I work in Visual Effects for feature films.

As far as jobs go, it’s a blast. It’s fun, creative, and at the end of the job, we get to watch a film and know we were a part of it (although, depending on the film, that is sometimes less of a reward and more of a punishment).

On the downside, however, many of us in the industry often have to move to a new country for each new job. On the upside, however, we get to move to a new country for each new job. So far, I’m on my fifth country, seventh city, and fourteenth relocation in thirteen years. My life packs into 23kgs of luggage allowance, and a few boxes in my parents garage.

I thought I would blog about it.


19 comments so far

  1. Rico on

    Hey Sarah, I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and I find myself always coming back to see some of your new posts, never to draw any information out of them but really just to read about your stories. But now I thought I’d like to ask you one or two questions and would really appreciate any advice you could give me. I’ve been studying film and will be graduating in cinematography this year, and I’m looking for options to continue a career in the film industry, and I’m interested to know what Canada has to offer (I’m from Cape Town in South Africa). If you have any tips on moving to Canada and trying to get a foot in the door in the industry (as a runner at first, I’m sure) it would be very much appreciated! Thank you, and keep posting about your filming adventures. Rico.

    • vfxvagabond on

      Hey Rico

      I sent an email to the address associated with this comment; please let me know if it didn’t come though and I’ll try resending it


      • Rico on

        Hello Sarah!

        I have indeed received your message, thank you very much! My apologies for not getting back to you. Your latest post about your adventure on Mount Garibaldi was so wonderful to read. In fact it’ll probably be one of the first places I visit in Canada (when I get the time and money). I too, live in a city surrounded by so much natural beauty and one of the most vast bio-diversities on the planet.

        I wanted to tell you that there is a pretty good chance of me moving to Canada next year, although I haven’t started with looking into visa’s and permits just yet. South Africa forms part of the common wealth (that might help?) otherwise I am also a European citizen and I could use that passport. I’ll see. I have a cousin (very far down the family tree, but for Italians, family is family) who grew up in Canada and who is also in the film industry as a DoP and camera operator. He has been filming for quite some time, Alfonso Maiorana, perhaps you’ve worked with him. He has given me the opportunity to stay with him for a bit and show me the ropes as I’m working towards becoming a DoP one day.

        This would be in Montreal though. Which sounds wonderful, except, coming from deepest Africa, I’m just not about that -30C life, you know? Also, French. Enough said.

        Anyway, thanks again for the advice and I look forward to reading your next post!


  2. Sana on

    Hi Sarah,

    I stumbled across an article you wrote when I google searched “American film companies hiring in Vancouver” and it took me to moving2canada.com where I found your blog.

    First of all I would like to say thank you for posting your advice because I was actually looking for a list projects that are currently underway or soon to be because I am on the job hunt myself.

    I recently finished a project with Endemol Productions in Mumbai where I worked as a Script Producer on the show Heroes- The Fightback Files. This was a bi-weekly fiction show of 30 episodes about women who were sexually harassed and fought back.I was the head of scripts and was oversaw every level of the script– from pitching the concept to the channel to the dialogue draft. I also did a little bit of directing on the show.

    I basically spent the last year working in Mumbai. I started as a producer in business news and then moved to working as a producer in fiction T.V. I moved to Mumbai because there weren’t many media jobs for beginners in Vancouver at that time and all my previous experience (paid internships and casual work) was in the news industry as that’s what I wanted to do at the time. After 5 months of working in news though I realized that I didn’t really want to do daily news anymore. From there I went on to work with Endemol India.

    I am now back in Vancouver and have been looking into the film and T.V. industry here for a similar job, but haven’t had much luck. There aren’t very many posted job openings and companies that I have contacted say to send them my resume and they will “keep it on file.” I know that many American companies film here so I thought maybe I could apply to an American production house and work from here, but I have no idea where to turn to to find their job posting. I don’t have any industry contacts so my next plan is to cold call companies listed with Creative B.C. and see if I have any luck.

    Is there anything else you suggest that I do? Please let me know! I am scheduled to go back to Mumbai in just under three weeks!

    P.S. I am a Canadian citizen who grew up here.

    Thanks in advance.

    • vfxvagabond on

      Hey Sana

      I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply! I would blame work, but… no, no. I’m going to blame work. Because I can.

      It can be so tough breaking into a new industry! I know when I moved here I was like “wait, where did all my contacts go? Now how am I supposed to get a job??”

      There are a couple of Facebook pages set up here for filmmakers:
      Hollywood North: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hollywoodnorthvancouverfilmindustry/
      Vancouver Production Assistance: https://www.facebook.com/groups/53940254191/?fref=ts

      the big Hollywood blockbusters aren’t going to post there, but a lot of the smaller, indie films do, and it’s a great way to get to know the community.

      Otherwise, there’s always post; they tend to be a lot more stable (ish) as they don’t cease to exist after a film wraps (well, not always). They roll from film to film, so they can be easier to apply at, and then you can use the people you know there to move laterally within the industry. There’s a great page here: http://vfxvancouver.com/ listing all jobs in VFX, for example

      Otherwise, just find the nearest pub by a film shoot and get to know folks πŸ™‚

      (Actually, that’s not the stupid advice it sounds like. I know someone that did this, and it worked)

      Please feel free to drop me a line if you want to chat further: sjrmclauchlan@gmail.com.

      I’m sorry this took so long to reply to – and best of luck with the hunt!


  3. dmvishnyak on

    Hi! I’ve read some your posts. I working in film industry in Ukraine and want to go in Canada in future.And I want to have conversation with you. Where we can do it? You can add me in facebook.

  4. Christine S. on

    Hi! I loved reading your blog and what you’re doing right now is exactly what I want to do. I am a production assistant in Houston, Texas in the U.S and want to move to Vancouver to work in their film industry. It seems a daunting process and with little success since companies there would just hire local PA’s. But that is my goal whatever the chances are. Do you have any advice at all for someone in my situation?

  5. Sandra on

    Hi Sarah, I found your blog through the website Moving2Canada while I was searching film information about Vancouver. I read your article, Moving Pictures: Working in the Vancouver Film Industry and I really like it, so I came here and I started reading your blog, it’s a good one, congrats.
    I’m going to move to Vancouver in February to start my Film studies and to try to find a job in this industry. I know this is not going to be easy but I have dreamed about work in films since I was young and now I’m chasing that dream. Could you give me some advice, anything, about how could I start?
    I’m Spaniard by the way, so apologise for my English.
    Thank you very much and congrats again for your blog :).
    Best regards,

    • vfxvagabond on

      Hey Sandra!

      Bienvenidos a Canada! If you want to get a job in the Vancouver film industry, I can’t think of anything better than just moving here, and meeting people – which you’ll be doing through your film studies. A lot of the companies around town are in close connection with the Vancouver Film School, and actively recruit entry level positions from there, so you’re already in a good position. Otherwise, just put yourself out there; volunteer to help out on shoots, join the “Hollywood North” facebook page, go to the Film BC meeting nights and smooze… it’s just all about meeting people and making the right impression.

      Best of luck with the move and your studies! It took me a long time to be able to make my dream come true, but it’s definitely worth it.

      Where abouts in Spain are you from? And your English is perfect πŸ™‚


  6. Dee on

    Hi Sarah, I’m glad to come across your blog (I found it via moving2canada.com), I was actually looking at film industry career in Canada, but I don’t know where to start, and then I got a link to your post, so I read, and I’m glad I did. I’m currently in New Zealand and I’ve been wanting to break into the film/TV industry for quite some time now, but haven’t managed to get there yet. Your posts are encouraging, and gives me hope when it seems like I couldn’t catch a break to get into it. Thank you for sharing advice and your experience. I do a lot of post-production work, but not for film/TV, and I also have strong interest in camera work, and I’m no stranger to long hours and demands that comes with the job. If you don’t mind, I would love it very much if you could give some pointers on where to start. Vancouver and Los Angeles (as well as New Zealand) are on the top of my list of locations to look for work in the industry. Thank you very much.

    Looking forward to read more on your blog.


  7. Mikenna Stevens on

    Hi Sarah,

    I found your blog linked to an article you wrote for Moving2Canada and I just have a couple questions for you. I currently go to school in Florida in the US and am only a couple months away from gaining my Bachelor’s in Film. My heart is totally set on Vancouver and I’m more than willing to do runner work every day of the week if that’s what it takes.
    I’ve been looking for all sorts of jobs online, but am having a really hard time trying to figure everything out. I’m hoping to get up to Vancouver sometime in July/August and I’m rather concerned about not being hired. I was thinking about sending in several cold calls to production companies but I’m not sure what would be the best way to go about that.
    My school is offering minimal help currently, so I’m pretty much on my own. I’m visiting Vancouver in a few weeks and was hoping to potentially apply for IATSE or a job whilst I was there. I’m kind of stuck as to what I’m supposed to do now and would love some advice!

    Thank you so much for your time and I hope to hear back from you.
    Have a great day,

  8. bradleycowanz on

    Hey Sarah,

    Love your blog! I feel we have a lot in common. I’m also from a small town (Greymouth) in Nz and have been flitting about the world for the past few years. Today I learned my visa for Canada has been approved and I’ll be moving to Vancouver in a month or so. I would love to get in touch (if you have the time) with a few questions regarding the film industry in Van.

    Hope we can get in touch sometime soon.



    • vfxvagabond on

      Hey Brad

      Ah, Greymouth. I have oddly fond memories of that town! I spent a couple of days there on a West Coast trip and was very pleasantly surprised.

      More than happy to help with any questions, although I can’t promise I’ll know the answers (I can, however, promise to bullshit in true Hollywood fashion through anything I don’t have the answer to). Drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do to help

      Welcome to New Zanada – the friendliest place on earth πŸ™‚


  9. Sara Jo Baugh on

    Hey Sarah,

    Thanks for your blog. It’s been really helpful. I’m based in Northern Ireland and I’ve been working in the film and industry here for 5 years. I’m based in the art department where I am an assistant art director/draughtsperson. I was born in Canada and moved to Ireland when I was 3. I have a social security number so I can go back there to work. Recently I visited Vancouver and was really excited by it. I’ve been thinking about moving there. I would like to continue working in the art department and I was wondering if you have any advice for me on contacts or companies? I know a lot of it is due to people you meet through other people but any advice you have would be really appreciated. Hope to hear back from you.



  10. tigaroo on

    Hey Sarah,

    Just stumbled across you’re blog. I have been working as a freelance filmmaker for the last 7 years throughout my time in college and since, working on features and theatre productions. I am planning on leaving Ireland and moving to Vancouver in July. If you could offer advice and answer a few questions that would be fantastic. As I said I just stumbled across the blog so will be reading through it for hopeful advice on the film scene in Vancouver.
    Kind Regards

  11. kitfletch on

    Hi Sarah,

    I can across your blog while desperately googling for anything that could help in my situation.

    I’m an American. 2 year uni program in BC in film costuming. Post grad work permit running out in 2017, and as of speaking to 2 consultants I haven’t gotten anything promising or helpful about my ability to stay in the country to work beyond that time, be it another permit or residency. I’m sure you get this a lot but if you’re at all able to shoot a desperate girl an email to get some info/advice I’d really appreciate it.


  12. Grace Insole on

    Hi Sarah!
    I hope you are well πŸ™‚ I recently stumbled across your blog and found it so interesting and useful. I am a make up artist currently in London, and through chatting to my various tutors etc, many of them have mentioned how going to canada for a year or so would be great for a career in film and tv. I know you aren’t a make up artist but I was wondering if you knew any who have given you any pearls of wisdom?
    I’ve always wanted to live abroad also, and am thinking maybe this is the time and opportunity to do so!

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  13. Ayman Khadre on

    Hi Sarah!

    I’m a French post-grad in international affairs and European studies. I found your blog while looking for information on the Canadian film industry, especially in Vancouver. I would very much like to enter this industry but I have no previous experience or skill besides my motivation and stubborness.

    I have applied for a canadian working permit and i intended on moving to Vancouver. Do you have any advice for newbie like me?

    Thanks a lot for your enlightening blog!


  14. Betsabe Moreno on

    Hi Sarah!
    I’m from Mexico but now i’m studying in Vancouver for a couple of years and my boyfriend would like to move with me the thing is that we’re completely lost and we don’t know where to start looking for a job for hm. He’s a film an tv director with a lot of experience in Mexico and US. Could you help us with some tips please?. we’re gonna really appreciate it.Thank you so much

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