Where can I find more information about shooting in Manitoba?
On Screen Manitoba can assist you with information regarding our members and general information about our local production industry.
On Screen Manitoba
003-100 Arthur Street
Winnipeg, MB R3B 1H3
Phone: (204) 927-5898
Manitoba Film & Music can assist you with questions regarding shooting in Manitoba.
Manitoba Film & Music
Phone: (204) 947-2040
Fax: (204) 956-5261
How do I start working in Manitoba's screen-based media industry?
The best way to get your start in this industry is to utilize the resources of the local organizations listed below.
Winnipeg Film Group (WFG): If you don't have experience working in the film industry, consider volunteering with the Winnipeg Film Group or other independent filmmakers. The WFG is non-profit arts organization "committed to enhancing the art of film by providing equal opportunities to make, view and discuss film within a greater artistic and social community." Independent productions, like those made by WFG members, offer great opportunities for you to network and to experience the world of filmmaking. They also offer very affordable workshops for entry level filmmakers. Contact the WFG by calling 925-3456 or visit their website.
Video Pool: A local arts group which offers opportunities to learn and gain volunteer experience. Video Pool has a mandate to "encourage the use of video, multimedia and electronic technologies as an artistic and educational practice for the advancement and enrichment of the community." They provide access to professional video and media equipment and training opportunities. Like the WFG, Video Pool's workshops and services are offered to people of all skill levels from beginner to professional. Contact Video Pool by calling 949-9134 or visit their website.
Film Training Manitoba (FTM): is the crew training program for Manitoba's film industry. Designed for those with some prior exposure to film through volunteer or other training, it provides practical training programs for individuals seriously interested in pursuing a career in film as a crew member. FTM also offers upgrading, mentoring and professional development for established industry members. Workshops are offered upon the basis of industry need and are not available at all times. Contact FTM by calling 989-9669 or visit their website.
National Screen Institute - Canada: The NSI focuses on providing professional development for experienced writers, directors and producers and aspiring filmmakers. Contact NSI by calling 956-7800 or visit their website.
Please note that in Manitoba, most long-form film and television productions are under union contract and as such first employ their members.
- The Directors Guild of Canada Manitoba District Council
- International Associations of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE Local 856)
- IATSE Local 669 (Camera)
ACADEMIC TRAINING PROGRAMS
Red River College - Focuses mainly on television and new media, although they do offer some film-related courses through continuing education.
University of Manitoba - Offers a full range of programming for their students with 15 courses and a full major and advanced major (4 year) program.
University of Winnipeg - The Theatre and Drama Department offers courses including Intro to Film, Acting for the Media and Scriptwriting.
Where do I find work as a performer or an extra on local productions?
Extras or background performers are generally hired by local casting companies.
Anyone involved in casting will require a photo and resume before they can consider you for a role. If they have your photo/resume on file, casting agents will contact you when an appropriate opportunity presents itself. For Winnipeg Film Group productions you can leave a photo and resume with the Production Co-ordinator for their Available Actors file. Sending your photo and resume directly to a production company very rarely results in any response - they usually hire casting agents to find talent for them!
Please note that most film and television productions shot in Manitoba which reach a certain budget level employ professional performers who are members of ACTRA, a national organization of professional performers working in the recorded media in Canada.
A note on how payment for background performers works:
ACTRA adhered productions are obliged to cast 10 background performer positions a day from the ACTRA membership, paid according to ACTRA's Independent Production Agreement fee scale. If for some reason, these positions cannot be filled by ACTRA members or Apprentice members, the production may offer these "vouchered" background roles to non-members. All other background performers hired on that day will be paid at a previously agreed upon rate. The fact is that, except for ACTRA "vouchered" background performers, the fee to be paid extras is negotiated between the production company (through the casting director) and the person who wants to be an extra. When accepting work as an extra, always make sure to ask what you are getting paid and how long the expected call will be. Remember, once you are on set, you are there until they let you go.
* Please keep in mind - Reputable casting directors and casting companies never expect extras, background performers or actors to pay to work. There have been cases of companies charging sign-up fees before they will add an actor to their files, but you should feel free to contact the casting directors directly with your picture and resume for FREE.
If you're not sure about a company's reputation, contact the ACTRA office in Winnipeg at 943-1307.
I have an idea for a project, what is my next step?
If you haven't already, you will need to write at least a 'treatment' for your idea, and you should write the whole screenplay. Treatments are simply a description of the film/story written in paragraph/prose form. For advice on becoming a writer in the screen-based media industry, visit the Writer's Guild of Canada (WGC) website.
You will need to get your work registered so that you can prove that you own it. If you are in Canada, you can register scripts, treatments, synopses, outlines, and other literary material written for theatrical motion pictures, television, radio, home video and interactive media, with the WGC.
A note on ownership: In Canada, copyright arises automatically upon creation of a work and the copyright may be registered in the Register of Copyrights maintained at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (Copyright Office) in Hull, Quebec (for information call the Office at 819-997-1725). The purpose of the Registration Service of the Writer's Guild is to provide a dated record of the writer's claim to authorship of a particular literary material. Registration costs approximately $20 and the Guild takes a copy of your script for storage and gives you a registration number. This number should be displayed prominently on the cover page of your script.
If you don't intend to make the project yourself, then you may want to get a literary agent to represent you in negotiating with producers. Currently there are no literary agents in Manitoba; a list of Canadian writer's agents is available on the WGC website. If you have direct contact with a producer you may want to 'pitch' the idea to them directly. A pitch is a verbal description of a script, or story idea. If they like it, they may buy or 'option' your script. Optioning is temporary ownership with the option to buy, it means that the producer (or production company) has taken a 'lease' on the script for an agreed upon amount of time.
The following pages will provide you with more info on writing and selling a screenplay:
If you intend to make the project yourself there are a number of local organizations that may be able to help you:
Winnipeg Film Group: Offers their members, equipment, rentals, small grants for first time filmmakers, workshops and opportunities to network with other filmmakers (potential mentors and crew). Contact the WFG by calling 925-3456 or visit their website.
Video Pool: Provides their members with access to professional video and media equipment, small grants to help them make their first video and training opportunities. Contact Video Pool by calling 949-9134 or visit their website.
National Screen Institute - Canada: The NSI Drama Prize is primarily a training program with limited production funding attached. This prize gives selected filmmaking teams from across Canada the chance to make a short film and mentor with some of the best industry professionals in Canada. Contact NSI by calling 956-7800 or visit their website.
Manitoba Arts Council Funding: For dramatic, experimental, animated, films and videos made by Manitobans. Their visual arts page provides information on the following grants: Film Script Development/Video Script Development: This grant in film or video script development assists independent Manitoba filmmakers, video artists, or writers in the creation of scripts. The applicant must have established a professional reputation; Film Project/Video Project: This grant assists independent Manitoba filmmakers and video artists in the creation and production of films and videos. The applicant must have established a professional reputation and must be the principal creator/director; Film Production/Video Production: This grant assists independent Manitoba filmmakers and video artists in the creation and production of films and videos.
Another good source of information is the following book:
Breaking Into Film, by Kenna McHugh (Director, producer, writer, actress and public relations professional, Kenna McHugh, provides information straight from industry professionals that could get the film rolling on an exciting career.)
* Internet Filmmaker's FAQ
On Screen Manitoba
003-100 Arthur Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1H3