It’s The Time To Get On-Set: A Profile of Monique Perro

FTM’s 20th Anniversary: 20 For the 20th – Reel Careers Profile Series

“The calibre of talent in Winnipeg is top-notch and I find I learn so much from them every day.”

Monique Perro has over 14 years of experience in the Manitoba Film Industry. She began her career with Buffalo Gal Pictures where she worked on projects such as Less Than Kind, My Winnipeg and All the Wrong Reasons. She is currently working with the City of Winnipeg as their Film Liaison as well serving as an FTM instructor. Monique enjoys collaborating with others in the industry (crew and supporting organizations) to enact positive change.

When and how did you start in the media production industry?
I consider myself to be very lucky. I started in the film industry in 2005 and before that I been working as salesperson (I was terrible at it), when an opportunity fell into my lap to work with an out-of-town producer. I did a phone interview with one of his assistants and when the question of my experience in film came up my response was ‘well, I’ve seen a lot of movies, I liked some of them, some not so much, but that’s really about it’. Before I knew it I was sitting in Phyllis Laing’s office from Buffalo Gal Pictures. After that show, Phyllis scooped me up and I worked for her company for eight years. I started as her assistant, worked in development and got to associate produce projects including Less Than Kind Season 4 and All the Wrong Reasons.

What area of the film industry do you work in now and why?
I am a Film Liaison for the City of Winnipeg and I have been working for the past six years.  A number of years ago, my wife Jo was working in the Costume Department and we wanted to start a family and at the time the work wasn’t nearly as consistent as it is right now. I had met Kenny Boyce who manages this City Department, on-set and this job opportunity opened up. I am happy that I made the change.

What has been a substantial change in the industry since you started?
The death of a film technician Sarah Jones on a film production in Georgia and the #MeToo movement have effected how we work, and how we relate to each other. We have an amazing film community in Manitoba who have pulled together on numerous occasions to enact change. I personally saw a need to engage and I created a workgroup that includes many different film organizations to discuss areas of improvement for our community. Our first big project was creating the Manitoba Media Production Industry Code of Conduct to have visible materials on-set, in local production company offices and in production offices.  I want Winnipeg, Manitoba to be THE destination for filmmakers to come and make their films. I want them to go back home and say, wow, all these are good folks, the unions, the guilds, the training organizations, the City and Province work so well together!

How did taking FTM training affect your career?
FTM is often where everyone starts, or where I recommend they take production training. The course calendar is always full of educational and interesting opportunities. Because of how I entered into the industry (by the seat of my pants), my education took place on-set.  For the past year, I have jointly been instructed a course for FTM with Rob Kennedy from the Province of Manitoba which teaches crew how to work with the City and the Province. I promote respect in the workplace, for the location owners and the neighbourhood — I think is so important. Kenny likes to say that you should be leaving the location better than you found it.

What are some of the films, TV series or even books that have inspired you? How about anything new you’ve been into?
I’m an 80’s kid, so anything by John Hughes. Gorillas in the Mist is also one of my favourites. My favourite TV series are Less Than Kind, of course. Offspring from Australia (it is hilarious) and Schitt’s Creek. Also, To Kill a Mockingbird, the book and the film!

Is there something about you or an interesting past experience that you’d like to share with your colleagues?
I care deeply about our industry and the people in it. It’s a fascinating time right now as we are the busiest we have ever been, it’s the time to get on-set. It’s exciting to get to meet all the new local filmmakers and crewmember talent in this City. My favourite part of the job is getting to be an extension of the film crew, working so closely with both the Locations and Transport departments mainly, but with everyone within production.

Is there a film technician or filmmaker that you would really like to work with and why?
I have been very fortunate to work with so many interesting people over my career – Laura Dern, Maria Bello, Bill Paxton, Maury Chaykin, Margot Kidder and most of the Kids in the Hall. I never really aspired to work with one individual in particular. The calibre of talent in Winnipeg is top-notch and I find I learn so much from them every day.

Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
Hopefully in a garden tending to my lemon tree in Australia with my pet Koala, Kev.