Canadian Media Arts Internships

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

This article is a project for our Professional Practices course at the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, BC. It is being collaboratively written by Chris Cherepacha, Will Kosman, Justin Murphy, and Justin Wallace. Hopefully this information will be more useful to you than us.

Proposal[edit | edit source]

Transitioning from the completion of an media arts undergraduate program and into the workforce can sometimes be difficult. Graduates are often applying for positions that require relevant work experience beyond what they gained through their studies. While internships can be an effective means of gaining the missing work experience, more often than not internships provide insufficient wages to support oneself. However, principle research has shown there are a number of internships in Canada that do provide sufficient wages.

Our group research project will therefore be an investigation of how to position ourselves for acceptance into paid internship programs related to the media arts industries. The result of which will be a Wiki dedicated to this project in order to serve as a dynamic portal for those requiring the same information. We will be responsible for gathering an exhaustive list of all such programs, their respective requirements and deadlines, as well as establishing contacts at each administration. Further research will be gathered through interviews with each of the contacts and when available successful applicants to the programs. Our current list of contacts includes: Service Canada; Canadian Film & Television Production Association; Banff Centre;Felix Cheng from NFB Pacific and Yukon Centre; and Kevin Eastwood from Anagram Pictures.

Upon completion, our group will have a thorough understanding of what is required for acceptance into the internship programs, as well as, begun the process of positioning ourselves for acceptance. Moreover, we will have filled a need by providing a location for others to easily acquire this information.

Career Focus Program[edit | edit source]

Paid Experience- Will Kosman

Career Focus is one of three programs under the Canadian Government’s Youth Employment Strategy. The program pays the wages of post-secondary graduates through their career-related employers. Its intension is to allow graduates the chance to further develop “advanced skills” in their given field. For media arts grads this is ideal for a few reasons. The program(s) used during education may not necessarily be the one(s) of choice by the desired employer. Jobs are often software specific taking specialists over generalists. Outside of the many available animation, editing, and compositing interfaces on the market are those specifically developed for use in-house. Technology and techniques are constantly becoming more proficient making it difficult for educators to update their systems and curriculum. On top of refining their skills grads have the opportunity to understand and become a part of studio or production house workflow. Successfully working as part of a team develops relationships leading to future employment opportunities. Jobs usually require previous experience working within the industry for even junior level contract based positions. Salary contribution maximum $15,000 per year- represents a third of the gross salary. The program can last to 12 months maximum.

Basic Requirements:

Interns must have graduated from a post-secondary institute and are eligible until 30 years of age. They must also be Canadian citizens and not enrolled in school.


Applicants are required to develop a proposal after consulting the Youth Employment Strategy Guide (available at: ) Career Focus shares this guide with the Skills Link Program under the same Youth Employment Strategy. It differs in that it provides funding to community organizations helping “youth facing barriers to employment.” Unfortunately this makes the applicant proposal’s required information unnecessarily complicated for the Career Focus Program with community information. The proposal’s demands are thorough to say the least and require the participation of the desired employer. Employer eligibility should not be a problem for any reputable studio. The internship has to last at least six months with a minimum of 30 work hours a week. Career Focus’ funding comes through the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program but a council representing media has yet to be established. Funding is still available if you refer to the foot of the Sectoral Youth Career Focus Program (Appendix B) Employer Eligibility Assessment:

Reminder: Employer membership with the Sector Council or cross-sectoral organization is not a requirement for accessing Sectoral Youth Career Focus funding; the program must be open to all organizations which are part of the economic sector represented by the recipient sponsor. (pg. 1)

Unfortunately feedback from interns and employers involved in the Career Focus Program is not public and requires a username/password for access. An example of a success story from the Youth Employment Strategy similar to new media is Andrew Bauer’s experience as an information technology assistant. It can be found at

Work closely with Service Canada and the YES Guide to insure your application is error free.

Services Canada Center:

Vancouver SCC Sinclair Centre, Suite 415 757 Hastings Street West, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 1A1 Phone 604 681-8253 Fax N/A

To get things started visit the SCC. The only reason to call without having a contact with an extension is to get their business hours after waiting through keypad option after keypad option.

Monday: 8-5 Tuesday-Friday: 8:30-4:30

Youth Employment Strategy

Career Focus:

Youth Employment Strategy job postings:

The Career Focus Program requires some effort to be executed but the potential benefits are well worth it for getting into the competitive and always changing field of new media.

Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television[edit | edit source]

National Apprenticeship Training Program - Chris Cherepacha

The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television (ACCT) is a non-profit association that is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating achievements in the Canadian film and television industry.

National Apprenticeship Training Program

The ACCT offers a professional development program called the National Apprenticeship Training Program (NATP). The program, which was launched in 1986, has placed over 150 film and television graduates among established industry professionals. It is directed towards individuals who have just finished their post-secondary film, television, or communications studies, and its purpose is to allow the students to gain experience and helps to ease them into a career in the film and television industry.

Who is Eligible

To be eligible for the NATP the applicant must be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant and they must be in their final year of a full-time post-secondary studies in film, television, communications or related studies at the time that they apply.. Also, any applicant with work experience that is equivalent to that offered by the National Apprenticeship Training Program will be disqualified. There are a total of 16 graduating students that will receive a placement. One applicant will be awarded the Kodak Canada Cinematography Apprenticeship, which is given to an outstanding apprentice that is specializing in cinematography. There are 2 apprenticeships that will be awarded to residents of Quebec and then 13 apprenticeships will be awarded to a resident of each of the ten Provinces and three Territories.

Once an applicant is chosen for an apprenticeship, he is required to actively search for a placement with the assistance of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. The apprentice will then participate in a 12 week training period and during the 12 week training, you could be involved in a number of different productions in your training or craft area. The apprentice will also receive $375.00 for every week that they work.

The deadline to apply for 2007 has passed. To apply for an apprenticeship in 2008 you must submit the application and two reference letters from individuals that are familiar with your work by the beginning of March 2008. Once you are accepted you will then be required to submit a five minute sample of your work. This can either be a video or audio tape, script, storyboard, photo, film, etc, depending on your area of interest. Applications are available at

C.F.T.P.A's National Mentorship Program[edit | edit source]

A typical internship in the field of Media Arts involves being a Production Assistant. It is often grueling work but the rewards of developing a profile and industry connections are invaluable. Production Assistants provide general assistance on-set, which may include, crowd control, security, clean up, public relations and so on. There are often 4 or more PA's on a set. The other possible component is working in the production office along side the Producers handling the small things they don't want to take care of. Any creator of independent film has probably acquired enough of the skills to keep them afloat for a little while. While you may of complained during the making of your film that you were wearing too many different "hats" this experience will no doubt provide you with the mental fortitude to do well as a Production Assistant.

One program we were able to identify that helps make sure you are paid for your services is the Mentorship program from the Canadian Film & Television Production Association. Your potential employer must be already be a member of the Association to qualify. Due to the paperwork involved, it is probably best if you already have a good working relationship with your potential employer. This is due to the fact that this employer will be providing half of your salary while the program pays the rest. If you've already sold yourself to the company as a Producation Assistant and proven to be a valuable asset, this is definitely the program to utilize towards earning a salary. The website is well organized so it's important you read through everything they have to provide.

An interview will be forthcoming from Kevin Eastwood at Anagram Pictures. Kevin was a successful applicant to the program and has since gone on to work on the feature film projects, "The Delicate Art of Parking" and "Fido." The interview questions are provided below, so feel free to add anything you wish to ask.

Can you briefly describe your background? What you were doing at the time of application?

How did you find out about the CFTPA and their Mentorship programs?

What did you have to create for the application?

Did you have an interview? If so, what was your approach?

Did you ever receive any insider feedback on your application?

What do you think gave you the edge over the other applicants?

What was your first day like?

What skill/ set of skills have you relied on most?

What do you wish you had known before applying?

What have you learned about your employer that others may not of heard of before?

What advice would you give to future applicants?

Interview with Felix Cheng[edit | edit source]

The following interview was conducted with Felix Cheng, who just recently completed a term as Production Intern at the National Film Board Pacific and Yukon office in Vancouver. While his situation is extremely unique, it is a good case of "it's not what you know but who you know."

Can you briefly describe your background?

Graduated from ECI in Film, Video, and Integrated Media. Have done PA and camera assistant jobs on various film and television productions. In regards to the internship, I was a Production Intern, which meant I worked in the production department, assisting producers, and anyone else there, but I also did some work with marketing and publicity.

How did you find out about the position?

Through someone I knew from my graduating class who was working at NFB at the time.

What did you have to create for the application?

The usual resume and cover letter.

Did you have an interview? If so, what was your approach?

No. I guess this was unique to the internship because I didn't have an interview in the sense that I was competing with other applicants, and that I had to prove to them that I was right for the position. As far as I understand, they hand-pick the intern themselves. I briefly met with my employer at a film festival who told me at the time that there's a possible opening in the new year (this was several weeks after submitting my resume). And when I met with him again several weeks later to discuss what the position would involve, I had already got the job without knowing it and without having to go through the formal interviews that are typical of other jobs.

Did you ever receive any insider feedback on your application?

No. My employer didn't even have a copy of my resume both times I met with him. I can't be sure but I guess because there was no interview process, I don't think my application was very important to them except that it told them what my name was. But then again, maybe that's the point - the internship is meant to give people experience rather than teaching them what they already know. That's my assumption anyway. What do you think gave you the edge over the other applicants? Like I mentioned, because they hand-pick the intern and there's no formal application/interview process, I don't think there was any one I was competing with for the position. I can't say for sure what their criteria is for selecting the intern, but I do know that they want people who have a strong interest in filmmaking and more specifically, in documentaries and animation because that's what they produce at the studio. I guess after my employer saw that I had made a documentary, he thought I would be good to hire. And I guess also knowing someone who works there helps.

What was your first day like?

Busy. Mostly setting up computers, phones etc. But also finding out/catching up on the different projects that were happening at the studio at that point.

What skill/ set of skills have you relied on most?

Motivational and communication skills. See reason below.

What do you wish you had known before applying?

That the intern has to create and structure his own curriculum. Unless you've been hired to work on a specific project, you have to find your own work. What's good about this is that because there's so much happening at the studio that it opens up the opportunity to explore. But it's also frustrating because you're left on your own to explore. Depending on the time of year, there are a number of projects and meetings you would be invited to participate in, but the rest of the time, you're left to find your own work.

What have you learned about your employer that others may not of heard of before?

They organize workshops and film screenings in addition to producing films. And they make rad animations. And some rad docs.

What advice would you give to future applicants?

Get your name out. Be active in the film/animation community.

External Links[edit | edit source]

  • Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television - [1]
  • Canadian Film & Television Production Association - [2]
  • National Film Board of Canada - [3]
  • Service Canada: Services for Youth and Students - [4]