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The business of show business

Lisa Smart on the Republic of Doyle film set.

By Meaghan Whelan

With days that started early in the morning, or didn’t start until 6 p.m., Lisa Smart didn’t have a typical 9-5 work term. Ms. Smart is a B.Comm. student who spent her final co-op work term as the publicity and media assistant for the Republic of Doyle, a new series to air nationally on CBC in January 2010.

“You expect glamour and to be dazzled when you think about a film set, but within the first day I realized how much hard work goes into making something like this,” she explained.

Republic of Doyle is a comedic drama about a father-son private investigator team based in St. John’s. As the publicity and media assistant, Ms. Smart spent much of her time on set, working with the stills photographer on promotional photos, responding to local media inquiries and developing an interactive media strategy for the show.

“We want to entice people to turn on their TVs, so I’ve been doing a lot of really interesting research into how to use Web 2.0 to promote Republic of Doyle. We are developing ideas relevant to Republic that would appeal to online Canadian audiences,” she said.

Ms. Smart said that she drew on her course work in marketing and advertising management at various points throughout her work term, but the film set was an opportunity to see all facets of business at work. “Normally for a work term you are entering a company or department that is already established and has somewhat of a formal structure, but in this instance everything was totally new. It was a learning environment and I was able to dive in and experience so much,” she explained. “I began my work term with the production team in May before filming started. We went from less than 12 employees to over 80 in a matter of weeks. I saw the entire organization grow, taking shape while all of the business functions developed.”

The official work term ended in August, but Ms. Smart is still working part-time on the production. “It’s an exciting job. It’s really cool to be living at home and to be involved with a national television series,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from this experience and I’m grateful that I can continue to work with a group of such hardworking people who are remarkably proud and passionate about this project.”