Bell Fund and CMPA team up for digital media mentorship program


As transmedia increasingly becomes a buzzword in the Canadian film and TV industry, the demand from industry pros for opportunities to understand how to make convergent properties work continues to grow.

In response, the Canadian Media Production Association and the Bell Fund yesterday announced the launch of the Digital Media Production Training Program, a mentorship program that will help TV and digital media producers develop their technical, business and creative skills to succeed in both the traditional and new media production sectors.

“We’re hoping to see more TV people who have the drive to understand non-traditional media given the opportunity to figure out how it really works, so we’ll have stronger producers who know both media,” Andra Sheffer, executive director of the Bell Fund, tells Playback Daily.

This seems all the more important in a climate where Minister of Heritage James Moore compelled the Canadian Media Fund to make multi-platform approaches a requirement for all of its funding programs.

For its part, the CMPA has been running mentorship programs – many funded by the government – for several years, but recent cutbacks have led to hard times.

Enter the Bell Fund, whose wide array of contacts, industry knowledge, and most importantly, sponsorship money complement the CMPA’s experience in developing effective mentorship strategies.

The program, which is open to all independent production companies in Canada, will facilitate six 20-week mentor-mentee partnerships this year.

The program is funded in part by the program ($6,000) and in part by the mentor company (minimum $6,000), and will provide mentees with a stipend of at least $12,000

Sheffer says the Bell Fund and the CMPA are looking for “people who are already active in the industry, who understand the industry, and who are taking that next step to get into something where there seems to be a shortage of talent.”

The process will be regulated. Those applying to be mentors must already have a project in the works and a clear plan for how they’ll work with their mentee.

“When mentors apply for a trainee, they have to apply with their plan, and there will be a selection committee that will go through all the plans and select the six that are most viable,” she explains.

She says the ideal scenario is one where the mentor and mentee know each other, have decided to work together and apply to the program together.

She adds that the goal of the program is to help bridge the long-existing gap between traditional and new media.

“It’s going to help alleviate issues with partnerships, coordination and not understanding each other. The best projects we see at the Bell Fund are those in which the TV producer partners with the digital media producer,” she says.

The deadline for applications is set for July 3, 2012.

More information can be found through the CMPA website here.