More NSI Fun!

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The NSI Features First experience continued in Toronto this month as the “producer” members of each team gathered at The Fairmont Royal York (who took amazing care of us, by the way) to learn from innumerable industry professionals about the ins and outs of film financing, logistics, insurance, casting and, most importantly, networking and relationships.

Before I get into the details of the “Producer Boot Camp” I wanted to take a moment to thank Shelly Tyler.


Shelly is only in her third month on the job at The NSI as Manager of Programs and Development but she has been absolutely fantastic as our guide into the Features First Program. She spent a long time with Frantic Films and she brings a wealth of knowledge and diligence to the program. Also, just a super nice lady (she bought me dinner in the airport on the way home) and completely accessible and encouraging. It can sometimes be daunting to try to cram all of this knowledge into our heads as the program moves forward and sometimes I get nervous about asking a dumb question or making a mistake. Shelly makes the whole process very safe and you have to feel safe when you’re learning or you won’t take risks, and if you don’t take risks, you won’t make mistakes. And mistakes can be the best way to learn. Thanks for being our pilot through this journey, Shelly! Check out her bio at the bottom of this page.

We also have the unique opportunity of having Julie Di Cresce with us throughout the process as well. Julie is the Director of Canadian Programming at Super Channel and joins us a Program Advisor for the NSI Features First Program. Having a broadcast license for your film gives you access to many other opportunities for financing and tax credits so it’s all but integral to have some kind of relationship with a broadcaster if you’re making any sort of entertainment within Canada. Obviously, Julie knows the broadcaster world very, very well and provides us with her point of view as folks from all corners of the industry come and join us for a visit. Her insight and point of view adds a very key “next step” sort of feel to the process as we continue to move forward with Synapse.

Here she is on the right, this was actually taken at our first phase. (Check out everyone’s blog posts from phase one, they’re great and Chris Craddock says about the nicest thing anyone has ever said about Scott and myself.)


Which brings me to the wonderful woman on the left in that image, Melissa Kajpust and the sad-for-us/amazing-for-Super-Channel news of her departure from The NSI as Director of Programming and the start of her tenure as Head of Creative Development at Super Channel. Melissa was really our introduction to the program and took us through the journey of our first two days at Features First in April, working through all four of the scripts at the program. It’s not really something that can be explained, but I can tell you that being in the room with her as she makes notes on a script is truly profound and you’re pretty lucky if you find yourself in that position. Make sure you’ve got your notepad ready because your script is about to get much better. Check out the NSI post with all the details about her new role! Thanks for all your work at The NSI over the last decade, Melissa, and best of luck with your new gig!

Stay tuned my individual posts on my experience at Phase 2 of NSI!


About the Author:

Matt Watterworth a is a 28-year-old filmmaker in Alberta, Canada. He graduated from the SAIT Polytechnic Film & Video Production Program in 2008 and followed that up with 4 years learning from the brilliant minds at one of Canada's top ten production companies. He claps better than anyone you know and, tragically, still wishes to be Batman.
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  1. Irene Hamilton  May 28, 2014

    Hi Matt.

    Totally enjoy your blogs. Sounds like Melissa and Shelly are on top of today’s entertainment industry. I admire their expertise and commitment to an industry that continues to be more exciting every year.

    Thanks Matt Watterworth.


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