Top News

P.E.I. native says winning his first Daytime Emmy Award 'feels incredible'

Jason MacNeill, a native of Charlottetown who is now working in Toronto, hit a career milestone recently, winning his first Daytime Emmy Award.
Jason MacNeill, a native of Charlottetown who is now working in Toronto, hit a career milestone recently, winning his first Daytime Emmy Award. - Contributed

Charlottetown native Jason MacNeill, 50, says winning a Daytime Emmy Award was like having an out-of-body experience.

The sound editor, who has been based out of Toronto for the past 24 years, is part of a team of seven who won the award on July 26 for outstanding sound editing in a live-action program for the PBS kids’ show, Odd Squad.

“It feels incredible," MacNeill told The Guardian in a telephone interview. “It would probably stand up there as one of the most surreal moments of my life."

MacNeill is believed to be the fourth person with Island ties to win an Emmy Award. It was MacNeill’s sixth nomination and his first win.

Due to the COVID-19, there was no televised ceremony this year. The on-air talent, along with awards for producing and directing were announced on an internet broadcast. The rest of the awards, including the one MacNeill received, were announced on social media.

MacNeill said he hit refresh about every two minutes. Then, there it was, a victory for the Odd Squad team.


But, it wasn’t sinking in.

“When I was looking at it, I was trying to figure out, am I looking at the nominees or am I looking at the winner? I just kept going through it and refreshing it. It took two or three times of looking at it for it to sink in. Holy crap, I won this thing," he said.

“When I say it was an out-of-body experience, it was because time stood still while I kept refreshing this thing; making sure I wasn’t misinterpreting it. I told my wife; asked her to watch it and make sure I’m not dreaming. It’s certainly a moment in my life that I won’t soon forget."

MacNeill said it wasn’t just personal gratification for him. He credits P.E.I. and his experiences growing up on the Island for making him the man he is today.

MacNeill comes from a musical family. His mother, Sheridyth, a former music teacher at Sherwood Elementary School and West Kent Elementary School in Charlottetown, had her son playing the piano and singing by the time he was three years old. 

“For Jason, I could see the exceptional ear (for music) and ability in him," Sheridyth said. “He could just hear a song and go to the guitar or piano the play it. He just kept going from there."

MacNeill would compete in music festivals and join the jazz band at Colonel Gray High School. 

That’s where he met a group of friends that would form the recording band Curfew. MacNeill was lead singer and keyboard player.

Jason MacNeill said it was his days as a member of Curfew, a P.E.I. band in the 1980s, that led to his career as a sound editor. The band is, from left, Chris MacDonald, Adam Gill, Chris LeClair and MacNeill. - Contributed
Jason MacNeill said it was his days as a member of Curfew, a P.E.I. band in the 1980s, that led to his career as a sound editor. The band is, from left, Chris MacDonald, Adam Gill, Chris LeClair and MacNeill. - Contributed

MacNeill speaks highly of his bandmates, especially Chris LeClair, who died two years ago. MacNeill says LeClair was the heart and soul of the band and was a major influence on him. MacNeill hopes to jam someday in the future with the surviving members in Charlottetown.

He eventually moved to Toronto to attend the Harris Institute for Audio Engineering where he graduated third in his class.

His mother said that led him down the path he is on now, as a sound editor. MacNeill also wants to credit David MacKay who owned the former recording studio Sound Ventures on Queen Street in Charlottetown as helping plant the seed. It was MacKay who gave him the keys to the building, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Beside Odd Squad, MacNeill also works on Endlings and Heartland, both of which air on CBC and Hallmark’s Good Witch.

Career highlight

As a sound editor in Toronto, Jason MacNeill has rubbed shoulders with some legends in the entertainment industry:

His most memorable encounter was working with the late Robin Williams on the 1997 movie entitled Father’s Day. MacNeill was in the studio as part of a team recording Williams doing a voice-over in the studio while doing a scene with actor Billy Crystal, who was feeding Williams lines over the phone from a studio in Los Angeles.

MacNeill describes Williams as a sweet, quiet, gentle man who never came off as a big movie star.

He also said Williams was quiet until someone cracked a joke and “it was like a switch went off. All of a sudden, (Williams) was cracking jokes left, right and centre and by the end of it we were holding our bellies asking him to stop because we couldn’t breathe."

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories