“Breaking In” to Toronto’s Film & TV Production Sector
Toronto’s film, television and media-based industry has experienced significant annual growth since 2016, motivating the strategic report Spotlight on Toronto: Strategic Action Plan for the Film, Television and Digital Media Industry, in an effort to continue building the sector’s competitive advantage.
Toronto’s marketability as “the world’s most diverse city” is positioned to attract investment and partnerships from abroad. With the significant expansion of studio space in 2020, the sector is now facing an urgent pressure to secure large numbers of reliable, new talent and to ensure this talent reflects the city’s population.
This seemingly straight-forward task is complicated by the sector’s insularity, which is managed through deep networks of personal and professional relationships. These and other barriers to access make the process of “breaking in” consistently challenging for new talent; especially for diverse creatives and for young people from equity-seeking groups. The result is a demographically homogeneous workforce sustained by talent pipelines with a similar make up.
To prioritize workforce diversity, POV is collaborating with the City’s film office, the sector and its unions to develop workforce strategies that engage equity-seeking groups across the sector. Essential to this mission is a holistic view of the key stakeholders, pathways, access points, gates, and enablers that define the sector experience for those trying to “break in”. In the absence of existing data, this research, conducted in 2019, is a first step to mapping the sector and exploring the systemic barriers to access that regulate the sector’s workforce.