Locals can soon catch Victoria on their TV screens in Reginald the Vampire, SYFY’s new dramedy series set to premiere early next month.
The series stars Jacob Batalon, best known for his roles in Marvel’s Spider-Man trilogy, and was shot entirely in B.C.’s capital, with clips from the trailer teasing locations like the Empress Hotel and Esquimalt Gorge Park.
“It looks like a really great little show,” said Kathleen Gilbert, film commissioner for the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission, in an interview with CHEK News.
“We’re hoping that they’re going to come back for a season two,” she said. “So as long as everybody watches it, they will be coming back for season two.”
Earlier this year, passersby may remember an automotive service shop at the corner of Glanford and Vanalman avenues transformed into a TV set — a fast food eatery called the “Slushy Shack” where Batalon’s character, Reginald, works.
“Imagine a world populated by beautiful, fit and vain vampires,” reads the series’ synopsis.
“Reginald Andres tumbles headlong into it as an unlikely hero who will have to navigate every kind of obstacle – the girl he loves but can’t be with, a bully manager at work and the vampire chieftain who wants him dead.”
The series is based on Johnny B. Truant’s book Fat Vampire, which was published in 2012.
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According to Gilbert, the series is one of around 30 productions filmed locally this year, contributing to an estimated $40-million “direct spend” for 2022.
“And by direct spend, what I mean by that is that’s money producers take out of their pockets, take out of their wallets and leave here in our community,” she said.
“That’s not their budget, that’s not the money they give to their big Hollywood actors, that’s money they pay to their crew, to hotels, building supplies, gas, restaurants, all of those things.”
Though impressive, Gilbert explains that business this year doesn’t quite compare to last, especially after a Directors Guild strike this past June slowed down productions into the summer months.
“Last year was our record-breaking year. If it hadn’t been for the strike (this year), we would have probably been close to that,” Gibert said, noting 2021’s direct spend was around $60 million, as 40 or so shows employed 2000 people.
She says both Reginald the Vampire and Netflix’s Maid started filming last year into this year, and both “shot for a long time and spent a lot of money here” even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think the reason we did so well doing COVID, I mean we were one of the few industries that actually increased our productively. First of all, people were watching, they wanted content. We’re considered a manufacturing industry, so we weren’t required to close,” said Gilbert.
“We were really, really busy during COVID. It was great,” she recalled.
“We put people in hotel rooms where, generally speaking, if it hadn’t been for the film industry here in Victoria during COVID, those hotels would have suffered even more than they did. Most of the people in their beds were film people.”
Gilbert says a Hallmark Christmas show just finished filming locally, the new reality show, Farming For Love, is filming in Chemainus, and another TV series, Holidazed, is currently filming through to December.
“It’s looking like a pretty busy fall,” added Gilbert.
“Looking forward to next year, we have a number of shows that have already been confirmed, which is really unusual to have something confirmed this early.”
Alongside Batalon, Em Haine, Rachelle Goulding and Aren Buchholz also star in Reginald the Vampire, which is produced by Great Pacific Media Inc., Modern Story Company, December Films and Cineflix Studios.
Season one premieres Oct. 5 on SYFY.