Stagecraft grad creates high-end custom carpentry

By Carly Whetter, Foundation and Alumni Relations

Michael Young knew he wanted to work in the entertainment industry – he just wasn’t sure in what context.

“Originally it was because I thought I wanted to be an actor,” says the Stagecraft and Event Technology (SET) alum. “But I’ve always been good with my hands and enjoy making things. Stagecraft seemed like a logical step.”

Read more: How this Douglas alum is changing the face of education

The SET diploma program at Douglas College teaches students everything from lighting to stage management for TV, film and theatre. It was recommended to Michael by Paul Moniz de Sá, the Artistic Director of Theatre and Music at Granville Island’s Arts Umbrella.

Michael Young in his woodworking studio.
The future is wood. Michael in his studio in Burnaby.

“Paul thought it would be a good way for me to get a feel for the general entertainment industry, with a specific focus on theatre,” says Michael. “The program ended up laying the groundwork for my career.”

If you build it, they will come

After graduating from Douglas College, Michael took his skills to BCIT to complete his Red Seal journeyman’s papers in joinery and cabinetmaking. This certification built on the knowledge of his SET diploma, giving him an even deeper understanding of the materials and finishes he uses for his projects. “My goal was always to work towards getting my Red Seal, and once I had that credential, I would open up my own shop,” says Michael.

Instagram screenshot of Red Bull doors.

He did just that. Today, Michael owns and operates MJY Fabrications, a wood-based custom fabrication studio in Burnaby. His portfolio includes creative projects for corporate and luxury clients – from building a cooler-themed door for a Red Bull event, to re-panelling the interior walls at the Museum of Anthropology’s Haida House, to constructing a pair of oversized sunglasses for Clearly – and scenic sets for a number of local television, film and theatre productions. It sounds hectic, but Michael says the SET program prepared him well.

Instagram screenshot of Clearly sunglasses.

“In this industry there are a lot of projects that come quickly. The program also gave me a good understanding of how to cope with the situations I deal with in my day to day,” says Michael.

Giving back

As his business grows, Michael continues to look for unique projects that challenge him to learn new skills. Currently he’s working on a furniture line. “I’m excited to go back into the woodwork and cabinetry side of things and add the creative edge from the work I’m doing now. It’s bringing the two styles together in some ways,” he says.

Read more: An alum’s journey takes him from chemistry to clippers

Michael continues to give back by mentoring Douglas College SET students as a way to fulfil their work experience requirement. “There are a lot more opportunities behind the scenes in this industry. It’s great to support students just starting out.”   

Visit the Stagecraft and Event Technology page for more information regarding the program.

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