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Calling all web series creators, join your peers on a journey to learn more about the industry this summer in South Western Ontario. This year’s Leg Up Labs workshop series will be focusing on the steps you need to take to take your career to the next level. We will be covering everything, from creation through finance and production to distribution. Bring your big idea off your wish list and into reality with the coaching of industry leader John Galway, formerly head of the Harold Greenburg fund, along with a strong selection of industry experts.

At the end of the first two weekends, you will be ready to pitch to win at the Ontario Screen Creator’s Conference $50,000 Webseries Pitch! (more info on that really soon!)

Get to Know the Three Elements to get to Market

  • CREATING content that engages an audience.
  • PARTNERING – finding and collaborating with the right distribution partners.



This program is capped at 20 participants.

Free to apply.  Selected participants pay $450 which includes five days of programming,

Four days of lunches, and refreshments (Value $80)

Three individual Ontario Screen Creators Conference Seminar tickets during October 20-22 (value $90),

A ticket to the Screen Creator’s Networking Party on Friday, October 20 (value $30)

A six-ticket pass to the Forest City Film Festival ($90 value)

The total value of $740 for only $450

The FCFF will provide one scholarship consisting of a waived fee for the 2023 Leg Up Labs.

Take a peek at our 2023

Workshop Schedule

The goal of the opening weekend is to build the tools and knowledge to drive your projects forward. We’ll be looking at ways to connect with an audience, tailor your pitch and opportunities to finance your projects with real world examples.

Leg Up Labs Break Down Your Project

10:00 am – 12:30 pm  &  1:30 – 3:00 pm

Breaking Down Your Project (6 Volunteer Projects)

Led by John Galway the group will dig into the creative, audience engagement and financial aspects of 6 volunteer projects from the goup – discussing the opportunities and challenges and building a plan forward.

Leg Up Labs Working as a Writer Director

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Working as a Writer/Director/Producer – Jeremy Lalonde

Jermy Lalonde will discuss his career as a “multi-hyphenate” creator and producer. From privately financed features films, to working in the Canadian system and his recent Bell TV1 show PBwith J – Plant-Based with Jeremy.

Leg Up Labs Ink and Drink

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

The Ink and Drink Social: Part 1

Participants who have attended the day’s events (and guests and even those who have not attended) are encouraged to mix and mingle at a local food/drink patio.

A great way to connect, and network in more personal and meaningful ways.

The goal of the opening weekend is to build the tools and knowledge to drive your projects forward. We’ll be looking at ways to connect with an audience, tailor your pitch and opportunities to finance your projects with real world examples.

Leg Up Labs Connecting With Your Audience

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Connecting with your Audience – Paul Gardner, Bell TV1

Paul Gardner of Bell TV1 will discuss what a broadcaster looks for and how they can help you define and connect with your audience.

Leg Up Labs Connecting With Your Audience

12:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Connecting with your Audience – Paul Zimic, Distributor/Producer

Paul Zimic has had roles in distribution, broadcast sales and as a producer. Paul will discuss how he builds projects for both an audience and the B2B audience of buyers and sellers of content – and his advice from being on both sides of the pitching table.

Leg Up Labs Pitch Like a Pro

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Pitch Like a Pro – John Galway

For years John heard hundreds of feature and short film pitches as the President of the Harold Greenberg Fund… and now he’s pitching both in Canada and Internationally as a producer. He’l take you through his pitching strategy tailored for each potential partner.

Leg Up Labs Next Steps

4:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Next Steps

A review of the main learning lessons of the first weekend and next steps in developing your project and pitch.

The goal of the second weekend is to build the tools and knowledge to get your projects made and to build a successful and lasting career.

Leg Up Labs Questions and Catch Up

10:00 am – 10:30 am

Questions and Catch-up

John Galway will lead the recap of the past days to start off the second weekend and thoughts on progress made between sessions.

Leg Up Labs Funding

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Funding your Project with the Canada Media Fund

CMF is one of the major funders in Canada for television and online media – How can you best position yourself and your project to attract their support as you build your projects and your portfolio?

Leg Up Labs Funding

1:00 pm – 2:30pm

Funding your Project with the Bell Fund- Suzanne Lacey

The Bell Fund is the major private funder of short form digital and TV content – How can you best position yourself and your project to attract their support?

Making a movie

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Understanding the Business Side – Bizable Media

The Business side of Producing can often be intimidating – but it needn’t be – Janice Dawe will walk you through the major areas you need to know.

Leg Up Labs Ink and Drink Social

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm After Event

The Ink and Drink Social: Part 2

Writers who have attended the day’s events (and guests and even those who have not attended) are encouraged to mix and mingle at a local food/drink patio.

The goal of the second weekend is to build the tools and knowledge to get your projects made and to build a successful and lasting career.

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Recap and Pitch Work

We’ve explored all aspects of your project now – and it’s a lot of information! Time to recap, ask questions, and practice your pitch!

12:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Reel Career Strategies

The bulk of the lab has been focused on getting your project made and seen – now its time to shift gears and think about the long-term – how to develop a resilient career as a content producer.

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Inspiration Story

To close off the second weekend we look at a producer who was recently in your shoes – what was their roadmap to success and what obstacles did they face.

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Festival Planning – Networking Techniques and Strategies – John Galway and Zach Feldberg

John and Zach discuss their strategies for maximizing the opportunity that film festivals and markets present.

Learn from and connect with


John Galway

John Galway is a highly accomplished CEO, producer, and influential figure in the film and media industry. As the founder of Corrib Entertainment, he has curated captivating documentaries and compelling dramatic series. With notable roles at Telefilm Canada and the Harold Greenberg Fund, John’s expertise spans financing, policy development, and industry leadership. His contributions have left an indelible mark on the Canadian media landscape, including the establishment of the renowned Producers’ Lab at the Whistler Film Festival and his role as Executive Director of the Toronto Irish Film Festival. Recognized with prestigious accolades such as the Canadian Screen Award’s Academy Board Tribute, John Galway is a true luminary in the industry.


Jeremy lalonde in front of camera

Jeremy LaLonde - Filmmaker

Paul Zimic - Producer

Dummy Image

Canadian Media Fund - TBA

Suzanne Lacey - Bell Fund

Winnifred Jong - Filmmaker

Leah Rifkin

Leah Rifkin - WebSeries Canada

Jeremy lalonde in front of camera

Jeremy LaLonde

Jeremy LaLonde is a filmmaker who resides in Toronto where he was awarded with NOW Magazine’s ‘Best Local Filmmaker’ Reader’s Choice Award in 2015. His films have screened internationally including Toronto Int’l Film Festival, Slamdance, Cinequest, Santa Barbara, Dances with Films and Whistler. His film SEX AFTER KIDS won Best Feature at Film North Huntsville, Best Comedy at the Edmonton Int’l Film Festival, and Best Screenplay & Best Director at the Canadian Comedy Awards.

His film HOW TO PLAN AN ORGY IN A SMALL TOWN premiered at Slamdance and won Best Indie Feature at the Edmonton Int’l Film Festival, and Best Ensemble & Best Feature film at the Canadian Film Fest. His fourth feature film THE GO-GETTERS had its world premiere at Cinequest where it won the Jury Award for Best Comedy Feature.

Jeremy has won multiple Canadian Screen Awards, a Director’s Guild of Canada, and a Canadian Comedy Award for his work both directing and editing on BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW (CBC/IFC). He was an integral part of the show for its first three seasons. His fifth feature film JAMES vs HIS FUTURE SELF co-written by Jonas Chernick and starring Daniel Stern, Frances Conroy, and Cleopatra Coleman recently took home four awards at Toronto After Dark including Best Feature Film (Bronze), Best Canadian Feature, Best Sci-Fi Feature, and Best Supporting Actor and it also screened at Whistler, Santa Barbara, and Brussels among others. It was nominated for four Canadian Screen Awards including Best Original Screenplay. His sixth feature film, ASHGROVE, had its world premiere at the Glasgow Int’l film festival to rave reviews and recently won Best Ensemble Cast and Indie Spirit Award at the Canadian Film Festival and Best Feature Film at the Forest City Film Festival. It was recently nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards. Jeremy’s seventh feature DANIEL’S GOTTA DIE, recently starting touring film festivals winning Best International Feature & Best Ensemble Cast at the Garden State Film Festival. He is readying his eight feature film and is developing several properties for television.

Paul Zimic

Paul Zimic began his work in the movie business at the age of 14 working as an usher in his hometown movie theatre. He graduated university took a job in Toronto as a media buyer for film distributor, Twentieth Century Fox. Over the next 10 years, Zimic enriched his passion for movies in the sales and marketing departments of Alliance Independent Films, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, Playback, and CBC.

In 2004 Paul Zimic formed Grindstone Media, a boutique film and television production and distribution company where he co-created and produced TV projects, Grim Sweepers (2010), Downtime With Biznasty (2011) and the feature documentary Never Enough (2014). In 2013, he took an ownership position as President of Distribution with digital media supply chain provider, Juice Worldwide. Juice was acquired by Vubiquity two years later and Zimic returned to producing with the award-winning feature doc The Woman Who Loves Giraffes (2018). Under the new banner Battlejoy Films, Zimic is currently in post on the feature doc Voices from a Concrete Ceiling and developing a slate of film and digital projects.

Jeremy lalonde in front of camera



Suzanne Lacey

Suzanne is Bell Fund’s Deputy Director, English Canada, a CRTC certified independent production fund which provides approximately $15 million annually to over 100 independent production companies to support the development and production of high-quality Canadian content. Previously, Suzanne was Director of Multi-Platform Content and Broadcast Scheduling for TVO. She was responsible for TVO’s first drama series Hard Rock Medical (Distinct Features) filmed in Sudbury and North Bay, and its first factual series The Water Brothers (SK Films), winner of the prestigious BBC Earth Panda Award. Before that, she production managed various programs including the multi-Gemini Award-winning documentary, Before Their Time (Discovery U.S. & TVO). She is a graduate of Queen’s University film studies with a certificate in digital media from OCAD.

Winnifred Jong

Winnifred Jong is a sought-after, award-winning Toronto-based filmmaker and alumna of the prestigious Women In the Director’s Chair program. Since being named one of Playback’s 5-to-Watch in 2018, she has directed multiple seasons of Prime Time episodic television for streamers (Netflix, Apple+, Hulu, Amazon) and broadcast (CBC, Global, OWN, CW) including FIREFLY LANE, PRETTY HARD CASES, CORONER, NURSES and KUNG FU. Marking three awards in 2020, she won a Canadian Screen Award (TOKENS), a Director’s Guild Award (MYSTERY 101: DEAD TALK) and the Sandi Ross Award. She has gone on to be nominated for Canadian Screen Awards in 2022 and 2023, winning again for Best Direction (TOKENS).

Known for her cinematic style and authentic storytelling, Winnifred is adept at directing compelling comedy, drama and action. She created, wrote and directed the comedic short-form series, TOKENS, which was sold to The Roku Channel. It boldly became the first short-form series to garner an ACTRA nomination in 2020 and repeated again in 2023. Her collaborative leadership style led Winnifred to become the producing director for OWN/WBTV’s THE KINGS OF NAPA.

She currently has two feature films in development, DISTANT COUSINS and CHOP SUEY NATION.

Leah Rifkin

Leah Rifkin

Leah Rifkin is the Founder and CEO of Scarlet Lens Productions. She uses her mastery of Sight, Sequencing and Articulation to Visionscape realities through Art.

She is the award-winning author of the book Beyond The Director’s Chair. She is the director and executive producer of Out Of Frame, an award-winning edutainment web series for kids.

Leah directed the short film, Dinner With Bernice, which was an Official Selection in the Toronto Shorts International Film Festival (February 2018).

As a director and editor, Leah has also worked on multiple digital narratives, short films, and music videos that have earned millions of views.

In 2019, Leah was a finalist in the Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative and runner-up for Armoza Formats’ Formagination Pitch Competition at Realscreen West.

Leah is also President of Web Series Canada and the Festival Director of T.O. Webfest.

Leg Up Labs is Made Possible by the Support of