Grants of up to
Open for Applications
Applicants must live in
Alberta or British Columbia
TELUS Optik Local supports the production of compelling, local stories that provide creators with opportunities to learn how to produce engaging content.
There is one annual deadline of June 30th for all applications. Each production support application may request a grant of up to $75,000.
A few things to consider
- In order to maximize your chances of a successful application please ensure that you read all the information below before you apply
- Note that you can submit your application at any time during the year, you don’t have to wait until the deadline
- Note that you may submit a maximum of 2 applications per deadline (workshops events and video projects)
- If you have already completed a project and you would like to apply to make it available through TELUS Optik TV On Demand you can do so Distribute your film on Optik TV
- You must be able to complete and deliver your project within approximately 10 months
- For support for short form video content, please also consider STORYHIVE which has funding deadline multiple times a year
Your project should…
- Reflect the local community and a diversity of voices, balanced viewpoints on existing or emerging issues of importance in the community
- Feature local places
- Demonstrate commitment from community members and organizations
- Engage volunteers and provide training opportunities
For a program idea, telling your stories your way begins with submitting an original program proposal to us that reflects issues and voices relevant to you, and your community.
All projects must meet certain requirements:
- The idea must originate from a person who:
is not employed by TELUS or another Broadcast Distribution Undertaking (BDU); AND
is resident in BC or Alberta.
Most of our applicants come from Vancouver Lower Mainland1, Edmonton2 or Calgary3. However, we are also looking for applications from creators from other communities in BC and Alberta including (but not limited to) Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Penticton, Prince George, Vernon, Victoria, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer (together with Vancouver Lower Mainland, Edmonton and Calgary, the “Optik Local Communities”).
- A person from one of the Optik Local Communities in BC or Alberta must be involved in the production team, either in an on-camera role (e.g. as a main actor or host), and/or as a creative member of the production crew (e.g. as a writer, director, or producer).
- Each production company or individual may submit a maximum of 2 applications per deadline. For clarity, this means each applicant may submit 2 production applications, 2 workshop or training event applications, or one of each for a maximum of two applications per deadline.
- You must have, or be able to obtain, all the necessary rights, releases and clearances for your program to appear on TELUS Optik TV Video on Demand and on all TELUS-branded or related websites or social channels, including the Optik Local YouTube channel, in English, if applicable (NOTE: audio-visual content in another language is eligible provided it is either sub-titled or versioned into English).
- The program should be completed and delivered on or before June 30th of the broadcast year in which you receive your grant (the broadcast year runs from September 1st to August 31st)
- Documentary projects covering an issue of public concern should depict balanced viewpoints.
- Applications including audio-visual content must be for programs no shorter than 10 minutes. NOTE: music videos are not eligible.
- Your program must comply with all laws, regulations and policies governing content, taste, community reflection and diversity of voices including the Canadian Broadcasting Act, CRTC Best Practice Code and other relevant Canadian laws. TELUS Optik Local will not provide support to any program that, in its sole discretion, may not comply with these laws, regulations and policies, or that contains any element that is an offence under the Criminal Code, is libelous or is in any other way unlawful.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Commercial programming is not eligible. This includes programs featuring professional major league sports and programming that is, or has been, licensed with a broadcaster or appeared on a major network.
All applications should also demonstrate the following criteria, where possible:
- Reflect the local community and a diversity of voices
- Present innovative ideas and alternative views with a balanced viewpoint on existing or emerging issues of importance
- Feature local places and events
- Demonstrate commitment from community members and local organizations
- Engage volunteers and provide training opportunities
- Demonstrate the ability to secure sufficient sources of financing to meet the total budget
- Discuss the use of social media and digital technologies in the promotion of your program or training/workshop event (for example, shareable online teaser pieces of content)
- Demonstrate innovation in: (i) the creation or promotion of your project, including its use of shareable content and social media platforms; and/or (ii) the use of current technology in a new way (for example, new ways to interact socially or engage the community)
Please indicate if the producer or event organiser attached to the application has previous experience delivering a production, workshop, or training event of a similar nature and scope, OR please demonstrate if the program will support the development of a new or emerging community creator or workshop facilitator.
If your application is successful, TELUS Optik Local will determine its level of grant support relative to other sources of financing, the needs of the budget, and the potential value to the community. Typically, a portion of the grant funds are paid upon contract signing and the balance upon delivery and acceptance by TELUS of the completed eligible program, and any other required documentation or deliverables, to TELUS’ technical requirements (please download the Technical Specifications for details on our technical requirements).
Please note: TELUS Optik Local reserves the right to offer grant amounts lower than the requested or maximum amount
1 Vancouver Lower Mainland: Whistler to the Northeast, Cheakamus to the Northwest, Harrison Lake and Chilliwack to the East, and Lulu Island to the South
2 Calgary: Airdrie to the North, Strathmore to the East, Okotoks to the South, and Cochrane to the West
3 Edmonton: Morinville to the North, Whitecourt to the Northwest, Cooking Lake to the East, Leduc to the South, and Stony Plain to the West
TELUS Optik Local’s decision-making will be based on a variety of information. The following criteria will serve as a guide, and no specific weighting will be attributed to each of the components. The importance of each criterion will vary depending on the size of the budget and the amount of the grant requested. In addition, decision making will take into account TELUS Optik Local’s desire to foster a diversity of voices and to build larger audiences for compelling local programming, while simultaneously ensuring we support a balanced portfolio of projects reflecting a variety of genres, cultural diversity, different regions in BC and Alberta, and diverse viewpoints from creators with varying levels of experience.
Audio-visual projects will be evaluated on the following:
- Overall creative merit and originality of the project. We are looking for compelling stories, non-traditional formats, and the creative use of technology to expand the possibilities of local storytelling.
- An original approach and perspective. We value innovation, imagination and authenticity.
- A clear sense of audience and how that relates to form and platform.
- Social and cultural relevance, and accessibility to local audiences.
- Quality of the script/outline and production plans.
- Track record of the applicant and the other main participants, especially the director, the writer and/or the production team.
- Project budget and financing: successful projects will have sufficient financing sources to support the proposed budget.
- The project’s potential to appeal to audiences on VOD and on digital platforms.
- Meaningful volunteer opportunities provided to the community.
- Preference will be given to projects which provide TELUS Optik Local with a thoughtful promotion strategy that the applicant intends to implement in order to make the content available to its target audience and to maximize audience reach. This strategy should include proposals as to how to promote and market the content online.
- Please note: TELUS Optik Local reserves the right to offer grant amounts lower than the requested or maximum amount
|Video Codec (mov)|
|For HD (preferred format)|
|Apple Pro Res 422 (HQ)||Preferred|
|XDCAM HD 30p or XDCAM Ex 30p||Final Cut Pro and Adobe users||H.264 (Quality: Best)||Final Cut users||AVI||Avid users||MXF||Adobe users||MPEG-2(.mpg)||Adobe users|
|Apple Pro Res 422 (HQ)||Preferred|
|DV NTSC||Avid, Adobe and FCP users||H.264 (Quality: Best)||Final Cut users||AVI||Avid users||MXF||Adobe users||MPEG-2(.mpg)||Adobe users|
- Propose the project you want to make or host, not the project you think TELUS Optik Local might like.
- Pay attention to the clarity of idea and intent in your proposal. If you are unsure about something, admit it and explain why and what you intend to do about it.
- Ambiguity is not a virtue in a proposal. Audio-visual content is a two-way conversation so someone other than yourself must be able to understand/feel/appreciate what you are saying.
- Become familiar with what TELUS Optik Local seeks to achieve through our support of local content creators. Check out some of our most recent programming in our Watch Videos section.
- Be sure to read our Customer Toolkit and our Technical Specifications for a better understanding of what we expect from you and what you can expect from us should your application be successful.
Q: How do you define “commercial”?
A: We define ‘commercial’, the same way as the CRTC. Examples of commercial programming include shows featuring professional major league sports, and programming that is, or has been, licensed to a broadcaster or appeared on a major network.
Q: If I have a broadcaster already interested in my audio-visual project; can I still apply for a grant?
A: Your project is not eligible for a community programming grant if it is (or will be) licensed with a broadcaster, as this would be considered a “Commercial Project”.
Q: Are we able to run a sponsor ad in our content?
A: Yes, we adhere to the CRTC guidelines regarding sponsorship. The CRTC guidelines say that sponsorship can be an oral or written acknowledgement, that may include a moving visual presentation of no more than 15 seconds per message, contained in community programming that mentions no more than the name of a person, a description of the goods, services or activities that are being sold or promoted by the person, and their address and telephone number if the person provides the goods or services free of charge to the licensee for use in connection with the production of the community programming in which the acknowledgement is contained.
Q: Are we able to run PSAs in our content?
A: Yes, we adhere to the CRTC guidelines regarding PSAs. PSAs are allowed provided they are: (a) messages of less than 5 minutes duration; and (b) intended to educate the audience about issues of public concern; and (c) encourage public support and awareness of a worthy cause, OR promote the work of a non-profit group or organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in local communities or in society or the world at large. These include community billboards. These messages are not intended to sell or promote goods or commercial services. No payment is exchanged between broadcasters and producers for the broadcast of these messages.
Q: What are TELUS’ technical specifications for VOD?
A: In order to be eligible for distribution by TELUS Optik TV On Demand service, Producers must be able to provide programming in one of the file formats set out in our technical specifications form. Please review our tech spec form below.
Q: What is the best way to pitch my project to you? Can I come in and present my proposal in person?
A: We do not have the capacity to meet with every applicant in person so we encourage you to ensure your application clearly reflects all the relevant aspects of your proposal; however, once your application is submitted we will review it for completeness, and will let you know if we need any more information from you.
Q: Is the funding “triggered” in any way?
A: You do not need funding from a specific body in order to access our funding.
Q: Am I allowed to apply for more than one grant per deadline?
A: Each company or individual may submit a maximum of 2 applications per deadline. For clarity, this means each applicant may submit 2 production applications, 2 workshop or training event applications, or one of each for a maximum of two applications per deadline.
Q: How do I know you received my application?
A: All applications are made through our online portal – once you have electronically submitted, you will receive a confirmation vie email, including a reference number.
Q: Is it easier to get a production support grant if we already have some kind of support or financing from another source?
A: Not necessarily. Letting us know that other organizations will offer your project funding, or that organizations will support you with “in kind” services, etc., may help us to evaluate the potential community relevance of your project; however, it is neither necessary nor determinative.
Q: Does TELUS Optik Local trigger tax credits?
A: TELUS Optik funded productions may be eligible for tax credits providing minimum eligibility conditions are met. In BC, eligible applicants are film, television and animation production corporations with a permanent establishment in BC that are owned and controlled by Canadians, and have incurred qualifying British Columbia labour expenses. General eligibility rules can be found here: http://www.creativebc.com/database/files/library/Tax_Credit_Information___Domestic.pdf. Copies of the tax credit guidelines, legislation, regulations and application forms may be obtained from Creative BC’s website: www.creativebc.com. In Alberta, please contact the Alberta Media Fund. For federal tax credits, please check the CAVCO website.
Q: Am I allowed to apply for Production support for the continuation of my series that TELUS has already accepted through the Distribution support stream?
A: Yes, we will consider your application for Production support. However, please note that your application will not be given preferential treatment because of your previous submissions through the Distribution support stream.
Q: When will we know if we are getting a grant?
A: We will communicate our final decisions to applicants between July and September. Please do not contact us to inquire about the status of your application. Such inquiries will not be answered.
Q: If you have further questions regarding our proposal that are not answered in our application, will we have a chance to answer them?
A: We will do our best to contact you with any questions we have about your application.
Q: Can I make changes to my application after it has been submitted?
A: You are able to resubmit a new application at any time BEFORE the application deadline. However, it is not possible to edit your existing application once it has been submitted. If you are intending to submit a revised application, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to alert us so that we may delete your original submission from the database. Any requests to revise or resubmit your application AFTER the June 30th deadline will NOT be accepted.
Q: How much leeway do I have to change my proposal/story/synopsis after submitting my program application to TELUS?
A: Minor changes within the event proposal or larger story framework are accepted, so long as the essential elements of the original event proposal or the overarching story that was originally submitted with your application remain intact. Please contact us to discuss any deviations from your original submission.
Q: If we would like feedback on our proposal, and why it was not accepted, can we access that information?
A: We receive a large number of requests for support, and the demand for our funding greatly outweighs our available resources. We are not able to give feedback on individual applications.
Q: Will TELUS holdback on premiering my program on VOD or online so that I can apply for festivals, or seek broadcast and distribution deals?
A: TELUS will NOT postpone premiering your program on VOD or on our YouTube channel or TELUS-branded websites to accommodate any festival’s submission requirements or the terms of a distribution or broadcast contract. TELUS will most likely be distributing your program on the internet, through our YouTube channel and our TELUS-branded websites, which are not geo-gated.
Q: What do I do if a broadcaster is interested in my audio-visual project?
A: If that happens, be excited – that is great news! However, please contact your TELUS project manager immediately so we can talk to you about when any broadcaster’s “window” or term of distribution rights may start. As a rule of thumb, you should remember that your community programming project MUST be made available on Optik TV VOD first, before it can be distributed anywhere else.
Q: Should I incorporate a company to administer my project through, and what are the implications of doing so?
A: TELUS is unable able to provide business affairs, legal or accounting advice. We encourage you to seek the advice of professional advisors who know what is best suited to the specific needs of your situation. You do not need to have an incorporated company in order to receive our grants
Q: I have questions about chain of title, legal and business affairs and/or accounting issues related to my project; are you able to answer them for me?
A: TELUS is unable able to provide business affairs, legal or accounting advice. We encourage you to seek the advice of professional advisors who know what is best suited to the specific needs of your situation.
Q: Can TELUS provide me with any contract templates that I may require for my production?
A: TELUS is not able to provide you with any contracts or standard production templates
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with union actors?
A: TELUS is unable to offer any advice pertaining to potential agreements with industry unions.
Q: Am I required to obtain E&O insurance for my audio-visual project?
A: TELUS does not require E&O insurance; however you must have all requisite rights, releases and clearances for a minimum of 10 years, which is the length of TELUS’ non-exclusive license.
Q: Can I put sound over the Disclaimer and TELUS Animated Logo at the beginning of my program?
A: Due to TELUS branding policy, there cannot be any sound laid over the Disclaimer and/or TELUS logo at the head of your program.
We are currently revising this funding stream. Please check storyhive.com for further information and updates on an exciting new program coming shortly.