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Meet The Panelists: Paige Murray

Returning to our OSCC weekend, Paige Murray will be joining us for our Breakfast Mentoring and judging the Feature Pitch. Paige has worked within different content areas at CBC for over eleven years. She is a powerhouse within the television industry, previously being an executive in charge of producing YA Digital Originals as well as overseeing production and development of short/mid length series for CBC GEMS and much more. Paige currently is an Executive in Charge of Development within Drama on the scripted content team. Her experience within multiple areas and genres of television give her such a broad depth of knowledge and we are so excited to explore with you in the upcoming sessions!

If you want a head start into the OSCC weekend, check out our conversation with Paige below as we talk CBC, Industry trends and advice for new creatives.

How do you think the Canadian film industry has changed within these past years; How do you see filmmakers adapting to these changes and moving forward?

Putting my television hat on for this one, I think the Canadian television industry has been contracting for some time, and had started happening well before this current contraction we are feeling. There are so few doors to knock on in Canada if you want to make a television show, it’s probably harder than it’s ever been. It’s been interesting to see creators adapt by playing with format a little bit. We have two series that are also feature films launching this fall. Both projects decided to create the two formats as a way to get their projects financed. We have one comedy series that is making two versions of its show – one for CBC where the episodes are broadcast length (about 22 minutes) and one for our streaming partner with episodes that are longer in length. I’m not suggesting everyone make two versions of the thing they want to make, but this flexibility and adaptation is something we are seeing more of.

Can you speak to your personal favorite CBC initiative which supports Ontario Filmmakers; why do you like it?

I might be biased because I used to program it but Canadian Reflections. I think it’s now one of a handful of broadcast opportunities for short film makers. We have slowly watched the short film funding space shrink, specifically as an incubation mechanism within a broadcaster. Canadian Reflections is one of the last broadcaster backed opportunities to have your work showcased on a linear platform. While it’s exciting to say you had work on TV, what makes this program so important is the potential access it grants. With a broadcast license you may be able to access a small amount of tax credits, and there are many funding programs that require a previous broadcast license as part of the application, so it can open doors to future funding as well.

Are there any huge trends in the Canadian film industry right now that are to be watched and kept in mind?

I am going to switch gears into the TV space here since that is where I primarily operate. The biggest trend we are seeing is co-production. It is extremely rare that a television show can be solely financed by one entity – broadcaster or streamer – so the conversation is really focused on partnerships. This has clear implications on the creative so it’s important to keep that in our mind as you craft a project. Of course we want something that will work specifically for our audience, but what aspects might speak to a broader audience to help it travel or find partners?

You both are part of the OSCC Breakfast Networking Session. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone entering the film industry?

Don’t worry about trying to meet the heads of networks or streaming platforms, find the folks starting out with you and come up together. Find that community that you want to work with, that you can ask questions to, that you can float a script or a grant application to – those are the people that will make the most impact early in your career. It’s great to know who’s on top, and who the major players are, but chances are there isn’t much they will be able to do for you early on. Build a strong network and don’t be afraid to use them, and be available to them in return.

Paige is a wealth of knowledge and this conversation only touched the surface! If you have more questions about her experience and expertise come join us at our Breakfast Mentoring session for one on one conversation with Paige herself!