Film crew on the set of ‘The Twilight Zone’ in Ashcroft in February 2020. A new online course open to residents of B.C. provides entry-level skills for those looking to get into the film industry. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Film crew on the set of ‘The Twilight Zone’ in Ashcroft in February 2020. A new online course open to residents of B.C. provides entry-level skills for those looking to get into the film industry. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

Free online course provides skills to break into film industry

Production companies always looking for trained, local crew members to work on films, TV shows

Looking to break into the film industry, the fastest growing sector in the province?

A new 12-week, free online course offers the opportunity to learn the entry-level skills needed to apply for jobs in the location departments of local film productions. Participants can earn nine certificates in a variety of areas, some of which — such as traffic control — apply to work in other fields.

The online Entry Level Micro Credentialed Production Assistant Trial, developed by North Island College, is recognized by the Director’s Guild of B.C. The course — which runs from March 1 to May 21 — provides all the training needed to work as a production assistant on any film set, large or small.

Although the pandemic has slowed production on many of the TV shows, movies, documentaries, and unscripted series looking to film in the region, it is anticipated that when conditions allow, the industry will be back in British Columbia with a vengeance, with production companies looking to hire support workers who already have the necessary skills.

When productions film in the area they frequently look to hire local as much as possible, to reduce the need to import crew from elsewhere. After an episode of The Twilight Zone filmed in Ashcroft last year, the Thompson-Nicola Film Commissions’s Victoria Weller said having trained crew members available to work on productions is crucial.

“I’d love to have trained crew,” she told the Journal. “When I was at a meeting in Vancouver we discussed barriers to having more production here, and one is having a complete crew: one that’s not only trained but has experience.”

She added that working locally with production companies is also a good way to get training in the industry and use it as a stepping-stone, depending on what you want to be.

“You may have been a production assistant, but maybe you want to do makeup or be a grip.”

READ MORE: More filming coming to area means more training opportunities

The new online course is free for participants, who work at their own pace with support from experienced film industry instructors and opportunities to meet with others in live virtual classrooms. Because it is done online, the course is ideal for people in rural and remote communities.

The program is limited to 120 people from across the province. For more information, go to

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