Learn the fundamentals of short fiction writing for web series and film from award-winning storyteller Jordan Wheeler.
Building on NSI New Northern Voices 2019 and the National Screen Institute’s commitment to growing capacity within the screen industry in The Pas, Manitoba and surrounding areas, the NSI New Northern Voices 2021 writers edition has been developed.
This course aims to strengthen new and emerging writers’ skills and abilities to craft stories told from a northern Manitoba perspective.
Training is delivered online over six weeks and provides up to three students with instruction from award-winning writer Jordan Wheeler in the fundamentals of developing a script for a short film or web series, up to 10 minutes in length.
Training includes three workshops, one-on-one story editor consultations at first and second draft phases and access to Final Draft software – the industry standard for writing and formatting screenplays. Workshop topics will include story structure, proper formatting, character development and other structural devices.
Additionally, one participant will be selected to have their story developed by a producer trainee and the National Screen Institute in a future edition of the program.
At a glance
Applications open: Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Application deadline: Monday, February 1 at noon CT
Selected participants notified by: February 8, 2021
All other applicants notified by: February 15, 2021
Workshop 1: February 17, 2021
Workshop 2: February 19, 2021
Workshop 3: February 24, 2021
February to March 2021
Program partners have covered the application and tuition costs.
This training is for you if:
You’re an emerging writer living in northern Manitoba
You want to learn the basic elements of writing for the screen
You have an idea for a fictional story (web series or short film)
To be eligible, you must:
Live in northern Manitoba
Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident aged 18 or over
Not be a participant in any other training course that would conflict with your ability to commit to NSI New Northern Voices 2021
In this program you will:
Learn the fundamentals of short fiction writing for the screen from award-winning storyteller Jordan Wheeler
Receive 6.5 hours of training workshops plus two one-on-one story editing consultations
Receive training, feedback, mentoring and guidance to create a well-developed script ready to pitch to funders, producers and production companies
Please note dates are subject to change.
Workshop 1 – Story structure, character growth, plot and theme
(February 17, 2021, 2.5 hours)
You will develop a synopsis for the next session.
Workshop 2 – Structural devices
(February 19, 2021, 1.5 hours)
You will apply principles of this workshop to further develop your characters and stories and work on an outline in preparation for the next session.
Workshop 3 – Screenwriting
(February 24, 2021, 2.5 hours)
You will receive instruction on how to write a professional script. You will have one week to write and submit a first draft for review and feedback.
You will use the time in between workshops to take your script through the next phase of development. Each participant will have two private sessions with a story editor to further develop your script and get it ready for the screen.
Jordan’s writing career spans over three decades. He has published several books including Digital Ogichida, Brothers In Arms and Just A Walk. He has written countless hours of television for shows such as Arctic Air, renegadepress.com and North of 60.
Our commitment to underrepresented voices
The National Screen Institute is committed to training participants from a diverse community of voices including Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S+), people with disabilities, those outside large urban centres, those from regional and remote areas, and various religious groups.
Please review the FAQ below. Program manager Ursula Lawson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is happy to answer any further questions about the application process or training.
Frequently asked questions
You must attend all three workshops (6.5 hours total) and participate fully in all activities and assignments over the duration of the course. In addition to the workshops, time will be required for the assignments, writing your script and then rewriting/fine tuning it based on feedback from the instructor/story editor.
Up to three participants are selected. Selections will be based on each candidate’s suitability and commitment to fully participate in the program.
Meet the faculty
From the George Gordon First Nation, Jordan’s been writing professionally since 1982 and working in film and television since 1984.
Among his numerous writing credits are the books Digital Ogichida, Brothers In Arms and Just A Walk and as a scriptwriter and story editor the TV series Arctic Air, renegadepress.com and North of 60.
Jordan has been nominated for and won numerous awards including a scriptwriting Gemini in 2006 for an episode of renegadepress.com.
When not writing he teaches writing, scriptwriting, story edits, tells stories and plays golf. Born in Victoria in 1964, Jordan has two kids and three step kids. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife Kim.
Senior Programs Manager
Ursula has been with the National Screen Institute since 2004 and is the senior programs manager.
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 the National Screen Institute 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 coordinated NSI Global Marketing, NSI Totally Television, NSI Aboriginal Cultural Trade Initiative and NSI Pitch to Win! Ursula is also secretary to the NSI Board of Directors.
As program manager, Sarah works across many of the National Screen Institute’s programs, helps run the day-to-day activities of CBC New Indigenous Voices and provides production and mentorship support for NSI New Northern Voices.
Sarah is a multi-talented Indigenous woman, born and raised on Treaty 1 Territory, (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and registered to Long Plain First Nation. She is a filmmaker with extensive experience who is dedicated to her craft and has made multiple short films that have screened at North American festivals. She strives to create stories and to help others share their stories through the medium of filmmaking.
Sarah went from thinking filmmaking could only be a hobby to making it a full-time career for herself: as a production manager for various productions and working at the National Screen Institute.
She is also co-chair of the board of directors for WNDX Festival of Moving Images and chair of Winnipeg Film Group.
Meet the students
Opaskwayak Cree Nation, MB
Steven Bignell was born and raised in Opaskwayak Cree Nation in The Pas, Manitoba.
He is a local Indigenous artist who has been painting for the past 35 years and sold hundreds of original pieces. He has also been involved in cosplay costume making for the past 25 years.
Steven has a keen interest in film and has even had a few roles in productions such as Moccasin Flats, Beyond and extra work in Just Friends and Tideland.
In 2019, with a small crew and local talent, Steven worked on the short horror film Black Ice which premiered at Storytellers’ Film Festival in The Pas and received great reviews.
Steven is currently working on a series of short WW2 films about a Native Canadian soldier.
The Pas, Manitoba
Stuart Matheson, 22, is a filmmaker from The Pas, Manitoba.
Born in Prince George, British Columbia and raised across Western Canada, he has had the opportunity to encounter a wide array of people and cultures that drive his desire to create stories.
Interested in film at a young age, Stuart created the internet horror series Ashes To Ashes.
Stuart participated in the NSI Business for Producers program to prepare him to serve as a producer on the short film project selected for production in the second edition of NSI New Northern Voices. He is an alumnus of the first edition of NSI New Northern Voices where he produced the short film Ni Mama (2020).
With a passion for producing, Stuart is looking forward to further developing his producing skills and hopes to produce in more projects in the future.