Who tells your story?

How Kyle Christie honed his storytelling skills

Kyle Christie is a storyteller. From harrowing murders to news detailing abuse in long-term care, he has dedicated much of his career to telling the tales of the vulnerable from their point of view.

NAME:
Kyle Christie
YEAR OF GRADUATION:
2004
PROGRAM:
Journalism – New Media
JOB TITLE:
Founder, The Christie Brands

“I love piecing together a story,” he says. “There are so many stories that need to be told, and if you can make someone feel something, that’s important.”

Christie spent 15 years as a news anchor and reporter at CTV and CP24 before retiring in May 2018. Today, he’s the founder and creative director of See Your Life Now video productions, where he is pursuing a different kind of lead: a documentary detailing child custody arrangements from the children’s perspective.

“The goal is to inform judges, lawyers and parents, but I don’t know what the answers are…I don’t think anyone knows for sure. It’s informed by my research and the stories and experiences I’ve had throughout my life,” he says.

As a documentary filmmaker, Christie is using his reporter instincts to share the world’s narratives — ones that can’t be wrapped up in a 10-minute segment. “In daily news, you treat every news story as a movie, in a way. There are characters, important points, dialogue — and it’s scripted, shot and wrapped in a day,” he says.

The documentary represents both a new story arc and a full circle for Christie. Growing up in Brantford, Ont., Christie always knew he wanted to write, shoot and tell stories. “I loved playing around with video — the idea that you could put a video up on screen and 800 people could see it at one time, sparking a conversation and getting a reaction, was so compelling,” he says. Although Christie obtained a university degree in film and art history, he remained intrigued by the immediacy and inherent possibilities of video storytelling. While working as a talent agent in Toronto, casting actors for movies such as Chicago, Cinderella Man, and X-Men, Christie wanted to get more involved in the production elements. “I had a four-year film degree, and had never touched a camera,” he explains.

He was attracted to Sheridan’s postgraduate new media journalism program, where he honed his ability to use different elements of his chosen medium (he was later recognized with being the first inductee onto Sheridan’s Wall of Fame).

Upon graduation in 2004, he joined the fast-paced news team at CTV. After six years in the news anchor/videographer position, he moved to the even faster pace at by-the-minute news station CP24.

“You could be covering a shooting in the morning, a stabbing by mid-afternoon, and a postal strike later in the day,” he says. The stories that Christie recalls most fondly are the ones with the human element. One memorable series on wellness in nursing homes and senior care came to him from an outside source: a woman who had placed a camera in her mother’s retirement home room to capture suspected elder abuse. The story that Christie uncovered of harrowing misconduct led to a series about the best and worst long-term care facilities in Ontario, and an honourable mention from the Radio Television Digital News Association. “I enjoy stories that evoke an emotion, and the community reaction and response to them,” he says.

Today, Christie has shifted his storytelling focus to the documentary world and is broadening his scope to diverse markets such as real estate and fitness.

“I’ve always been a big fan of having a plan B. Growing up poor instilled a sense in me that I always wanted to make sure I could provide for my family,” he says.

In 2009, he and his wife founded lifestyle and fitness brand The Buff Mom, which they co-own. “All other variations of The ____ Mom were taken when we started the company,” he laughs.

Christie is also a full-time instructor at Conestoga College, where he teaches Broadcasting Performance and Digital Media, journalism and also Broadcasting Television and Independent Production. He used his extensive business experience to design a new Media Freelancing and Entrepreneurship course for the college, and now teaches the next generation of entrepreneurs. He also hires former students to produce corporate videos for See Your House Now — a real estate video marketing business Christie launched in 2013.

Although he’s diversified, Christie still thinks of himself as a journalist first and foremost. “I teach my students that it is important to keep adding to your toolkit — journalism is a business, and it’s important to see where the industry is heading and have something to offer,” he says. “Those skills that I learned at Sheridan — to write, shoot and edit content — have been an underlying force throughout my entire career.”

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