Want to work in the Oklahoma film industry? OKC residents who have lost jobs due to the pandemic can apply for retraining grants
Oklahoma City residents who have lost their jobs or incomes due to the coronavirus pandemic might find new opportunities in the state’s burgeoning film and television industry.
The Oklahoma Film & TV Academy has been approved as a retraining organization for federal CARES money via Oklahoma City’s Community CARES program, their co-founder announced in an email.
The federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $114.3 million to the City of OKC in the early days of the unfolding pandemic. The act requires local governments to spend the entire allocation by Dec. 30 on expenses and programs related to COVID-19.
In meetings from late spring through early fall, the OKC City Council adopted a plan for allocating CARES Act funds, and entered into agreements with partners to administer the programs. Eligible expenses include job training and placement services.
If someone from Oklahoma City has experienced having their job made redundant or have had their income reduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, then they might qualify for a retraining grant to get trained to work in the film and television industry through Oklahoma Film & TV Academy.
Richard Janes, who is a partner and co-founder in the Oklahoma Film & Television Academy and Green Pastures Studio, said that the OK film industry is booming right now, with many jobs open for a newly trained workforce.
“The courses we offer are weekend courses and we have students being offered work within two weeks of starting the program. In fact, the industry is so busy right now and there is such a demand for crew that every student who has graduated OFTA has received a job offer within five days of graduation,” Janes said in an email.
For details about potential training opportunities for OKC residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, go to www.oklahomafilmandtvacademy.com/set-ready-covid-19-relief.
As previously reported, the Oklahoma Film & Television Academy and Green Pastures Studio are located at 4300 N Post Road in Spencer, in the converted facility that was formerly Green Pastures Elementary School.
The Oklahoma Film & Television Academy offers short-course programs focused on training people to meet the growing demand of Oklahoma’s film industry for skilled workforce members. It was originally slated to begin offering classes back in spring, but with the coronavirus pandemic, the initial start of classes was shifted to September.
As previously reported, after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down productions in Oklahoma in spring, work on various movie and TV projects began ramping back up in early summer, leading to bustling times in the state's film industry.
“With the streaming wars, more content is being commissioned than ever before and with this increase in demand comes more available jobs,” Janes said in a statement. “For anyone interested in working in film and TV, the first step is to understand what all the different jobs are that are available. Many people don’t think about the need for carpenters, accountants, painters, etc., but there really is a space for everyone on a film set and we hope this podcast will shine a light on all these different positions as well as the traditional camera and sound department roles.”
As previously reported, 17 feature films and the anticipated FX pilot "Reservation Dogs" have successfully wrapped in the state since June, Oklahoma Film + Music Office Director Tava Maloy Sofsky told me last week. Five productions are filming, and eight more are slated to start in the coming months, including the inspirational sports drama "American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story," another installment in the "God's Not Dead" franchise and Oscar winner Martin Scorsese's big-budget adaptation of "Killers of the Flower Moon."
For more information or to sign up for classes, go to www.oklahomafilmandtvacademy.com.