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‘Tis the season for application forms, and so I’m neck deep in rewriting scripts, writing proposals, rewriting proposals…pretty well everything except making films. A lot of these applications are for training programs. I know people ask: why bother with more training, especially since you’re practically a dinosaur in this industry?

Well, Skippy, I’ll tell you why. A lot of industry folks — producers, financiers, investors — are lazy folk (I know I was), and getting into programs or winning awards, or scholarships reduce the risk of supporting you. It’s like getting pre-approved for a mortgage. You got picked for a competitive program, you can’t totally suck.

Plus, it’s a fantastic chance to network with other filmmakers, producers and contracts from around the world. Sort of like “Up With People” but without the handholding or singing. And if you’re in Canada, a lot of the training programs are in the hinterlands, and nothing creates a better bond than being chased down a hill by rutting elk.

So, off you go! And win things. It really helps.

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