NSI Storytellers Apply

Application deadline

Applications are closed.

Questions

Call Ursula Lawson at (204) 956-7800 or toll free (800) 952-9307 or email storytellers@nsi-canada.ca.


COURSE GUIDELINES

What is NSI Storytellers?

NSI Storytellers is designed to train Indigenous filmmakers via the development and potential production and broadcast of a six-part daytime serial for APTN. Separate training phases for writers, directors and producer are delivered. You can only apply for one phase at a time. The three phases for each discipline (of writer, director and producer) are shown in sections below.

The program was formerly an ambitious three-phase training program designed to help Canadian Indigenous film and television producers advance their projects as international co-productions through guidance and access to new markets. Previously named the Aboriginal Cultural Trade Initiative (ACTI), the program launched in 2003-04 and culminated in an inaugural trade mission to Australia and New Zealand where participants could advance their projects with Aborigine and Maori producers. ACTI was renamed NSI Storytellers in July 2005. In 2007, NSI, in association with APTN, re-designed the program.

WRITER PHASE

What is the writer phase?

The writer phase is comprised of three, eight- to 10-day long group training sessions in Winnipeg. Participants are expected to work on their own in between those group sessions.

Successful applicants will be presented with a concept for the series prior to the first training session. The first five days will focus on working on the concept and creating the characters. The final three to five days will be spent learning how to write a beat sheet.

Participants will return home with the task of delivering further drafts of the beat sheets and creating step outlines for specific episodes. Writers will re-group in Winnipeg and start working as a group on creating episodic outlines. At this point, the program managers and story facilitator will evaluate work done to that point to determine whether all participants will continue the program. This decision will be at the sole discretion of the program managers, APTN and story facilitator.

What will I gain by participating in NSI Storytellers?

By participating in the NSI Storytellers program, you will gain:

  • Invaluable experience working with one of the top showrunners in Canada
  • Experience developing a daytime serial for a national broadcaster
  • The knowledge, and experience, of taking a concept and turning it into a 2nd draft script
  • Credit as a writer on the completed episodes of the series IF it goes into production
  • A stipend of $1,500. IF the series goes into production, participants will receive further remuneration from APTN

What do I have to commit to the program?

You must make considerable time available for the program. Attendance at the three training sessions in Winnipeg is mandatory. Additionally, you must make time to work on the writing assignments at home in between those sessions. Participants MUST make necessary arrangements to attend these development sessions. Travel costs will be covered by NSI. A contract will be signed with each participant outlining the training expectations, and the participant’s and NSI’s commitments. Developing a television series over the course of seven months is a huge amount of work. Throw in three eight- to ten-day long training sessions and you can bet you will be busy.

Who can apply?

NSI Storytellers is aimed at Indigenous people interested in working in the television industry.

In order to be eligible you must:

  • Have a strong desire to work in television
  • Be an Indigenous person: someone who is First Nation (status and non-status), Metis or Inuit
  • Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, reside in Canada 365 days per year and be aged 18 or over
  • Not be a participant in any other training program that would conflict with your ability to commit to NSI Storytellers

How do I apply?

Complete the online application form and include all the documents listed below as one document.

Your application will be disqualified if any of the sections are incomplete or missing.

A check list has been provided for your use on the application form.

  • Resume clearly stating your education and industry experience and/or experience in a related field. Please ensure your film/TV industry experience (if any) is clearly outlined, including your role on the production and the following information about each project you worked on as applicable: genre, was it a student film or not, final running time, any broadcasts and/or theatrical release
  • Writing sample of your work(s). At least one writing sample of your work(s) whether published or unpublished. Please send us whatever you think will help us in our evaluation
  • Five to 10 pages of an original dramatic scene. In order to properly evaluate your [potential] dramatic writing skills, we need you to create an original dramatic scene on a theme of your choice, and send us the first five to 10 pages of that scene
  • Expectations: a short paragraph describing what you hope to gain by participating in the program
  • A letter of reference from someone who can speak to your readiness to participate

How will participants be selected?

Each application will be juried by the program manager, APTN representatives and industry representatives. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by phone for follow-up phone interviews. Up to five participants will be selected based on the strength of the submitted written materials, ability to work as a group, desire to work as a writer in the Canadian television industry, and a firm resolve to commit the required time to fully participate in the program.


DIRECTOR PHASE

What is the director phase?

Up to six Indigenous directors will develop their television directing skills during an intensive training week scheduled to take place in Winnipeg. Three of the six candidates will be selected for a second training phase to shadow an experienced director on set during the shooting of an episode of a dramatic television series.

Phase 2 participants will be selected by the NSI Storytellers director facilitator in conjunction with NSI and APTN staff and will be based on an evaluation of the progress made by the participants in phase 1. Please note only three participants will be chosen to proceed to phase 2.

You will need to make yourself available for a full week in Winnipeg during phase 1 and, should you be chosen for phase 2, you will need to be available for approximately 10 days to shadow a director.

What will I gain by participating in NSI Storytellers?

By participating in the program, you will:

  • Meet industry professionals and work with experienced mentors to help increase your directing knowledge
  • Sharpen your directing skills through practical exercises (phase 1)
  • Get invaluable experience by shadowing an experienced director during production (phase 2)

What do I have to commit to the program?

You must make considerable time available for the program. Attendance at the week-long training session in Winnipeg is mandatory. Additionally, you must commit to approximately 10 days for on-set training if you are selected for phase 2. Participants must make necessary arrangements to attend these sessions.

Travel, accommodation and per diem costs for the training sessions in phases 1 and 2 will be covered by NSI.

Who can apply?

NSI Storytellers is aimed at Indigenous people interested in the challenge of directing in the television industry.

In order to be eligible you must:

  • Have a minimum of 30 minutes of directing credits which can be cumulative (for example two 15 min. shorts). It should not be solely student work. In other words, you can count student work for part of the 30 minutes but you must also have directed a film or video since graduating. Music videos, web series and documentaries can be counted in your directing credits but remember we are looking for candidates who can show us their passion and potential for directing drama. Your work does not need to have been broadcast or played at festivals
  • This program is not designed for people who have already directed more than two hours of dramatic film or who have already directed 60 minutes or more of television that has been broadcast
  • Be an Indigenous person: someone who is First Nation (status and non-status), Metis or Inuit
  • Have a strong desire to direct for television
  • Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, reside in Canada 365 days per year and be aged 18 or over
  • Not be a participant in any other training program that would conflict with your ability to commit to NSI Storytellers

Note: NSI Storytellers writer phase participants are eligible to apply.

How do I apply?

Complete the online application form and include all the documents listed below as one document.

Your application will be disqualified if any of the sections are incomplete or missing.

  • Resume clearly stating your education and your film/TV industry experience
  • Expectations: describe in a paragraph what you hope to gain by participating in the program and what skills you hope to build upon or learn. Please be as specific and thoughtful as possible
  • Experience: outline in paragraph format the skills, training and experience you have as a director
  • Include a list of the films or videos you have directed as well as films you have worked on in some other capacity (e.g. art director, AD, editor, DP, etc.). Do NOT make a reference to your resume. You must supply a separate page summarizing your skills and listing your credits. Indicate what your role was on each production. List all your work, including student work, and the genre and the running time for each. Indicate which works have played at festivals or been acquired by a broadcaster or a distributor
  • A letter of reference from someone who can speak to your readiness to participate in this program
  • Links to samples of your directing work

PRODUCER PHASE

What is the producer phase?

Up to three Indigenous producers will develop their television producing skills through a week-long group training session, and a three- to four-month internship on a western-based television series destined for broadcast in Canada.

What will I gain by participating in NSI Storytellers?

By participating in the program, you will:

  • Meet industry professionals and work with experienced mentors to help increase your production knowledge
  • Get invaluable experience interning on a television series
  • Add a credit to your resume by interning on a television series

What do I have to commit to the program?

You must make considerable time available for the program. Attendance at the week-long training session in Winnipeg is mandatory. Additionally, you must commit the time needed for a three- to four-month internship on a western-based television series. Participants must make necessary arrangements to attend these development sessions.

Travel, accommodation and per diem costs for the training session will be covered by NSI. Additionally, participants will receive a paid internship as well as a housing subsidy for the length of the internship. NSI will also cover travel costs associated with the internship if applicable.

A contract will be signed with each participant outlining the training expectations, and the participant’s and NSI’s commitments.

Who can apply?

NSI Storytellers is aimed at Indigenous people interested in the challenges of production in the television industry.

In order to be eligible you must:

  • Have some relevant experience working in the film and television industry. Relevant experience can mean (but not be limited to) experience in business affairs, as a distributor, as a broadcaster, having produced short films on your own etc.
  • Be an Indigenous person: someone who is First Nation (status and non-status), Metis or Inuit
  • Have a strong desire to work in television
  • Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, reside in Canada 365 days per year and be aged 18 or over
  • Not be a participant in any other training program that would conflict with your ability to commit to NSI Storytellers.

How do I apply?

Complete the online application form and include all the documents listed below as one document.

Your application will be disqualified if any of the sections are incomplete or missing.

  • Resume clearly stating your education and industry experience and/or experience in a related field. Please ensure your film/TV industry experience (if any) is clearly outlined, including your role on the production and the following information about each project you worked on as applicable: genre, was it a student film or not, final running time, any broadcasts and/or theatrical release
  • Expectations: describe what you hope to gain by participating in NSI Storytellers and what producing skills you hope to build upon or learn. Please be as specific and thoughtful as possible
  • Experience: outline all skills, training and experience you have relevant to the role of producer in paragraph format. Do not make a reference to your resume. You must supply a separate paragraph (or longer) summarizing your skills
  • A letter of reference from someone who can speak to your readiness to participate in this program

I have more questions. Who do I contact? 

Call Ursula Lawson at 204-956-7800 or toll free 800-952-9307 or email storytellers@nsi-canada.ca.