Last week, Jon Cassar, a former producer and director for 24 appeared at Ottawa’s Algonquin College as a keynote speaker for the institute’s Career Week. Cassar, an alumnus of Algonquin’s Television-Broadcasting program shared a few stories of his journey from Ottawa, to Toronto and then Los Angeles as well as how the industry works.
TV Watercooler reader J.P. Lemieux was on hand for Cassar’s speech at his school and here’s his recap of the event:
“Cassar first explained how he started in the business as a camera. This was a hard time for him as his young family was dependant on him. His experience asa steady cam operator in Ottawa led him to be hired by influential people in the city, including former PM Brian Mulroney. This lead him to Toronto, where he would work on such shows as Forever Knight and La Femme Nikita. Then, he was off to LA where he worked on 24.
He began working on 24 during the start of the second season and stayed until the conclusion of the seventh. He left to follow his dream, which was to work on feature films.
Cassar then opened up for a Q&A period where he shared that he can get many free drinks because restaurant owners confuse him for Joe Mantegna (from Criminal Minds). He also explained that the industry can be harsh and cruel. When asked about reality TV, Cassar mentioned that he wasn’t a big follower but does watch Survivor regularly. He also explained that many people in the industry were very happy at how the Jay Leno experiment turned out.
He was a very nice man who stayed after his address for quite some time to answer more questions for the crowd as well as sign autograph and pose for pictures. All in all, it was a pleasure to meet him and I wish him well on his feature film career.”
Since leaving 24 last year, Cassar has directed episodes of Fringe, Criminal Minds, Human Target and Lost in addition to a few films in development. Cassar reportedly shares a close friendship with Kiefer Sutehrland, who gave him his 2006 SAG Award as a sign of his appreciation.