An Insider’s Guide to the Canadian Film Industry


Tough Crowd

Before joining the NFB Web team, I worked in the feature film industry for close to 15 years. I started at the very bottom, doing free production assistant (PA) work for music videos until I landed my first paying gig – filling in for a receptionist on maternity leave for a guy who produced television commercials.

Doesn’t sound so glamorous, does it?

But that horribly demeaning, short-term job opened up a lot of doors for me. I met people I would never have been exposed to otherwise. And from there, I went on to work as a producer’s assistant, production coordinator and writer in a field that I was passionate about.

I learned the ins and outs of the industry. I’ve worked the cushy, corporate jobs and the down-and-dirty production jobs. I’ve worked here in Montreal and I’ve traveled abroad for location shoots. I can’t say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve seen my fair share.

And along the way, I’ve been asked a lot of questions:

“How do you break into the film industry?”

“How can I become a member of the union?”

“What’s it like to work with (insert actor’s name here)?”

“What the hell does a gaffer do?”

“Is it true there’s food on set ALL THE TIME?”

On my first day at the NFB, I had a lot of questions. Walking through those heavy doors to the security booth I felt like I’d finally gained access into the impenetrable fortress. And you know what I found out?

The NFB is a lot more accessible than I’d thought.

And now that I’m here, I’ve decided to throw open the doors to all of you. For everyone who ever wanted to know about the film business – how to break in, how to find jobs, what each job entails, how to find financing for your own projects – I’m here to answer your questions. Want to learn about how documentaries are made or find out more about animation techniques? You’ve come to the right place. I’ll interview producers, directors, writers, costume designers, and yes, even gaffers, in an effort to get you the best and most current information out there.

So let’s get the conversation started. What do you want to know?