Film production companies are showing a heightened interest in producing their films on Vancouver Island’s West Coast.
Aiming to meet the demand for locally trained off-screen talent, Vancouver Island North Film Commission in partnership with North Island College has developed a four week pilot trades training course to be delivered at both the Campbell River and Port Alberni Trades Campuses.
The TV and film crew training program will offer production assistant training and three trades courses—lighting, grip and set construction.
Because the program is being run as a pilot, funding from the Province will cover the majority of the tuition costs, resulting in a $275 enrolment fee per course.
“If you were to take this (program) in another time or place it would cost $2,500 to $3,000 to get this type of training,” said Joan Miller commissioner of the Vancouver Island North Film Commission. “You come out of the training not only understanding how the area that you’re interested in works and functions, but you also receive many certifications.”
Miller said certificates received through the courses can be used in other industries.
“We wanted to know that when people took the courses, they were also offered other opportunities to use some of those skills in other sectors,” Miller said. “Whether it’s a flagging ticket, first aid, dangerous goods or working with propane, those cross over.”
The program launches as Vancouver Island and B.C.’s local film industries are booming. Miller said with Vancouver seeing an over abundance of film and TV productions setting up in the city, interest has expanded to the Island for production.
“We’re so busy right now in the film industry. In our region, we’re now landing television series, Chesapeake Shores is a really good example,” Miller said.
“Three of the (program) instructors are key on that TV series and they’ve been tasked to expand their local hire. They’re going to be looking at all these [students] and say, who can we hire for season three.”
Although there has been a lot of interest to film on Vancouver Island, Miller said if after graduating the program, if people wish to travel for work there’s a lot of possibilitys on the Mainland and around the province.
“There’s so much work going on in the province and if you want to travel you could get on instantly, but if you want to stay home you could work when projects come,” Miller said.
The program’s curriculum was designed by film industry department leads who have 20 plus years experience.
“It’s good for anyone that’s taking the program because basically they get introduced to the people who hire or who recommend for hiring (in the film industry),” Miller said.
If the crew training program is successful, Miller said they hope to look at piloting other film department programs like catering, hair, makeup and set painting.
Anyone interested in applying for a course in the crew training program can request an application package at email@example.com.