The sharing economy has had an uber-impact on Wychwood producer-writer, Jonathan Hirsh.
It’s provided the backdrop for his Theater of the Absurd-inspired web series, Fare Trade which premiered Oct. 31 on Bunzonline.com. The comedy is about three self-absorbed millennials who try to eke through life with barter.
The 31-year-old president of Floating Island Entertainment, an alum of Metro Prep, went to theatre school in Chicago and Los Angeles before coming back to Toronto to share a few stories about side-hustling.
A smile creates a seam in the constant underbrush of beard as he sits tucked away at a Yonge-Eglinton café.
“My father, who was in the film industry, told me, ‘If you don’t write about that you wasted two years of your life,” the younger Hirsh said. “I thought, ‘Alright, I’ll write about that’. So, I optioned that.”
Now, his father is Nelvana founder Michael Hirsh, a name that brought shows like Care Bears and The Magic School Bus to families via television.
Once the elder Hirsh retired he sought out a new venture. So, Hirsh and his paterfamilias started making shows more geared to an adult audience.
But Jonathan has a little secret of his own.
“I spent my whole life fighting the idea of working in television,” he said. “My life I was, ‘I don’t want to work for the man’, do what my father wanted me to do, which was become an artist.
“That’s ironic because everybody’s father tells them to be a lawyer or an accountant.”
Still, “Fare Trade” touches on one of the tropes associated with millennials: they like getting something for nothing, or via a bartering network.
Hirsh spent a year driving for Uber as background research.
“What filtered down from the experience were the unique interactions that sharing culture creates,” he admitted. “It’s not that Millennials love sharing and trading, it’s that they love the taboo of the sharing and trading economy. It’s on the edge of society.
“It’s the punk rock of merchandising.”
Hirsh teamed up with directors Shawn Ahmed and Scott Leaver, and assembled quite the cast. Cameos feature X-Men writer David Hayter makes, horror mainstay, Julian Richings and Grace Lynn Kung of Mary Kills People. The three lead roles are filled by Ana Golja, of Degrassi: Next Class fame, Erin Margurite Carter and Darrell Faria.
The ultimate goal for Hirsh is to turn it into a 22-minute sitcom akin to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
“We wanted to create something so absurd, and so fun that people wanted to watch it,” he said. “These are characters they can’t relate to … and that you love to hate.”
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