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Safe Set Work for Every-Body


Photo Credit: Emma-Lee Lindsay

[Trailer] Safe Set Work for Every-Body
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Spanish Trailer
[Trailer w English Subtitles] Safe Set Work for Every-Body
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Safe Set Work for Every-Body (64 mins.) is an instructional documentary featuring the Welcoming Workplace and the Canadian Internal Responsibility System (IRS) as occupational safety factors both backstage and behind-the-camera. By promoting a culture of safety among undergraduates and apprentices aspiring to a career in the entertainment industry, we hope to raise the standards of that sector’s behind-the-scenes human resources before a widening audience. Safe Set Work for Every-Body is a teaching tool for those responsible for the safety of young set workers.

Interviews with experts in the field and animated infographics contextualize live action scenery-shifting demonstrations. While the challenge of community inclusion among writers, directors, and performers receives attention, few recognize the devastating implications of exclusion among crews. The team members of Safe Set Work have resolved to address these through best practices in occupational safety, including:


All the while, our antic artwork has a little fun in tackling this cautionary subject!

A need, an incident, and an opportunity sparked the six-year trajectory of Safe Set Work for Every-Body

Theatre is the mothership of scenography. Many film crafts originated there and continue to be practiced. As theatre companies make trailers to promote their live productions or use motion picture projections as scenic elements, the boundaries between the practices are increasingly fluid. The School of Image Arts Film Studies Option needed a more accessible means of demonstrating that (sound)stage set practice. While no substitute for hands-on drills under expert supervision, at least there could be an audio-motion-picture standard for production courses in both programmes.

An incident. Many incidents. Within our School, and as we came to discover, Every-Where, where social habits of exclusion qualify women’s and visible minorities’ access to education and careers. You’ll learn more about that in Safe Set Work for Every-Body.

An opportunity. As a member of the Directors Guild of Canada/La Guilde Canadienne des Réalisateurs, Valérie obtained a member’s perk: a one day’s pass to the 2014 Annual Hot Docs Industry Conference, where she attended a presentation by Johanna Blakely, Managing Director and Director of Research at the Norman Lear Center. Appalled by the employment statistics for women in the American film industry reported by Stacey Smith and in The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, she wondered how Canada compared. In 2014, that was a dangerous question. Valérie became one of many seeking data sets to answer the question. 

Reference :


Y. Ganem et al. « Arts du spectacle et risques professionnels. » Dossier médico-technique. INRS : Documents pour le Médecin du Travail No. 120. 4e trimestre 2009. pp. 421-436. Accès le 29 avril 2018 tc130%20(1).pdf




Safe Set Work for Every-Body is deeply appreciative for the support of :


Ryerson University’s Learning & Teaching Office Teaching About Diversity Fund. Its adjudicators agreed, twice, though others did not, that modelling inclusion at the level of fundamental skills acquisition was essential. It was a big idea, twice. The project received two cycles of funding, for the academic years of 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. The office remains an ongoing support to the film.

Scott Martin, the Technical Director of The School of Performance (known as The School of Theatre at the time) agreed that the project was a good idea, to become one of the script’s principle researchers and writers. (Thank goodness!) With his participation, that school kindly made its scene shop available as one of the film’s locations.

The School of Image Arts Film Studies Option made its soundstage, set inventory, and camera and lighting packages available through The Cage—as well as countless editing suite hours. (Thank goodness!)

The Toronto International Film Festival Library provided data sets for Canadian Films. (Thank goodness!)


Marlena Pearson, then a master’s student of the Department of Psychology, to become a PhD candidate, came on as our statistician. (Thank goodness!)


Golzar Taravati, MFA, The School of Image Arts Documentary Media, did a lion’s share of data management.
The cast, production crews, and several post production teams consisted of many Ryerson University students and alumni.

Individual experts and products from government, academia, journalism, unions, and industry, from Canada, the United States, and the European Union, contributed to the project.


Thanks to James Resendes, Emmett Fraser, Kaitlyn Leewing, Creative Post Inc. and Peter Hatch for their patient crafting.

Thank you to James Warrack’s Ryerson University Raymond G. Chang Summer Film School for supporting the project with interim survey viewings and its May 15, 2018 presentation.

™Toronto International Film Festival Inc., used under license. 




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