Local 669's Camera Trainee Program is designed to provide participants with the skills and on set experience required to become a 2nd Assistant in the Camera Department. This program offers indispensable training, work techniques and habits with hands on experience on various camera systems, and enables participants to make invaluable contacts within the industry. Trainees get to work on active signatory productions with seasoned union members, and make connections that could potentially land them work in the future.
Check back for the next Application Submission Deadline
how do i apply?
All applications must be submitted on 8.5 X 11 paper, paper clipped in a full size envelope. It is important that you do not staple anything nor place in a binder or folder.
**Incomplete Applications will not be accepted**
Your trainee application must be compiled in the following order:
- Completed application form: Camera Trainee Application Form
- Letter of Intent, addressed to the attention of the Trainee Committee
- Resume - you must follow this format: Resume Template
- Minimum (3) reference letters
- Photocopies of the mandatory course certificates (or registered date of courses)
- Photocopy of valid drivers license and proof of vehicle registration and insurance
There is a $50 non-refundable application fee. This can be paid by Cheque, Visa, MasterCard or Interac at the office. Applications can be mailed to the office or dropped off in person from 9am – 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.
Please mail or drop off your completed package to:
IATSE Local 669
217-3823 Henning Drive
Burnaby BC V5C 6P3
what is the camera trainee program?
The trainee program is designed to provide skills and on set experience that trains participants to ultimately become 2nd assistants in the Camera Department. The trainee phase of your career is important for learning indispensable work techniques and habits, camera systems, and making valuable contacts within the industry. The union members you work with during this training program may be ones that could hire you in the future! On average most of the camera trainees graduate from the program between 1 - 1.5 years, depending on the bouancy of the film market.
what are the requirements to apply?
Trainee program applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Possess a valid driver’s license and own/have access to a reliable vehicle at all times – no exceptions
- You must be legally entitled to work in Canada AND be a permanent resident within Western Canada (BC, AB, SK, MB, Yukon, North West Territories, and Nunavut)
- Minimum of 19 years of age
- All of the mandatory courses required to be on set as a trainee (proof of enrollment may be included)
- Completion of Grade 12 or GED equivalent
- Ideally 30 days On-Set Experience, paid or volunteer work (camera department experience ideal but not neccessary. Experience can be acquired on projects such as music videos, commercials, indie features, television series)
- Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team and willingness to learn
Each province has required courses for working on film sets, please submit photocopies of certificates.
1. Motion Picture Industry Orientation Program
Developed in partnership with film industry unions and guilds, this 2-day course provides you with the information you need to know before you go on set. Course can be taken at the following institutions:
- Capilano University Continuing Studies: Phone 604.984.4901 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit their website: www.capilanou.ca/mpio
- Vancouver Film School: Offered 5 - 6 times per year. Check their website at www.vfs.com or call Lila at (604) 631-3089
- Langara College: Call 604-323-5322 for the most up-to-date information about upcoming course dates or visit http://www.langara.bc.ca/continuing-studies/programs-and-courses/programs/digital-film-production/courses.html.
- InFocus Film School: http://www.infocusfilmschool.com/motion-picture-industry-orientation/ or 604-915-6900.
- Act Safe: http://www.actsafe.ca/passport/courses.php?course=126
2. Act Safe Motion Picture Safety Awareness
Offered by Actsafe, please go to www.actsafe.ca/courses/ for the most up-to-date schedule. Act Safe Motion Picture Safety Awareness is now FREE!
1. Set Etiquette and Protocol
Mount Royal University http://www.mtroyal.ca/ProgramsCourses/ContinuingEducation/arts/film_tv/index.htm
Set Orientation, Safety Awareness and WHMIS
Offered through Film Training Manitoba. All offered separately or as a bundle: http://www.filmtraining.mb.ca/calendar/
what happens after i apply?
All applications are carefully reviewed by the camera trainee selection committee. Qualified applicants are then invited to an interview and, if successful during this process, are enrolled in a formal camera trainee fundamentals course taught by IATSE Local 669 members. The course provides all trainees with a solid foundation that will prepare them for their trainee responsibilities while working on union shows. Once the course is complete, applicants must also pass both practical and written exams in order to be officially accepted as an IATSE Local 669 camera trainee. Please note: There is a course fee for the camera trainee training course, course fees will be announced when the program opens again.
In the event that you are not selected for the camera trainee program, we highly encourage you to continue gaining experience and applying for the next program intake. The camera trainee program is ultimately market driven and this does impact the window of when trainee intake occurs during the year and the number of trainees accepted.
what happens once i am a local 669 trainee?
Trainees are put on rotation on union shows such as television series, movies of the week, and features for five week rotations. Trainees are placed with different camera crews on their rotations in order to fully gain the skills and experience to become qualified camera technicians and 2nd assistants. On average, it takes approximately 1 - 1.5 years for trainees to gain the minimum 120 days on rotation and requisite references in order to apply graduate to 2nd AC and become official members of Local 669. Trainees understand that being a part of the program is a privilege that can be revoked at any time due to repeated poor performance on rotation and/or conduct unbecoming.
important questions to ask yourself
If you are considering a career in the Camera Department, the questions below are designed to help you determine if becoming a Camera Trainee is right for you:
- Do I have valid drivers license?
- Do I have a vehicle, and is it reliable?
- Do I like working in teams?
- Am I willing to work shift work, including nights and weekends?
- Am I willing to work for minimum wage?
- Am I willing to work in all weather conditions?
- Am I willing to work in many different, often distant locations over the course of a job?
- Do I have a cell phone with voice mail?
- Am I physically able to lift extremely heavy loads?
- Am I willing to work at least 12 hours a day minimum, sometimes 12+ hours?
- Can I follow verbal directions well?
- Can I multi-task under time-sentitive conditions and successfully complete my tasks?
- Do I perform well under high-pressure situations?
- Do I have excellent communication and interpersonal skills?
- Am I prepared to accept a lifestyle where I will be responsible for securing my own work as an independent contractor?
film industry reality check
- All trainees are required to have a vehicle, no exceptions.
- While gaining experience on independent projects and commercials is valuable experience, Trainees are expected to make the Trainee Program their first priority.
- As a trainee and eventually a union member, you will be employed sporadically during the year, often with no knowledge of when you may be working again.
- Busy periods are from March – April (Pilot Season) Summer (June, July, August), and September to approximately December 22nd
- The film industry is market driven and there may be a waiting period between rotations, sometimes a month or more.
- It can take on average two years to have enough set days to be eligible for upgrade.
- As a Camera Trainee being a part of the program is a privilege that can be withdrawn at any time due to repeated poor performance on rotations or inappropriate behaviour.
- Creativity is a part of the industry, but NOT part of the Trainees job.
- Film work has the potential to put strains on personal and family relationships with very long hours, extremely high pressure and tension.
- Working in film is not a job, IT IS A LIFESTYLE!
Inquiries about the trainee program can be brought to the attention of:
Administrative Training / Membership Services Assistant
The IATSE Local 669 main office is located at 217-3823 Henning Drive, Burnaby, BC. Our office hours are 9am – 5pm, Monday through Friday.