NSI New Voices class of 2016 tell us about their internships

Darcy Waite, Shannon Bear, Jordan Wagner, Phoenix Campbell, Zachary Harper, Justin Kehler, Olly King (AKA Kenneth Burns), Janelle Gossfeld and Cody Halcrow

Above from left: Darcy Waite, Shannon Bear, Jordan Wagner, Phoenix Campbell, Zachary Harper, Justin Kehler, Olly King (AKA Kenneth Burns),  Janelle Gossfeld and Cody Halcrow

Following the graduation of the NSI New Voices students at the end of July, we asked them to write a final blog post about their internships and hopes for the future.

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NSI New Voices is our course for young Aboriginal adults aged 18-35 with a desire to work in the film and television industry.

Workshops and seminars in the classroom phase are led by industry experts. Students intern with a broadcaster or independent production company giving them firsthand knowledge of the business. Training also includes the production and screening of three short films. Minimum wage is provided throughout the course.

Shannon Bear (Winnipeg, MB)

Shannon Bear

Working in film has been a passion and inspiration.

I enjoy telling stories about Indigenous people and never thought I’d receive training to further this. After finishing my education, I was encouraged by local filmmakers to apply for NSI New Voices.

By the middle of April 2016, I was chosen for the course. After two years experience creating short films and participating in the film community, I was finally ready to take on a training program.

It was a blessing to be part of a classroom full of Indigenous filmmakers. I was impressed by the powerful teachers that visited our classroom because of all their knowledge.

Shereen Jerrett taught a great component on storytelling and scriptwriting. She was an outspoken and motivating teacher who shared all her teachings within one day.

The weeks and teachings were well organized throughout.

I was so excited to hear that I would be working at Eagle Vision with Lisa Meeches and Kyle Irving for my internship. Our welcoming was so powerful and entertaining. It was amazing to see an Indigenous filmmaker like Lisa in a successful position.

At Eagle Vision I worked closely with creative producer Rebecca Gibson. She helped mentor [me while I worked] on the content for new series Taken about Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Before NSI, I worked very closely with this particular issue through professional academics, short film and volunteering at local events. For the last five years, I have danced and co-ordinated local jingle dress dancers for the national day for Missing and Murdered Indigenous women (MMIW).

I love dancing at spiritual events in support of families mourning loved ones who were tragically taken. I also created and dedicated a short film to honour the families suffering loss.

When I began this positive internship, with spiritual support from a team of filmmakers, elders and counsellors, it was powerful. It seemed like a fluke that I was selected to join this team knowing all I could bring to table and what I can take back with me.

I look forward to my journey in MMIW storytelling, encouraged by Rebecca Gibson and Kyle Irving.

I couldn’t believe all I learned and the friendships I made. I am very excited to see what the future can bring with this new knowledge. Thank you NSI.

Phoenix Campbell (Winnipeg, MB)

Phoenix Campbell

If you asked me to use one word to describe my overall experience in the NSI New Voices program I’d have to say: fulfilling. In the sense of gaining more knowledge, new friends and building a stronger sense of which direction my career will take.

It was great to experience the pressure of creating a short film in a strict amount of time. My time on set was exciting, although there were a few things I wished I had added or thought of prior to the filming dates – all part of the learning process of making movies.

Without this opportunity I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience the process of writing a short film – something I’d never really done until now. I have to admit you won’t be seeing another film written by me coming out soon. I learnt my true weaknesses lay in the pre-production stage. I am more comfortable handling the camera or sitting in front of a screen editing.

My placement for an internship couldn’t have been more perfect. I had hoped to be placed at William F. White and that’s exactly where I landed.

It was a delight to learn more about lights and discuss the ideal situations for the lights and grip fabrics. When it comes to lights I do prefer concert rigs over movies but the more time I spent in the warehouse, the more anticipation I built up for a load-in.

My internship allowed me to get an inside scoop on what it’s like working as a lighting technician on set and a lot more on what it’s like to manage lights, stands and everything else you need on set.

I hope to continue working alongside my fellow alumni and build stronger relationships with other filmmakers across Canada, and possibly get into music video.

My overall goal is to teach children in remote areas how to properly broadcast themselves on the internet, and to showcase their everyday lives to others all across the world.

I thank NSI for allowing me to participate in this year’s NSI New Voices. I got a set of credits and new friends – a pretty solid deal if you ask me.

Janelle Gossfeld (Thompson, MB)

Janelle Gossfeld

I came to question myself during the second half of this course when we got our placements for our internships. Of course I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect which is why I was questioning myself. But I quickly calmed down when I got to meet everyone at my internship at NCI FM.

My love for music and broadcasting was evident. I live for music: listening to it, describing it, and the artists and their relationship with the lyrics. Getting my placement at NCI gave me the chance to explore all genres of music, especially indigenous artists.

I spent countless hours sitting with CEO Dave McLeod and shadowing him as he introduced me to every aspect of what he does. I gave my opinion technically in every department in that place and watched the birth of a new radio station blossom. I spent hours on end listening to music with Dave while we picked and chose what would be played on the station. I gave him my opinion from music to the look of the logo.

While I was at NCI I did commercials, updated their website, wrote my own blog entries on their site, researched many artists, connected with many people and did whatever I could while there. [I went to] on-site events such as APTN’s Aboriginal Day, did photography and posted on social media sites for NCI FM, as well as my own.

Last but not least I met tons of amazing people, especially the people who run the station: Dave, Fran, Ida, Char, Charity, Justin, Elenar, Ralph, Rick, Daniel, Jordan, Garth, Brian and many more. I will miss everyone there. I became good friends with a lot of them and will miss seeing them daily.

As this course comes to an end I can’t forget the people that got me here in the first place: everyone at the National Screen Institute and those of you who had to check up on me throughout the second half of my placement (yes Miss Kaya [Wheeler, program co-ordinator] and Ursula [Lawson, program manager], that’s you). Always giving advice and helping out the best they can.

I will never forget this experience. It was amazing. I got to network with so many people and I am not done yet. I plan on going further into this industry and making it.

I had nothing but great experiences through this course. I will never forget everyone’s faces: Olly, Justin, Darcy, Phoenix, Zach, Cody, Shannon and Jordan. We were quite a unique bunch of people. I think we all brought so much to the table with our differences and still got along all so well.

I must say goodbye as this is my last posting for this course but hopefully not the last for the National Screen Institute as I am interested in many of their other courses.

This is a great place and I would encourage anyone to follow their dreams and get out there. You never know who will take a chance on you. Thank you Lisa Meeches and colleagues for taking a chance on this small-town girl with big dreams [of getting her] start somewhere in this industry. ❤️

Cody Halcrow (Winnipeg, MB)

Cody Halcrow

For the past month, I got the opportunity to work in the field of documentary when I was placed with Bear in the Window Inc. for my work placement, along with fellow classmate Darcy Waite.

I didn’t know what to expect when I heard I was going to be working on Moccasin Stories – a documentary on our Aboriginal culture – since I also didn’t know too much about the cultural significance of moccasins.

I knew it was going to be a big learning experience but it was good to hear I’d be working with director [and NSI New Voices grad] Charlene Moore again as a mentor. We’ve worked together previously on a short film I had directed. As soon as I saw the shoe was on the other foot, I was willing to put in that same effort and help out.

As soon as I sat down with mentors Charlene Moore and Andrew George [also an NSI New Voices grad] to go over what we would be doing for the next while, I realized a big learning experience was about to take off for me.

Half of it was spent day after day on set as a production assistant helping out with gear and switching back and forth with Darcy working on sound. The other half was working from home, whether it be on our social media pages or transcribing the interviews we shot.

There were some rough bits here and there but I was determined to get it done. And Charlene and Andrew were always happy to help when needed.

As I got to hear these incredible stories told by the people we were interviewing – including shooting some great footage at The Forks during Aboriginal Day Live – I knew Charlene and Andrew had a powerful documentary on their hands.

This entire month has been one big learning experience. I’m dearly grateful about getting to work with such talented individuals while acquiring valuable knowledge and feedback from everybody.

I would like to thank Ursula and Kaya, as well as all the other staff at NSI for giving me this great opportunity and helping me fulfill my dream of becoming a successful filmmaker.

Zachary Harper (Winnipeg, MB)

Zachary Harper

During my internship phase at Eagle Vision I learned the techniques used to make short 30 second to 1 minute videos. What I’ve learned is how to make the video flow with a background song.

The first week, I cataloged clips from Manito Ahbee, naming the shot and describing the clip on an Excel spreadsheet. After cataloging, I put together the clips to make the short videos which took me the rest of my internship.

A cameraman by the name of Sam came in to check on my progress with the Manito Ahbee videos. I got along with Sam and had fun talking with him. I had fun looking through all the CDs in storage while searching for the right type of music for the clips – there was so much to go through.

From this experience, I want to take editing to the next level and get training so I could hopefully work in the same setting as I did during my internship.

This was the best job I’ve had in years and wish to continue within this field.

Justin Kehler (Winnipeg, MB)

Justin Kehler

My internship at the National Screen Institute has been a blessing.

From day one I felt a part of the NSI staff due to the fact I’ve been able to build relationships with them since the program started. There is an amazing group of women and men who work there and being the only NSI New Voices student to be chosen to stay and work with them in their beautiful office space has been an absolute gift to my career in film, and my summer of 2016.

I’ve learned so much in this program it’s near impossible to describe it all so I’ll simply say it’s been a journey that has made me more informed, more confident and more connected to the industry than ever before.

I always said NSI is a nexus for the Canadian film industry, especially here in Manitoba.

The future of Canadian filmmaking looks bright with emerging actors and actresses, writers, directors, producers and phenomenal companies like the National Screen Institute guiding artists along the way.

I feel humbled and immensely thankful to NSI for choosing me for the 2016 NSI New Voices program. They have guided me to a brighter future.

Olly King (aka Kenneth Burns) (Winnipeg, MB)

Olly King

When I found out I was getting to work at Eagle Vision I was so excited. Getting to work with Lisa Meeches, Kyle Irving and the whole team was such a delight.

Kyle and Lisa were very welcoming and inclusive. From day one Shannon [Bear, also interning at Eagle Vision] got to sit in on meetings, provide input and contribute to projects that Eagle Vision was working on.

I was responsible for social media which is something I love doing.

In the first week we got to review what the production company was working on for the following few years, watched a TV series, a movie and reviewed a script. Then we got to follow Kyle and Rebecca Gibson to a meeting at Tactica where they co-ordinated with the team on a website for a television series debuting in the fall.

We were all very hands-on doing cool and innovative things. I am so honoured to have gained experience working in the field of my chosen career.

My whole NSI experience was one that I will never forget.

Jordan Wagner (Winnipeg, MB)

Jordan Wagner

For my work placement I was first assigned to CBC Radio, seconded to the Unreserved program. It was a bit of an odd transition as I’m not much of a journalistic creature.

For most of my duties I was assigned to writing web articles based on various interviews conducted. I was also assigned to make memes for social media usage.

Despite not being in my true element, I found a very welcoming and creative atmosphere. The staff at CBC, formerly the Defintely Not The Opera program, were all knowledgeable and friendly with someone just sitting in like myself.

The timings were a little hasty as everyone at CBC would have gone for holidays during my tenure. For the last three weeks, I was assigned to Precursor Productions.

This was much more my speed despite being somewhat tedious. The nature of sound mixing and editing sounds much more glamorous than it really is.

There are times when the work came hard and fast with multiple exciting projects happening all at once. Other times, there was piecemeal voice over and editing to keep the bills paid. Much like life itself, a season for all things.

I’m quite happy with both assignments, both being outside of my proverbial comfort zone. Both allowed me to expand my skill set and make connections with people I wouldn’t normally have access to, or forethought to introduce myself to.

The same could be said about this program, in general. It has been one of the most enriching, exciting and terrifying experiences I’ve had.

For now, the realities of life still need to be tended to. But this is very much what I uprooted myself and came back to Winnipeg for.

The future is looking bright.

Darcy Waite (Edmonton, AB)

Darcy Waite

For the second part of the program, I was helping out with a documentary called Moccasin Stories. It was a fun experience because I’ve never worked on a documentary film before.

At first it was very fast paced because we started principal photography on the first day of the internship. I’m not a very technical person so I didn’t know how to use some of the equipment. I did the best I could at holding the clip board.

I was able to get through the first couple of days without making a huge mistake. Which was my first goal. You never want to be the guy to lose something or break something. I mean, you only get one opportunity.

The following weeks were a mix of shooting, tons of transcribing and distracting cat videos.

One week we went on a road trip to shoot some stuff in northern Manitoba. It was a big eye-opener seeing how some of the communities are doing really well and some unfortunately not as well.

All jokes aside, the thing I’m going to take away from this is knowing what’s involved in making a documentary: what to expect and be flexible with if it doesn’t go according to plan.

My plan after this project is to organize another story I’ve had my eye on since coming to Winnipeg. I’m really excited because without this experience it would have been 10 times harder to try a doc without any experience.

NSI New Voices is funded by Presenting Sponsor Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage; Program Partners Telefilm Canada and the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development (CAHRD); NSI Aboriginal Training Programs Partner Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries; Supporting Sponsors Entertainment OneSuper Channel, Corus Entertainment, Breakthrough Entertainment and imagineNATIVE; Provincial Sponsors Manitoba Film & Music and Alberta Film; Industry Partners Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (ACCT) and the Directors Guild of Canada; and Service Sponsor William F. White. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture and Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

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