Mitch Rowland made sure his dad brought his video camera along with him whenever he headed up to Mount Washington.
After filming him snowboarding, Rowland chose to edit the footage at his home on Waveland Road rather than hang out with his friends.
“I always liked film, but I wasn’t really aware of what was out there,” he explained over the phone from Vancouver.
The Comox Valley filmmaker is now in his third year in Motion Picture Arts at Capilano University, and thanks to his collaboration as a producer on the web series Under Construction, is in contention for a $50,000 production grant and distribution package from Telus.
Rowland, along with fellow student, director Shelby Wilson, created the series for Telus’ Storyhive contest— a community-powered funding program for emerging content creators in B.C. and Alberta.
Last year Rowland pitched an idea for the contest but didn’t make it past the preliminary round. This year, Wilson approached him with the idea, and the pair, along with writer/producer Justin MacGregor, made it into the cut along with 29 other web series out of an initial 200 entries.
They received a $10,000 production grant to produce a pilot episode and distribution on Telus Optik TV.
The episode, coming in at eight minutes, centres around 25-year-old Candice Myers, a flagger who, after a series of antagonizing incidents, dreams of climbing the chain of the roadside construction industry. Her aspirations seem harder to reach when she must prove herself to her erratic co-workers and boss that she has what it takes.
“Shelby and Justin had the idea first, and all of December we did planning. In January we really got started guns a’ blazing, and (began filming) on the 17th on the exteriors. We actually shot on a commercial construction site,” he explained.
Following completion of the pilot, MacGregor and Wilson created a pitch video, updated the series’ profile, and the team is now ready to enter the second round, which involves a final series of voting, open to the public, from March 16 to 26.
“(The judges) take into account the number of votes, but also analyze how you market yourself. In film and in art, so much about it is how (you can do that),” explained Rowland.
The top two series receive the grand award, along with distribution from Telus and exposure and recognition through a variety of platforms within the industry across Canada, he added.
While he noted the team hasn’t had a lot of time to think about if the series doesn’t receive the award, Rowland said they have discussed marketing material to pitch the series to other networks or a bigger broadcaster.
If the production team receives the grand prize, Rowland said he will stay in Vancouver after school is finished to help with production. If they don’t make the final cut, he will return to the Comox Valley for the summer to work — oddly enough — in construction.
To view the teaser trailer of Under Construction and vote for the web series, visit www.storyhive.com.