Practical media training
All year long, Sur Place offers workshops in several creative & media disciplines: graphic design, video editing, audio creation, podcasts, creative writing, etc. All Workshops are proposed and led by local artists who have a passion to share their craft.
Accessible, flexible, and collaborative. Our workshops are limited to 8 students, run for 5 weeks, and cost $200. Our mission is to offer affordable community-based arts training that promotes a fun & collaborative culture among students and teachers.
An emphasis on practical training. In just a few weeks, you can learn new skills to use for your projects or your job. Students are always encouraged to work on their own projects during workshops.
Want to propose a workshop?
Aspiring to write but unsure where to start?
Living in a world where the written word is the primary means of communication for many, we’re all creative writers in some capacity. Even so, when it comes to starting a novel, developing a poem, or pruning back a short story, this experience can be intimidating. Getting words down can feel like being dropped in the deep end of a dark pool without knowing how to swim.
This eight-week introductory course is tailored for all creatives ready to get their feet wet. Through exercises in voice, genre, and poetics, we will flex our storytelling muscles. Weekly readings and class discussions provide us with the foundation to turn a critical eye to our own work. The final project, a short piece of creative writing that integrates what’s been covered, will be developed during the course then polished through workshopping.
- Monday, Oct 21, 6:30-9:00pm
- Monday, Oct 28, 6:30-9:00pm
- Monday, Nov 4, 6:30-9:00pm
- Monday, Nov 18, 6:30-9:00pm
- Monday, Nov 25, 6:30-9:00pm
- Monday, Dec 2, 6:30-9:00pm
- Monday, Dec 9, 6:30-9:00pm
- Monday, Dec 16, 6:30-9:00pm
Willow Loveday Little is a writer, poet and freelance editor from Montreal. She is currently working on the first draft of a speculative fiction manuscript, the second draft of a literary fiction manuscript, and a handful of other creative, writing-related projects. She curates “Pieces of Process,” an art series that aims to demystify creative process while providing a space for emerging artists to engage in interdisciplinary conversations with Montreal art communities. In 2019, she was a finalist for the QWF mentorship for her poetry, and joined Graphite Publications as an editor. Willow’s poetry has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, Montreal Writes, and is forthcoming with On Spec. She has articles on Medium, Westmount Mag, and Write or Die Tribe, as well as an academic essay on the significance of the gorgoneion in Ancient Greece, in McGill’s Classics journal, Hirundo. Reach out to Willow here.
Gesto is a new card-based game, where each team is producing an exhibition of art works that are based on a semi-random process involving nonsense sentences. It’s the quickest way to unlock your creative and silly sides, while the strategy turns art production into a team sport.
8 participants will play Gesto for about hour , followed by a conversation about whether or not it was fun. This is one play test session out of dozens, that go into refining the design.
Snacks will served.
Venez jouer à un nouveau jeu de cartes basé sur l’art, pour aider à son développement.
Gesto est un nouveau jeu de cartes dans lequel chaque équipe produit une exposition d’œuvres d’art basée sur un processus semi-aléatoire comprenant des phrases absurdes. C’est le moyen le plus rapide de débloquer votre créativité et votre côté idiot, tandis que la stratégie transforme la production artistique en sport d’équipe.8 Les participants joueront à Gesto pendant environ une heure, suivis d’une discussion sur le caractère amusant ou non. Il s’agit d’une session d’essai sur des douzaines de jeux qui a pour but d’affiner la conception.
Les snacks seront servis.
Every world starts with a spark- but where does that spark come from?
In this workshop, we’ll go through the process of creating an entire world for your characters to live in. We’ll cover a variety of topics ranging from Unusual Inspiration to RNG Assistance… and by the end of this workshop, you will have built your own universe to explore in a creative capacity!
This workshop is open to all levels of artists and creatives: touching on inspiration, storytelling and character development, concept art and design, storyboarding basics, both working-in and breaking-out of genres, and even how to build pitch decks and show bibles!
- Tuesday, Nov 5, 6:30-9:00pm
- Tuesday, Nov 12 6:30-9:00pm,
- 1 week break: Independent project work.**
- Tuesday, Nov 26, 6:30-9:00pm
- Tuesday, Dec 3, 6:30-9:00pm
** During the break, the teacher and students remain in contact through Sur Place’s online platform, the Rink.
Shayna Hall is a multimedia artist who attended Savannah College of Art and Design as a double major in Fashion and Sequential Art. She has worked in many artistic fields, such as film, costuming, comics and game design, and performance art… but her true passion is wizards.
What do stray alley cats and random thoughts have in common? They both lurk in dark places where suddenly: Woompa Woompa… BOOM!! What happened? Is it real? Is it a game? You okay?? Yes, we are all doing fine and, say, that spark of an idea became one mighty story! Amazing, huh? If this sounds fun, than join Claire on a two hour session of Games of Oral Storytelling at Sur Place Media, a unique training ground for your creative mind.
Claire thrives as creative facilitator, enabling scrum masters to renew and reflect on their practices. She is fascinated by the process through which a room full of individuals can quickly form an enlivened community and where learning is akin to a playground for new ideas, projects and questions. Storylympics is the latest of Claire’s experimentations, in parallel with a tale she is developing with her friend of a young woman, Isabelle, who finds her way through alleyways, secret societies and bullshit jobs on a search for the mysterious source of ‘peh-TING, peh-TING’.
Can a consistently selfless character be compelling? Can a cruel character make the reader feel empathetic? Can a young character having adult observations feel authentic? Can there be a split between narrative voice and a character’s internal thoughts and feelings? In this workshop we’ll tackle these questions by looking at how dialogue, point of view and pacing can be used to bring complex, charismatic characters to life.
Why do we shy away from difficult topics? How do we write about sex, death, politics or trauma without alienating our audience? How do we build a sense of safety when putting ourselves on the line in front of family, friends and the general public?
This workshop is for writers who are interested in examining touchy subjects but don’t know how to get started. We’ll explore privilege and the idea of a writer’s responsibility while learning techniques that can help us build confidence in working with taboo themes.
With these writers, Newfoundland & Labrador is—to borrow Eva Crocker’s and Terry Doyle’s respective titles—Barrelling Forward to DIG up or reinvent an identity for the twenty-first century. In the words of featured author Tracey Waddleton: Send More Tourists, The Last Ones Were Delicious. These writers will taste scrumptious, eat you up and immerse you in a full-bodied set of stories where tourism is just the cap of the proverbial Iceberg beer.
We will talk about taking NOTES. All the time. Everywhere you go. Your writer’s eye should be open and on the lookout for sparkling details, strange truths, and unforgettable images. These notes we will compile, constantly, every day from now on. Then we will use them to make our LISTS. These lists will work as an aid, a support for when we falter, when our pens lift off the page. That is when we will trust our GUTS.
Bring ideas, images, notes, and some guts. We will compile lists and we will free-write our way to a first draft.
Terry Doyle is from the Goulds, Newfoundland. In 2017 he won the Percy Janes First Novel Award and was a finalist for the NLCU Fresh Fish Award. Terry’s work has appeared in Riddle Fence, Leopardskin & Limes, untethered, and The Newfoundland Quarterly. His debut book of short stories DIG was published in 2019 by Breakwater Books.
In my final year of art school, I was introduced to a range of resources that would help my work be seen in a professional scope. As a visual artist, having a creative practice is one thing, but it is another thing entirely to acquire the methodology surrounding how we get our art out there. This course will give you the tools to boost your practice so it becomes readily appreciated in a variety of art spaces.
Schedule (4 sessions)
- Monday, January 6, 7:00-9:00pm
- Monday, January 13, 7:00-9:00pm
- Monday, February 3, 7:00-9:00pm
- Monday, February 10, 7:00-9:00pm
Whether you’re a recent graduate, current student, or an artist who is simply looking to get your work out into the world, this workshop will introduce you to a variety of essential resources surrounding your practice. You will learn how to write about, care for, and archive your work, and how to apply for residencies, funding opportunities, and exhibitions. Throughout the course, we will be working together on your own portfolio websites. Each session will be tailored to fit to your needs and concerns as an emerging artist. You already have artistic talent, but by the end of this workshop, you will have attained a clearer understanding of the art world and how your work can be seen within it. This workshop welcomes visual artists working in all mediums.
Austin Henderson is a Montreal-based visual artist and writer. He is currently pursuing an MA in Art History at Concordia University, and he holds a BFA in Visual Art from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Austin has studied internationally at UNSW Art & Design in Sydney, Australia, and at the New York Academy of Art in New York City. He has participated in group exhibitions across Canada and the United States. Austin’s current research and studio practice explores intersections between contemporary art, design, film, popular culture, and the questions that these topics raise regarding identity, community, and memory.
Join Liza Isakov in the studio for a four-week workshop filled with botanical inspiration, drawing, and mark making. With Liza’s expert eye, you will be guided through a variety of drawing exercises and techniques with focus on sensitive mark making and drawing, both from gathered foliage and plants.
Join Liza Isakov in studio for a four-week workshop filled with botanical inspired drawing and mark making. During the workshop you will be guided through a variety of drawing exercises and techniques, with a focus on sensitive mark making, and creating drawings from gathered foliage and plants.
Schedule (4 sessions)
- Tuesday, January 7, 6:30-8:30pm
- Tuesday, January 14, 6:30-8:30pm
- Tuesday, February 4, 6:30-8:30pm
- Tuesday, February 11, 6:30-8:30pm
Participants will work with colored pencils and other materials such as oil pastels, ink, acrylic and watercolour paint, and pens. All materials will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own.
As your guide and facilitator, Liza makes it her mission to clear away the obstacles that may be keeping you from diving freely into the creative world of still life.
The final session of the workshop will hinge on ensuring you are comfortable with these exercises. That way, you’ll have all the tools necessary to create a more refined yet expressive composition.
Liza Isakov is a Montreal-based artist who specializes in paper creations. Her expressive practice draws inspiration from everyday objects and observations—the process of gathering items, imagery, textiles, and loose sketches informs the delicate manner of her work. Isakov’s art has been exhibited around Winnipeg and Montreal, both in solo showcases and group vernissages with fellow students and artists. Isakov is currently in her fifth year at Concordia University, majoring in Studio Arts.
This course will delve into the practical and theoretical ways of intertwining sound and vision within cinema. Over the course of the 4 sessions we will find inspiration from various art practices, such as painting (turn of the 19th century), music (early electronic music), and architecture (modernism), in the hopes of creating innovative soundscapes.
- Participants should have some experience with audio and/or music production. Any audio software with a timeline can be used in this workshop.
- Participants are encouraged to bring their own projects to develop in the workshop. Or, the teacher can provide sample projects to work on.
- Any questions? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wednesday, January 8, 7:00-9:30pm
- Wednesday, January 15, 7:00-9:30pm
- Wednesday, February 5, 7:00-9:30pm
- Wednesday, February 12, 7:00-9:30pm
The first session will explore the fundamentals of sound design (ADR, Dialogue editing, foley, music editing, sound effects) and the physics of sound in general.
The second session will attempt to establish sound design as an art form in itself, in which you make artistic decisions that impact the emotion, the structure, and overall feeling of your piece.
In the third session we’ll take a more hands on approach and attempt to apply the student’s artistic desires into the editing softwares, using tools like EQ, reverb, delay, and pitch shifters.
The last class will continue project work, and reinforce the tool kit of soundscape tools covered throughout the workshop.
About Nelson Roubert
Nelson is a recent graduate of NYU’s grad film school. After graduating he taught the sound design class at NYU for one semester. His film the ghost and the garden won most original short at festival du nouveau cinema in 2016, you can see it on the internet.
During the sessions, participants will learn about science fiction and its sub-genres and be guided through the process of developing interesting and realistic characters, world-building, and plotting. Finally, participants will create their own short works of fiction which will be workshopped during the class.
Schedule (4 sessions)
- Thursday, January 9, 7:00-9:30pm
- Thursday, January 16, 7:00-9:30pm
- Thursday, February 6, 7:00-9:30pm
- Thursday, February 13, 7:00-9:30pm
Week by Week Breakdown
Session One: Introduction to science fiction and its sub-genres (e.g. cyberpunk, space opera, utopia/dystopia, first-contact stories, hopepunk, post-apocalyptic tales, slipstream.) Examples of such works will be identified and discussed. Participants will have the opportunity to identify a type of science fiction story that interests them and explore a subject for a story of their own.
Session Two: Study and practice different aspects of the craft including character development and voice, realistic and effective dialogue, world-building without info-dumping, story arc, and SF themes and tropes. We will also discuss point-of-view, tense, and tone.
Two-week break during which participants work on a piece of short science fiction.
Session Three: Give and receive feedback on your own original short works of science fiction.
Session Four: Workshop the remaining short science fiction stories. Participants will be given individualized feedback and suggestions for moving forward to perfect and publish their work.
About the Instructor
Su J. Sokol is a writer of speculative and interstitial fiction. She is the author of two novels, Cycling to Asylum, which was long-listed for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic and optioned for a film, and Run J Run, published in 2019 by Renaissance Press. A YA speculative fiction novel, Zee, is to be published in French by Bouton d’or Acadie. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies such as The Future Fire; Spark: A Creative Anthology; Glittership: An LGBTQ Science Fiction and Fantasy Podcast; and After the Orange: Ruin and Recovery. Su is a member of the Québec Writers’ Federation and SFCanada—Canada’s National Association of Science Fiction Professionals. She also curates and participates in readings and literary events in Canada and abroad.
In this workshop, aspiring novelists will find inspiration and direction towards a path to guaranteed publication. Veteran writers with manuscripts gathering dust on their drives will come out with a plan to get those books straight to readers. Nonfiction writers will learn how to package and publish their books professionally.
Schedule (4 sessions)
- Monday, January 20, 6:30 – 9:00pm
- Monday, January 27, 6:30 – 9:00pm
- Monday, February 17, 6:30 – 9:00pm
- Monday, February 24, 6:30 – 9:00pm
The world is changing and so is publishing. Nowadays, self-published titles occupy a great chunk of the book market, allowing many authors to make a living solely from self publishing. It means that there’s a readership and a market for these books, and that choosing to publish your own book doesn’t have to be a lesser option. In many cases, in fact, self publishing can be more advantageous than going with a publisher.
This workshop will be a step-by-step guide on how to self publish professionally. Publishing is a business, and once you make the decision to do it yourself, you need to know where to find the right professionals, resources, and partners for everything: market research, editing, packaging, planning, distribution, and marketing. Each step of the way has its own rules and potential traps, and independent publishing has a few differences from traditional publishing, which we’ll discuss.
You’ll come out of this workshop with a clear path for publication, having received personalized feedback and guidance on your own publishing project. And the most important of all, you’ll hopefully find the inspiration, motivation, and confidence to keep writing more and more, since you’ll know that your books will reach readers.
- Overview of self-publishing and its differences from traditional publishing.
- Self-publishing platforms and retailers and which ones to choose.
- The importance of author communities and where to find help and resources.
- Information on editing, cover design, manuscript formatting, publisher accounts, ISBNs etc.
- Discussing your goals as a writer.
- How writing and marketing are related. Writing for readers. Understanding genres and genre expectations.
- Strategies to promote self-published books.
- Tips about writing, insecurity, and writers block. Books and resources to help you write better.
- Brainstorming a novel or series (or nonfiction book) or a plan to publish an already existing manuscript.
2-week break: During this period students will conduct research to understand the self-publishing market and their genre. Students will come up with an idea for a new project (book or book series) and a publishing plan for it and/or a publishing plan for an existing manuscript. Your project will be adapted to your goals, skills, and experience level and you’ll get online support and feedback during this time.
- Promotion tips, essential tools and websites for independent writers, strategies that work, ads, social media, blurbs, reviews.
- Discussing your projects (new book or series idea and/or publishing plan for existing manuscript).
- How and where to get audiobooks produced for as little as $0. How to promote audiobooks.
- Any specific topic that needs more time or that students want to learn more about.
- Refining and defining your personal projects.
- Where do we go from here? Your goals as a writer.
Denise Leitao writes as Day Leitao and has published so far 3 novels, 2 novellas, and 4 audiobooks. She makes just enough from her writing to pay her electricity bill, but hey, she makes something and has readers! Having made a few mistakes when first learning how to self-publish, she’d love to help you avoid them and save time, money, and headaches. You can find her at https://dayleitao.com
Are you curious about film editing? Does the thought of using the moving image as a medium for self-expression fill you with excitement? If so, this workshop is perfect for you. As part of a group of passionate editors, you will learn creative editing techniques, become well-versed in Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve editing software, and acquire the confidence to take your work as a creative editor to the next level.
Together, we will learn to use digital editing software such as Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve as tools for experimentation and creativity.
Schedule (5 sessions)
- Tuesday, January 21, 7:00-9:30pm
- Tuesday, January 28, 7:00-9:30pm
- Tuesday, February 18, 7:00-9:30pm
- Tuesday, February 25, 7:00-9:30pm
- Tuesday, March 3, 7:00-9:30
This course takes the form of a sequential workshop. Each of the five sessions will begin with an example of historical or contemporary work that features creative editing in a new light, followed by a discussion to move what we’ve covered from the realm of theory to that of practice. Each class, participants will produce short films or installation pieces that emphasize the “creative” in creative editing. All works produced as a part of the workshop will be showcased at the end of the course.
Examples analyzed in class vary from experimental icons such as Maya Deren and Stan Brakhage to contemporary artists like Sylvia Schedelbauer and Martin Arnold. Rather than mimicking theory and watching examples, our goal is to take inspiration from these early explorations and assimilate what we’ve learned into our own practice. Participants will learn how to incorporate colour and metaphoric imagery into their creative process and—first and foremost—how to use editing as a tool for self-expression. Together we will explore digital editing techniques such as how to use flicker, inversion, juxtaposition, and keying. At the end of the session, participants are encouraged to continue creating work as editors; they will leave with a strong foundation in the technical tools and resources necessary to guide them on their journeys.
This class is geared toward emerging editors who already have a basic understanding of software such as Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, or Final Cut Pro. Premiere Pro will be the main tool used for editing throughout the class. This workshop showcases creative and experimental editing forms, but will also provide those interested in commercial editing with the opportunity to develop their skill sets. If you have an open mind and a passion for editing, this is the workshop for you.
Elian Mikkola is a queer filmmaker, editor, and installation artist currently based in Montréal. Their work focuses on metaphoric queer and trans narratives through different film mediums and genres. Mikkola holds an MFA in Media Production from the University of Regina and a BA in Journalism from Tampere University. Their award-winning debut film SAARI (2016) was selected for the student program of TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival and Festival du Nouveau Cinéma for 2016-2017. Mikkola’s video and film installations have been exhibited in Regina and Montréal. They are a part of La lumière collective, based in Montréal. Mikkola is also a board member at Queer City Cinema.
In four weeks this class will teach the basics of stage craft and script writing for stage. This will conclude in producing a 15-20 minute stand-alone script, or an excerpt of a longer piece, including a plot outline.
Rosanna will provide a nurturing and inspiring environment to write, focusing on allowing writers to access their writing voice, and push themselves to learn how story works on stage, when played out in real time and space.
As part of the programme, Rosanna will offer participants the opportunity for one-on-one feedback on their script outline or draft, in addition to teaching dramaturgical skills in how to doctor script and improve writing craft.
Schedule (4 sessions)
- Thursday, January 23, 7:00-9:30pm
- Thursday, January 30, 7:00-9:30pm
- Thursday, February 20, 7:00-9:30pm
- Thursday, February 27, 7:00-9:30pm
Week 1: Everyone has a Story to tell. Introductions and format. What are stories and why do we tell them? The uniqueness of sharing story on stage, The difference between story and plot, the 7 parts of plot.
– Writing Exercise 1: Finding inspiration, turning our eyes and ears to the world around us.
– Writing Exercise 2: Finding conflict and change in our story.
Week 2: Writing voice. Understanding character and dialogue. Key notes for writing for actors, stage images versus stage directions, finding physical writing impulse.
– Writing Exercise: 1: Making characters into people
– Writing Exercise 2: Writing Dialogue
Week 3: Letting others in: How to give useful feedback and develop our ideas, tips for research, timed exercises, multi-sense inspiration
– Writing Exercise 1: Growing plot from character
– Writing Exercise 2: Using diagrams to structure and other tips.
Week 4: Reasons to Remain. Sharing of scripts, 121 feedback on script, tips on how to edit and improve, key advice.
– Writing Exercise 1: Keeping energised
– Writing Exercise 2: Story swapping.
Rosanna Hall is an award-winning playwright and screen writer from Edinburgh, Scotland. Her work has been produced across the UK and in Russia and her first feature film is in production in collaboration with the Polish Film Institute. She is specialised at delivering workshops for a wide variety of people, having taught Undergraduate level at the University of Edinburgh to narrative story work with young offenders. She believes everyone has a story to tell and can help you explore yours. Coming to Montreal for adventure and to stretch her own writing muscles; Rosanna challenges you to also get out of your comfort zone and push yourself to write the story you have always wanted to tell for stage.
This workshop will help you identify your shooting strengths and get you started on creating your own image bank so you can start selling your photos and videos online. Whether you are interested in selling on microstock sites or other outlets or just getting your creative work under control, this workshop will help you develop your personal workflow and editing skills to make that possible.
Jeannette will share her own experiences with stock footage and photography as well as leading practical hand’s on activities. Together we’ll identify your strengths and develop your talents to be able to share your work more widely. While selling stock photos and videos is unlikely to provide a full-time income, you will develop new digital skills that will allow you to pursue flexible, creative part-time work you can easily do at home whenever it suits you.
Bilingual instruction possible, French speaking participants welcome.
Schedule (4 sessions)
- Tuesday, March 10, 7:00-9:00pm
- Tuesday, March 17, 7:00-9:00pm
- Tuesday, March 24, 7:00-9:00pm
- Tuesday, March 31, 7:00-9:00pm
Lesson one :
- Identifying what photos or footage to shoot and sell
- Photo editing and keywording exercises
- Build a light tent
- Photo shoot of small objects
- Assigment: create a small batch of images or footage for your image bank
- Hand’s on preparation of batch of images or footage
- Neighbourhood photo shoot
- Creating a workflow model
- Submission to sales outlets
- Brainstorming future ideas
Jeannette Lambert is a multi-media artist who works with photography, video and music. She studied film at York University and worked at one of the first stock film footage agencies in Canada. She’s a jazz vocalist and pursues photography part-time. She has been shooting and selling her stock photos online for over a decade. http://www.shutterstock.com/g/nettestock