Like many, Jean-Philippe Dion has benefited from the containment to the point on his career and his projects. Although this situation may seem insurmountable, the producer and host admit that those few months of isolation have allowed him to put the cap on his true motives.
Jean-Philippe, how are you?
Very well! In fact, I feel a mixture of stress and calm. There is so much unknown, it gives me a little vertigo! The confinement brought out my wild side; I realize that I could spend time isolated in the countryside for long periods of time without problems. There is something breathtaking about seeing to the horizon the recommencement of a social life.
You mentioned your wild nature. Paradoxically, today you are one of the most public figures in Québec. How have you experienced this transition?
I would say that I lived it the right way. It happened gradually and I had a good experience with the medium television. I have lived great experiences behind the camera, so the aspect of animation has in some way added of course. And then my boyfriend, who I was already in a relationship for a few years, I was supported throughout the process. It is the quiet strength of our marriage, and it allowed me to always keep the feet on the ground. That said, at certain times, I have faced challenges in animation for which I sometimes had the impression of not being ready.
I haven’t done a school of television and journalism, and as time went by, I found myself to animate the chronic cultural Hi Hello every morning, the daily Star Académie, and then unlimited Access arrived. I had the impression of having to make leaps and bounds and to always be destabilized. I found these difficult years. I was never satisfied with what I was doing, but it is like that that I have developed in this business! Today, with all the experiences of animation that I have experienced, I feel more solid.
Everything that you create is based on strong values. I have the impression that you have a great desire to contribute to improving the world in which you live, is what I’m wrong?
You’ll perhaps find that I am not credible, but I always thought of myself as an “outsider”. I am not in this business to be a part of showbiz, which is sometimes a little fireworks show. I’ve always wanted my profession to do anything useful. It really is through my role as a producer that I could begin to express this desire. The documentary #Bye has been a revelation. This project has allowed me to realize that I could combine the job that I love with passion and my desire to have a voice and help change things in our society.
Your grandma was a very important person in your life. With the situation of the last few months in Quebec regarding the treatment of seniors, where are you in your thoughts?
I can’t say too much, but for some time already, I worked in a team on a project whose subject is the condition of the elderly in Quebec. In recent weeks, we have made it a priority. I act as producer and as soon as the facilitator and creator of the project approached me, I accepted! Of course I want that through this project, we are talking about quality of health care for seniors, but also wonders about the place that we made to seniors in our lives. What saddens me, is that I think that we do not love enough. Full of families do not take care of their parents or grandparents. I want to contribute to further discussion on this topic.
Today, do you consider your place in the media is also an opportunity to move things forward?
That’s for sure! I find that it takes time in a career to learn more about who we are and find our place in our environment. There is a tendency to compare themselves and to focus on what others have, but what we don’t. For a few years, this sort of pressure that comes with the compare has led me to make choices that were not the best for me. In the last two years, I’ve done a tri in my professional activities, and it allowed me to discover that I like to focus on one thing at a time and immerse themselves in unique experiences that I take the time to do it well.
With projects like A chance that we had a, we see that you have the urge to do good through your work.
Yes, but I will tell you that the priority is to create a dynamic team where people are happy. I have lived in the past experiences of tele unpleasant, with people who did not respect the other. I don’t want to relive it and to experience this kind of atmosphere to other. I’m not saying it is always easy to work with me —I am demanding towards myself and towards my colleagues— but I always try to make sure that the people I work with feel respected, accepted and listened to. Once these criteria are met, if the projects that I produce to promote a change, I’ll be very happy. The impact that a program may have on the public, it is with hindsight that we can observe.
This is the case of The true nature?
Exactly. I did not get up one day saying to myself that this show was going to help the world. I liked the concept, and I imagined animate it, but I quickly realized that if I wanted this project to be relevant in my life, it could not just be a show where I was interviewing stars. For that the content has an impact, it is necessary that the guests reveal themselves as sincerely and as the audience can recognise themselves in them. After a few shoots, I realized that the concept was very strong, if you always strive to bring it back to something very human. I also find that it was a very bold move on the part of TVA to embark in the adventure, because at a time where the emissions are produced at a rate hyperrapide and mounted very tightly, The true nature stands out, with its slow pace; it is still a talk show in a chalet! I think we love it more than ever a kind of truth on tv and it can produce very good concept of the varieties as long as it is connected on the right values.
I have the impression that you’ve crossed several times in your life times when you have rebrassé cards. How do you see the following things?
I don’t have a career plan in specific, but I know what kind of a producer and facilitator I want to be. I just have to find the right path to get there. Therefore, when opportunities arise and I have to make decisions, I’m keeping this vision in mind. But I have to admit that the pandemic has changed things. A few months ago, I wanted to further develop my side contractor and to conduct more wide in this niche. The last few months has made me realize that this is not what I want. I want to be a tailor, be a craftsman, which gently polishes a diamond. This is what I love to do in life. If I had a slogan of a company, it would be “quality before quantity”, and I’m willing to live with the consequences of this type of decision, because I know that this is what will make me proud.