Upcoming workshop to certify more on-set workers to meet demand

Landing a series like Alone on History Channel is a great boon for a region like ours in terms of driving more film projects this way, according to Vancouver Island North (INFilm) commissioner Joan Miller, but when those productions come, the region also needs to have people who can work on them.

To that end, INFilm has set up a two-day Motion Picture Orientation Ticket course this coming weekend (May 14 and 15) to give people the skills they need to be on set.

The course costs $175 and is being put on in Parksville, but Miller says for those thinking of trying to get work in the industry, the hour drive and expense of the course is well worth it, as the certification is a requirement to work on a many production sets, although she’s careful to point out that completion of the course, like any other certification, doesn’t guarantee employment.

It will, however, “offer insight into how the industry works, encourage self-awareness for suitability, outline the screening process for entry level positions and provide the functional skills necessary for finding employment in the film and new media industries,” Miller says. “Participants will receive information on the structure of the industry and the diverse jobs within it, the stages of production, training and union certification, set terminology, along with basic safety, code of conduct and behaviour expectations on set.”

And while INFilm is doing its part to have people ready to work on set should projects come north, the provincial government has been working with industry to rejig the provincial film tax credit system.

This week it was announced that both the production services tax credit rate and the digital animation or visual effects tax credit rate will be lowered.

The government announced in February that it would be forming an industry-government working group to address the rising cost of the province’s production tax credit, which was forecasted to cost taxpayers nearly $500 million in 2015-16. That working group has come together and has come up with a system that will, theoretically, work for all sides.

“We are proud of the successes we’ve seen in this industry,” says B.C. Minister of Finance Michael de Jong, “but we also need to safeguard the interests of B.C. taxpayers, who ultimately pay for subsidies, and ensure there is equity with other industries that drive B.C.’s economy.”

Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond says she’s happy the industry was involved in the discussions, rather than just having changes imposed on them.

“By working together,” Bond says, “we found a solution that protects jobs for the talented and skilled individuals working in this industry, preserves B.C.’s reputation as a globally competitive filming location and ensures government support for the industry is sustainable for taxpayers.”

The basic production services tax credit rate was lowered to 28 per cent from 33 per cent and the digital animation or visual effects tax credit rate was lowered to 16 per cent from 17.5 per cent.

Film investments already planned in B.C. will fall under the old tax credit system if principal photography begins prior to Oct. 1.

For more information on the Motion Picture Orientation Ticket course coming up in Parksville, go online to infilm.ca and look for “Motion Picture Industry Orientation Course” on the right side of their homepage.