New Northern Voices

Learn the fundamentals of short fiction writing for web series and film from award-winning storyteller Jordan Wheeler.

Program status:

Training underway


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

Key information

Program dates
February to March 2021
Part-time, online
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.

Program phases

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, and North of 60.

Program phases

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 ( is happy to answer any further questions about the application process or training.

Frequently asked questions

Meet the faculty


Jordan Wheeler


From the George Gordon First Nation, Jordan’s been writing professionally since 1982 and working in film and television since 1984.


Ursula Lawson

Senior Programs Manager

Ursula has been with the National Screen Institute since 2004 and is the senior programs manager.


Sarah Simpson-Yellowquill

Manager, Programs & Development

As manager of programs and development, 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.

Meet the students


Steven Bignell

Opaskwayak Cree Nation, MB

Steven Bignell was born and raised in Opaskwayak Cree Nation in The Pas, Manitoba.


Stuart Matheson

The Pas, Manitoba

Stuart Matheson, 22, is a filmmaker from The Pas, Manitoba.


Program Partners

directors-guild-of-canada Telefilm Canada Stantec RBC Emerging Artists TELUS Friendly Future Foundation super-channel MFM entertainment-partners final-draft NCI-FM Jan-Miller manitoba-government Winnipeg Arts Council
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