Welcome… or almost! : the (complicated) family life told with accuracy and tenderness

A new youth series that puts balm in the heart

The family life of the Bienvenu children was shattered when, overnight, their mother Myriam entrusted the responsibility to her sister Pascale. How to deal with this new reality? Nick, Léa, Loïc and Fred will learn to stick together, to trust people again and to make a place for themselves in this home that did not expect them. Against all expectations, the presence of these young people will give new meaning to the orderly life of their aunt, who will have to step out of her comfort zone and open her heart at the same time as her roof.

We laugh, we are under the influence of emotion. We live to the rhythm of this blended family whose members are learning to live together. And to simply love each other.

Myriam, Léa, Loïc and Nick (Catherine Allard, Charlie Pierre, Samuel Létourneau and Philippe Scrive). Photo: Avanti

A series to watch with the family

Welcome… or almost! has a knack for playing down difficult times by adding a touch of humour. This allows you to take a step back from the situation you see on the screen and to be able to address, as a family, thorny issues: separation, abandonment, mental load… This complicit TV break, to be experienced between parents and children, makes it possible to laugh together while opening the door to family discussions.

The man has his hands on the woman's shoulders. Both smile.
Andy and Pascale (Benoit Drouin-Germain and Caroline Bouchard). Photo: Avanti

A tightly woven shoot

Director Karine Ouellette and one of the two other directors, Guillaume Lonergan, tell us stories from the set.

I arrived after several weeks of filming and the chemistry was already established between them; they already had a family spirit. Les Bienvenu existed… or almost! In an episode that we thought was too short, we added a scene that, in the end, didn’t need to be added. But the guys had such a great bond that I didn’t cut the scene during editing… I kept it in its entirety! We must highlight the work of Valérie Cabana (game coach for children), who worked very closely with young people and who was there for them for all the reasons in the world. It was a bit like the mother in the shadow of Welcome.

Karine Ouellette

The atmosphere on the set and between the actors was great; the complicity arrived very quickly between them in rehearsal. The four child actors became friends; they were laughing a lot, playing tricks on the team. The shoot was a party all the way. Obviously, this festive atmosphere was needed for the series to work. As we were in a pandemic, I think that the filming of the series was very beneficial for them, because they were able to live this difficult moment together, in community, in this invented family.

Actor Benoît Drouin-Germain, who plays Pascale’s lover, Andy, is also a painter, just like his character. At the end of the production, he made a family portrait of the six main characters, from the Bienvenu clan.

At the end of the shooting, the actor Philippe Scrive composed and sang a rap for the whole team, where he told all the anecdotes on set.

Guillaume Lonergan

He is smiling and wearing jeans jacket.
Nick (Philippe Scrive) Photo: Avanti

The challenges of directing a youth series

Karine Ouellette, Guillaume Lonergan and Martin Talbot (the other director on the series) talk about the challenges to be met when shooting a children’s series.

I think my biggest challenge is actually my biggest goal. I want to do everything I can so that the young actors I have to direct feel good and have fun on set. It’s very demanding for them: they have to combine their studies, their sport, learn their texts; the long days of filming, which are often under pressure… I try to do my best so that they have fun!

Karine Ouellette

Pascale dries the hair of Nick who has a red face.
Nick, Pascale, and Andy (Philippe Scrive, Caroline Bouchard, and Benoit Drouin-Germain). Photo: Avanti

The hardest thing about a children’s series is to ask child actors to work as quickly as adult actors. For youth series, we often have less time and less money. That’s why you need a festive atmosphere on set and never forget the notion of play, of pleasure, even if it’s work.

My way of working with children and adolescents has always been to talk to them as adults; to take them seriously, to treat them like real professional actors. That way, they feel that I trust them, that I respect their work. When I do that, they’re even better.

Guillaume Lonergan

One of the challenges on a youth shoot is to ensure that the spontaneity and freshness of young actors find their way onto the screen. Fortunately, the four young actors of the series quickly made friends and found their place in the newly blended family: Philippe Scrive, the protective big brother, the one with the most experience; Charlie Pierre, attentive to little Lily-Rose Loyer, the little tanner who was just starting out as an actress; and Samuel Létourneau, the old soul at heart vintage.

She has her hair tied up and smiling.
Fred (Lily-Rose Loyer) Photo: Avanti

For adorable and super active little Lily-Rose, the challenge at first was to help her focus. She was playing with the props and had difficulty staying in place. Thanks to the benevolence of her brothers and her adopted sister, she quickly found her bearings. From there, she was always the first to come up with new ideas for scenes or for her character.

The young actors on Welcome… or almost! recognized their privilege of playing in a series. Because of this, they were really invested in their role. We must not forget that it is quite a challenge that they are being asked to continue their studies while having a job. Because, despite appearances, it’s a lot of work to be an actor for television: you have to get up in the wee hours of the morning, have learned your lines, be patient between takes and be 100% there when the time comes. to turn.

Martin Talbot

Where and when to see Welcome… or almost!

-Broadcast on ICI Télé every Friday at 5 p.m., rebroadcast on Saturday at 10 a.m.

-Episodes are offered in catch-up free of charge on the Youth Zone.

-The complete season 1 is offered in the ICI Tou.tv Extra.

Welcome… or almost! : the (complicated) family life told with accuracy and tenderness