MNBC Client Success Story - Jordan Waunch

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Career Choice: Film & Television Casting

Institute: BC Institute of Technology

My Success Story:

First and foremost I want to thank Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) for all the help they've provided over the last two years. Without the guidance of the staff and community I would not have been able to attend post-secondary studies and obtain a job in the film industry.

Ever since I was a child I was completely fascinated with Hollywood and the cinema. I knew early on that this type of work was something that I really wanted to be apart of. I loved movies with all my heart and wanted to help make them. Little did I know at that age, that one day my dream could become a possibility.

I was born and raised in a small rural community in the south Okanagan. There is no local film industry in that region (though there are lots of great orchards and wineries!). Once in a blue moon a film crew would pass through town and it would spark my imagination. I decided early on that I would have to make the move to a larger city and Vancouver (also known at Hollywood North) seemed like a reasonable choice. So at the age of 18, I hitchhiked from the Okanagan valley all the way to the coast of British Columbia to begin my journey in the world of film and television.

Over the years of adapting to city life and learning the in's and out's of how difficult it can be to obtain full time work in my chosen field, I decided it was time to go back to school to learn more. There were many barriers both personal and financial that were making this decision difficult but I knew that in the end it would be the right choice. After much research I aimed my sights toward the Film & Television Production course offered by the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). My only issue at that point was figuring out how to enrol and actually make it a reality. Luckily for me the staff at MNBC were very accommodating in pointing me in the right direction and helping me to enrol in the
Métis Employment and Training Program (METP). I also have to give a big thanks to my family for all their support and also credit to the wonderful staff at BCIT's Aboriginal Services Department during my attendance at school.

School turned out to be an incredible experience. Not only was I surrounded by amazing peers and talented instructors, I really learned the vital skills needed in order to obtain full time work in the fast paced world of film, TV, and media broadcast. BCIT had many challenging moments but overall I'm thankful for those experiences. One of the greatest parts of my time at school was the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with my aboriginal heritage. The Aboriginal Services Department at BCIT is an astounding program that offers a multitude of cultural experiences and support from community elders and trained staff. Through their programs I was able to apprentice as a fire-keeper at the school's on campus sweat lodge, participate as a peer mentor, and take the position of Vice-President in BCIT's Aboriginal Cultural Club. All this was made possible because I was given the chance to partake in the
Métis Employment and Training Program offered by MNBC.

The course at BCIT taught many aspects of the industry to my peers and I; everything from film editing, equipment setup, camera operation, producing, directing, and even script writing. When it came to the final months of our two year program there were many options for a career path; which was a good thing because for the final months of class it was mandatory to take up an internship with a real industry related company. For me I decided film and TV casting was my best bet. I applied to one of the busiest and well known casting studios in the city and was given the opportunity to intern with them for five weeks. I learned so much in those five weeks and discovered that what I was taught at BCIT really did translate into the real world, so much so, that I was hired as a casting assistant and camera operator for the company's owner and casting directors. It's now been five months since I started at the casting studio and work keeps getting busier and better everyday.

None of this would have been possible without the help of Gayle Sayese, Tina Marrale, all the wonderful staff at MNBC, and of course the Métis Employment and Training Program. Not only have I had the opportunity to further my education, make my family proud, and achieve a dream I've had since being a kid, the program has really shown me the true kindness and dedication of the Métis Community as whole. So once again, I thank you all very much for helping me down this path.

~ Jordan Waunch

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