prospecting for jobs well in advance
I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I'm planning to relocate (on a permanent basis) to Canada (Vancouver would be ideal). However this relocation will not take place earlier than a year since my fiancee is in her last year of her studies and fishing for universities at this point is not such a good idea.
But, since finding a new job may take some time I started looking up for some studios mainly in the Vancouver area.
My question is. Would it be fit to contact them well in advance on a "just getting in touch" basis, to express my interest in working for them in the future etc. etc.? I'm asking this because it seems like a sound idea to establish a relationship a bit in advance. Or should I refrain from that and only start applying when I know that I am ready to leave?
Any feedback on this matter is highly appreciated.
I can tell you I applied at CMT as a director when I was 22. I drove from Dallas to Nashville to shake a hand. I knew I was not going to get hired that day as a director but I also knew later, when I came knowcking when ripe, they'd remember my name. That's exactly how it happened 4 yeras later. You always hear it's not what ya know it's who ya know. That's true as can be. It's up to you to get to know em.
I would suggest trying to pop over there a time or two over the next year to try doing some short freelance work, to build some relationships and get familiar with the production community, but I understand Canada has some somewhat touchy visa and work permit rules about how one goes aboot doing that up there.
But, I'm sure they are still very polite about it:-)
Soemthing you might want to research.
Absolutely. When I moved from Honolulu to Madison WI I had visited about 4 times whenever I came back for family visits. I talked shop and just got to know a bit more about the players in the community. I didn't do a lot of hard sell but just got to know them as a fellow editor who was interested in the craft and swapping stories about what kind of projects they worked on. It also gave me a chance to see where my unique experience would fit in.
I now have a ten year video production company and we are buying a full service studio space with soundstage this year in Madison.
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post
I am going to respond to your post more specific to the Vancouver Canada area, don't take this post as a template for how to network in other cities.
I have lived in Vancouver, for the past 7 years. Vancouver is in a unique situation especially after hosting the Olympics. There is a bubble here waiting to burst, in fact it is already bursting now that the Olympics are out of town.
1) The animation/film/video industry here is absolutely flooded. There are no less than 6 schools that have programs specializing in those fields and each release between 30-400 graduates a year, almost all whom try and find full time work. There are FAR more applicants than jobs available. Most companies that have satellite offices in Vancouver will tell you that they get more applicants in there than at any of their other offices.
2) As a non-Canadian you will have to prove that you are a highly skilled worker, there are forms online you can test out but not everyone passes (depends on their career)
3) The Canadian dollar has gone up to match the American dollar, which means fewer productions are coming from out of town. Also, the province of BC has yet to match tax credits that other Canadian provinces have. Ontario for example, where the major city of Toronto is located has more lucrative credits.
4) Vancouver has a massive gaming industry, but it is also very volatile. Last year a few companies laid off HUNDREDS of staff, only to rehire a small portion so far this year. And for animation, Pixar has just moved into town, but they only plan on hiring about 70 staff. Television, cable networks and production companies frequently use freelancers.
5) Metro Vancouver has the highest rent/cost of living in Canada.
Vancouver, British Columbia has the least housing affordability among 272 cities in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Source: Demographia 2010.
Vancouver is the most expensive city IN THE WORLD to own a house. It now takes over ten years worth of average income to be able to afford a house.
Average Rent for Two-Bedroom Apartments (about 900 square feet) in 2009
$1,154.00 per month
Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. 2009.
Minimum wage: $8.00 an hour (and that is what entry level media professionals get if they are lucky)
SO, what can a person in your position to get a job? While networking in advance could be helpful, it is really unlikely it will make any difference at all. Like I mentioned, the industries here are absolutely flooded and most positions whether as an employee or freelancer almost exclusively come through word of mouth. What you could do, is start up a conversation with someone in the area over something other than hiring you and go from there. Look up Vancouver area events/groups and see what names pop up that may be affiliated with a company, shoot them an email about the events or groups (Facebook or LinkedIn are good sources). Then when you know you are serious about moving, inquire about work. Just as long as you don't waste their time, no one gets hurt.
More people seem to have better luck in Toronto (particularly Americans), and Europeans seem to be well embraced in Montreal. Both those cities have slightly lower costs of living but also host some big name agencies/companies. They just don't have quite the reputation that Vancouver has since it just hosted the Olympics, but they are equally great media centers.
$1,154.00 per month for a 2 bedroom is cheap.... just saying.
Broadway Video, NYC