Entertainment Careers and the TIFF

Posted on September 17th, 2013 - Written by: Josée Daigneault

Entertainment Careers and the TIFF

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For ten days in September, Toronto really is the centre of the universe – at least, for film aficionados. The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), now celebrating its 38th year, has become the world’s most important film festival after Cannes. Running from September 5th to 15th, the TIFF is dedicated to presenting the best of international and Canadian cinema, with an abundance of screenings, lectures, discussions, workshops, and industry networking opportunities. A total of 366 films from 70 different countries are scheduled to be screened this year, including 146 world premieres.

Beyond the glamorous red carpet galas and celebrity-spotting contests, it is an exciting and educational destination for students pursuing careers in entertainment. The festival has been known to launch careers and generate buzz for new releases, but it attracts more than star-chasers and actors. Many Canadian independent filmmakers descend on the city, both to present their movies that have been accepted into the festival and for the opportunity to learn from and pitch scripts to industry heavyweights.

Presented by STUDIO, TIFF’s first year-round industry program, Adapt This! is a three-day professional development conference on the art of adapting literature to the film format. Programming in the spring included workshops on professional development, pitch preparation, and acquisitions. Festival sub-sections, such as TIFF Kids or one of many other TIFF features, offer several specific networking gatherings, which are an ideal opportunity for aspiring individuals in film production programs to meet the directors and producers that are actively recruiting for future productions.

In the entertainment industry, where who you know can be almost as important as what you know, long and lucrative careers are made by constantly networking. Some say it is network or not work. The film and video industry is a heavily connected place, and the better connected you are, the more in-demand you’re likely to be. Film festivals are the best place to discover new trends and new faces, re-establish connections and learn about new projects. Networking is a social game. Earn contacts by discussing common interests, respectfully asking for advice, or helping others (hoping they will one day return the favor).

Aspiring filmmakers can develop a demo reel to prove your worth. Remember to keep it short and sweet, top-loaded with the best content at the beginning to capture attention, prioritizing content over effects, and at the ready before anyone even asks. Utilize the technical and human resources from your film school in Toronto to make it as professional as possible. Sound quality is often overlooked among budding directors, but it can make all the difference in making an engaging viewer experience. Make friends and work with other students at your school in audio engineering courses. Start schmoozing!

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