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New Dawn 2023 Call for Entries

New Dawn is an international film production fund aimed to support a larger diversity of voices and perspectives. A combined effort by 10 European and Canadian public film funds, New Dawn was launched in May 2022 at the Cannes Festival. The first selection was...

Getting started in the motion picture industry in British Columbia.

First Steps

While the motion picture industry can be highly competitive, there are also a lot of opportunities and no right way to negotiate a pathway into this industry. One of the best things you can do is make the most of your personal network, including the networks of friends and family most people working in the industry today have a story about how they met someone who provided an introduction and after that, they didn’t look back. It’s a process that takes persistence, diligence and passion, but so does working in the industry, so think of it as training for your career. So start asking around!

There are a myriad of ways to enter the industry, many of them dependent on your skill set, experience and what you want for a career moving forward. Consider these personal elements and start researching to find out what you can do initially, what you need to learn and who you can speak with in order to begin making your way.

There are three main components involved in getting a project from idea to screen: development (story development, screenplay, financing), production (physical filming) and post-production (editing, visual effects, sound and music)

Creative BC is not directly involved in motion picture, hiring of crew for productions, or managing a job board.  Please visit Creative Pathways instead to discover information, resources and opportunities to learn, meet and work within the motion picture industry.

Newcomers from Other Countries

Many productions that film in B.C. do so in part because of the tax incentives they receive for employing B.C. residents, which do not apply to those who are in Canada on a work permit. Temporary residents can also consider opportunities where tax incentives aren’t applicable, like reality television, commercials and low-budget local productions.

There are a number of local companies who do both service and original content that may have openings within the company, rather than on a specific production, in which case the tax incentive might not be applicable.

Foreign nationals with temporary resident status may not be eligible for union membership in B.C. For more information about working on a union project as a temporary resident, please connect with the applicable union directly. Foreign national currently employed by productions filming in B.C. should refer to Cross Border Services for information regarding immigration requirements to legally work in Canada. Foreign nationals interested in moving to Canada to work in the motion picture industry should consult with an immigration lawyer to understand all options for temporary and permanent residency that may be available.

Internships
Creative BC does not provide direct connections for internship possibilities, however for graduating high school students or students entering college, a supervised internship can be one way of gaining experience in the industry. Usually these internships are available at smaller production companies that do projects like corporate & music videos, commercials, and reality/unscripted television essentially a company that either develops its own content or does small scale, in-house production.
 
 
Students should do some research on the internet to find local companies and then reach out via email or in person to ask about potential internships. As a heads up, the larger, more recognizable productions in the lower mainland usually cant accept unpaid volunteers or interns as there are liability/safety issues as well as union hiring practices to negotiate.
 
Student and independent film makers with small budgets are often looking for volunteers and sometimes volunteer job postings can also be found online. Careful research and being tenacious in pursuing possible internship positions will be the key to success!
Creative Pathways™

Your path to a career in film and television.

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