From a media release:
BIPOC TV & FILM announces the launch of its first Showrunner Training Bootcamp, a workshop intensive for mid-to upper level Canadian writers and content creators. Led by writer and executive producer Anthony Q. Farrell, the bootcamp will include special guest instructors and panellists from the U.S. and Canada. The programme, co-designed by writer and producer, Jinder Oujla-Chalmers with support from BIPOC TV & FILM, will train up to 50 Canadian BIPOC writers on best practices in managing and staffing their writing rooms, managing production and post-production schedules, and managing relationships with stakeholders, including production companies and broadcasters. Participants will also be invited to observe Farrell showrun during one of his upcoming TV series writing rooms. The bootcamp will be open to writers who are Black, Indigenous or People of Colour who have or have had a TV or web series in development with a Canadian broadcaster or production company, a minimum of Co-Producer credit on a Canadian TV or web series, or a story editor credit on an animated series. Applications are currently being accepted through to September 19, 2021.
“A nice thing about the Canadian Entertainment industry right now is that more doors are opening for BIPOC creators. It’s a beautiful thing. What I’m noticing though, is that many of those creators are being thrown into showrunning without any real preparation or support,” said writer and showrunner Anthony Q. Farrell, lead facilitator of the bootcamp. “The goal of this program is to get mid and upper-level writers ready for the jump to showrunning, demystify elements of the role that are new to them, and to inspire them to take creative control of their series. We’ll go through the nuts and bolts of the job so they’re mostly ready for the opportunity if and when it arises.”
A 2021 report from the Writers Guild of Canada revealed that writers from marginalized and underrepresented communities were least likely to occupy leadership roles or senior credits on Canadian TV series. This disparity impacts compensation, hiring practices, and content.
“There are a growing number of excellent training programs geared for entry level BIPOC creatives, however none are focused on levelling up experienced writers,” says Kadon Douglas, Executive Director of BIPOC TV & FILM. “We are not only entry-level or emerging. We are also mid to senior level creatives who are ready to take the lead. Through this BIPOC TV & Film Showrunner Training Bootcamp, we are equipping our community with the knowledge and business acumen to hold their own and revolutionize Canadian content . Knowledge is power; an investment in career advancement for mid to senior level BIPOC creatives is key to transforming and modernizing the industry.”
“It was a painful experience creating my own television series, being given a greenlight, only to have the ‘showrunning’ position go to someone else. I’ve found throughout my writing journey no one ever talks about what the showrunners task really is. Like it’s a big secret that nobody is willing to reveal,” said writer and executive producer Jinder Oujla-Chalmers, co-designer of the boot camp curriculum. “The truth is, I believe anybody who creates their own show should be given the opportunity to see their vision through. Anthony and I created this showrunner program to give people the opportunity to hear from the experts so that they can learn and expand their knowledge of what it takes, and not be afraid to run their own shows.”
ABOUT ANTHONY Q. FARRELL
Anthony Q. Farrell is the Showrunner and Executive Producer of the sci-fi primetime comedy Overlord & The Underwoods. He has served as the showrunner for The Parker Andersons, Amelia Parker, and the BAFTA-winning CBBC series Secret Life of Boys, which he also created. In the past, he has written for NBC’s The Office, Canada’s international hit Little Mosque On The Prairie, and Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans. He is in active development on several other shows that he hopes to share in the near future. He lives in Toronto with his amazing family.
ABOUT JINDER OUJLA-CHALMERS
Jinder Oujla-Chalmers of Inner Vision Productions Inc. is an award-winning writer, producer, director and facilitator. For over 30 years, she has worked on diversity issues and was instrumental in the creation of the Writers’ Guild of Canada’s (WGC) Bell Media Screenwriters Diversity and the Bell Media Diverse Producers programs. Jinder was a founding board member of the Asian Heritage Film Society in Vancouver B.C. and is the former vice-president of the Female Eye Film Festival. She has also designed curricula and facilitated film and television writing programmes Kingston University (London, UK) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s school of journalism. The WGC Sondra Kelly Award-winner currently sits on the City of Toronto’s film, television and digital media board and on the WGC diversity committee.
ABOUT BIPOC TV & FILM
BIPOC TV & FILM is a national grassroots nonprofit organization advocating for racial equity and inclusion in Canada’s screen media industry. BIPOC TV & FILM provides career training, mentorship, job access and wellness support to creative professionals who are Black, Indigenous and/or Persons of Colour; and works in solidarity with its community and industry stakeholders to address and eliminate barriers to career entry and advancement. Through its HireBIPOC initiative, BIPOC TV & FILM provides direct access to above and below-the-line crew and content creators for hire. Launched in October 2020, HireBIPOC now hosts over 7,000 members and over 200 crew positions.