Hickey speaks about his evolution from biology student to ‘Inspector Gadget’ screenwriter
As a high school student writing the occasional short story, Evan Thaler Hickey never thought that he would someday work on a reboot of one of his favourite childhood cartoons: Inspector Gadget.
Hickey spoke in Sackville last week as the J. E. A. Crake drama graduate-in-residence. Each year, the graduate-in-residence shares their story of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry after university.
Hickey is currently one of two executive story editors for the second season of Inspector Gadget, airing on Teletoon and Netflix U.S.
“It was one of my favourite shows as a kid, so being a part of bringing it to a new generation of people is pretty gratifying,” said Hickey.
Hickey attended Mt. A from 1997 to 2001, graduating with a major in biology and a minor in drama. “The only reason I didn’t do a double major was because, doing a minor in drama, I got all the drama courses without having to take Victorian literature,” he said.
During his third and fourth years in particular, Hickey spent a lot of time in Windsor Theatre filling a variety of roles, including acting, directing, stage managing and lighting work. The practical experience gained during that time satisfied his desire to both learn and create.
“Mt. A was a place that gave me an incredible sort of grounding in all parts of theatre production, and really sort of instilled this sense of wanting to learn all aspects of everything,” said Hickey.
“As an actor, finding your light becomes so much easier when you’ve hung lights, and you understand what goes into hanging lights,” he continued. “Doing sound becomes so much easier when you understand the physics of the space. I’m all about seeing all aspects of things, knowing all aspects of things, because it makes you better at everything.”
Similarly, he said, screenwriting requires constant learning.
“If a character has to do something or speak with authority about something, there’s a lot of checking Wikipedia about things and getting crash courses in stuff.”
Hickey initially planned to pursue a career in academia, and continued his studies at McGill University after graduating from Mount Allison. Only near the end of his studies did he turn his attention to the television industry to become a producer, and eventually, a writer.
“As it became more and more clear that I had a small amount of talent for [writing], something that could be shaped into something more, I thought maybe that this was something I could do,” said Hickey.
After graduating from McGill, Hickey performed various jobs and internships for multiple companies in Halifax and Toronto, including production assistant and production executive.
“I liked being able to work in different aspects of production so I could see how everything works together,” said Hickey. “Hopefully at some point in my career, I can take all the information I assimilated and create the best show possible.”
As for Hickey’s favourite part of his job?
“I get to write bad puns and fart jokes for a living,” he said. “Nobody should be allowed to do that, but I get paid to do that.”