FILM INDUSTRY RESOURCES
It’s common to see Vancouver streets blocked off with hundreds of film crewmembers strategizing how to pull off the next cinematic shot. Vancouver is known as Hollywood North for good reason. With a mild climate, close proximity to LA, and numerous motion picture studios, the city is the third-largest film and TV production centre in North America. Every year, hundreds of films, TV shows, and documentaries are shot here.
Out of sight, thousands of 3D and visual effects artists work in dozens of studios, adding flash and polish to many of the biggest blockbusters. Studios like Industrial Light and Magic (Star Wars, Jurrasic World, The Irishman), Method (Avengers, Top Gun: Maverick, Ford V. Ferarri), and ZOIC (The Boys, Ozark, Game of Thrones)–all of whom have hired InFocus alumni–put the final touches on the films and TV series we all love.
CAREERS IN THE FILM INDUSTRY
In the film industry, who you know is key to finding employment. Film school allows you to build your network and connect with other film professionals, allowing you to find work much faster than just sending out resumes.
InFocus instructors are all working film professionals and often hear about job opportunities before they are publically posted. The beauty of the film industry is that it is collaborative and people are always in search of talent. Your instructors will be your best references and are committed to helping you in achieving your future career goals, whether that is making an indie feature film or getting a foot in the industry door.
The local film industry unions post lists of the active productions in and around Vancouver, as well as what is required to apply for permittee status. Visit their websites to learn more.
Film Unions in BC:
Director’s Guild of Canada
ICG Local 669
IATSE Local 891
Film Industry Job Boards:
Production Beast – Film Production Jobs
BC Production Assistant Exchange
Indeed: Film Industry Jobs
Vancouver Film, TV, and Media Job Board
Resumes for the motion picture industry look different from a typical business resume. If you are unfamiliar with the format, examples of resumes can be found on the union websites. Some positions will also require a portfolio/demo reel.
FILM GRANTS + FUNDING
Funding and initiatives for diverse representation and empowering marginalized communities in film and TV are visibly gaining momentum in the industry today. Within the last few years, we’ve seen an incredible push towards greater diversity in front of and behind the camera. Mainstream hits like Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) and Oscar Best Picture Moonlight (2016) prove there’s a hunger for diverse stories and diverse representation.
Luckily, there are many funding opportunities specifically for underrepresented artists and projects by and for marginalized communities! Here’s a list of programs available to Canadian filmmakers:
*Some grants have been put on hold due to COVID-19, so be sure to check for updates often.
STORYHIVE provides funding to emerging storytellers in BC and Alberta and a platform to distribute local stories. Winners don’t only receive funding, but mentorship and distribution via Telus Optik TV. They normally offer two varying streams each year, providing support for genres ranging from Documentaries to Web Series to their most recent Podcast Edition.
The TELEFILM Canada Development Program supports Canadian production companies in need of financing for the development of feature film projects. Applicants require a track record – at least one film that has screened at a festival in the last 5 years or previous funding from Telefilm. The program hosts multiple streams including streams for First Nations and Racialized filmmakers.
TELEFILM Canada also offers production financing for mid-budget productions through its production program, which supports Canadian production companies in need of financing for the production of feature film projects. Projects must have a budget of more than $250,000 and have Canadians in key positions. There is also an Indigenous stream for First Nations production companies.
Filmmakers Without Borders(FWB) Filmmaking Grants is another fund open internationally and supports projects in various stages of production, including festival applications. Grants run up to $5000. Eligible projects include narrative, documentary, experimental, and new media projects centered on social justice, empowerment, and cultural exchange. FWB grants are currently on hold due to COVID-19 but are projected to return for the Spring 2021 application cycle.
The CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund is part of a Hot Docs initiative to address systemic barriers and inequality in the documentary industry. This annual fund seeks applications from Canadian filmmakers who are Indigenous, Francophone, Deaf and/or have a disability, racialized and/or persons of colour. Grants run up to $50,000.
The City of Ottawa’s Diversity in the Arts Fund is available to artists from a variety of historically marginalized communities. The fund seeks projects centered around cultural art and that are led by professional artists or community elders/culture keepers recognized by the community. Applicants must be based in Ottawa or its surrounding areas.
The Ontario Creates Film Fund is open to Ontario-based filmmakers with feature films and offers up to $400,000. While open to all, the fund provides enhanced support for films with diverse elements (see their Diversity Enhancement Addendum).
Pinkstart is a global crowdfunding platform specifically for LGBTQ+ creative projects. With fees much lower than other mainstream crowdfunding sites and no application deadlines, Pinkstart is a barrier-free way to start fundraising for your film project while also amassing an audience.
The Frameline Completion Fund offers grants up to $5000 for the completion of films that represent and reflect the complexity and richness of the LGBTQ+ community. Applications by women, people of color, transgender people, intersex people, asexual people, non-binary people, disabled people, and other underrepresented people and communities are especially encouraged. The deadline for the 2020 application round is November 30, 2020.
Women in Film (WIF) Film Finishing Fund
The WIF Film Finishing Fund has been awarding grants in cash and in-kind services to women-directed films since 1985. Due to COVID-19, the fund is currently on hold and discerning potential changes to its distribution methods. Keep an eye on further updates.
A part of the Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards, the Sondra Kelly Award provides $5,000 to women screenwriters in mid-career for development of a self-initated project.
The TELEFILM Canada Development program supports Canadian production companies in need of financing for the development of feature film projects. The program hosts multiple streams including a stream for Racialized Persons that takes place in the fall. Projects in this stream must be written and produced by a screenwriter and producer who both self-identify as Racialized Persons. Check back for the 2021 deadline announcements in the future.
The Canada Media Fund Diverse Languages Program funds Canadian projects in languages other than English, French, or Aboriginal languages. Funded projects must be produced for distribution on at least two platforms (one of which must be television).
Black List & Google Assistant Storytelling Fellowship
The Black List & Google Assistant Storytelling Fellowship supports the development and execution of scripts that highlights contemporary views from underrepresented communities. The program will provide $20,000 for up to five writers to support them for six months as they draft new feature screenplays/teleplays. Each fellowship recipient will also be paired with a mentor for the duration. The opt-in application deadline is January 15, 2021.
The Canadian Independent Screen Fund for BPOC Creators
The Canadian Independent Screen Fund (CISF) for BPOC Creators is an upcoming fund to support the development and production of projects by BPOC-owned production companies. It is a revival and repurposing of the anadian Independent Film and Video Fund (CIFVF) which ran from 1991 to 2008. Follow their twitter to stay up-to-date with their progress.
Game Theory Films BIPOC Filmmaker Initiative
Game Theory Films Black Indigenous People of Colour Initiative is a distribution fund to support the production, post-production, and distribution of Canadian BIPOC feature film projects. Applicants must be the Producer of the film and identify as BIPOC. Round 2 of submissions are TBA, so make sure to check back frequently.
Open to the global BIPOC community, the BIPOC Filmmaker Grant, presented by Machines for Freedom, is a grant program seeking film projects (30 minutes or shorter) with a strong central theme of bicycles. Grants range from $1500 to $2000 and recipients have the option to be paired with an advisor for one-on-one support. No experience is required to apply. Applications are due December 31, 2021.
FIRST NATIONS AND INDIGENOUS
TELEFILM Talent to Watch: Indigenous Stream
The TELEFILM Talent to Watch Program finances first feature films and web projects as well as supporting career development of emerging Canadian filmmakers. The program offers an Indigenous stream to amplify the voices of Indigenous creators.
The Canada Media Fund Indigenous Program finances the development and production of Indigenous film and television projects.
Canada Arts Council – The Arts & Cultures of First Nations
Creating, Knowing, and Sharing: The Arts and Culture of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples provides support for a variety of Indigenous artistic and cultural activities. Program components include micro-grants for small-scale activites, short-term projects, and long-term projects.
Indigenous Arts Individual Project Funding
The Indigenous Arts Individual Project Funding provides Indigenous artists up to $15,000 for a cultural or artistic project. Applicants must be able to legally work in Canada and must reside in Alberta. Application deadlines are March 1, 2021 and September 1, 2021.
Indigenous Arts & Culture Partnerships Fund
The Indigenous Arts and Culture Partnerhsips Fund aims to support the creation of new opportunities and greater visibility for Indigenous-led arts and culture. The fund is comprised of the Incubation stream (with grants up to $10,000 per project) and the Activation stream (up to $30,000 per project). Applicants must be Toronto-based.
Indigenous 360 is a Manitoba Arts Council (MAC) grant program for the creation or development of works by professional Indigenous artists. Emerging artists may receive up to $7500; established artists up to $15000. Applicants must be residents of Manitoba.
Equinox Program for Indigenous Artists
The Equinox Program for Indigenous Artists supports the development, creation, and/or presentation of Canadian artistic work with grants up to $5000. Applicants must be have resided in New Brunswick for at least one year and must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
Toronto Indigenous Arts Project
Toronto Arts Council’s Indigenous Arts Projects is a multi-disciplinary grant program for professional Indigenous artists. Its categories include project development (up to $3000); creation (up to $10,000); and exhibition, presentation, and dissemination (up to $15,000). Individual applicants must be a resident of Toronto. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until Novermber 1, 2021.
CALQ Recognition, Inuit and First Nations Arts
The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) Recognition, Inuit and First Nations Arts program provides grants for professional and emerging Inuit or First Nations artists. The program operates through three components: revitalization, creation, and transmission; microgrants; and impetus. Applicants must be Canadian citizens and residents of Québec. Apply online at any time.
DEAF AND DISABILITY
Ontario Arts Council Deaf and Disability Arts Projects
The Ontario Arts Council’s Deaf and Disability Arts Projects is a program that supports Ontario-based artists who are deaf and/or have a disability. It provides funding up to $10,000 for various art practices (including filmmaking) in three categories: creation, production, and professional development. Applications are available three months before the deadline, so make sure to check back for the next deadline announcement.
GUIDES AND TUTORIALS
InFocus Film School publishes many blogs and articles for both new and experienced artists alike! Topics range from informative tutorials on how to shoot and composite green screen footage, lens use, and how to animate with Maya, to industry information, to film reviews and news. If you haven’t read it, you can take a look here.
Below are some of our most popular posts and articles.
FREE VIDEO TUTORIALS
3D ANIMATION – INTRO TO ANIMATION + MODELLING
Becoming an animation artist is not as difficult as it once was! No longer do animators need to hand draw every frame with great artistic skill. These days, anyone–even those with little to no experience–are able to start learning how to animate with only a computer and a little time.
One of the key tools to know in the industry is Autodesk Maya, an industry standard for 3D modelling and animation. In this video, InFocus Film School instructor Miguel Rodriguez teaches the fundamentals of animating a bouncing ball in Maya.
GRAPHIC DESIGN – GRAPHIC DESIGN INTRO
Nearly all businesses, big and small, require a graphic designer these days. From building websites to editing product photos to designing business cards and more, a skilled designer is essential for all businesses.
This workshop, presented by InFocus Film School Graphic and Digital Design instructor Leila Singleton covers the fundamentals of designing for businesses. From communicating through design, selecting imagery, colour theory, and more, learn the essentials of design and how to pursue a career in the design industry.
GUIDES AND HOW-TOS
GLASS EYES: LENS USE IN CINEMA
If cinematography is the art of storytelling in film, then lenses are the canvas. Lenses can affect the way a story is told. For budding filmmakers, understanding how to choose the right lens is imperative to building a relationship with the audience. This in-depth analysis shows how understanding lens choice is critical in filmmaking.
FILMING WITH GREEN SCREEN: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Green screen keying is a visual effects technique where two images or video streams are layered—i.e. composited—together. Green screens (or sometimes blue screens) lets you drop in whatever background images you need for a scene, like a fictional, alien, historic, futuristic or even just hard-to-access location. This guide covers everything you need to know to get started.
ADAPTING SHORT STORIES INTO FEATURE FILMS
Adaptations have become a forefront in cinema. Feature films today are based on all kinds of intellectual property including video games, comic books and literature. Writing an adaptation is a great way to get your foot in the door, and hone your craft. Some of the greatest movies of all time originated as short stories, such as The Birds, Brokeback Mountain, and Memento. But how does a writer take a short story idea and adapt it into feature screenplay? Read this article to find out.
There are legitimate reasons that filmmakers are attracted to R-rated material. When done correctly, it can demonstrate the competence that comes from successfully navigating a creative challenge. This article focuses on the sensitive subject of nudity and sex scenes, and how to handle them professionally on set.
UNDERSTANDING THE INDUSTRY
The producer is involved in just about every aspect, from conception, development, funding, shooting, editing—even promotions—and there are just as many different levels in producing, from executive producer to associate. The stigma in the industry, however, is that the exhausting job is thankless, and unfortunately, not very creative. We show how that may not be an accurate stereotype.
WHAT IS AUTEUR THEORY IN FILMMAKING?
In short, an Auteur is an artist who applies a high amount of stylistic control over their craft. In the case of Auture Filmmaking, this would be the director. Read how cinema’s most influential directors – Scorsese, Kubrick, Lynch, Burton, Kurosawa, and others – proved that you should become an auteur filmmaker.
The art department is in charge of the decorative, tangible visual aesthetic of cinema. It’s responsible for how a character dresses, why they dress that way, what their house looks like, what their job-cubicle looks like… every choice made by the art department gives audiences a deeper look into the world and characters. If you have unmatched artistic flair, you might be perfect to the most creative role on a film set: the production designer.
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