Why a Burnaby-based film production company launched in the midst of the pandemic

Big Time Decent appears unfazed at the prospect of operating during COVID-19.

Big Time Decent founder Matt Shewchuk has navigated his way around the Canadian film business

Big Time Decent appears unfazed at the prospect of operating during COVID-19

If you were penning an origin story on Matt Shewchuk, you’d no doubt have a few places to start.

But we think riding the bus to high school in rural Quebec while listening to a tape-recorded version of the Christian Slater–starring Pump Up the Volume takes the cake. It also raises some interesting questions about Shewchuk. Although we found no evidence of him inciting teenage riots back in la belle province, he does seem to have the same raconteur mindset of Slater’s protagonist.

Since coming to Vancouver more than a decade ago, Shewchuk has worked steadily in the film biz as a producer and director, helming mostly reality-based fare like Highway Thru Hell and Rust Valley Restorers. He’s also dabbled in the scripted world as a producer, most notably with the romantic comedy Three Night Stand, set in his home province.

Now he’s launched his own one-stop shop in Big Time Decent Productions, complete with a 6,000-square-foot studio in Burnaby that will offer production and postproduction facilities.

“I have my own philosophy on how things work in terms of production—a lot of companies will rent equipment, and if a show ends, that’s it, that’s fine,” says Shewchuk, who previously co-founded Mayhem Entertainment before branching off. “Rather than owning the equipment, being kind of flexible with doing development, having their own post facilities.”

He’s inked a couple of talent deals already, with names like Canadian social media sensation Larry Enticer, editor Bridget Durnford (Fargo) and showrunner Tommy Blacha (Metalocalypse). But mostly, he hopes Big Time Decent will not only keep the machine he’s built running but also serve as a launching pad for generations to come.

“I really wanted to champion independent filmmakers, students coming out of film school, stuff like that,” Shewchuk says. “I never had that opportunity and wanted to give that to aspiring filmmakers. And really, the colour correcting we have is the most advanced in the city. We had some techies come in to balance and calibrate it, and they were all sending pictures around. So we have the full gamut of services on top of being able to make cool movies and shows.”

Admitting that the company isn’t quite at 100 percent due to COVID-19—Big Time Decent has anywhere from 10 to 40 staff, depending on the day—Shewchuk thinks his crew has changed with the times, too. “It’s something we’ve had to adapt to,” he says. “It’s a bit weird, but it’s also fine—it’s the way it needs to be. The safety of our staff and crew is paramount.”

Hey, if all else fails, maybe he’ll just rise up in the cafeteria and stab everyone with plastic forks.