Trading call sheets for style sheets:

Or why I’m pivoting to become a front-end web developer.

Ben Bourgon
3 min readMar 9, 2022
A three-dimensional html end tag is lit on a pink and purple background.
Photo by Jackson So on Unsplash

Nearly 10 years ago, as a university grad with a film degree in hand, I was excited to find work that would allow me to apply my creative instincts and keep learning from others in the process. Earlier as a film student, I became fascinated by the idea that creative works can be seen as the culmination of the hundreds or thousands of tiny decisions made by their creators. Making my own films, I learned what was possible when collaborators bring their own distinct experiences and abilities to make those decisions together, resulting in work that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Today, I’m keeping this inspiration top of mind as I begin a new path towards a career in front-end development as a student in Juno College’s Web Development Bootcamp program.

But first, a chance to reflect back. From organizing a reality show following a street magician touring the United States, to being one in a crew of hundreds working as team to make a Netflix or Disney movie, my career in film and TV took me on some incredible journeys. And of course, as the saying goes, the real reward was the friends and colleagues I met along the way. But with productions under constant threat due to the pandemic, I took the opportunity to envision another way to apply my drive to learn and create, and to use my skills in problem-solving and project management in a new, more sustainable career.

Turns out the answer was there with me all along. From a young age, I have always been fascinated by tech and its ability to enrich our lives, and its potential for expression. I will always remember being 10 years old and choosing to go to summer “game camp” where I spent hot days inside building a Pac-Man clone in Visual Basic with an instructor. I later fell in love with film and especially its technical aspects, like camerawork and editing. My film and TV career was largely working in production roles, but I always secretly admired the technicians constantly honing their craft and learning to adapt to technical advances in the industry. More recently, I’ve taught myself to mix music on my laptop, and explored tinkering with, fixing up and modifying old Game Boys.

A original Game Boy and a miniature Commodore computer sit on a desk with other tech nearby.
Photo by Lorenzo Herrera on Unsplash

I always loved the idea of coding and even considered tech as a career in the past but didn’t see a way to approach it. When I heard about a friend who graduated from Juno College and subsequently landed an amazing job as a web developer, I had to take a chance to see if coding was right for me. Turns out it is really is! Solving a tough coding problem or bringing a design to (virtual) life with pixel perfect detail is a truly unique thrill. Being able to be on this new journey with the amazing community of supportive, hard-working students and staff at Juno has made this a truly unforgettable beginning.

Film was seen as the ultimate medium of the 20th century, bringing together so many forms of art in exciting new combinations: painting, theatre, music, sound, and photography. The internet has since inherited that title by holding all of that and more, with the added art of interactivity. I am so excited to work in a new medium, and see where I can go from here.