We have been here for three years trying to take a stab at the "Film Industry" in NS. Believe me, I've done my share of proactive marketing to the small group of key players. It would have been great to mentor our peers and students and network with film school's faculty.
Three day calls a year, or one day as an extra does not make you a film industry worker, sorry. And sadly, it isn't looking good for film students in Halifax either.
My story is simply just one of many.
We understand the pool is shallow. We understand that opportunities are few, and budgets are small. They should not be "non-existent" (in the sense that we are familiar with the "film industry"). Two fog machine rentals, a couple of lights, or a (paid) video shoot, or a union day-call or two between my wife and I would have made a difference...but the demand just isn't here, and more specifically, there's no demand for us.
We have real production experience. With real contacts. I do not call myself a "writer, director, producer, editor," although in this province, everyone seems to be. My wife is currently working in BC and employing three Scotian's in fact.
The logistics to move our production companies are a nightmare, and it will be very expensive—again thanks to the Liberals.
If I call a contact in British Columbia or Toronto, my call gets returned in less than ten minutes. If we call or email a person or a production here, it doesn't get returned at all. And that was yesterday.
That is what we are used to from our film industry. Not here.
My point is, we had hoped we didn't have to uproot and leave, sell our home (an awesome filming location) and figure out the business logistics all over. For the second time in only three years. Thank you, Liberals (but clearly they are not totally to blame).
I haven't seen my wife or daughter for nearly a year, because instead of being on a (paid) professional film crew, I fix toilets here in NS. (She supports our mortgage in NS working in BC, with a crew from here, by the way.) Productions in BC for the most part cover our expenses in BC. The only way we can afford to still live here what with the ridiculous level cost of utilities and the HST in Nova Scotia. I guarantee that no production manager would ever cover those costs on a show in this province.
We came here in 2012 when film crashed in BC. Friends lost their homes, their jobs, and their spouses. We didn't come here to "steal film jobs from people," but quite frankly we will always be tagged as "from away" and looked upon negatively. Not only I suspect because of our resumes, but our last name as well. Since that time we've had our business cards thrown down to the ground in front of us, ignored at the union offices, and for the most part, pretty much asked "when are we leaving?"
And keeping in mind - this is being said from working professionals in an industry that are, or may one day be in a position to hire them. I for one will remember all of their names.
That is a horrible way for a small province to grow and learn. And sadly, that is the word that will continue to get out to a larger, yet very,very small global industry. We are already telling producers and shows not to come here.
And we aren't the only ones with similar stories.
There's a reason why the film industry, in a larger major motion picture sense, isn't here, and in my opinion won't be anytime soon.
Good luck with your film career in Halifax. By the sounds of things you'd like to keep us all out anyhow.
Mission accomplished #NSFILM. —REEL FILM GUY