NSI Business for Producers Apply

Application deadline

Applications are closed.


If you require assistance or have questions, please email Ursula Lawson.

Application fee

  • $50 non-refundable submission fee per application.
  • $250 non-refundable tuition fee for each participant (due one week after notification of acceptance to the program).

Timeline at a glance

  • Applications open: July 21
  • Application deadline: Friday, August 14 at 5 p.m., CT
  • Participants notified by September 21, 2020
  • Phase 1 (online training) October and November 2020
  • Phase 2 (mentorship) January and February 2021


What does NSI Business for Producers offer?

NSI Business for Producers provides emerging producers with practical training and mentorship in producing and business know-how to ensure participants can successfully move creative projects forward while developing entrepreneurial skills for sustainable long-term businesses in a COVID-19 environment and beyond.

Training will be delivered through a series of online workshops and masterclasses that may include:

  • Pitching
  • Storytelling for producers
  • Leadership and collaboration
  • Budgeting
  • On Screen Protocols and Pathways: A Media Production Guide to Working with First Nations, Métis and Inuit Communities
  • Conflict resolution
  • Conditions for successful negotiations
  • Tax credits, finance structure and cash flow
  • Creativity post-COVID-19
  • Post production
  • Fundamentals of business affairs
  • Human resource management

What is the program format?

NSI Business for Producers is an online, distance learning program with a boot camp intensive and one-on-one mentorship for up to 20 participants.

Phase 1 – Online six-week boot camp intensive (October and November 2020)

Phase 1 training focuses on developing creative and business skills. Instruction will be presented by leading industry experts and plenty of opportunity will be given for hands-on, practical learning and networking.

Each participant will be given exclusive access to presentations, roundtables, masterclasses, interactive and networking sessions with top industry producers and their peers who will share their experiences and knowledge through online training sessions and insightful case studies.

During phase 1, participants will be offered up to 20, one- to two-hour sessions, scheduled Monday to Friday, over a six-week period. Some sessions will be mandatory.

Phase 2 – one-on-one mentorship (January and February 2021)

Once equipped with an overview of how to produce, and knowledge of the essential elements, participants will be matched with a mentor from their region to identify challenges and areas of need (ie: if your goal is to draft a budget and create a finance plan to fund the production, you’ll be matched with an experienced mentor to guide you through the process of drafting a reasonable budget based on your creative, and advice on where to get financing). Mentors will be selected by NSI in collaboration with participants.

What do I have to do to commit to the course?

You must make considerable time available for the course. While the curriculum will be carefully designed and created with maximum flexibility, any mandatory training sessions (one to two hours) will take place online during the day.

Who can apply?

This program is specifically designed for and targeted at creative entrepreneurs who want to learn the essential elements of producing and are currently developing a project.

Preference will be given to applicants with relevant experience who have an active project to work on.

NSI Business for Producers is a ‘how-to’ producing program. The training is designed to increase the network of producing talent across the country.

If you are a writer and/or director keen on acquiring producing skills, you’re eligible to apply. If you’re an emerging producer seeking training to enhance your skill set to take on bigger projects and grow your business, this program is also for you.

In order to be eligible applicants must:

  • Have demonstrated experience in production, business affairs, legal, marketing, distribution or development, or a combination of these. Writers and directors who wish to develop their producing skills are also eligible
  • Maintain creative and financial control over the project. This includes ownership of, or option on, all underlying rights (if any). NSI reserves the right to disqualify any participant who does not fully own the rights in and to the project
  • Not be a participant in any other training course that would conflict with your ability to fully commit to NSI Business for Producers
  • Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, aged 18 or older

I’m a creative professional (ie: writer or director) but would like to acquire producing skills. Is this program right for me?

Yes, if you’re a writer or director looking to gain producing skills, this program will provide info and insights appropriate for emerging producer professionals. In your application, be clear to explain the skills you hope to learn.

Can I apply as a two-person team?

You must apply alone. Only the producer is eligible to apply as this program is custom designed for emerging producers with an active project in development.

Which projects are eligible?

All genres, lengths and formats eligible.

Important to note that NSI will not accept any project that contains excessive violence, sexual violence or sexual exploitation.

What do I need to apply?

  • Synopsis/treatment
  • A paragraph or two explaining why you believe your project is relevant in today’s landscape
  • Letter of expectation: how do you hope this program will help you and your project? What aspect or skill are you hoping to learn/finesse?
  • Resume
  • Letter of reference
  • $50 non-refundable application fee

Only complete applications will be considered. This means you must fill out all required sections of the application form and must include all the documents listed above as one PDF, .doc or ZIP file.

Your application will be disqualified if any of the sections are incomplete or missing. A check list is provided for your use on the application form.

How will participants be selected?

Participants will be selected based on a combination of factors including relevant industry experience, the project’s creative and commercial viability, and a participant’s readiness to take full advantage of the training and mentorship opportunities.

All applications will be assessed for eligibility and completeness. Incomplete applications will be rejected.

An industry jury together with NSI staff will read the applications and create a shortlist. Jury members will select up to 20 participants.

NSI is committed to selecting participants from a diverse community of voices including women and/or Indigenous and/or People of Colour and/or LGBTQ2+ and/or people with disabilities, and those from underrepresented regions of Canada.

When will I know if I’ve been selected?

Shortlisted applicants will be notified via email. Final selection of participants will be completed the week of September 21, 2020.

Tuition payments and a signed NSI agreement are required one week following notification of acceptance into the program.

If you are not selected, you will be notified by email. We will do our best to notify everyone the week of September 21, 2020.

Jury decisions are final.

Who are the NSI Business for Producer advisors?

Jeff Peeler

Producer Jeff Peeler started Three Film and Television after 17 years at a senior management level at the award-winning international film and television production company, Frantic Films. With over 25 years experience in the industry he has overseen the production of hundreds of hours of film and television content across multiple genres.

Jeff’s producer and executive producer credits include the Canadian Screen Award and Banff Rockie winning Baroness Von Sketch Show (CBC/IFC), the multiple award-winning Still Standing (CBC), Buy It Fix It Sell It and Backyard Builds (HGTV), The Winnipeg Comedy Festival (CBC), Killer in Plain Sight (Investigation Discovery), High Maintenance: Preventing Disaster (Smithsonian Channel), Meet the Family (City), and the feature films Stand!Into Invisible Light and The Nature of Nicholas.

Jeff produced the sports documentary, The 13th Man for TSN’s Engraved on a Nation anthology which won Best Documentary Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in 2014. He also co-produced the true-crime documentary Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier.

Jennifer Podemski

Jennifer Podemski is an award-winning film and TV producer and actor born and raised in Toronto, Canada.

Of mixed First Nations and Israeli decent, Jennifer began her acting career as a teen. Her career blossomed when she was cast as Pique in CBC’s The Diviners followed by a starring role in Bruce McDonald’s Dance Me Outside.

As her career in front of the camera exploded, Jennifer began to notice the inequity behind the lens. Although all of the roles she was awarded as actor were First Nations characters, she rarely, if ever, saw any First Nations writers, producers or directors.

By 25, with a solid career under her belt, Jennifer opened her first production company, Big Soul Productions with fellow, burgeoning producer Laura Milliken. BSP became the first Indigenous owned and operated, full-service production company in Canada, producing hundreds of hours of television including three seasons of the award winning dramatic series Moccasin Flats for Showcase and APTN.

In 2005, Jennifer branched out on her own and founded Redcloud Studios Inc.

Jennifer is also the creator and producer of APTN’s famed paranormal series The Other Side, currently shooting it’s second season; in her ninth year as co-executive producer and creative director of the Indspire Awards for which she was nominated for best lifestyle television show at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards.

Most recently, Jennifer can be seen as Dr. Crowshoe on the award winning drama series Blackstone; HBO’s Sensitive Skin with Kim Catrall and in Fire Song, written and directed by Adam Garnett Jones.

A storyteller behind and in front of the camera, Jennifer still makes time for training Indigenous youth in film and TV, mentoring and holding self esteem workshops across the US and Canada.

Who is the NSI Business for Producers Program manager?

Ursula Lawson

Ursula has been with NSI since 2004 and is a manager of programs and development. She is currently working on virtual training initiatives including NSI Business for Producers, NSI New Northern Voices and the NSI/FTM Manitoba Content Creators Development Accelerator. She also oversees the mentorship, development and delivery of projects for TELUS STORYHIVE.

In 2013 Ursula was honoured to receive the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Circle of Inspiration Award along with colleagues Lisa Meeches and Melissa Kajpust for their contribution to CBC New Indigenous Voices. In 2019, Ursula was nominated for the Winnipeg Arts Council Making a Difference award which celebrates contributions to the growth and development of the arts in Winnipeg.

Instrumental in helping NSI develop and deliver culturally sensitive film and television training to emerging Indigenous content creators, Ursula previously managed CBC New Indigenous Voices, NSI IndigiDocs and NSI Aboriginal Journalism. She also coordinated NSI Global Marketing, NSI Totally Television, NSI Aboriginal Cultural Trade Initiative and NSI Pitch to Win! Ursula is also secretary of the NSI Board of Directors.

Prior to working at NSI, Ursula held management positions in both the hospitality and healthcare industries.

What are the exact course dates?

NSI Business for Producers is a four-month training program.

Phase 1 – Online six-week boot camp intensive (October and November 2020)

Phase 2 – one-on-one mentorship (January and February 2021)

What rights does the National Screen Institute have on the project?

All copyright in the project remains with the applicants. NSI reserves the sole right to disqualify any team that does not fully own the rights in and to the project.

NSI requires a tail credit on all produced episodes as well as a credit on all publicity and promotional materials developed with respect to the project.

A contract will be signed outlining the commitments and responsibilities of the participant and NSI under the course.

What financial assistance will I receive?

Tuition is subsidized in part by the generous contributions of our partners and sponsors.

NSI will cover fees paid to mentors.

What is the relationship between the National Screen Institute and the successful applicant?

The relationship between the applicant and NSI shall not be deemed to constitute a partnership or joint venture. The applicant shall not have the right to incur any debts nor to make any commitment of or on behalf of NSI.

Does NSI provide feedback on my application package?


Can I submit my application by fax or email?


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NSI Business for Producers is funded by Program Partner Canada Media Fund (CMF); Strategic Sponsors Telefilm Canada and The Winnipeg Foundation; Supporting Sponsors Corus Entertainment and Super Channel; Industry Consultants Executive Education Centre, Asper School of Business, Facilitated Solutions and People First HR Services. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.