expense check.
You can also make mistakes in an episode and fix it a month later. You know, like “Whoops, that didn’t work out,” or, “Oh, we missed this piece.” There’s a little bit of latitude. On a movie it’s what happens is what you get. You’re not going back for reshoots so you have to be a little more on it.
The prep is better but there’s – again there’s no one looking over your shoulder, whereas in TV there’s a lot of money on the table so you have consequently people who are making sure that mistakes aren’t being made, whereas, you can really bail during one of these movies.
You can really do a bad movie because what are you going to do? You’re going to go back and reshoot it? Not likely, so I find it freeing to do the movie.
I find it sort of more like camp where I would say TV is more like sort of growing up in a small town with a bunch of people, because you just know each other for years and years, whereas the movie of the week is definitely show up, military operation and then you all go your separate ways. So those are some of the differences.
I assume that you filmed the Eureka Christmas special months ago. Was it strange or difficult to get into the Christmas spirit that far from Christmas?
Colin Ferguson: No, it was actually – not strangely easy but because it was the last episode before our five-week break, it was very festive. Everyone was very excited, great mood.
We shot it in June of this year so the trouble obviously is trying not to sweat when it’s supposed to be freezing, but that was work – it does work into the story so it wasn’t as hard as that.
But it – no, it was really fun and that’s – it’s great to bring Frewer back, Matt Frewer, for episodes like that because he’s such a breath of fresh air and he’s such a good guy and he’s so funny and he’s so sort of lovely to be around.
But if anybody on the show embodies Christmas it’s pretty much Matt. So I think between those things, coming up to the break and having Matt there made it sort of infinitely vested for us.
What can you tell us about Taggart’s role in this particular story?
Colin Ferguson: Well he’s – I believe it’s a santologist is what I believe the term was, and he was doing all sorts of research on proving or disproving Santa Clause, but he was out to know everything there is to know about how Christmas would work if it was there.
So that happens all the way through it. And of course the standard sort of Eureka stuff, but it’s – instead of end of the world or fright stuff, it’s way more fun stuff that we did with the special effect, and way more sort of comedic stuff.
It’s sort of the bent – we went with it and I guess we’re also partnering with Warehouse 13 if I remember correctly. The two of us are doing a night together where they have a Christmas episode and then we have a Christmas episode or vice versa.
[PR: The Warehouse 13 holiday episode airs at 10:00pm after Eureka.]
Colin Ferguson: Oh after Eureka, okay. Yes, so it’s sort of nice that we get to do a Christmas episode and for us it was great and we talked about it when we were shooting it, but, who are we kidding? Who’s going to air every Christmas on Syfy for years?
Right, like for years so it’s sort of neat to be a part of that because we all had those when we were kids, those movies that every Christmas rolled around and you’re all dry but part of you is like, “That’s so great that it airs every single year.” So hopefully it works and hopefully it’ll be a part of a littler legacy like that. We’re excited about it.
So, you talked about Matt Frewer coming back. Can you mention any other guest stars we’re going to see in the second half of the season?
Colin Ferguson: Yes, we have Felicia in for a while. We have Wil Wheaton in for a while. We have Dave Foley in for an episode. We have Wallace Shawn in for two episodes, so God bless the recession, right? Everybody’s looking for work so we get fantastic celebrities coming to do the show, which is really fun. I mean, for me having Wallace Shawn on the show was sort of a highlight.
I mean, from Princess Bride and everything that he’s done it was sort of amazing for me. And of course Wil and Felicia are family at this point, and then Dave Foley is a guy I’ve known for years and so to get a friend up for the last episode or so was really fun.
So it’s a great group and I’m really impressed with our casting. The guest stars have been great.
If you weren’t acting or directing, what do you think you’d be doing?
Colin Ferguson: That’s a good question – I ask myself that every time I go into the off-season. Like I ask myself, “What am I doing first of all, because I’m exhausted?” And then when I start to get rested, it’s obviously going to end at some point and what would I do?
I don’t know. I’d probably go into working charity. I think I’d probably do something that feels real because I spend a good part of my life working in artifice and pretend and, making entertainment.
And that has its place but I think if I was going to go into something else I’d really want human contact, and know that sort of changing lives on a one to one basis so they could see it and feel it. I think that’s selfishly what I would go into.