Breaking into a new field can be tough, and none so more than the film industry. When people think of Canada they don’t necessarily think of the movies, but in reality, a lot of Hollywood’s blockbuster movies, television series, and advertisements are shot in Canada. Why? Because it’s cheaper and thanks to Canada’s sprawling wilderness, film makers can shoot without airplanes, powerlines, or a random car invading their shot. There are a number of factors to consider when looking for a job in Canada’s film industry. The first is that you will likely have to start from the bottom. Unless you already have a great portfolio and a job offer, the most important thing in the film industry is building up experience, making connections, and seizing opportunities when they present themselves. If you have a qualification, great, but get ready to start out as a runner, a cleaner, a grip, whatever you can get, and then work your butt off.
How to Find My Way Into Canada’s Film Industry
If you’re from the US or Europe and hold a valid passport, you can travel to Canada on an eTA and audition for job offers once you are in Canada.
If you are from a country that requires a visa to visit Canada, you will need to apply for a temporary resident visa which will allow you to visit Canada for up to six months, during which time you can audition for job offers in Canada. There are strict requirements that you must meet for the temporary resident visa:
- You must hold a valid passport with at least two open pages
- You must have a return air ticket
- You must be admissible to Canada, this means you must be in good health and have no criminal record.
- Be able to show the immigration officer at the consulate/embassy that you have ties to your home country. This can be anything that will motivate your return such as assets, employment, family, or your home.
- State categorically that you intend to leave Canada at the end of your visit.
- Show that you have enough money to cover your stay, this can be supplemented by a letter from family/friends living in Canada that you intend on visiting
Although it can be tough, the best option is to secure a job offer from outside Canada. Canadian embassy’s do not grant visas to people who solely want to travel to their country to seek employment, because they can’t be sure you will return. If you do secure a job offer in the making of a film, television, or radio broadcast, you must apply for a work permit prior to your travels. You will also require a temporary resident visa.
If you do travel to Canada and secure a job offer, the first thing you must do is apply for a temporary work permit for the term of your employment. If you can secure a longer-lasting or more permanent position, you can even apply for permanent residency in Canada.
Filming Jobs in Canada
The people that say they started from the bottom now they’re here, are often telling the truth in the film industry. Even if you have just graduated with a degree or diploma in cinematography and are ready to shoot the heck out of the next Fast and Furiousfilm, you will, unfortunately, have to start, you guessed, at the bottom:
Why are there always so many people on a film set? Simple, most of the people who have made it don’t like to do anything for themselves. From filling coffee orders to collecting props, you will be busy 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. No one said it would be easy, but pay your dues, someone will notice you and you will make assistant
Assistants have various roles, yes you’ll still be filling coffee orders, but you will get to be a lot closer to the action and even get the chance to, you know, assist. You will get to know more people and that is what you very much need to do. People in the film industry hire people they know, so networking is key. If you don’t have paid work, take indie film jobs. They are great for networking and it’s something to add to your resume.
Once you have the right experience, the chips will begin to fall where they should. If you want to become a producer, someone who knows you can get things done may give you a shot. If you want to become a cinematographer, one day the principal will call in sick and you will be asked to helm the camera for a couple of easy shots. If you want to become a director, well let’s be honest it will take a few good indie’s at the Toronto International Film Festival before you’ll be working with Rock “The Dwayne” Johnson. We cannot stress this enough, it will take hard work, long hours, and a lot of perseverance. So what are you waiting for, your dreams won’t come true reading about them online.
How We Can Help You
There are a number of ways you can travel to Canada to begin your long and illustrious film career. Realistically you don’t want to be kicked out of the country for violating immigration rules though.
By using our accredited Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) you will not only improve your chances of success in the visa application process, but you will get expert advice on which program is best for your specific needs. Our RCICs are highly qualified and are granted permission by the ICCRC to assist you with your eligibility evaluation, review all your documents and application forms, and submit them to the Canadian government for you. Why take the chance of having your application denied because your forms are incorrect or sent in too late.
When you apply for your Canadian study permit and eventually permanent residency with our services you essentially remove all the stress and complications from the immigration process, and as long as you meet the eligibility requirements, you can rest assured that your application is in good hands.