Pascal Boisvert – “Be prepared to seize the opportunity”

Pascal Boisvert has been working in the film and media production industry as a camera tech for more than a decade.

He started out filming and producing documentaries and eventually found his way onto Manitoba film sets.

Working primarily as First Assistant Camera, he’s helped shoot many projects in the province, including major Hollywood productions like Nobody, Tales From the Loop, Ice Road, Run, and many others.

Get some of his advice below so you can start building up an impressive resume of your own!

When and how did you start in the media production industry?

In 2008 I was part of ”Pour Un Soir Seulement” a music variety show that Les Productions Rivard did during Festival du Voyageur. 

This was my first foot in the door in the industry. That experience eventually got me a position at Rivard as an in-house camera assistant / equipment manager and I worked there for six years.

What area of the film industry do you work in now and why?

I work as a First Assistant Camera, also known as a Focus Puller, on movies and TV series with the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG) – Local 669. 

Why? That’s a good question. I guess we all have our places and structures that work best for us and the world of cinema and Focus Pulling works well for me. It’s definitely not for everyone but we all have different skills and interests, and at the end of the day making movies is a team effort that require people with diverse skills.

What’s a substantial change you’ve seen in the industry during your career?

I came in when film was on its way out so I sadly did not get many chances to work with it before it was replaced with digital video recording.  I think that would be the biggest change in my department. 

But another change I’ve noticed is the advancement of technology for image capture, keeping up with the ever-changing equipment is a must.

Pascal Boisvert, first from right on set of Tales From Loop. Jan Thijs 2019.

What advice would you give to your past self when starting out in the industry?

Not sure if it’s advice but I’d tell myself something along the lines of “get ready for an adventure.”  When I was at Rivard I had the chance to travel across Canada to shoot documentaries with interesting people in amazing places that many people pay to travel to on vacation.

With movies, the places we end up shooting and the things we’re able to accomplish can be quite amazing.  We can easily get jaded but sometimes there are those moments that you stop and look around and remember how cool it is to work in this industry.

Why is learning and training important?

With the ICG 669 we’re part of a union but we’re still independent contractors in the end.  So it’s in our best interest to be as knowledgeable as we can. 

There’s that proverb that says “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” We have to be prepared for opportunities that come our way.  

A marathon runner doesn’t just run on race day — constant training is needed. The same can be said for any profession. You need to set yourself up to be “lucky.”

What is advice you would give to someone starting off in the media production industry?

Here are some my favourite sayings and pieces of advice in no particular order:

Do something you enjoy, there’s no use being miserable.

Filmmaking is a team effort, but you shouldn’t always be relying on others. If you’re not willing to do something yourself then you shouldn’t be asking someone else to do it for you.

Time is something that we can’t buy more of. Be efficient with yours and appreciate others’.

Respect is something that is often earned, but no one has the right to be disrespectful.

Listen, observe, and then ask questions. 

Many people are willing to be mentors and I recommend that everyone should find one.

Always seek to improve yourself. A stagnant pond is where mosquitos breed and no one likes mosquitos.

Is there someone in the film industry you would like to work with and why?

The first person that comes to mind is Ryan Reynolds. It would be really interesting to see what he’s like in person. 

But over the years I’ve learned that when you work with celebrated people you usually discover they’re just another person trying to what they love, like you and I.

Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

I hope my future self, 10 years from now, would tell my present self that ”the adventure’s not over yet.”

FTM is a member of the Province of Manitoba’s sector council program funded through the Department of Economic Development and Training. FTM builds a highly skilled and adaptable film industry workforce to support the activities of Manitoba production companies. FTM collaborates and partners with members of the film and television industry to identify training needs to support workforce development output.

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