BCPAX was co-founded by Erin Dixon and Meredith Garstin in 2012. In the Fall of that year the Vancouver film industry saw a dramatic jump in production levels. It became increasingly difficult for employers to find employees. We were literally hiring off the street.
Meredith and Erin discussed the problem that the industry faced. How can we connect all film employees with their employers and be able to update by the minute who is available for work? To solve the problem of being unable to find available employees, we turned to social media.
The first action was to create a Facebook group called BCPAX – British Columbia’s Production Assistant Exchange, which in 2015 grew to connect over 1500 members. The vision was to create an online tool that can support both employees and employers find each other in the film industry. Facebook allowed production assistants and other film employees to connect in a reliable way. Though other groups existed, this medium was a matching place for job postings and employee availability.
From its social media beginnings, the BCPAX group has grown to be the “go-to” job search and job posting site for Production Assistants, Independent Crews, Professional Film Makers and Producers. Our success is due in part to BCPAX's focus on building a community that supports its members in maintaining employment.
One employment supporting tool we've developing is the online App that will keep an 'up to the minute availability list' for potential employers. Creating a common platform for employees and employers will allow the industry as a whole to work at the constantly changing speed of film, while allowing employers to spend less time hunting for employees, and more time focused on making movies.
Having worked in the BC film industry, Erin and Meredith understand how difficult it can be to navigate, and how every cent we make counts. We know that the costs of working in this industry keep growing: film sets are further out of town, and work hours are longer. It does not help that we work in a city where the cost of living is high, and constantly on the rise. Both Meredith and Erin believe that if we harness the collective power of local film employees, we can have a group that creates savings while driving down the costs associated with working in an industry we love.
In addition to our desire to support entry level jobs while connecting the film community at large, members of BCPAX will also be able to access quality equipment at lower prices than currently available through other channels. For example, through our BCPAX website, members may purchase headsets for the discounted price of $25, instead of the usual $50. Please note that we are in the process of developing many other programs intended to help our members succeed in the film industry.
Three years after we first started, BCPAX is taking the next step into the BC Film community. We look forward to growing and being a contributor to the industry as we help all our members rise to the top.