Mark Carter (BA 2011, MA 2012)

Mark Carter (BA 2011, MA 2012)

Mark carterCan you tell me a bit about your position with the Sudbury Film Festival?

Since September 2012, I’ve worked with the Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival, one of the 5 major film festivals in Canada, as Marketing & Partnerships Coordinator. About 75% of my work was grant writing, but I also put in a lot of hours organizing events and arranging guests for the film festival in September and a comedy festival in April. I got to pick up Cheech and Chong from the airport. I also got involved with a lot of community arts groups in Sudbury, and helped put together a presentation asking for increased municipal arts spending from City Council.

How long did it take you to find that job after graduating? What do you think made you a good candidate?

I was really lucky, I interviewed for the job about a week after submitting my thesis (I didn't even know if I’d passed yet), went to Boston for a week's vacation, and came back to learn I was moving to Sudbury. I didn’t really know it at the time, but I've since learned exactly how important grant writing is to any not-for-profit, charity, and arts organization (hint: it's really, really important, and somewhere there is an arts group that really needs your help).

You're returning to Waterloo. Can you say a bit about your new position?

While I totally loved my job at Cinéfest, I’m a southern Ontario kind of guy at heart–with the help of a lot of luck and a bit of fortuitous networking, I was recently offered a permanent position as Development Coordinator at THEMUSEUM in Kitchener. While I’m sticking around in Sudbury for a few more weeks in anticipation of the upcoming 25th Anniversary Festival (September 14th-22nd–can I plug it?), I do know that my new job will also have its roots firmly planted in NFP management and finances;and, of course, grant writing.

At Waterloo we always see co-op students on their way to interviews. What is the effect of having been surrounded by that culture when you actually start interviewing?

I was actually a co-op dropout when I decided I wanted to do an M.A., I got impatient and didn't want to spend an extra year finishing my first degree. That said, I was already used to interviewing for part-time and summer jobs; whether it was writing for web sites, tutoring at Centennial College in Scarborough for the summer, or putting up drywall. To be honest and I think a lot of students in the English department might agree; the co-op culture at Waterloo always seemed a little out of reach, like it was just another perk for engineers-to-be. I definitely know other English grads who made the co-op system work for them, but I waited to acclimate myself to the professional world after school was done. To be honest, I still don&'t think I’m there–I’ve only worked with arts and culture groups, which are kind of their own world.

I'm intrigued by the interview uniform; people here seem to have. Does that matter as much in the positions you have interviewed for, do you think?

I think I’ve managed to get away with a lot, interviewing primarily in the arts and culture sector. Jeans, a flannel shirt, and a beard can be as much of a uniform as a suit and tie for someone in my position. I’ve also interviewed for writing gigs with startups and found the same thing–I’ve definitely been interviewed by a few executives in shorts and t-shirts. At the same time, I’ve had my share of meetings with corporate and government funders, so I haven’t totally forgotten how to tie a half-Windsor.

What's the first thing you'll do once you're back?

The Princess Cinema is showing a Peter Gabriel concert documentary on the 29th, and I’m going to be the first in line. After that, I’ll probably look for an apartment.

This profile was originally published on August 2013.