Set Your Creativity on Fire: A profile of Shelly Anthis

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

“FTM always encourages crewmembers to find their own path within the industry.”

Shelly Anthis has been a filmmaker and professional crew member since 1999. Working in various capacities, as an Extras Casting Director and Location Scout has allowed Shelly to work closely with creative teams while growing her skills as a film technician.  Working in production has aided Shelly to develop and instil a solid work ethic, while supporting and helping to create a harmonious set where filmmakers can flourish. With a passion to learn all facets of production, Shelly has enhanced her directing and producing skills in the Manitoba independent film scene. Shelly is a Mother and proud member of IATSE 856 and The Directors Guild of Canada.

When and how did you start in the media production industry?
I found the film industry in 1999/2000 at Red River College. I came across their Media Production Program and I found the diversity of various crew descriptions intriguing. I knew I wanted to become a filmmaker with goal of being a versatile director and producer. The first time I was on-set I was a background performer and my first time as a Crew Member was as a Production Assistant. For several years I learned everything I could working on short films to music videos as a Location Manager, Casting Director, Production Manager while assisting in Producing feature films as a Producer and Production Manager.

What area of the film industry do you work in now and why?
In 2015 after hearing of a need in the Locations Department, I decided it was time to make a shift and I joined The Directors Guild of Canada. I started on “Channel Zero” as a Location Scout and Assistant Location Manager utilizing my skills daily while juggling logistics involving continuous trouble shooting. Since I have always enjoyed working with the public being the “face” of the production within Locations as being one of the first departments to make contact with the public came natural to me. I have really enjoyed working as a Scout/Assistant Location Manager on “Lovesick”, “Wynter, “Sorry For Your Loss” and most recently “Tales From The Loop”.

If you could give yourself advice today to yourself in the past, what would it be?
I have worked so many long hours from home in Extras Casting and Casting, from the productions office and road in the Locations Department with many gigs in between. I am a sponge for knowledge and learn so much from my amazing peers. Troubleshooting for me is a passion and had I not put in the long hours and sacrifice taking on many challenging projects; my career would be much different. Taking leaps is what has made me most successful but if I could go back in time I would tell myself to take more time for my family and only give 150% instead of 200%.

How did taking FTM training affect your career?
FTM has always been a part of my career since I started out in 1999/2000. FTM is such an important partner for the film industry that can be leaned on for knowledge, networking while also encouraging me to join the wider Manitoba film scene. The FTM staff and instructors have always helped keep me confident and the courses aided me for everything the film industry has to offer. In 2013, I applied and received an FTM Travel Fund where I was able to travel to New York City to take courses with Sync On Set to assist bringing my Extra Casting Team into the digital world. This really broadened my horizons while reducing the hours in my workday. In turn, I have been able to connect many new incoming crewmembers. FTM always encourages crewmembers to find their own path within the industry.

What is advice you would give to someone starting off in the media production industry?
I would advise any new person to go to FTM and start the online required course and get on set! Try a few different departments and see where you fit in! Go be a background performer for a day or more, it will give you a birds-eye view of many departments.  There is something on and off set for anyone who wants to start in film.  Every non-film job you have had will translate and cross over well to the film industry and FTM will be there to help! With FTM I have been able to be mentored and I look forward to being a mentor and what FTM has to offer my career and myself as a professional filmmaker.  It will be hard, the hours will be long but they will be rewarding and it will set your creativity on fire!

What are some of the films, TV series or even books that have inspired you? How about anything new you’ve been into?
When I write or start shaping a story, I draw on some of my favorites for the personal stories. I’m very influenced by filmmakers like Paul Thomas Anderson. My favorite film is “Magnolia”, and for a short story that packs a punch I enjoyed Sean Penn’s film “September 11”. This was a HUGE inspiration for my short film (coincidentally), “Somewhere in September”. Lately I have been into documentaries. I love a good true story! I will be writing this winter and gearing up to shoot a few short films in 2020 and also researching for some short documentaries.

Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
I am right where I want to be and hope to carve out more time for my own projects and stories that I want to share. I know I have much to learn and many hats more to wear!  I really look forward to being a part of sharing and teaching the knowledge of what I have learned in film, while still working in film. I hope to be able to travel more and keep building the network for the Winnipeg Film Industry as a whole