Alejandro Alcoba has just won the lottery. Or at least, that’s what it feels like to him. He’s been nominated for his first Canadian Screen Award.
The RTA alumnus, alongside co-writer Carling Tedesco, is nominated in the category of best writing in a children’s or youth program or series, for an episode he wrote for the Family Channel show The Next Step. Nominations were announced Jan. 13, and the nod came as a great surprise to Alcoba.
“You just sort of put your name in a hat and you don’t really expect it to get pulled,” he said.
The Next Step is a children’s television dance series that has aired on the Family Channel since 2013. Alcoba has been working with the show since spring 2012, starting out as a story co-ordinator, and he describes it as a dramatic comedy.
Alcoba said he obtained his position through good timing. He met with screenwriter, Duana Taha, for coffee one day to let her know that he was interested in a co-ordinating job. Two days later, Taha saw an opening on Twitter for the position on The Next Step, and six hours after that, Alcoba had an interview. He was hired the next day.
His advice to other RTA students hoping to land a job is to do the same — network.
“You need to be actively trying to meet other people in the industry … it’s important to let people know that you’re out there, and to get your name and face to stick in people’s minds,” he says.
Alcoba’s face has stuck in the mind of RTA professor James Nadler, as he still remembers teaching him over eight years ago.
“I am not surprised that he was nominated (for a Canadian Screen Award), because I know how hard he works,” he said.
Nadler recalls Alcoba, alongside a group of classmates, winning the pitch competition for his business of producing class.
Alcoba wrote his team’s script, a one-hour supernatural drama about a brother and sister duo battling demons.
“It really resonated with the panel, and it was very well written,” says Nadler.
Other alumni who have been nominated include Kristen McGregor, as producer of Giver, a television show nominated for best children’s or youth non-fiction program or series, and Jeff Biederman as producer of Spun Out, a television show nominated for best comedy series.
Nadler says that Alcoba’s Canadian Screen Awards nomination is especially impressive, as children’s television shows are well-written in Canada and it is a tough category to get nominated in.
The Canadian Screen Awards air March 1, but the award for best writing in children’s or youth program or series will be awarded Feb. 25 and will not be televised.
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on Jan. 21, 2015.