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Overview of the Film & Television (TV) Industry

Introduction

BC is Canada’s largest centre for film and television production.
The industry is capable of serving all sizes and budgets of local and international productions.

Value of Film & TV Industry in British Columbia

During 2016/2017 production companies spent almost $3 billion on a total of 338 domestic and international productions in BC.

Total Volume of Film & TV Production in British Columbia ($ millions)

2010 to 2017 millions of dollars in film & tv production
Source: Profile 2017: Economic Report on the Screen Based Media Production Industry in Canada

BC’s thriving creative industries are well established, with world-class film, television, visual effects, animation and post-production companies. A rich pool of creative talent is able to support major feature-length projects – both on-screen and online. For more details see:

Scope of BC’s Film & TV industry

BC’s creative industries include everything from writing, casting, production, post-production, and distribution of films to animation and visual effects.  Companies in BC produce and distribute screen-based content for audiences around the world including feature films, dramatic and lifestyle series for television, documentaries, short films and commercials.

BC’s Creative and Production Crews

BC’s film industry has an experienced crew base of 24,000 who are directly involved in film & television production.  Combining the number of jobs that are directly generated by film & TV plus spinoff jobs, almost 61,000 direct and indirect jobs are generated by Film & TV production in BC. More than 80% of these jobs are located in Metro Vancouver.

BC offers:

  • creative and technical talent who can provide the full range of services needed for both domestic and international productions.
  • a talent pool that includes acting talent, set construction, filming, post-production, and video effects
  • outstanding facilities, training, and research services are provided by BC’s educational institutions engaged in digital media and motion picture production
  • 3,000 graduates each year entering the media industry from BC’s post-secondary programs.

Total Number of Film & TV Industry Direct & Spinoff Full-Time Jobs in BC

2010 to 2017 direct & spinoff full-time jobs
Source: Profile 2017: Economic Report on the Screen Based Media Production Industry in Canada

BC’s large established infrastructure for film & TV production:

  • more than 60 studios
  • can support the largest movie productions, from set construction and casting through to post-production and visual effects
  • can handle up to 50 productions simultaneously
  • more than 2.5 million square feet of studio space including: purpose-built, warehouse conversion, FX, and broadcast stages with building facades, and in-house effects capabilities
  • on average Vancouver is home to approximately 65+ movies and 55+ TV series annually, as well as hundreds of other filming days for commercials, TV pilots and other features
  • BC provides close proximity to and is in the same time zone as Los Angeles

Sources:

Occupations in the Film & Television Industry

From 2018-2028 new immigrants to BC are projected to fill 27 per cent of all job openings in the province.
BC Labour Market Outlook 2018 Edition

Film & Television Industry: Occupations in Demand across all BC regions

Occupation Cumulative
Number of
Jobs*
2018-2028
Managers – publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts, NOC 0512 820
Producers, directors, choreographers and related
Occupations, NOC 5131
3,000
Film and video camera operators, NOC 5222   510
Audio and video recording technicians, NOC 5225    1,490
Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts, NOC 5226    2,200
Support occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, photography and the performing arts, NOC 5227    1,920

* combination of replacement jobs and newly created jobs

Source: British Columbia Labour Market Outlook 2018 Edition

Some of the careers available in the film & television industry

Film, television and video production are the world’s fastest growing cultural industry. Employment opportunities in this sector are available in:

  • Motion pictures
  • Television
  • Specialty Pay Television channels
  • Animation
  • Indie podcasting

Production & Post production careers

Trends and Changes in Film & Television Industry Careers

Computerization is changing the way many people in film and broadcasting careers do their work. Some actors now wear body mics that are hooked to computerized sound systems. Specialized software is being used for all aspects of production from scriptwriting, to costume design, to musical scoring. Animation and special effects programs are central to many of today’s film and television programming. Radio, film and television editing is now completely digitized so that technicians can cut, mix and add elements by computer.

Sources: Careers in Culture [Cultural Human Resources Council]

Getting Started and Finding Jobs in the film & Television Industry

How do you get started in the Film & Television Industry?

You will need to complete the Motion Picture Industry Orientation Course (MPIO). This course is required for membership or permittee status in most BC unions representing film and television workers.

Developed in partnership with film industry unions and guilds, MPIO provides you with the information needed to work on a film set. Topics include growth and trends in the BC motion picture industry, the collaborative nature of the industry, demands and challenges of working in film, on-set protocols and language, film job classifications and descriptions, reading and understanding a call sheet, importance of interpersonal skills, on-set safety considerations and best practices.

  • MPIO is offered through Capilano University

You may be asked to also complete:

  • ActSafe workshop, four hour course covering motion picture and television safety awareness.
  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System)

Which Unions Represent Workers in the Film & Television Industry?

After completing coursework, contact the Union representing your type of work and ask about membership.

  • ACFC West, Local 2020 CEP
    The Association of Canadian Film Craftspeople represents accounting, art, catering, construction, continuity, craft services, editing, electric, greens, grip, hair, make-up, production office props, prop building, publicity, scenic art, security, set decoration, sound, special effects, transportation, wardrobe, wranglers (animal)
  • Directors Guild of Canada, British Columbia District Council
    represents Director, 2nd Unit Director, Production & Unit Manager, Additional Assistant Director Background Coordinator, Location Manager, Assistant Location Manager, Location Scout, Production Assistant.
  • IATSE Local 669 (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees – International Photographers Guild)
    represents directors of photography, camera operators, camera assistants, unit publicists, unit still photographers
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local 891(International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees – Production Technicians) represents accounting, art, construction, costume, editing, first aid / craft service, greens, grips, hair, lighting / electrics, make-up, painting, production office, props, script supervisors, continuity coordinator, set decorating, sound, special effects, visual effects

See also

Getting Experience

 Everyone who hires in film and broadcasting want applicants who already have experience, whether volunteer or professional. Most people get their first film or broadcasting job through a contact – an acquaintance who knows about an unadvertised job or where work can be found.

How can you make these very important contacts?

  • Make yourself visible. The only way people will know about you is because you’re already working, or from your school or volunteer work.
  • Be an enthusiastic worker. If you’re willing to try anything and enjoy what you’re doing, people will remember you.
  • Be curious about others. Your network is not just about you. Have a genuine interest in what others do and enjoy learning from them.
  • Stay in touch. Relationships need constant work. Give your contacts a call now and then, and ask them how they’re doing. Tell them what you’re up to.

Source: Careers in Culture [Cultural Human Resources Council], Careers in Film & Broadcasting, Hands-on Experience

Online Job Postings

  • Playback.ca
    Careers in film production, broadcasting and interactive media across Canada; browse through ‘Production’ and ‘Post-Production’ employment opportunities

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers in the film & television industry in British Columbia. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Creative BC – In Production
    weekly updated list of all productions currently shooting in BC (feature films, TV series, TV pilots, reality TV)

Additional Resources

Still looking for more information? Try looking at the following resources:

  • Creative BC
    independent non-profit BC government agency promotes development of creative industries in British Columbia and provides a single point of access for industry programming, production support services, tax credit administration, international marketing and policy development