It isn’t every young hopeful, fresh out of college, who gets the chance to live her dream. But that is how things have worked out for Lindsay Gilmer, daughter of Doug and Cathy Gilmer of Iroquois.
Lindsay, who graduated this spring from the Humber College in film and television, a three year advanced diploma, is the newest office production assistant on the television show, Bomb Girls, which will air on Global in the new year.
“I work five days a week, 12 hour days, and I love it,” Lindsay said. “It’s very tough to break into the entertainment and film industry in Canada, and I consider myself very fortunate. I really wanted to get into television, and here I am, starting a career I really love working on Bomb Girls.”
Executive producers Adrienne Mitchell, Michael MacLennan and Janis Lundman of Back Alley Films, are the forces behind Bomb Girls, which originally aired as a mini series January 4, 2012.
The show will return for a full run on Global beginning in January, 2013.
The series is set in the 1940s, at the height of World War II. It is based on the lives and experiences of five women, of all ages and backgrounds, who have stepped into traditional men’s roles in the factories. The central characters work on an assembly line in a munitions factory creating bombs, a dirty and potentially deadly job.
The series (actress Meg Tilly won the 2012 Leo Award for best lead performance by a female in a dramatic series) is a gritty and realistic look at women at war.
Lindsay has only been with the company a month, but she feels that she is constantly “learning new things, as aspects of the job are becoming more and more natural.”
Lindsay’s decision to enter the challenging world of film and television began back at Seaway District High School. With the encouragement of then drama teacher, Kevin Kennedy, she submitted an original short film, The Christmas Monster, to the 2009 Toronto Student Film Festival. She was thrilled to receive the Judge’s Special Recognition Award.
That fall, she was accepted into the Humber program where she made short films throughout her school years and filmed documentaries and studio drama. In her third year, she was the producer of a 10 minute ‘thesis film’, The Writer’s Room, a story with science fiction overtones. “I loved every minute of school,” Lindsay said. “It was lots of work, but that work was fun.”
Lindsay laughed when she described sending out resumés to “every single television show filming in Toronto. I really wanted to get into television.”
She was actually en route to her graduation ceremony when she got a phone call from the production co-ordinator of the police drama, Flashpoint. The company offered her the chance to work the last week of filming for Flashpoint.
“They wanted to see if I had what it took to come straight out of school to a working show. At this point, I had no real experience except a brief internship at school.”
She worked hard with the company for the last three days of filming (this is Flashpoint’s final season) and the two wrap days.
To her delight, she was offered a tentative position with Bomb Girls. “However, I wasn’t completely sure that I had a definite commitment with them, and my Humber professor arranged an interview for me with the Rookie Blue police drama.”
Lindsay received a call back from Rookie Blue, but ultimately decided to take the job with Bomb Girls.
“Most of the crew from Flashpoint had shifted over to work on Bomb Girls, and I felt that I had started a solid working relationship with that crew and producer.”
Net working and connections are very important in the entertainment industry, Lindsay explained. An entire crew can go with a producer when he moves to a new series. Ultimately, Lindsay hopes to “piggy back into other television series as I go along with Bomb Girls.”
Gilmer feels that the film and television industry in Ontario is healthy and vibrant. The film Total Recall, which recently opened, was made in Toronto, as was the current Resident Evil sequel.
An extraordinary number of television series are actually filming in and around Toronto including Rookie Blue, Saving Hope, LA Complex, Nikita, XIII, The Murdoch Mysteries and a new series for Showcase called Copper.
“There is a strong entertainment district in Toronto, which is home to a lot of studios, primarily Canadian. Cinespace has four studios and Pinewood is another big company.”
Most of the shows are partnered with US networks. The Americans “like our tax credits. Ontario has a tax point system that provides some government funding if a company uses Canadian crews and production services, or films on locations in and around Ontario. This brings money and work to the province, and showcases the real talent we have in this country.”
Vancouver and Montreal are also hubs for the television and film industry. “I believe this is a good time to get into this field,” Lindsay said.
What are Lindsay’s long term goals?
“Ultimately, I would like to become a ‘show runner’, which means a combination of head writer with a lot of say in editing, directing and producing. I’ve seen the challenges this job involves close up and I like them.”
Gilmer laughed when I asked her whether she already had some ideas for television shows.
“Frankly, I think right here in South Dundas there are enough interesting characters to create a show, or at least an episode in a television series.
Try explaining Tubie Weekend to outsiders: it’s like the Olympics if you live in South Dundas! And what about a high school holding farm day, complete with tractors in the student parking lot? There is great source material here. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.”