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Toronto Film School grad Shelby Bronstine recently landed a job working alongside her alma mater’s Emmy-nominated Executive Producer in Residence.

The 28-year-old Thornhill native, who graduated from TFS’s Film Production Diploma program in 2015, is now the new Development and Office Coordinator for Project 10 – Andrew Barnsley’s award-winning, Toronto- and L.A.-based production company.

 “I was lucky to get introduced to him. He is honestly the nicest person ever,” Bronstine said of Barnsley, whose hit CBC/Netflix show Schitt’s Creek just received four 2019 Emmy nominations – including one for Outstanding Comedy Series.

“He is really talented, and he’s also super patient and very funny. It’s really enjoyable to have a boss who doesn’t want to ever dissuade how we’re working; he wants us to work as organically as possible, and that makes for a really, really relaxed and fun environment to work in.”

 Calling her an “incredible addition” to the team, Barnsley reciprocated Bronstine’s sentiments with likewise glowing admiration for his company’s new “rising star.”

“We are so thrilled to have Shelby join Project 10…I have no doubt that her time at TFS contributed greatly to her passion for television, her understanding of development and production, and her tireless work ethic,” he said.

 “Keep an eye on her…she’s going places. I just hope I can keep up!”

 As for her beginnings in the entertainment business, Bronstine said it was a lifelong “obsession” for television that initially lead her to pursue a Film Production diploma at Toronto Film School.

 “As far back as I can remember, I was obsessed with TV ­– and I still am,” she said, listing Friends and Seinfeld amongst her favourite shows from childhood.

 “I didn’t really understand them when I was younger, but I knew that they made people laugh…

“That’s why the entertainment industry just sort of spoke to me. And that’s how I ended up at TFS.”

While Bronstine said she went into the Film Production program not knowing anyone, nor quite what direction she eventually saw her career taking, her time at TFS successfully resolved both dilemmas.

 “I didn’t know anybody, but I really cemented some life-long friendships while I was there, because you’re literally at school together every day, all day,” she laughed, noting that one of the closest friendships she forged at TFS was with award-winning filmmaker Kyle Reaume.

In fact, it was on the set of Reaume’s sixth-term short film, The Lazarus Files, that Bronstine got her first glimpse of all the background work that goes into filmmaking.

“I think it was a lot more work than we anticipated, but it was a really good experience,” she said of the film, for which she acted as 1st Assistant Director. 

“It was really helpful in understanding how to basically create your own short film, and to get funding and crew and all that kind of stuff that you really have no idea about when you’re first starting.”

It was also while working on The Lazarus Files, Bronstine added, that her passion for production was first piqued.

 “I found it easier to identify what I didn’t like doing first – and I hated working on set,” she said with a laugh. “But that’s when I got very interested in the production side.”

 After graduating from TFS in 2015, Bronstine landed at Legend3D, where she worked as a Production Coordinator – a “really cool, but really stressful” job where she coordinated a team of artists as they worked to convert 2D film to 3D on such major feature films as Passengers, Ben-Hur and Resident Evil 6.

 “That was my first on-the-floor-with-artists job, and I got to learn post-production really quickly working there,” she said of her yearlong stint with the virtual reality, 3D visual effects and conversion company.

 “I worked with a lot of talented people at Legend, and we worked a lot of long hours. That experience really helped me understand how movies get made from start to finish.”

 From there, Bronstine switched gears, taking a Production Coordinator position at Spin Master – a multi-category children’s entertainment company – where she got the opportunity to learn the animation process while working on the first two seasons of the successful kids’ series Rusty Rivets.

 “I learned basically everything I could about the animation pipeline…and I also learned the toy side, which was really, really interesting.”

 After a year at the company, Bronstine moved into a Development Coordinator role when Spin Master relocated its development department from their L.A. headquarters here to Canada – a challenge Bronstine relished.

 “Development is a tough thing to throw yourself into…but I learned a lot about what you need to do to develop a series through that experience,” she said.

Of her newest role as Project 10’s Development and Officer Coordinator – a position she’s held since May 2019 ­– Bronstine said she feels like she’s found a role in which she can continue to grow in the long-term.

Her job, she said, is to vet the vast number of TV treatments that Project 10 gets pitched by up-and-coming creators, writers and actors, in order to identify those she thinks have the best chance of thriving in the Canadian marketplace.

“The world is not done with original ideas – people are constantly pitching to us, which is amazing,” she said.

 “It’s really inspiring to be part of a company that people want to collaborate with. That, to me, is very important…because it obviously shows that I’m in good hands here.”

As for her aspirations moving forward, Bronstine said she’d love nothing more than to be in a position at Project 10 where she’s able to produce her own slate of hit reality TV shows.

 “I’m a die-hard Real Housewives of New York fan ­– it’s my guilty pleasure ­– so I would love to really get my hands on producing some unscripted content like that,” she said.

 “I want to think about the next big thing, and just make it funny and entertaining and bring people that joy that I know comes with watching something on Bravo does for me.”

TORONTO FILM SCHOOL