Erica Daniels - Manitoba
Teen multimedia program leads to successful career for Daniels
By Sam Laskaris
Erica Daniels, who owns Kejic Productions, will be one of presenters on the National Youth Panel at this year's Cando Conference.
Erica Daniels’s life-changing moment occurred when she was 16.
Daniels, a member of Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, immediately fell in love with Just TV, a multimedia program offered to at-risk youth in Winnipeg.
“The path I was going down at the time was a negative one,” Daniels said. “Just TV is what saved my life. They’re very much a family to me.”
Daniels, who was contemplating dropping out of high school, was convinced by a teacher to check out the Just TV program.
After seeing other Indigenous youth performing live on stage, she decided that was a venture worth pursuing and to continue her education.
While at the Just TV program, Daniels learned a variety of multimedia skills, including camera operation, production, lighting, audio, editing, public speaking and interviewing.
After discovering some of these nuances of the multimedia industry, Daniels went on to graduate from a pair of programs offered through the National Screen Institute – the New Indigenous Voices Program and the IndigiDocs Program.
She also worked at CBC for about 18 months.
But for the past three years, Daniels, 29, has owned her own company, Kejic Productions, a business that provides video production, photography and graphic design services.
“I was able to travel a lot and document Indigenous stories,” said Daniels, whose family members are primarily Cree but she does also have some Ojibwe ancestry. “And I was able to build connections across Canada.”
Some of the projects Daniels has worked on have also been in the United States.
Also, for the second time in her career, Daniels has been selected to be on the National Youth Panel for the Cando Conference.
This year’s conference, which will be held online because of the pandemic, runs Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28. Presentations for the national youth panelists are scheduled for Oct. 27.
Daniels was first a member of the Cando’s National Youth Panel in 2014, at its conference staged in Nanaimo, B.C.
“When I went the first time it was a really amazing experience,” Daniels said. “They’ve invited me back now to give an update on my career. I know it’s going to be a lot different this time around (since it will be online). But I’m still grateful for the opportunity to share my story.”
Daniels’ story began at Just TV, where she was a participant for four years. She later served as a mentor for the program, which is run out of the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre.
She’s also worked as a Just TV technical assistant. And when her time permits she goes back and volunteers for the program.
Though she has enjoyed success with her own company, Daniels is hoping it will continue to grow and that it will be a venture that will be beneficial for many others as well.
“I really hoping to expand Kejic Productions and be able to provide employment and training for First Nations storytellers,” she said.