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Working From Home: The Employee Experience

Technology has changed everything.

Time was, to work in the captioning industry, you needed an awkward double-monitor + CPU + VHS player set-up in order to get the job done. It was cumbersome, heavy, and expensive. Furthermore, it tied captioners and scripters to their office desks, since you’d never describe the essential equipment as portable.

With the shift from VHS media to digital media, the old-style hardware-centric setup has been replaced with Wifi and a laptop. That change has done more than free up desk space around the office; it’s freed Line 21’s employees to completely redefine where the office is.

But wait, there’s more to the story….

Trust and a willingness to experiment has changed everything.

While the change from analogue to digital made it technically possible for Line 21 employees to redefine their workspace, the fact that Kelly Maxwell and Carolyn Vetter-Hicks, co-owners of Line 21, were willing to embrace new work models is what made it practically possible. So, several years ago, when the first long-time Line 21 employee approached Kelly and Carolyn about working from home in another province, they said “yes.” Since then, multiple employees have moved across the country while retaining their positions with Line 21, and some of the Vancouver-based employees have shifted their work to home, at least part of the time.

Flexibility. The word came up repeatedly when talking to Line 21’s distance staff. For many, the shift to home has allowed them to adapt their work schedules around the needs of young families. They still put in a full work day, but the hours are tucked in and around preschool, story time and the inevitable doctors’ appointments. Others appreciate the freedom to adopt non-traditional hours which are better suited to their personal rhythms. Line 21 employs one notorious night owl. She’s worked the regular 9-5 routine, but now loves that she can work when she’s at her peak: in the wee hours of the morning. Not only is she happier, but she’s more productive during the hours she works.

Another recurring theme that emerged when talking to Line 21’s distance employees was a surprise. Virtually everyone reported that they now handle sick time much differently than when they worked from the office. From home, they are usually able to work through an illness. Not only is the fear of infecting fellow employees eliminated, but they can break up their day to accommodate their illness: work for an hour or two, nap, work for an hour or two, nap, etc., until they have put in their full work time.

Family factored into the decision to work remotely for almost all of the Line 21 employees who’ve made the shift: not just the flexibility to accommodate young families, but the desire to be closer to extended family. The fact that they could take their jobs with them made the decision to relocate from Vancouver much easier.

The other word that came up time and again was ‘trust.’ Over and over, I heard the same refrain: “it works because Kelly and Carolyn trust me to get the work done.”

Quick Notes on Working From Home: The Employee Experience

Coming Attractions and Highlights! February 2015

Airs on Discovery Canada, Mondays at 10pm ET/7pm PT

Airshow is a twelve-part observational documentary series that takes viewers behind the scenes to the most dangerous part-time profession on the planet.

Yukon Gold
Premieres on The History Channel, February 25 at 10pm  ET/PT

Yukon Gold is back for an exciting third season. This high-stakes series captures the physical and emotional struggles four sets of gold miners face as they chase their individual goals over the 16-week Yukon gold mining season.

Premieres on CTV, March 8 at 10pm ET/PT

Back for its third season.  Each episode of Motive opens by revealing the victim and the killer. It’s not a “whodunit,” it’s a “whydunit.” The audience navigates a complicated maze of clues to figure out the motive.

June in January
Airs on W, March 12

Wealthy Alex and blue-collar June are madly in love, but get their wires crossed while racing down the aisle.

So You Said Yes
Airs on Hallmark, March 7 & 8

The owner of a specialty bridal shop falls for the son of her fierce bridal shop competitor.

All of My Heart
Airs on Hallmark, Feb 21 and March 7 & 8

A young caterer’s life suddenly changes course when she inherits a country home and learns she must share it with a career-obsessed Wall Street trader.

Garage Sale Mystery – All That Glitters
Airs on Hallmark, March 15

A sleuthing yard-sale treasure hunter uses her keen eye to solve crimes.


Eggplant Bharta

This delicious dish is full of flavour, and works brilliantly as a side for any curry. Because the eggplant needs to be roasted, advance planning is required. If you roast the eggplant in advance, the final preparation is very quick. Based on this recipe.


3 medium eggplants (roughly 500g/1 lb)
2 T vegetable oil
1 t cumin seeds
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 T garlic paste or finely chopped garlic
1″ piece of ginger finely grated
2 green chillies (optional)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 t coriander powder
1/2 t cumin powder
1/2 t garam masala  (make your own garam masala if you wish)
2 T finely chopped fresh green cilantro (coriander)


Roast the eggplant. Here are two possible ways:
1.   Gas stove method. Place the eggplant straight on the burner. Keep flame on low. Keep turning and cooking till all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft. A good sign to watch for is that the eggplant seems to ‘cave in’ on itself.
2.   Oven or Bar-b-que. Turn periodically till all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft.
Once the eggplant is roasted, allow to cool fully, then peel and discard the charred skin. Once cool, coarsely mash and keep aside.

Final preparation

Heat oil in large pan on medium heat.
Add cumin seeds and cook till the spluttering stops.
Add the onions and fry till soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and the ginger and fry for 1 minute.
Add the tomato and all the powdered spices. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often to prevent the spice mix from sticking to the pan. Sprinkle a little water if needed.
Add mashed eggplant and mix well.
Add the cilantro and stir.
Cook another minute and turn off the heat.

Serve hot with rice and your favourite curry.

Cooking Vocab 101

If you caption enough cooking shows, you’ll pick up commonly used terms and become aware early on of the emerging buzzwords. Below are a few of our favourites.

beurre noisette

Browned butter used for cooking.


A kitchen appliance that instantly freezes (or semi-freezes) food.

beurre blanc

A hot butter sauce made with white wine or vinegar and shallots. Prepared properly, the sauce does not separate. Tastes divine over fresh seafood.


Another word for zucchini.

crème fraîche

Cream thickened with the addition of bacterial culture. Differs from sour cream in that it is less tangy, higher in fat content, and not quite as thick.  It is also absolutely delicious over fresh blueberries.

dulce de leche

A sweet delight made by slowly heating sweetened milk. Try it warm over ice cream.


Extra virgin olive oil. Use it only at room temperature. Heating EVOO destroys the unique flavour.


A mixture of cream and chocolate.


A jellied food. Connoisseurs would be horrified, but even humble Jell-O could be considered a gelée.


A protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some other grains.


A grain similar to quinoa, but the seeds are about half the size. Gluten-free, it’s high in protein, fiber, iron, and calcium. Comes from  South America. Poised to become as popular and ubiquitous as quinoa.


A condiment usually served with raw oysters. The traditional recipe consists of shallots, pepper, and vinegar.

pois mange-tout

Snow peas.

ponzu sauce

A traditional Japanese vinegar sauce. It is dark brown, tart, has the consistency of water, and is used as a dip or dressing.


A cooked mixture of fat and flour (traditionally butter and flour, but may be made with a variety of other fats). Used as the basis for sauces.

sabayon or zabaglione

An Italian dessert made with egg yolk, sugar, and sweet wine. Move aside, tiramisu. Here comes sabayon.

sous vide

A cooking method. Food is sealed in an airtight plastic bag and submerged in a water bath or placed in a temperature-controlled steam chamber. The food cooks at a very low temperature for many hours (up to 96).


A very fine (about the size of a poppy seed) African grain. Memorize this. It’s one of the hottest new grains.


French for “dish towel.” A foie gras torchon is prepared by wrapping foie gras in a dish towel, which is then poached in a multi-day process.


Made from either cheese or dough, a tuile is a thin, crisp wafer.


One of five classic French sauces. Velouté is made with a light-coloured meat stock (typically chicken or fish) thickened with roux.


A citrus fruit from East Asia.

Nutella & Almond Butter Oat Bars

Based on a recipe from Butter Baking. For those of you going through a little sugar withdrawal after the holidays, here’s a very easy-to-make sweet treat.


½ c butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup milk
6 tbsp Nutella
2 tbsp almond butter (or any other nut butter of your choice)
2 cups oats
1 1/2 cup puffed rice
½ c chocolate chips (optional)


Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, both sugars, cocoa and milk.
Place the saucepan over a high heat and bring the mixture to boiling point, continuously stirring.
Boil for 90 seconds, still stirring.
Remove from heat.
Mix in the Nutella and almond butter until thoroughly blended.
Stir in the oats and puffed rice.
Pour into the lined pan.
Spread the mixture evenly with a spatula.
Optional: Sprinkle ½ c chocolate chips evenly over the top.
Place in the freezer for about an hour, until set. Slice into bars and enjoy.

Coming Attractions and Highlights! January 2015

If you have an upcoming release date for your project, please let us know so we can feature it here. Here’s what’s happening now.

The Liquidator
Airs on OLN, Thursdays at 9:30 pm

Liquidation King Jeff Schwarz is back — haggling, trading, and bulldozing his way through a new season of high-octane buying and selling.

Sports on Fire
Airs on HBO Canada, Friday nights

An exciting six episode, half-hour documentary series that aims to bring fresh angles to iconic sporting moments in modern history.

Timber Kings
Airs on HGTV, Sunday nights at 10 pm

HGTV Canada’s #1 series is back for another season. The master logsmiths at Pioneer Log Homes build massive, multi-million-dollar log homes that are shipped around the world and reconstructed wherever the client wants.

3 Days in Havana
Airs on TMN, Feb 13

Jack Petty heads to Cuba for a conference and finds himself mixed up in a dangerous game of intrigue and murder after befriending a shady character named Harry Smith.

Flower and Garnet
Airs on TMN Encore, January 29

A disturbed young boy whose mother died birthing him, explores the reality of death as he is increasingly alienated by his father and sister.

Inside Her Sex
Airs on CBC, January 25

A thought-provoking, feature-length documentary that explores female sexuality through the eyes and experiences of three women from different walks of life.

People of a Feather
Airs on CBC Doc Channel, January 24

Featuring ground-breaking footage from seven winters on the Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay. Recreations of traditional life 100 years ago are juxtaposed with modern life in Sanikiluaq, as both people and eiders face the challenges posed by changing sea ice and ocean currents disrupted by the massive hydroelectric dams powering eastern North America.

Music For Mandela
Now available on iTunes.

A documentary that combines striking visuals with freedom songs, pop music, and hip hop and explores the role that music played in the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela.


Coming Attractions and Highlights! November 2014

If you have an upcoming release date for your project, please let us know so we can feature it here. Here’s what’s happening now.

Trading Christmas
Airs on Showcase November 28

Holiday travel leads to cross-country romance when a man and a woman temporarily swap houses.


June in January
Airs on Movie Central, November 29

Wealthy Alex and blue-collar June are madly in love, but get their wires crossed while racing down the aisle. June’s been preparing for a very specific kind of wedding her whole life, as a tribute to her late mother, but Alex’s mother, Diana, thinks otherwise.


Biggest & Baddest
Airs on Animal Planet, December 1

Biologist/Explorer Niall McCann travels the world through some of the toughest terrain, researching animals to better understand their behaviour. Now he’s on a mission to find the Biggest and Baddest creatures on the planet.


Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas
Airs on Showcase, December 1

To repair his tarnished image, a jaded rock star publicly decides to fulfill a child’s “Dear Santa” Christmas wish. After reluctantly agreeing to spend the holidays in a small town and perform in the local holiday Christmas concert, he’s mortified at the prospect of staying in the home of an idyllic, close-knit family, but soon realizes the true value in what they have – love, caring, and a memorable holiday spirit.

That Burning Feeling
Airs on Movie Central, December 4

Adam Murphy had it all: a great job, an endless parade of gorgeous women, and the charm to make it all look well-earned. One night, he went to bed with everything he ever wanted and woke up with something no-one ever wants… That Burning Feeling.

Mr. Miracle
Airs on Hallmark, December 6

Heavenly angel Harry Mills is sent to Earth on a trial assignment to intervene in the life of a woman who needs help getting her life on track after the death of her father. With a deadline of Christmas Day, he attempts to help her heal in order to embrace a new future, and an unexpected love, just in time to celebrate the miracle of the holiday season.


The Red Tent
Airs on Showcase, December 7

Based on the best-selling novel by Anita Diamant, “The Red Tent” is a sweeping tale that takes place during the times of the Old Testament, told through the eyes of Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob.


Cruel & Unusual
Airs on Movie Central, December 13

A man and his wife die in each other’s arms. The husband finds himself condemned to a special place in hell, blamed for her murder – a fact he refuses to accept. His punishment is to eternally re-live that last dreadful day.


The Nine Lives of Christmas
Airs on Movie Central, December 18

With Christmas approaching, a handsome fireman afraid of commitment adopts a stray cat and meets a beautiful veterinary student who challenges his decision to remain a confirmed bachelor.


Pappardelle with Mixed Wild Mushrooms


It’s got lemons, it’s got mushrooms, it’s easy, it’s delicious… check out this wicked repost from Jamie Oliver! A seriously amazing go-to recipe.

9 – 11 ounces mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 – 2 small dried red chilies, pounded or chopped, or chili flakes
salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 pound pappardelle
parmesan cheese, grated
1 handful parsley, chopped
2 ounces butter

Slice the mushrooms thinly. Put the olive oil in a very hot frying pan and add the mushrooms. Fry, tossing once or twice, then add the garlic, chili, and a pinch of salt. Fry for 4-5 minutes, tossing regularly. Then turn the heat off and add lemon juice. Toss, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked pasta to the mushrooms, and the parmesan, parsley, and butter. Toss, serve, and sprinkle with parsley and more parmesan.

The Best Pumpkin Soup Ever

Guys! Guys! Guys! We found the best pumpkin soup recipe, and we are not even kidding. Found on this website… and test-made by Kelly! Omnomnom.

Spiced Pumpkin Soup
Yields 3 1-cup Servings

• 1 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
• 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
• 4 tbsp. Butter
• 1/4 medium Onion, chopped
• 2 cloves Roasted Garlic, minced, or raw garlic, minced
• 1/2 tsp. Salt
• 1/2 tsp. Pepper
• 1/2 tsp. Freshly Minced Ginger
• 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp. Coriander
• 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
• 1 Bay Leaf
• 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
• 4 slices Bacon
• ~3 tbsp. Leftover Bacon Grease (from the bacon)
• Freshly Grated Parmesan
• 2 tbsp. Sour Cream (per serving)

1. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, add butter and let it melt completely. You want it to darken into a golden color.
2. Dice the 1/4 medium onion, mince the 2 cloves of roasted garlic, and mince 1/2 tsp. fresh ginger.
3. In a small container, mix together all of your spices so you have them together. 1/2 tsp. Salt, 1/2 tsp. Pepper, 1/2 tsp. Freshly Minced Ginger, 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. Coriander, 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg, and 1 Bay Leaf.
4. Once the butter has turned a dark golden color, add onion, garlic, and ginger to the pan and stir well. Let this saute for about 2-3 minutes or until onions start to go translucent.
5. Measure out 1 cup of pumpkin puree and set aside.
6. Once onions are translucent, add spices to the pan and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
7. Add pumpkin puree to pan and stir into the onions and spices well.
8. Once the pumpkin is mixed well, add 1 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pan. Stir until everything is combined.
9. Bring to a boil and then turn to low, let this simmer for 20 minutes.
10. Once simmered, use an immersion blender to blend together all of the ingredients. You want a smooth puree here so make sure you take your time. Cook for an additional 20 minutes.
11. In the mean time, cook 4 slices of bacon over medium heat. Use a grease catcher to keep the mess off of your stove-top.
12. Once the soup is ready, pour in 1/2 cup heavy cream and the grease from the cooked bacon (this should be around 3 tbsp.) mix well.
13. Crumble the bacon over the top of the soup. Optional: Serve with chopped parsley and 2 tbsp. sour cream.

Coming Attractions and Highlights! October 2014

If you have an upcoming release date for your project, please let us know so we can feature it here. Here’s what’s happening now.

Battle Cats
Premieres on Bite TV, October 27.

Each week, five passionate cat owners bring their cathletes to race against the clock and challenge their agility in a course of extreme cat obstacles: run the gauntlet, scale the wall, leap the watery divide.

Lucky in Love

Airs on MFun October 26 & TMN, October 30.

For Mira Simon, it feels like a prank when all of her dreams start coming true on April Fool’s Day. Even though it’s  the life she’s always dreamed of, Mira starts to realize that actually living this dream is much harder than she imagined.

No Clue

Airs on Mfun & TMN, October 27.

In a case of mistaken identity, a salesman is hired as a private detective by a woman to find her missing brother.

Ice Pilots NWT

Premieres on The History Channel, October 29.

Arctic airline Buffalo Airways defies the freezing cold and the competition by using resilient WWII-era propeller planes to fly vital fuel, supplies, and passengers to remote outposts all over the Canadian.


Premieres on Knowledge Network, November 2.

A noir crime drama set in Aberystwyth, Wales, where the troubled but intense DCI Tom Mathias searches for redemption while solving hate crimes.

Pants on Fire
Airs on Disney XD, November 9.

15-year-old Jack Parker’s life gets complicated as all the lies he’s ever told suddenly become real. It’s up to Jack and his buddy, Ryan, to figure out who or what is behind this crazy situation, all while chasing down a plush purple hippo who may hold the key to unlocking this mind-boggler.

I Am Evel Knievel

Airs on HBO Canada, October 24.

Follow Evel Knievel’s metamorphosis from a small-town rebel in Butte, Montana, to a cultural icon. His rise to super-stardom was built on nerves of steel and the ability to get up and do it again, no matter the severity of the fall.

I Am Steve McQueen

Airs on HBO Canada, October 25.

The film tells the remarkable story of Steve McQueen, one of Hollywood’s most iconic tough guys, and digs deeper into the underexplored aspects of the legendary star’s life, such as his immense passion for racing and all things fast – cars, motorcycles and airplanes.

Killing Bigfoot

Airs on OLN, October 29.

Ex-pro wrestler Bobby Hamilton and Vietnam vet Jim Landsdale are on the hunt for Bigfoot, and are determined to prove to the rest of the world and the scientific community that Bigfoot is real.