A new show is coming out thanks to Harrison Houde, Travis Price, and the WITS Foundation Program. Directed by Harrison, and hosted by Travis who has also co-founded Pink Shirt Day, this team of kindhearted individuals brings us Stories of Kindness, a fun and happy show featuring many cool Canadian celebrities and serving as inspiration for youth of Canada everywhere. The majority of it is virtually filmed and everyone gets interviewed via Zoom, but it still manages to make amazing connections for both the audience and the guests alike.
HNMAG: As director and producer, what are your key responsibilities on the show?
Harrison: Well, this project was pretty interesting, because I’ve never actually stepped onto set as producer on this one. It was all remote, it was all Zoom and we had little splinter teams set up, so we were shooting out in Nova Scotia with our host, Travis Price, and Leah Johnston was filming. Then we had Sydney Victoria, in Victoria shooting our WITS of the walrus segments. Everything else was Zoom interviews and such, so it was interesting that my responsibilities as producer were a lot of organization and communication. Especially figuring out time zones! (laughs)
HNMAG: Was it easier to produce this way or more difficult?
Harrison: I think it was more difficult in some ways, but in other ways it’s easier. I haven’t remotely produced before, it was a first for me.
HNMAG: How do you feel about producing remotely? Do you think you could get the hang of it?
Harrison: Yeah, it’s definitely possible, I think it’s just about having a team that really works well together. Remotely producing, the more prep-time the better. That way everyone is able to communicate and get those pieces together.
HNMAG: How did you get involved with WITS Foundation Program to make Stories of Kindness?
Harrison: I’ve known Andy since high school. I went to the same school as his son, we went to band together. Sometime last year, he had this idea for the show, and he messaged me about it on LinkedIn. We discussed it on a call and that’s how it started, which is pretty cool.
HNMAG: How do you decide who gets to be on the show when it comes to selecting guests?
Harrison: We had a discussion, Travis Price, Andy, and I. We had a lot of Zoom calls, and discussions of who do we want on the show and who do we know and that kind of stuff. That’s kind of how we landed on most of our guests.
HNMAG: So does the set-up take place all around the world or do you have a main setup somewhere?
Harrison: It’s Vancouver/British Columbia focused but we focus on Canada. We have Canadian guests, Canadian actors, Canadian co-hosts. It’s cool.
HNMAG: What are main topics of discussion on the show with the guests?
Harrison: They’re all kindness related, which is awesome. We have random acts of kindness, or talk about cyberbullying, kindness online which I think is really important with a lot of kids playing video games online these days. All the social media, TikTok and Instagram, so always talking about kindness in comments of apps and gaming.
HNMAG: Is it tough for the guests to discuss some of these stories or do they get into them?
Harrison: Some of them just really get into them. Everyone has a story to share and we really focus on the positive aspects of it. I would say it’s not always about anti-bullying, the show is more about connecting kids and guest stars, and giving kids across Canada something to do during the pandemic. A lot of them can’t go to school, they school from home. They’re missing their friends, not being able to see their family and so I think it’s just a cool thing to motivate and inspire to share kindness during this time. For one episode we had this girl who was a dancer and Manny Arseno, who used to play for the BC Lions. It was just interesting to have those two speak and share their experiences.
HNMAG: Do you feel Stories of Kindness will help open up kid’s minds?
Harrison: Yeah, that’s the goal. To show there’s a world of opportunities out there and as long as you’re being kind in everything you do, you can find these opportunities. Just to feel good.
HNMAG: Have you experienced this kind of thing yourself with spreading kindness?
Harrison: For sure. I’ve had people like mentors tell me things and finding that good group of friends online telling me ‘You’re doing cool stuff, with making these vids’ back when I made Youtube videos. It’s all about finding the right groups of people, the right mentors, even hearing or watching something like this. When I’ve heard something like this, I can translate it to my own life.
HNMAG: So you’ve had previous experience making Youtube Videos on the subject?
Harrison: Yeah. I mean, not on this specifically but I used to make Youtube videos in general, on the cyberbullying front. Being able to deal with that when I was younger. I think it’s important to talk about this stuff because some people can’t really or don’t really handle it well.
HNMAG: What kinds of morals and values do you feel are involved in this series?
Harrison: The main theme is kindness, and I really try to do that in my own life. Y’know, everything I do, I want to be kind and have a good time. People should feel good about themselves when you’re working together, or hanging out with your friends. You should be having a good time. Share happiness and joy and it can go a long way. If someone’s having a bad day, you can cheer them up or doing a small kind thing can really brighten up somebody’s day.
HNMAG: Where can the show be viewed?
Harrison: The show’s available for free on YouTube, we upload an episode every Saturday, and you’ll be able to find it at storiesofkindness.ca
Be sure to support Harrison and Travis’s new program as it has recently come out and could really help out children around the world. Being stuck in isolation take its toll on somebody. I certainly know that.