Championing a dynamic motion picture workforce in B.C. that is equitable, diverse and inclusive.

Finding Work

Resources to get started on set in motion picture

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Creative Pathways

If you don’t have film experience yet, any work experience that shows you have stamina, a strong work ethic, service orientation, and most importantly, excellent soft skills (attitude, team-orientation, people skills, dependability) would make a great fit for the motion picture industry.  For work on set, having access to a reliable vehicle / mode of transportation at all times and a drivers license is an important bonus, as you may be working long hours in far-flung places not easily accessible by transit.

There is a lot to understand in the world of motion picture production so stay positive, alert and humble, be patient and curious, listen carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand how or why you are doing something. There no such thing as a silly question when you’re starting out, especially when it relates to working safe on set. For a comprehensive introduction to the motion picture industry, the Motion Picture Industry Orientation Course (MPIO) is recommended, and is one of the required courses for permittee or membership status with the majority of the unions and guilds in B.C.

There are six unions and guilds in B.C. that represent different departments on set if you are interested in becoming a permittee and/or member.  This industry is vast, and there may be roles in the film industry that may not necessarily be covered by these unions and guilds for you to find work.  Be sure to take a careful look at the requirements needed to become a permittee or full member, as they may change without notice.  Reach out directly to the union or guild if you have any joining questions, as the most up to date information will always be available through them.

Entry-level work in physical production usually begins as Production Assistant (PA) in the locations department or the production office though with how large this industry is, there are varying pathways to where a person can land an entry level positions beyond just Production Assistant.  The Directors Guild of Canada, BC Chapter (DGC BC) is a key entry point for those looking to enter the workforce as a Production Assistant. Learn more about their Permittee Logbook Holder Program and access posts to help your career as a PA including Getting Started in the Industry and Your First Day on Set.

FINDING PRODUCTION WORK & BUILDING EXPERIENCE

To find work on set, look for possible opportunities in commercials, corporate videos, digital content, music videos, independent films, short films and student films. Volunteer work is invaluable when you don’t have work experience, as it helps build your resume and provides important contacts that may lead to paid work in the future.  When job hunting and volunteering, it is important to understand what you are agreeing to, what your expected duties will be and who you will be working with.  Whether you are working on set or in studio, get to know as much as you can about your role and the impact of production in order to be a positive representative for both production and crew.  Understanding the motion picture ecosystem, including the film adjacent sector, can be a fruitful way to discover potential work opportunities available beyond working on set such as film festivals, industry organizations, service and supply and beyond.

In Production Lists
There are are number of free production lists updated on a weekly basis which can be cross-referenced including:

Resumes
Resumes for the motion picture industry look different from a standard resume. If you are unfamiliar with the format, examples can be found on union websites in their permittee / membership sections and can be specific to the department of interest.  Some positions will also require a portfolio or demo reel.  Collect some good character and work references for your resume.  Be sure to tailor your resume to the role, and highlight your relevant skills and certificates needed for the position.

Helpful links to get started

  • For PA work, consider connecting with BCPAX – British Columbia Production Assistant Exchange, a network of support and connection between PAs and employers.
  • Being an extra / background performer can be a way to get on set, see the different roles available and get a feel for the rhythm of production.  You can learn more about background performing here.
  • Film competitions are great conduits connecting experienced industry talent and new entrants.  There are a number of established competitions such as Crazy8s, Might Asian Moviemaking Marathon and Run N Gun that open up calls for crew members each year.
  • For commercials, contacts can be found on the Commercial Production Association of Western Canada (CPAWC) website.
  • Working at a production equipment rental house that supplies the department in which you are interested can provide a solid, technical foundation with the gear used on set while also building a network of contacts within the industry at the same time.
  • Social Media Groups can be an informal way to see volunteer and paid work postings, in addition to events like meet-ups that can further your network and job opportunities.
  • If you self-identify as being a person from a systemically excluded group consider Creative Pathways’ Setwork.  Setwork opportunities are announced on the Creative Pathways opportunities page and the website.  Sign-up for alerts through our newsletter so you don’t miss out!
  • There are regionally focused crew directories and more generalized crew directories available to join and showcase your skills.  See the listings of crew directories available by clicking here.
  • Explore the Creative BC Knowledge Hub for Motion Picture database which contains industry contacts from animation studios, industry organizations, post production houses, equipment vendors and more.
  • B.C. has 8 provincially-funded regional film commissions.  For the film commissions in your area which may also have resources specific to your locale, visit the Regions page here.

Independent Filmmaking Societies
Below are a sampling of filmmaking societies which may offer opportunities to work on productions and access to workshops and events:

Job Listings
Be aware that the postings are not vetted by Creative Pathways and it’s wise to ask questions before committing to anything.  Here are some examples of where you could start your job search:

INTERNSHIPS, MENTORSHIPS & COMMUNITY
Bear in mind that many productions, including the larger, unionized productions do not accept unpaid volunteers and interns.  There may be some production companies open to internship opportunities, and one place to start research can be the CMPA’s membership database. Alternatively, student and independent films, local independent filmmaker societies and film competitions can provide informal internships. Mentorships in motion picture are for the most part informal, however more established mentorship programs can become available through industry organizations.  Check out the Creative Pathways Opportunities page for relevant postings.

View the different communities you can become connected to and the organizations specific to each in this list below:

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