Calgary man takes finding new hobbies to the extreme

You can find out what Craig Tries next by visiting him on YouTube

Craig McFarlane (Left) and Brandon R.C. Wilson g over footage recorded for the second episode of Craig Tries, during which McFarlane is taught magic tricks, Feb. 3, 2021. The crowdfunded webseries showcases McFarlane attempting new hobbies and professions, with the goal of providing entertainment and inspiration for others to also go beyond their comfort zones. (John Watson)

Finding the time to pick up a new hobby or trying a new skill has never been easier since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s something Craig McFarlane has taken to a whole different level.

Wanting to do more than simply try new things, McFarlane decided he wanted to record and share his experiences in a web series titled Craig Tries.

“It’s been something that has been in my mind for a long time. In the past year and a half I’ve been thinking about what this would look like,” he said.

“The basis of the show is going outside your comfort zone and trying something new and so I thought, ‘well I guess this would be a good way to do it.’”

McFarlane added the idea for the series was partially inspired by his late mother, who kept a bucket list of things she wanted to try.

“Some were as simple as seeing my oldest brother graduate from high school, she wanted to do a hot air balloon ride, [and] she wanted to go to New York. [Some] of those things she wasn’t able to do but I saw the joy of her being able to cross something off her list has always stuck with me,” he said.

Teaming up with Brandon R.C. Wilson from Great Canadian Films, McFarlane hopes the series will both entertain viewers, as well as inspire them to try new things for themselves.

Fulfilling long-time ambitions

Catching wind of the idea for Craig Tries, Wilson reached out to McFarlane with an interest in producing, filming, and editing for him.

The pilot of the series introduces McFarlane to drumming, something he said was a long-time ambition to attempt, despite a lack of musical experience.

Craig McFarlane (Front) tries drumming under the instruction of Ben Montgomery (Back) for the pilot of the web series, Craig Tries. (Brandon R.C. Wilson)

“It was great to try drumming because my family has no musical talent whatsoever. I’ve always wished I could play an instrument and I thought drums would be the most fun,” he said.

To cover the costs of production, Craig Tries has taken to crowdsourcing. The campaign is currently active on Indiegogo seeking support from the public to continue.

McFarlane explained he wanted to crowdfund the project as an avenue to retain control over the direction it goes. He also wanted to give viewers a way to feel like they’re a part of the journey.

“Deciding to do crowdfunding is a scary undertaking but we really wanted people to feel involved with this and really feel invested.”

The first season will consist of eight to 10 episodes featuring activities that can be found around Calgary and area. McFarlane’s ambition doesn’t stop there, however, as he hopes the series will eventually take him far beyond the city.

“The list is endless. As much as it’s great to showcase Calgary, I want to also showcase a bunch of other stuff throughout the province and the country.”

Craig Tries is available to view for free on YouTube. Those who are interested can contribute through the campaign’s Indiegogo page.

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