Entry-level Tips

Getting a job on a IATSE Local 856 shoot

IATSE is a labour organization made up of more than 100,000 specialty artists, technicians and freelance craft workers across North America. In Manitoba, IATSE Local 856 currently represents crewmembers in over 20 categories.

What you should know about working in IATSE categories:

  • Your chance of being considered for work by any Department will be greatly increased if you have current production experience – preferably television, theatre, commercials, documentary, or independent production credits.
  • Permittees are dispatched when a position cannot by filled by a union member. IATSE has many permittees on their rosters, so it can take considerable time before you receive a call for work. It is your responsibility to keep your current address and telephone number on file. People without current information on file will be dropped from the roster.
  • Permittee applications can take up to six months to process. IATSE will notify you as soon as your application has been reviewed. Do not telephone and inquire about the status of your application.
  • Visit the IATSE 856 website to refer to the steps you need to take.

    Getting a job in a position represented by DGC Manitoba 

    The Directors Guild of Canada is a national organization representing over 7,000 members coast to coast in the areas of Direction, Production, Accounting and Editing. In Manitoba, the DGC currently represents crewmembers in the Production Office, Locations, Directors, Assistant Directors and Sound and Picture Editors.

    The first job in film for many people is as a Production Assistant. On an average production, there are several Production Assistants (or PAs), whose duties include everything from crowd control, security, locations maintenance, public relations and traffic control.

    What you should know about working in DGC Manitoba categories:

    • Production Assistant (or PA) is considered an entry-level position with the DGC (even if you’re ultimately interested in working as an AD or in the Production Office). Productions hire Locations PAs (i.e. to work on location), Set PAs that work with ADs and Office PAs (i.e. to work in the production office) from the DGC Manitoba members in that category first, then through the MDC- MAP (Manitoba District Council-Member Apprentice Program), then from the general public on a Permit as requested by the Production and with permission by the DGC.

    In order to qualify for the MDC-MAP Program with the DGC, applicants must submit the following:

    1. At least fifteen (15) days of engagement on DGC Signatory Productions in a DGC job classification.
      2. Complete Set Orientation, Safety Awareness & WHMIS through Film Training Manitoba.
      3. Submit three (3) letters of reference. These may be from Members, previous employers, professors or other professional references.
      4. Contact the DGC local office for further information about the Program. MDC-MAP Administration Fee of $100.00 plus applicable taxes is the cost to join the program.

    **Please refer to the DGC Manitoba website https://www.dgc.ca/en/manitoba for more information on the MDC-MAP Program**

    First steps for DGC categories to obtain DGC non-member days:

    1. Prepare your resume and cover letter. Clearly list all film-related work, volunteer experience, education, training and include work in theatre or television, if applicable.
    2. Visit the DGC Manitoba website and click on the Productions > Current Productions to view the contact information for production office information.
    3. Email or drop off your resume and cover letter. Please do not call the Production Office after you send in your resume. If you choose to drop off your resume, be aware that everyone in the production office is extremely busy and will not have time to answer questions.

    Getting a Job on a IATSE 669 shoot

    Individuals interested in working on a IATSE 669 shoot can apply for Membership or the Trainee Program.

    The IATSE Local 669 membership is involved in all aspects of film and television that pertains to the camera.

    In order to qualify for membership, applicants must meet specific department requirements. The specific information can be found here:  IA669 Membership Requirements.

    1. Visit the IATSE 669 website and download the Application Requirement Guideline and Application Form.
    2. Review the Departmental Qualifications Checklist for the Departments you’re interested in (i.e. DOP, Stills Photographer, Camera Assistant etc.)
    3. Take Set Orientation, WHMIS and Safety Awareness.
    4. Prepare your resume and cover letter. Clearly list all film-related work, volunteer experience, education, and training, including work in theatre or television, if applicable.
    5. Fill out the Application form.
    6. Mail / drop off your application package. The package check list can found at the bottom of the application form.

    Member benefits:

    • paid overtime
    • contribution based Health & Welfare benefit plans
    • travel & per diem for distant location shoots
    • safety & health protocols

    IATSE 669 also offers a Trainee Program which is designed to provide skills and on set experience that trains participants to ultimately become 2nd assistants in the Camera Department.  Application guidelines can be found here: IA669 Trainee Program.

    NOTE:  For a listing of FTM’s upcoming workshop training, please visit our Workshop Calendar.