What motivated you to get into this career?
I experimented with video production during high school and found that I loved the process. From writing through to production, filmmaking includes a lot of my favorite activities. It quickly became a major creative outlet for me. It is also endlessly challenging and requires focus, attention to detail and a lot of creativity. I really enjoy those challenges.
Was there someone who got you excited about this path?
I grew up with a dad who loved cameras. I was exposed to, and interested in, photos and film. I am inspired by most filmmakers that I meet, but I was particularly inspired to return to the Yukon after completing my undergrad to discover the community of Yukon filmmakers who are making films here. I got my first film job in the Yukon in 2009 and have been forever grateful for all the amazing support there is for Yukon filmmakers. It’s inspiring to see the work coming out of the North.
Was there a class in secondary school that helped you become more proficient at the work you do now?
I didn’t take any specific classes, but I imagine a high school videography class would be a decent intro to filmmaking. Classes that encourage storytelling are good too. The best way to learn about filmmaking is to make a film with your friends or volunteer to help out on a film. I got my very first taste of filmmaking making Canadian history videos for my 9th grade social studies class. There are so many different careers in filmmaking that the best way to explore the opportunities is by actually making films.
What was it like to go to post-secondary school and work at the same time?
I got a degree in communications followed by a certificate in directing and was in school full-time for the most part. I did work as a videographer during one semester, which was challenging, but also gave me access to high-quality equipment, so I was able to make my own things on the side. People who end up working in film get there in a lot of different ways. Some enter the field right after high school by getting an entry-level job on a film and working their way up. Others attend various post-secondary programs. Some programs focus on technical skills while others focus on theory. I value the education I received as I feel I ended up with a well-rounded background of experience to pursue the specific jobs I am interested in, including directing and producing.
What is the best part of your career?
I love how much my job varies from day to day, but the combination of creativity and adventure is my favorite aspect of what I do. I often get to travel for work and then I get to translate the experience of my travels on film to share with the world. It’s very rewarding. Second to the actual experience of making films is getting to sit in a theatre and show your work to an audience. It’s exhilarating, albeit nerve-wracking at times.
What does a regular day look like for you in your job?
It depends on what kind of project I am doing. My production company has a focus on creating our own documentary and fiction content, but we also serve corporate and non-profit clients, so it really depends on the day. I write budgets, develop film and television content and scripts, direct documentary, fiction and commercial content, and also edit. We have lots of projects on the go and so my schedule varies greatly from day to day.
If you met someone who was looking at getting a job in filmmaking, what piece of advice would you give them?
My biggest piece of advice would be to start by making your own film with whatever resources you have to do so. You can make a film and edit it on your phone these days, it doesn’t have to be fancy to be a good film. If you like it, and want to pursue filmmaking, make sure you focus on learning the business side as well as the creative.
How has your career made your life better?
I get a lot of satisfaction out of the work that I do as so much of it is oriented towards sharing stories and ideas that have the power to impact people. In my documentary work, it’s my job to connect with people and experience things, places and people I might not otherwise. It enriches my life in so many ways. I love it.
What is the most interesting project you have worked on?
Recently, The Arctics, a short documentary that Marty O’Brien and I co-wrote, directed and produced for the 50th anniversary of the Arctic Winter Games. It made me fall in love with the circumpolar North in such a big way and took me to a country I’ve been wanting to go to since I was a teenager: Russia!