Lights, camera, get me a sandwich

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By Diana Zlomislic

If you’re hoping to make it big in the silver screen industry, you better be willing to start at the bottom.

In three years at Sleeping Giant Productions, Andrew Brady’s salary doubled. He went from being a low-level production assistant to the production manager.

Andrew, a business graduate from Dalhousie University, says when starting out in the film industry, “Pay is just one of those things you forego on. Stick with a company and you’ll get a reward.”

Film work is mostly seasonal. Production picks up in the summer when work for fall shows begins. Winter months are spent writing and most companies don’t hire.

Computers, photography and film are coming together. To showcase projects designed by photography, new media and film students, the film department at Ryerson holds an annual event the last weekend in April called Maximum Exposure. Many visitors are from major companies, and students can send out invitations to business with whom they are interested in working.

Independent production companies are everywhere in Toronto. Scriptwright, a solo operation at 424 Yonge St., has no employees aside from its founder — screenwriter Frank Bushe. He’s weary of the optimism.

“Get training as a heavy equipment operator and think of writing like the rest of Canada does — as a hobby, and then you can relax,” Bushe says.

Fourth-year production and screenwriting professor (and Andrew’s father) David Brady says, “Entertainment is mushrooming in Canada.”

Corporations are looking for someone they can count on, says Brady, who has hired Ryerson students for his own company. “When they ask you to do A, do A plus B. Why lay on your deathbed and think, ‘Oh jeez why didn’t I try that?’ Just go out there and crash and burn a few times. It’s worth 20 years of playing it safe.”

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