“Take risks, talk about ideas, and create, create, create.” – George Orallo

21 for 2021 Reel Film Series: George Orallo

George graduated from the International Academy of Design in Toronto.  He has since worked for national networks like APTN, Discovery, A&E, Lifetime and Hallmark, and worked for production companies such as Nelvana and Frantic Films. George worked on the multi-award winning documentary “Closing Time”.  Working continuously on independent films, he currently has a film screening in NYC titled “What Do You Think” which was written and directed by Winnipeg writer Jeff Eyamie and produced by Karen Tusa and the music was written by a local musician Craig Wallace.

When and how did you start in the media production industry?
I started in the industry in late 1998, back in the days when you had to snail mail resumes to companies. I was joking with my then-girlfriend that I should decorate my apartment with all the rejection letters that I got. Rather impressively, the collection included ILM, Paramount, Universal Studios, every major network, and the list goes on. I got my first gig working for an animation company in Toronto called Nelvana. From there I joined up with a TV show for Discovery called “Forbidden Places”.

After a few years of freelance in Toronto I moved back to Winnipeg. I landed a position at APTN working on branded contact. From there, I moved to Frantic Films, and then started a career in independent movies and documentaries. Currently, I work in the post department doing movies of the week for A&E, Lifetime and Hallmark. 

What area of the film industry do you work in now and why?
I’m currently a member of the DGC. My official title is 1st Assistant Editor. I love this job. I organize footage for the editor and make sure that he’s “good to go” when he gets to his suite, I make his job as smooth as possible. I troubleshoot any technical problems and I’m a go between the editor, production, and postproduction, making sure all the paperwork gets done, and delivering the locked movie and media for VFX, online, and sound (like ADR and SFX), and a final mix are my main responsibilities.

What has been a substantial change in the industry since you started?
Going digital, definitely! When I first started in the industry it was on the tail end of using tape so my first few years the standard was Beta SP tapes, then Beta SX tapes, Digital Beta, and then HD Tape. 

The technology has undergone a transformation as well. I remember working on machines that were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. I cut and delivered my entire Doc on my laptop, my most recent movie, due to COVID, after Production was done shooting, I finished and delivered the movie from home.

If you could give yourself advice today to yourself in the past, what would it be?
You are gonna hear “no” a lot, don’t give up. In the beginning don’t turn down any job no matter how ”small” you think it is, learn, and never stop learning and most importantly, “Be like water”.

What is advice you would give to someone starting off in the media production industry? Why is learning and training important?
There are multiple COVID film festivals out there, even ones where you can submit your film that was shot on a phone! Just make movies and keep making movies. Take risks, talk about ideas, and create, create, create. I actually take a few of my friends’ kids, and I call them kids even though they’re like 20 years old and I tell them to get as much real world experience as they can. They’ve been into the edit suite and worked on TV shows and movies. The purpose is for them to already have actual real world experience when they leave school or take the next step. Training is important because there are some technical aspects and things that you must know. That’s why courses that are offered at Film Training Manitoba are so important and helpful. I advise them to take the courses, and encourage them to volunteer on independent film and Shaw Community TV productions.

It is different than when I was younger, and coming up in the industry. It was hard to get in the door and gain real work experience without a mentor or guidance. What I’m offering people is to get a glimpse into what I do and how it works. I like to give people the opportunities and advice that I didn’t get. So, if someone offers you an opportunity to get into the biz and see what it’s like behind the curtain I highly suggest you jump at the opportunity.

I think now, more than ever people are inside their homes creating, writing scripts, music, plays, etc looking for an outlet.

What are some of the films, TV series or even books that have inspired you? How about anything new you’ve been into?
If I could work on any TV series right now, I would have to say “The Mandalorian” and a few of the Marvel shows that Disney has streaming. I’d love to work on the Prime series “The Boys” or “The Umbrella Academy”.  I also liked the cutting style of “24”; very similar to the show “The Flight Attendant” on now. I would love to work on those shows, well, of course they would have to bring back Mr. Sutherland for me to work on 24 but one never knows!  I love the style and the content of “The Flight Attendant”; I think it’s done really well.

Is there someone within the film industry you would like to work with and why?
There are a couple of local guys I would love to work with. Scott Carnegie is one of them. He’s put out some really great documentaries, one in particular is about the independent wrestling circuit. There’s also Kyle Wong who, a few years ago, put out a great independent martial arts flick made here in Winnipeg called “Vendetta”. I’m on a total Bruce Lee kick right now. I’m reading a book by his daughter based on his “Be water” philosophy.

Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
(George laughing) Sitting in front of my AVID on the 25th floor of 300 Main, with a view of The Forks and Shaw Park.  I’m uploading my latest feature film for a screening in Toronto, Vancouver, New York and LA and running out the door to do a workshop at FTM!!