Three CT Community Colleges receive grants for CT Film Industry training program
By Dave Bonan
Norwalk, Middlesex (in Middletown) and Quinnipiac in Hamden have just received $3 million, to be equally shared, in funding for the CT Film Industry Training Program, as part of the Hollywood East Tax Force. This adds to the new infrastructure for job training for the state’s burgeoning role in the film industry, with new soundstages being built and the most lucrative tax credit in the United States.
The money was allocated by the legislature and was originally for $6 million but was whittled to the present amount. The programs will start on July 7. The Film Industry Training Program is designed for individuals who want to learn the basics of feature and episodic television film production and potentially pursue entry-level freelance work in the industry. Trainees will also learn about union membership, which is required to work on the majority of productions in the state.
Classes will be taught by motion picture professionals who have significant career experience and are active members of the motion picture trade union related to the skills they teach.
The training program curriculum is as follows:
Phase I: Production Overview (July 7 to 19, Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) A comprehensive production overview and survey of job categories in the feature film industry. Upon successful completion of this introductory course, students will be encouraged to continue to Phase II.
Phase II: Concentrated Training (July 28 to Aug. 8, Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Each student will pursue his/her selected area of concentration during intensive, hands-on training in the classroom, studio and on location. Areas of specialization are: production management, location management, production office coordination, lighting and grip, camera, sound, property, set dressing, set construction and wardrobe. At the end of Phase II, students will receive a certificate of completion from CT’s Film Division.
Phase III: On-Set Mentorship (Dates and times will vary) Certified trainees may receive up to 10 weeks of on-set mentorship, working alongside department heads and crew members on a feature film or episodic television project shooting in-state. Opportunities for Phase 3 participation are dependent on the cooperation of producers and union representatives and on the shooting schedules of participating productions. On-set mentorship will take place throughout the year.
Although the program will prove successful, it only allows for union jobs and leaves no room for applicants who wish to work on independent films and allow for a truly wide scope. Although this author is pro-union, this program is not all-encompassing and when students pass the courses, they have to apply to the union and pay $5,000 in union dues and can only get in after 6 months of work. 120 days is a lot of work, considering the applicant does get what s/he wants.