A Chilliwack teen who recently pitched their animation TV series to Netflix has been short-listed.
On Friday, 15-year-old C-Jay Bryce had a Zoom meeting with the animation executive team from Netflix about the show The Song of Ghosts.
It came after C-Jay entered the 2020 Netflix Canada Virtual Pitch Day back in August where more than 20,000 entries were submitted in various categories.
C-Jay recalls reading that Netflix email to a fellow member of the team who helped create the show.
“I literally stood there crying and hugging her for a solid five minutes.”
C-Jay’s sister, 17-year-old Carmelle Bryce told another member of the team the good news that same day.
“He said ‘Wow, we really have a shot at this, don’t we?’”
The Song of Ghosts is show about an average, young boy named Jaydin. When he is forced to go to a new school full of super-powered peers, he embarks on a journey of self discovery to find out what his power is. In the process, he becomes an unlikely hero and makes lifelong friendships.
C-Jay wants the show to run for three to five seasons.
It’s currently is a work-in-progress by a team of 10 people made up of different races, sexual orientations, and identities. One member is deaf, another has autism, and another is transgender.
C-Jay is non-binary.
“All of us are unique in at least one way,” they said.
C-Jay and Carmelle have “lived a lot of life,” mom Feather Bryce said. Their father died four years ago and Feather is a breast cancer survivor.
The show deals with a lot of “mature teen content,” Feather added, such as: sexism, racism, discrimination, internalized homophobia, abandonment, grief, trauma, eating disorders, body image, self harm, equal rights, depression, domestic abuse and anxiety.
“All of the characters, in some way, are a part of me,” C-Jay said. “All of them have had one or two experiences that I’ve had in my real life.”
C-Jay started the project a year ago in their spare time. In January, they made posters in search of voice actors and animators and put them up at Chilliwack secondary.
Everyone on the team is a teenager or young adult. Including the two Bryce siblings, there are seven CSS students, plus two other people from the U.S. and one from Ireland.
The group includes writers, story board artists, concept artists, voice actors and more.
“The fact that our team is mostly teenagers and young adults is a huge selling point,” Carmelle said.
And because the team is the same age as the characters in the show, makes it relatable, C-Jay added.
C-Jay and Carmelle even wrote nine original songs for the series.
All of these things, they believe, helped them get as far as they have with Netflix.
Netflix expressed that they loved how “authentic” they were, and how “courageous and determined” they are to the show, C-Jay said.
In the 20-minute Zoom meeting, the executive team asked C-Jay why they were so passionate about telling their story. C-Jay told them about the memories they had as a young child watching animation with their father and how those were some of the “best and only memories” they had.
“In growing up with those shows, some of those iconic characters raised me,” C-Jay said.
“Now that I’m older, I want to give back in some way. I want to give kids, who are in the same situation I was, something to look back on when they’re older and be nostalgic. It gives them happiness.”
Friday’s meeting went really well, C-Jay said, adding that they have a “really good feeling” the show will be picked up.
If that happens, Netflix brings in producers, a larger team and funding.
There’s another perk if the deal goes through.
At 15 years old, C-Jay would be the youngest showrunner (one who creates and runs a show) for an animation series, blowing the previous holder of that tile, Seth MacFarlane, out of the water. (At 24, MacFarlane became the youngest showrunner in television history with his animated series Family Guy.)
Now C-Jay is anxiously waiting for a follow-up email from Netflix.
“I have a pretty solid feeling that we’re going to make it,” C-Jay said.