One of the most magical things about making TV is how your work becomes like family.
I posted this last week on my Facebook page, but thought it was worth posting here too:
I have been in shock since hearing yesterday of John’s passing. He was a dear colleague and friend to many. John was vibrant, funny and fabulously gay. He was always so supportive, eager to hear all the juicy details from set and a generous soul. In my rational mind, I understand that people live then die. Yet I’m still struggling to understand how he could be here and then not.
I had the privilege of working with John when he was story producer on some of the Princess episodes I directed. He was smart, fast, witty and was my lifeline during many high-drama shoots and politicking behind-the-scenes. He had the patience and ability to deal with the spoilt and entitled young women with diplomacy, grace, a sense of compassion and humour. I’ll never forget the last episode we worked on together, it was many late nights emails back and forth always wondering if Princess Ashley would drop out and what I’d shoot to complete the episode if she did. It is a strange thing, working in this industry: we work closely and intensely for long hours with a passionate group of people who become our happy little dysfunctional family, then move on to the next production, only to do it all again. John was the type of person whom everyone felt comfortable with. He made you feel like your favourite gay grandmother was watching over you (if your grandmother were gay). A man with integrity, John had the strength to turn down working on the first reality series featuring gay men, because he felt it exploited them in its portrayal and reinforced stereotypes they’d fought so long to dismantle. I was so happy and proud to hear about his success producing CBC’s How We Got Gay doc instead.
No matter how long or how short of a time you had working with him, the time he shared with us was too short and he was too young to go. He doesn’t have children we can fundraise for, but maybe we could all follow his example and create TV that honours his spirit and values. Because when you get to work with someone as talented and fun as John, you really did get a chance to make some TV magic. And I’m sad that the magic-making time with John is now gone.