By Lora Campbell; pictured with Lisa Rose Snow
Almost two years ago I walked into AFCOOP and asked WIFT-AT member Martha Cooley, “So, how would I make a film?” From there I took workshop after workshop and was lucky enough to find guidance from experienced filmmakers like Michael Melski and Cory Bowles to help me with applications as well as meeting the people in the industry who would one day be kind enough to crew my shorts.
I have completed the AFCOOP FILM 5 program and am now taking part in the New Talent Development Program, through Telefilm with Marc Almon and Karl van Allen, which pairs an experienced producer with a new producer and writer to develop a feature film.
It’s a wonderful opportunity but I also wanted to learn more of the day-to-day activities of a producer. How to develop a slate, access development funding, heck- what WAS development funding?!
I spoke to Marc Almon and he agreed to apply for the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA)’s Screen Based Media Production Program with me and we began the mentorship in August 2013. As a new producer of short films who has now started to move into features this program could not be more of an asset. With the help of the wonderful Sarolta Csete who is the Manager of the National Mentorship Program & e-Services at the CMPA and Marc, I have been able to, over the last few months, hone my skills in terms of marketplace, funding, application, and overall knowledge about the film industry and what it means to be a producer in Atlantic Canada.
I have attended Strategic Partners at the Atlantic Film Festival and was able to watch as Marc held one 1-2-1 meetings with producers and distributors from across the world, and also attended the Broadcaster/Distributor Forum. I have someone to ask questions to when I am unsure of layouts, regulations, budgets, or any other concerns.
The CMPA Program combines a mentor and mentee in a way that is beneficial to both – as I learn from Marc he also has someone to assist him with various things on a day to day, but also long term basis. For the 25 weeks that I do this program I can actually make leaning how to produce well-organized, marketable, strong films my full focus and not have to work various part time jobs on the side as it is a well funded program.
The CMPA mentorship program is an incredible resource and with 40 positions across Canada a year it is something we new producers have to utilize as much as possible.
There are many women and members of WIFT-AT who have taken the program. The CMPA has a long history of helping out us ladies in the film industry and here is what a few of them had to say about their experiences:
“I did my CMPA mentorship at Big Motion Pictures here in NS with David MacLeod and Susy MacGillivray in 2010. Not only did I get an intensive crash course on feature film / television production financing, budgeting, tax credits, production management, and distribution, but having a mentor producer who is an active CMPA member introduced me to other producers across the country, as well as the current challenges and trends in the industry. This channel is so important when you’re based outside of Toronto. The mentorship opened the door to a permanent position at Big Motion Pictures, and I am currently a co-producer on 2 feature film projects in development and continuing to work in TV production as well. So yes, the CMPA mentorship was a precious opportunity for me.” – Gillian Everill
“For me it was a very positive experience and I learned more about development and distribution during my mentorship. Plus being able to go to the Prime Time Conference in Ottawa was a very valuable experience with fantastic networking opportunities.” – Rebecca Sharratt
Lora Campbell is originally from Newfoundland and is the co-founder of Organic Water Productions, a Halifax based Production Company with Lisa Rose Snow. Their short film Two Penny Road Kill has won multiple awards including nominations and wins at the ACTRA Maritime Awards for best actor and actress in a short film, Best Canadian Short at the Silver Wave Film Festival, as well as best juried short at the Parrsboro Film Festival. You can follow her projects at @2pennyroadkill, @whenfishflyfilm, @loracampbell2, or contact her at email@example.com