At Corus, you’ll find more than 100 Sheridan alumni working in a variety of roles, from creating content to providing operational leadership.
Corus is one of Canada’s leading entertainment companies, home to award-winning radio, television and publishing divisions. Corus was named one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People in 2013 and 2014, as well as one of 10 of the World’s Coolest Offices.
The headquarters for Corus Entertainment opened four years ago on Toronto’s waterfront to great acclaim for its high standards of design, environmental, technical and operational excellence. But what’s truly impressive is what goes on behind the scenes at Corus Quay, a more than 500,000 sq.-ft., eight-storey facility.
Here you’ll find the broadcast centres for three of Toronto’s top radio stations, the network operations for 24 television services, the offices of award-winning publisher Kids Can Press and the production studio of Nelvana, a world leader in children’s animated programming.
It’s also where you’ll find more than 100 Sheridan alumni working in a variety of roles, from creating content to providing operational leadership.
Helen Lebeau, Media Arts, 1982
Vice-President of Television, Production and Broadcast Operations, Corus Entertainment
One such leader is Helen Lebeau (Media Arts, 1982). As Vice President of Television, Production and Broadcast Operations, Lebeau oversees the company’s animation production and TV broadcast operations that includes the post-production and live action studios, as well as engineering, master control and commercial trafficking – “all the elements that get our content in the door and transmitted out to the viewing audience. One group is responsible for content creation and the other group is focused on ensuring it gets to ‘air’,” says Lebeau.
Lebeau was a key member of the Corus management team who oversaw the three-year process of planning and implementing the transition to Corus Quay, “looking at how we designed and managed our workflow – receiving material, creating content, and moving it through the production and on-air chain,” she says.
The Emmy [for "Bubble Guppies"] was a wonderful tribute to the depth of talent in Nelvana’s studio.
Lebeau has been with Corus since 2002, when she was hired to oversee Nelvana’s animation post-production division. One of her proudest moments with the company came in 2013, when she attended the 40th Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards to accept the award, as supervising producer, in the Outstanding Pre-School Animated Program category for Bubble Guppies. “The Emmy was a wonderful tribute to the depth of talent in Nelvana’s studio,” she says.
Before joining Corus, Lebeau worked as an editor at TSN for 10 years before her inherent leadership skills were recognized and launched her into post-production management, a role she held for eight years. “I found that I really liked organizing and supporting people, and getting teams to work closely and effectively together.”
Darin Bristow, Computer Animation, 1999; Classical Animation, 1995
Director of Studio Operations, Nelvana
One of Lebeau’s strengths is the ability to spot and nurture talent, such as Darin Bristow (Computer Animation, 1999; Classical Animation, 1995), whose high-octane energy levels are well suited to his job as Director of Studio Operations for Nelvana. Bristow was promoted to his current position by Lebeau a year ago.
“In this job, I touch pretty much every production, every promo, every short,” Bristow says. “I help with the staffing, training, creating the production pipeline and deciding what technologies will drive the process.”
Juggling 10 productions concurrently may seem like an overwhelming challenge, but Bristow takes it in stride. “I like how my job keeps me busy. Every show, every project, is different. We output 3,000 minutes of animation every year. The machine never stops – even at night, the render machines keep on rendering.”
About 80% of Nelvana’s production staff are Sheridan grads.
Toni Stevens, Media Arts, 1985
Supervising Producer, Nelvana
Bristow is not the only Sheridan grad to be brought into the Corus fold by Lebeau. Toni Stevens (Media Arts, 1985) connected with Lebeau through their membership on Sheridan’s Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design Alumni Board. “I was looking for a supervising producer and hired Toni – she has a wealth of production experience and is a great asset to the team,” says Lebeau.
“It’s people like Toni that allow me to step back, be more strategic and manage the big picture.” As supervising producer, Stevens manages the overall production process. “I take shows from development into production, ensuring they’re on time and on budget,” says Stevens. “It’s a moving target, so we’re always reviewing and revising.” Among the popular programs Stevens has supervised are Mike the Knight, Franklin and Friends, Babar and The Adventures of Badou and OH NO! It’s An Alien Invasion.
Mike Fallows, Classical Animation, 1976
Supervising Director, Nelvana
Sheridan is the primary source of the creative talent that drives those productions – about 80% of Nelvana’s production staff are Sheridan grads. One of the longest-serving is Mike Fallows (Classical Animation, 1976), who may also be one of Sheridan’s most awarded alumni ever. His career highlights include four Emmy Awards and 13 nominations, multiple Gemini Awards, and a long list of international honours.
The animation director first joined Nelvana in its early years before it was acquired by Corus, then bounced around the world for several years. He settled back in with Nelvana some 18 years ago. Trained to work with pencil and paper, Fallows embraced the digital revolution that transformed animation.
“I was intrigued by it – something new and fresh to work with,” he says. His transition to digital was sealed with Rolie Polie Olie, the first pre-school digitally animated series. “Here I was coming from a completely traditional background and working with all of these kids that were part of the digital world – it was energizing. It’s been digital for me ever since.”
The constant flow of new projects ensures that Fallows remains fresh creatively. “Every project is different and brings its own challenges. The learning never ends because the technology is changing so quickly.”
As a supervising director, Fallows also oversees the music, art direction and sound – all of which vary from project to project.
Daniel Clermont, Computer Animation, 2002; Classical Animation, 2001
Senior Animator – 2D & 3D, Nelvana
The ability to multi-task, quickly learn new skills and work in teams are key to success in the Nelvana fold, as Daniel Clermont (Computer Animation, 2002; Classical Animation, 2001) has found. Bristow refers to him as “Dan of all trades”, because he floats around the studio, pitching in on projects wherever he is needed.
At Nelvana since 2005, Clermont calls it “the best job I’ve ever had. The atmosphere is great and there’s so much knowledge in the studio to draw upon – I’m constantly learning.
Corus was named one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People in 2013 and 2014 as well as ranked as one of 10 of the World’s Coolest Offices, not least because it’s a place where you can have fun while you work and learn. Colourful lounges are scattered throughout Corus Quay, including one that has foosball tables, couches, flat-screen TVs, and a giant slide that cascades from the third floor to the ground level. Just outside is Sugar Beach, a man-made sunbathing mecca that draws sun worshippers and hosts live music events all summer long.
It's the best job I've ever had.
Ryan Parker, Journalism New Media, 2001
Ryan Parker, On Air Talent: Derringer in the Morning, Q107
As part of the Derringer in the Morning team on Corus Radio’s Q107, Ryan Parker (Journalism New Media, 2001) has a great view of the beach from their studios on the main floor of Corus Quay.
It’s one of the perks of being part of the Corus ‘family’ for Parker, who commutes every day from Acton for the show, which airs from 5 to 10 am weekdays. He’s seen firsthand the power that radio has to connect with listeners. “People come up to me in Acton and say, ‘hey – I love the show, love what you do.’ The nicest thing I hear from people is that we help make their commute bearable. We’re a big part of their lives.”
Having so many diversely creative Sheridan graduates under one roof has also spurred some interesting collaborations. A classic rock aficionado, Nelvana’s Bristow befriended Parker and has ended up with a guest spot on the show. “I get to interview classic bands like Bon Jovi and Van Halen, and ask them really obscure questions about their band’s history,” says Bristow.
That’s the cool thing about working at Corus – there’s so much going on in this building, and they encourage us to work together.
Corus is guided by its core values of accountability, initiative, innovation, knowledge and teamwork – all of which these Sheridan graduates are quick to reference when asked what makes Corus a great place to work. The company even rewards employees who best reflect its values in their work with the Samurai Award. Bristow was a proud recipient, nominated by his peers, in 2007, and traces his achievement back to his days at Sheridan. “I learned the creative side at Sheridan, but I also learned how to build, lead and work with teams. This has been key to my success.”