SPOTLIGHT: JOSEPH STILWELL

Jan 2 2015


Growing up, I always loved stories. My first love was books, but since humans are attracted to shiny, flickering lights, it wasn’t long before I was in the maniac clutches of TV and Film. I would tape shows on VHS and watch them over and over. Every weekend, I was at the video store, spending my few dollars on whatever film caught my eye.

It wasn’t until I purchased the show Firefly on DVD that my career ambitions began. Once I’d watched all 13 episodes, I craved more – but since none was available, I re-watched them with the commentary tracks on. Hearing the cast & crew talk about their experiences on set twigged something in my brain. For the first time I thought, hey, maybe I could do that.

I had little understanding of the industry. I knew that someone made Film and TV, probably wizards. I was also from a small town in Northern Alberta where plumber was considered to be a high calling*. Anyone who wanted to be creative for a living was regarded as a pitiable creature, to be prodded with the reminder of how there wasn’t much money in it. I’d like to say they were 100% wrong, but it’s kind of hard to deny when you’re eating peanut butter crackers for dinner.

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Instead of going to college, I tried a lot of stuff. Oh, the jobs I worked. I’ve volunteered. I’ve slung caffeine across a Starbucks counter. I’ve pushed extended warranties on customers as an electronics salesman. I was the on-again off-again Rental Shop Manager… and you’re asleep already. I’ll move on.

In 2009, I was saved from the purgatory of the service industry. A long-time friend got me a job as a Copy Writer at a local radio station. This was where my passion was re-ignited. Slowly, long-dormant neurons fired as my fingers hit keyboard. I discovered that unique joy of having something I wrote produced and shown to an audience. But radio ads weren’t enough for me – I wanted to tell stories. So at the innocent age of 26, I applied to Vancouver Film School. I was accepted, and that brought me here, to the City of Rain and Lattes.

I spent a year in the Film Production program, learning how to pull an idea from my brain and turn it into pretty moving pictures that told a story. I soon discovered my talents weren’t so much on set as they were on paper. It was an intense year, but I came out of it having learned a lot about story, about the film industry, and about myself. Also, if you touch hot lights, you will burn yourself. It’s just a fact.

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In the summer of 2014, I applied for a job at a very special place full of very special people…McDonald’s. But they turned me down, so I became a Facilities PA at Bardel Entertainment. My plan was to get my legs back under me and find a copy-writing job. Instead, I discovered that Bardel was actually a fun place to work and I became a loyal Bardelian.

Now, I patrol the halls of Bardel by day, keeping our supplies stocked and our studio in working order. By night I type, lit by the glow of my computer screen. And I dress as a bat, for criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot – wait, no, sorry. Recurring daydream about being Batman. happens to everybody, right? Right.

*Listen, if you found your bliss being a plumber, by all means that’s awesome. Please don’t send angry plumber emails. And I hope you washed your hands before you used that keyboard.

Author

Joseph Stilwell

Senior Facilities PA

Joseph not only patrols the Bardel halls during the day, but he is also an accomplished writer.