NSI Business for Producers - Apply

In association with presenting partner On Screen Manitoba

Link to On Screen Manitoba / On Screen Manitoba logo

Application deadline

Applications are closed.

Our most recent course information is listed below for reference only. Please note this information is subject to change.


Call Brendon Sawatzky at (204) 956-7800 or (800) 952-9307 or email: brendon.sawatzky@nsi-canada.ca.

Application fee

There is no application fee.


$1,500 non-refundable fee and travel/accommodations in the boot camp host city.

Please discuss training/travel assistance with your industry association.

What is NSI Business for Producers

To be successful both at home and internationally, Western Canadian (defined here as Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan and Francophone British Columbia) content producers must not only create great content but also effectively manage their production companies.

In the NSI Business for Producers program up to 12 film, television and digital media content producers will gather for two separate boot camps (totaling eight days) of intensive practical training in best practices for running their company.

Participants will receive further training in audience engagement and online best practices through a series of webinars.

The program will facilitate the creation of an operational business plan to succeed within the ever-more complex and challenging creative industries, teach negotiation and leadership skills required to finance productions and provide practical tools and information for producers to maintain and grow their companies.

Throughout the program producers will have access to mentoring by high-level industry professionals, program advisors and business plan experts.

Goal of NSI Business for Producers

To enable mid-level and senior Western Canadian content producers to successfully lead their production companies, staff and business affairs departments to achieve sustainable growth.

Who is eligible?

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba: all producers who live and their companies are headquartered in one of these three provinces.

British Columbia: only Francophone producers who live and their companies are headquartered in BC, who work primarily in the French language.

The training is in English.

How does it work?

Only provincial associations as outlined above are permitted to nominate a producer.

NSI Business for Producers is aimed at Western Canadian content producers in television, film and digital media running small and medium-sized enterprises who wish to grow their companies in the domestic and international marketplace.

Up to 12 producers can be accommodated in the program per year.

Ideal candidates for the course will have:

  • A production company that has been in existence for five to 15 years (if less or more, candidates are required to include a letter outlining why their company should be considered for the course)
  • At least two completed and delivered productions to either distributors or broadcasters or the equivalent in digital media
  • A minimum of three projects in development with market triggers (i.e. from funding agencies/private funds/broadcasters)
  • An existing/realistic business plan or statement of goals for growth and where they want their company to be in five years.
  • An active online and social media presence

How do I get into the program?

Send your completed application form (available at the top of this page) and required documents to your provincial industry association (as named above) by Monday, May 30, 2016, 11:59 p.m. PT.

Each association will jury the submitted applications and nominate up to six producers.

All nominations will be reviewed by a different jury and up to 12 producers will be selected to the NSI Business for Producers program.

No applications will be received without provincial industry association nomination.

What is the cost?

Note: NSI Business for Producers is a training program, not a funding program.

There is no application fee.

If selected, each producer is responsible for a $1,500 non-refundable fee and travel/accommodations in the boot camp host city.

Please discuss training/travel assistance with your industry association.

What is the program format?

NSI Business for Producers is comprised of two distinct phases (program content subject to change).

Phase one: boot camp and webinars

Phase one opens with a boot camp covering the following topics (subject to change):

Financial planning & modeling

Models, projections and goals
Tracking rights/IP and building on existing brands
Revenue projections

Planning for production finance and distribution

Financial structures and tax credits

Accountants and lawyers

Lawyers and business affairs
Accounting firms, financial statements and beyond

Human resources and effective people skills

Effective human resources policies
Building a production team
Union relations

Branding and marketing

Branding and marketing essentials
Branding your business
Intro to online marketing and analytics

Following the initial phase one boot camp, producers are required to revise their business plan setting out the overall growth strategy for their company.

During phase one, producers will use the marketing skills learned during the boot camp by blogging and posting on social media sites to enhance the visibility of their productions and their brand.

Webinars – reaching your target audience in a social world – four sessions of two-hour each (TBC)

With the digital tools now available, finding your audience (for your company or your productions) and helping them find you, is more important than ever.

This webinar series picks up from the initial boot camp introduction to the topic and provides training in audience development, online engagement and analytics.

Participants will create a comprehensive digital marketing/communications plan that will build market awareness for their company and projects. Webinars are delivered online through bi-monthly workshops (four sessions in total TBC) and includes opportunities for feedback for individual projects.

Topics include:

  • Identifying your target audience
  • Strategic use of social media channels to engage your audience and build a community
  • Understanding online advertising
  • Intro to analytics – understanding metrics

Phase two: boot camp & final deliverables

Producers will reconvene to discuss their revised business plan and report on their social media and branding progress, and work with practical tools to move their company forward using their plan.

Participants will also receive intensive training in facilitating the structuring of financing, profit realization and how to be an effective leader in their company, and the industry.

Phase two boot camp will cover the following topics (subject to change):

Business plans and financing

Business plans and going forward
Implementation of business plans and growing your company
Working with banks – corporate financing
Working with banks – project specific financing
Alternative financing strategies

Production financing and profit realization

Working with bond companies
International treaty co-productions & co-ventures
United States partnerships
After the financing – collection account management agreements

Leadership skills workshop

Program participant deliverables

Each producer will be expected to deliver a fully detailed business plan and report on their expanded corporate social media and branding progress.

What are the dates of the program?

  • Selected participants announced: early July, 2016
  • Phase one boot camp (Winnipeg): August 8 – 12, 2016
  • Phase one continues: business plan revisions, social media marketing, webinars: August 13 – November 18, 2016 (exact dates to be confirmed)
  • Phase two boot camp (location TBC): November 22 – 24, 2016 (TBC)
  • Final deliverables due: December 12, 2016

Who is the NSI Business for Producers manager?

Brendon Sawatzky

As director of programming at NSI, Brendon directs the development of all new programs and is accountable for the delivery of all NSI courses.

Prior to his current position at NSI, Brendon focused on producing film and television. This resulted in producer credits on six feature films, a television sitcom, two television movies and a number of television specials, short films and music videos.

He previously worked for the National Screen Institute as a program manager and before that at the Winnipeg Film Group. A more recent role was as a producer for the National Film Board. He is currently chair of Film Training Manitoba.

Who is the NSI Business for Producers advisor?

Brigitte Sachse

Brigitte drives RTR’s business side, both for television and for digital content as well as heading up the distribution division. She also recently co-founded a digital media consulting and production business, Esby Media.

As an experienced financial and creative analyst, Brigitte’s expertise lies in strategy and financing. She has experience in both private and public companies in diverse realms of the television industry. Prior to joining RTR, Brigitte was manager of media lending at a major bank.

Brigitte started out in production and also has extensive experience in large government agencies having worked at Telefilm/ CMF and the NFB, holding the title of policy advisor, television business analyst and center administrator respectively.

What are NSI’s roles and responsibilities?

The National Screen Institute will provide a program manager to work with the partner organization(s) to ensure appropriate delivery of NSI Business for Producers.

In addition, NSI will:

  • Develop the training program to include customized curriculum and mentorship based on the experience and background of participants.
  • Provide training resource materials for distribution to program participants.
  • Manage mentors and provide an advisory role throughout the training process.
  • Identify and confirm appropriate human resources – workshop facilitators, industry professionals and advisors.
  • Co-ordinate logistics and operations (i.e. hospitality, travel and accommodation) for program participants, NSI program staff, mentors and advisors as required.

About NSI

The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) is a charitable, not-for-profit organization with headquarters in Winnipeg. NSI works nationally to provide film, television and digital media training school for content creators – writers, directors and producers.

Our market-driven courses help advance careers that grow the Canadian industry and contribute to the regional and national economies stimulating employment for the long term. NSI program participation has led to employment and successful careers for graduates by giving them a competitive edge.

After more than 30 years of training and with 87% of alumni working in the industry, NSI continues to develop and deliver courses to meet the industry’s needs. We believe that the best way to learn is by doing:

Courses are led by experts in film, television and digital media – they deliver workshops and seminars and mentor participants. Participants do not have to move away from home.

Each course is intensive. Participants learn in one centre for a short period and then return home to work with mentors on their projects under the leadership of the program manager.

NSI’s mission is to be the leader in developing award-winning content creators. We will always deliver training that is current, relevant and of the highest standard for the industry and participants alike.

NSI Business for Producers presenting partner is On Screen Manitoba.

About On Screen Manitoba

On Screen Manitoba’s partnership with the National Screen Institute is made possible with support from Western Economic Diversification. On Screen Manitoba encourages growth and sustainability in the Manitoba media production industry through the pursuit of external opportunities in the creative and commercial business landscape. We are a non-profit professional association that includes both individuals and organizations representing some 1,500 media production industry professionals. Our members work in all genre and format – in English, French and Aboriginal languages – and have access to some of the best production incentives in Canada.

I have more questions. Who do I contact?

Call Brendon Sawatzky at (204) 956-7800 or (800) 952-9307 or email: brendon.sawatzky@nsi-canada.ca.