Superintendent Alistair McDent has a problem.
His ABC school district has the lowest test scores in his county – in fact the lowest in his state. If he doesn’t turn things around quickly he will soon be replaced as Superintendent and assigned to lunch room monitor at the district’s toughest middle school.
There he will get to mop the floor and shovel coal into the school’s ancient furnace – that is, right after he cleans out the food that got stuck in his hair while trying to stop a fight in the lunch room.
McDent, played by veteran film and stage actor James Bradford (The Aviator, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Grey Owl, The Red Violin) is one of the characters you’ll soon be meeting in the new Media-X web series Saving the School District.
The ten part series, to be launched in January, tells the story of McDent and the staff at Oakstump High School – who, like other schools in the district, haven’t completed mandatory teacher evaluations. They also believe classroom walkthroughs are best done with sticky notes or possibly a camera taped to the Assistant Principal’s head.
When no-nonsense DOE inspector Violet Lancaster, played by Michele Fansett, arrives and threatens to take over the district, chaos ensues until the school secretary, Mrs. Hobblesworth, discovers eWalk from Media-X and saves the district!
Fansett, who has worked in film, stage and television – including the hit series, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, prepared for her role as Lancaster by emulating characters from Mickey Spillane – the best selling crime detective author. This gave her an initial physicality to begin. As she dived deeper into the story, she added layers to the Lancaster character.
“There are moments where she can be a dragon but there was also a moment where I found the The Wicked Witch of the West in fact was part of the imagery that came” she said laughing after the shooting was completed. “From that It gives you a bit of take on things, – you know is that how she is going to use her hands – those kinds of things.”
Dobbins says he enjoyed working on the series, that was filmed in November and December at the Media-X building in Ottawa with a local crew (and a few extras played by Media-X staff.)
“This was fun project – and the cast did an amazing job,” said Dobbin. “There was a lot of giggles on the set, and everything just came together naturally. ”
Dobbin is now working with Media-X on editing and post production of the ten episodes in the series, each of which run between two to four minutes.