Let me reintroduce myself. I’m Heidi, the lucky recipient of the 2011 WIFT CBC Business of Broadcasting Mentorship. I posted a blog a few weeks ago (before my mentorship began) on what I was expecting to get out of this experience. I’m back now, having completed my mentorship at the CBC and ready to tell all…
Before I tell you how my mentorship week went at the CBC, let me answer a few questions that I was asked frequently: What do you get from this award? What will you be doing, exactly? What kind of an internship is this?
First, it’s not an internship. I am not given on-the-job training, it is not job-shadowing. I meet with the staff members and get a miniature master class on their area of expertise. In my opinion, this is better. Way better. Everyone, in a sense, mentors me. It’s a potpourri of departments kindly making themselves available for this program and openly sharing their knowledge and advice. A little taste of everything. I spoke with expert staff from Drama, Comedy, Documentary, Interactive Media (to name a few) and got a better understanding of what they do as a public broadcaster – how and why they develop certain shows, how they brand and market the programs, how they operate as a public content creator, and how they make things happen. I met about 30 people in 5 days. That averages to 6 people a day, not to mention attending a George Stroumboulopoulos taping, a drama pitch meeting, and an editing session for an in-house documentary. As an emerging producer, I was given a plethora of advice, like: make sure to understand the business side of the industry, because a focus just on the creative side can be limiting.
I took copious notes because I know my memory, and I will be returning to those invaluable pages over and over again. But my biggest take-away is the great people I met, the relationships I hope to continue, and, most importantly, the inspiration they gave me. Inspiration is a powerful and dangerous thing – you feel almost invincible, ready to knock down everything in your way, no matter how insane it is. But the CBC staff armed me with some practical weapons to better prepare me before I go out there and do some wrecking. They may not know it, but the hard (and encouraging) shove they gave me has inspired me to keep going in an intelligent and informed way!
Oh, another thing: don’t be intimidated by the CBC. There are human beings behind thejuggernaut, and they all want the same thing: to make good stuff with good people. I wish this mentorship could go on longer because there is still so much to pick from their brains!
And what’s next for me? I am developing some projects I love: two features, a TV series, and a personal documentary inspired by the confusing communication efforts I have with my mother.
Feel free to follow my progress on my website. Or just to get in touch. I would like that too.
WIFT and CBC – thank you.
-Heidi Tao Yang, 2011 WIFT CBC Business of Broadcasting Mentorship Recipient