20 for the 20th – Reel Career Profile Series: Rebecca Gibson
When and how did you start in the media production industry?
I began to work in the theatre as a teenager, and always had my eye open for any opportunity in film or television. A local casting director was looking for an actor who fit my description for the series The Adventures of Shirley Holmes, and she brought me in. Kim Todd gave me my big break, and she was my first role model in the industry. A woman in film, a director, a producer…I learned so much from her. I left Winnipeg many times for work in the theatre in my early twenties and then went to film school in New York. After working in Toronto for a while, I became homesick. I came back to Winnipeg at the beginning of a film boom, and was hired immediately by Lesley Oswald who is another one of my heroes in the film industry, and a tremendous mentor.
What area of the film industry do you work in now and why?
I am a partner in a company called Eagle Vision, and I work as a writer, director, producer, and showrunner, as well as heading up development. I was acting too and doing a lot of voice-over work up until recently, but I became too busy with my other work and had to stop that for now. I’m doing everything I dreamed of doing as a kid.
What has been a substantial change in the industry since you started?
There are so many more production companies doing so many different things – I learned today about a post house that I had no idea existed. It’s really cool to see that so many people with a passion for film have based their businesses, careers, and lives here in the ‘Peg.
If you could give yourself advice today to yourself in the past, what would it be?
Know who you are, be who you are, and never apologize for who you are. As an example, when my kids were little being a mom was my priority, and my confidence dipped because I didn’t think people would take me as seriously as a content creator. This was in large part because many people in the industry told me that there was no way you could have kids and be successful or that I should never tell people I’m a mom because it’s boring. Meanwhile, being a mom has been greatly impactful to who I am as a content creator, as a leader, and as a human.
How did taking FTM training affect your career?
I’ve taken a lot of FTM courses (and taught a few too). I have had career-changing experiences as an actor, for instance with the David Rotenberg workshops. He was tough and frank, and technical – it transformed my work. I took some business affairs workshops that helped me so much as a producer. I gained hard skills that gave me a lot of confidence. One of my most cherished experiences was a directing workshop with one of my favourite directors, John Paizs. He shared so much of his technique and gave such empowering feedback. FTM has always been there calling to me when my career and confidence needed a boost.
What is advice you would give to someone starting off in the media production industry?
Get to know your industry. Get to know all of the support available to you. This is a welcoming community, like no other. Our government is so supportive to our industry – which is great because this industry makes a tremendous economic impact. Film Training Manitoba is a great place to start!
What are some of the films, TV series or even books that have inspired you? How about anything new you’ve been into?
The Wizard of Oz was EVERYTHING to me when I was a kid. Then I saw Star Wars – that changed my life. I used to organize the kids on my block to “make” these movies – I had no idea that you need a camera to make a movie! We had costumes, cast, everything good to go, and it felt so real to me! I feel electrified when I see great content, made with passion. There is so much I love – just finished Season III of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is glorious (to steal the word my husband uses to describe it). I think Money Heist is brilliant in every way. I’m also very inspired by our upcoming film Diaspora, which is in post. Every time I watch it, I want to watch it again immediately. I absolutely love the work Deco Dawson has done on it, and Yuliia Guzhva, our leading lady (in her first acting role) is the best natural actor I’ve ever seen. She is a star.
Is there something about you or an interesting past experience that you’d like to share with your colleagues?
I have had the best mentors, and I thank them every chance I can. Lesley Oswald. Kim Todd. Vonnie von Helmolt. Ellen Rutter. Phyllis Laing. Norma Bailey. Lisa Meeches. The best advice I ever got in film was from Lesley – clearly define what you want to do, and share that with the people who can help you make that happen.
Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
God willing, exactly where I am, and with expanded global connections, bringing more work home to the ‘Peg, running shows, helping people fulfill their dreams in this industry in beyond, giving back to the world, chillin’ with my family, loving life, maybe with grandkids…hopefully my pups will still be here because they are the best!