Screen Nova Scotia is releasing the results of the recent Workforce Survey of Diverse Screen Industry Professionals in Nova Scotia: Trends, Barriers and Strategies for Change. The survey was completed with input from diverse emerging and established screen-based industry freelance professionals in the province, with the goal to better understand the challenges and opportunities in accessing employment in the film, television and interactive media industries in Nova Scotia.
Prepared by Communications MDR, the survey was commissioned by Screen Nova Scotia with input and leadership from the SNS Membership Outreach Committee. The committee was launched in 2018 with a mandate to expand the organization’s reach into underserved communities, with a focus on increasing gender parity and diversity across Screen Nova Scotia’s membership and the wider industry.
“The results of the survey are eye-opening but not surprising,” said Laura Mackenzie, Executive Director, Screen Nova Scotia. “It’s clear we have a lot of work to do to ensure a future of the screen industry that is representative of all Nova Scotians. I would like to thank the Outreach Committee, as their input into the survey’s creation played a critical role in ensuring perceptive results and clear recommendations, including some that we’ve already begun putting into action.”
One of the initiatives motivated by the results of the survey was the creation of the Screen Nova Scotia’s Diversity Mentorship Program, a paid mentorship opportunity for emerging diverse individuals. Initially, the program was designed to offer four individuals paid four-week internships on professional film/television sets, where they were paired with a designated mentor to gain hands-on experience in the crew position of their choice. Due to overwhelming demand, the program was expanded to offer 12 internship spots, taking place on sets like Diggstown, Moonshine, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and Sugar Highs.
“Diggstown jumped at the opportunity to participate in this groundbreaking program,” said Karen Wetzell, Executive Producer on the CBC series Diggstown. “We view it as a crucial component in the participants’ professional growth, but more importantly in our industry’s growth. All producers should recognize their responsibility to participate in this program, and the value of discovering and nurturing new talent and voices.”
Selected 2021 program participants include: Denzel Noylander, Ryan Schimmel, Kardeisha Provo, Leo Caso, Keandre Johnson, Stevey Hunter, Tyler Simmonds, Genevieve Oliver, Nathan Simmons, Tyler Brothers, Kaitlyn Clow, and Jessica Brown.
“The film world can be very intimidating from the outside, so this program was an incredible opportunity to get a solid foot in the door,” said Stevey Hunter, one of the program participants. “It really opened my eyes to the everyday operations of creating a television series, helped me make connections with the community, and taught me solid skills that I can apply as I begin my career in the film and television industry.”
Other recommendations from the survey include greater inclusion in union and guild memberships; affordable access to professional development opportunities; targeted funding earmarked for diverse creators, hiring incentives for producers to hire more diverse emerging professionals, and the creation of opportunities for diverse professionals in creative leadership positions.