Oh, TorontoComplications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022

February 2022

August 2022

September 2022

November 2022

February 2023

March 2023

April 2023

May 2023

July 2023

September 2023

November 2023

January 2024

February 2024


Monday, March 18, 2013

Q. I graduated last year with an MFA in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University. I’m Canadian and my visa expires this summer (they give you 1 year to work “in your field” post-graduation and that’s it). So it looks like I’ll be returning to Canada. My career goal is to be a TV writer. Is it wiser for me to move to Toronto or to Vancouver? 
From reading your blog posts, Toronto seems to be the answer because the networks + guilds are headquartered there and most shows are staffed there. Does that still hold true in 2013? I know Toronto since I went to college there, but Vancouver appeals to me because of its milder winters and proximity to LA. 
According to the CMPA’s 2011 report, Ontario had 47% of domestic Canadian TV production whereas BC only had 11%. The opposite is true for foreign/American production in Canada. If I want to be a camera operator or key grip on a US-produced pilot or series, BC would be the best choice. If I want to be a writer in Canadian dramatic TV, Toronto is the place is to go. Am I understanding this right?
Yep. A few of my friends who are big deal TV writers have moved out of Vancouver to Toronto. I don't know anyone successful who has moved from Toronto to Vancouver. I think shows are more and more getting written out of Toronto. So enjoy the Big Smoke, and be sure to go to lots of Ink Canada and Writers Talking TV events when you get there.

UPDATE:  See DMc's excellent explanation in the comments below.


Hi Alex -- just to amplify and add some concreteness to your answer above, let me try to explain the situation.

Most people in the biz know that various places offer tax incentives to people to shoot in other than the "normal" L.A. backlot. For the longest time nothing was shot in NYC because taxes were high. Then they started rebates and tax incentives, and Voila! You have series there now.

Canada was largely the king of this -- especially combined with a generous return on the dollar from the Canadian dollar being less than the US.

But even with parity, certain places in Canada are still advantageous to shoot because your dollar goes farther.

B.C. built its industry this way by relying on "service" ie: foreign or US shows that used BC for crew and got tax returns that way. Other places like Toronto & Montreal did the same thing -- but crucially they went one step further.

In both those jurisdictions, the tax incentives are greater for domestic (what we call 10/10) productions. That's where the creative topliners like Actors, Producer, Writer, Director -- are Canadian.

The nut of the problem with BC is that they don't offer good incentives to domestic shows...they're not much better than the foreign ones. Plus -- and this is the killer -- the work of the writer, which happens in development prior to the start of photography -- is not considered eligible for tax credits.

This is a huge deal. It means that there is no advantage to using B.C. writers for projects that shot in BC. It means that BC writers are more expensive to use in Ontario, say, because they don't get the labor tax write-off for that person being resident in the province where the work is.

This is a huge disincentive. The Writers Guild of Canada has been trying for years to get the B.C. government to wise up and see the wisdom of prioritizing their writers, and bringing development work under the existing incentives. But that lobbying has fallen on deaf ears. It's one of the reasons why the industry is so anemic right now in BC, and why many talented West Coast writers find that they have to move to Toronto to find work.

Until the current -- or a new provincial government -- sees sense and starts seeing this as labor issue, B.C. will continue to be a much tougher place for Canadian writers to do business.

That's the truth. No Toronto-Vancouver, West Coast-Centre of the Universe spin. It comes down to bad industrial party.

All things being equal, it's a much smarter move for a writer to relocate to Toronto than to Vancouver right now. It's not an aesthetic thing. It's not even particularly where the networks are based. It's math.

By Blogger DMc, at 4:41 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.