The business of telling stories on screen is a beautiful, fun, inspiring and rewarding way to earn a paycheque. The world has never been more hungry for screen-based content and Alberta is quickly becoming a hotspot for production and the place to be if you want to work in the industry.
There are a number of ways you can start your career.
Make a film
There are a number of unions and private organizations that offer training, workshops and mentorship opportunities that can get you started in the business.
Unions offering training
Organizations offering workshops
Attend an event
Film festivals, conferences and events offer a chance to learn from filmmakers, rub elbows with the industry and make connections.
Film industry events
Film festivals in Alberta
Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival
Nordleys Film And Arts Festival
The Artifact Small Format Film Festival
Calgary Independent Film Festival
Calgary International Film Festival
Calgary Underground Film Festival
Fairy Tales Calgary’s Queer Film Festival
WildDogs International Screendance Festival
Dreamspeakers International Indigenous Film Festival
Edmonton International Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival
Regina International Film Festival and Awards
Gimli International Film Festival
Ottawa International Animation Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
TIFF Next Wave Film Festival (teens)
FIN Atlantic International Film Festival
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland and Labrador
I love Alberta… [We] went on hikes and dove in lakes and took in the natural wonders of Alberta and Canada. The challenge was to make sure that we could show up every day and give ourselves fully.
Get an education
Alberta is filled with post-secondary schools offering an education in everything from acting, screenwriting and directing to lighting, make up artistry, special effects and video game design.
|Institution||Program||Focus of study|
|Alberta University of the Arts||Media Arts||Video, film, sound, multimedia, digital technologies, photography|
|Ambrose University||Fine Arts Program||Acting, directing, playwriting|
|Bow Valley College||Centre for Entertainment Arts (CEA)||Visual FX (Virtual Production), 3D animation and modelling, game development, entertainment arts|
|MacEwan University||Bachelor of Fine Arts||Music, studio arts, theatre production|
|Mount Royal University||Broadcast and Media Studies|
|NAIT School of Applied Sciences and Technology||Media, Creative and Communications||Animation, digital cinema, game design, radio and television|
|Pixel Blue College||3D animation and VFX, 2D animation and illustration, digital audio engineering and production|
|Red Deer Polytechnic||Creative Arts||Animation and VFX, film, theatre and live entertainment|
|SAIT||Film and Video Production||Film and video production, new media production and design, radio, television, broadcast news|
|University of Alberta||Drama||Acting, design, stage management, technical production|
|University of Calgary||Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies|
|University of Lethbridge||New Media||Artistic directing, lighting design, set design, costume design, playwright, makeup artistry, scriptwriting, technical directing, stage directing, casting|
|Visual College of Art and Design||3D Modeling, Animation|
Job positions in film and television
If you have ever sat through the credits of a movie, you can see just how many people it takes to make a production happen. Here are just a few of the jobs you can get in film and television.
Actors make magic and perform in front of the camera.
Background extras are people who appear in the background of a scene.
Boom operators operate boom microphones, place radio mics and maintain audio equipment.
Camera assistants help set up camera equipment and make sure batteries, monitors, memory cards, lenses and filters are ready.
Camera operators set up, position and run the camera.
Carpenters build sets and other physical elements from props to spaceships.
Choreographers orchestrate the movement of the actors in certain scenes.
Craft services provides snacks, coffee, and water on set.
Directors lead the actors, contributors and crew to make sure the vision is captured.
DOP/DP (director of photography) manages camera and lighting crews, directing the look, lighting and framing of every scene.
Drivers move equipment, vehicles, transport props, cast and crew between different shooting locations.
Gaffers run a team of lighting and electric techs who create the lighting for the production.
Key grips manage the set up of lights on set and much of the rigging and positioning of the camera.
Makeup artists make sure all on-camera talent look great on film.
Production assistants are entry-level personnel that do anything and everything from getting coffee to making script copies to driving cast and crew around town.
Runners handle everything that’s needed to ensure the production runs smooth.
Scenic painters create backdrops, murals, and other elements on film sets.
Script assistants help the director, DOP and actors with script details.
Set decorators dress up the set to have a certain feel or reflect a specific time period.
SFX (special effects) makeup artists use makeup and prosthetics to reproduce wounds, deformities, wrinkles, or supernatural features and creatures.
Sound recordists record all sound on set during filming for use in the final sound mix.
Still photographers take photos behind the scenes capturing details of cast, wardrobe and sets.
Wardrobe finds and fits clothing for actors and extras.
Behind the scenes
Art directors create the overall look of the sets.
1st Assistant director set the filming schedule and work with the director and director of photography (DOP).
2nd Assistant director create daily call sheets, work with actors and makes sure everyone’s ready when cameras roll.
Costume designers sketch costumes and wardrobe and oversee the tailoring of every stitch.
Location managers find and secure locations for filming and manage them during filming.
Producers oversee every facet of production from finding the script and securing financing, to hiring the director, talent and crew.
Production coordinators organize equipment, supplies and staff, coordinate travel, accommodation, work permits and distribute shooting schedules, crew and cast lists, and script revisions.
Production designers lead the art department and work with the director to create the look of the film.
Tailors sew the costumes and custom tailor wardrobe to fit each actor.
Writers put words to paper and develop scripts.
Animators create and add 2D and 3D animations.
Editors cut footage together with sound effects, graphics, special effects and music into the final product.
Graphic artists create and add graphics, titles, credits and drawings.
Sound engineers bring all the sound captured on set to create the final sound mix.
Get in touch
If you are wondering if Alberta is right for your next project, give us a call or send us a message.
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