Young filmmaker named Yukon’s entrepreneur of the year

Jayden Soroka has never had a nine-to-five job in his life, something he's very proud of. That flexibility over the years has given him the freedom to work on any film project he chooses.

Jayden Soroka has never had a nine-to-five job in his life, something he’s very proud of.

That flexibility over the years has given him the freedom to work on any film project he chooses.

But working for yourself also comes with a price, he says.

Time, relationships and money are among the sacrifices one has to make in order to become successful.

Soroka was recognized for his success at a Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce banquet last week, where he received the young entrepreneur of the year award.

“I never planned to become an entrepreneur,” he said.

“I slowly fell into this space where I became self-employed. When I received that award, what resonated most was that I was being acknowledged for my sacrifices.”

Soroka spoke to the News from the shared office space he recently opened in downtown Whitehorse, called Creative Lab.

A space for creative professionals, it strives to offer opportunities for collaboration and shared resources in a more efficient way.

Sitting at a large boardroom table he made himself, he clasps his hands on his head and struggles to describe how crazy this past year has been for him.

“It’s by far the busiest year I’ve ever had professionally,” he said, “but it’s been great.”

It began with his production company, Pixelbox Studio, producing all six winter and summer commercials for Tourism Yukon, a “massive undertaking, bigger than anything I could have ever assumed.”

Flat Tire Films, a company he created with Vivian Belik, has also been working on a documentary that would recreate a groundbreaking social experiment from the 1970s that took place in Dauphin, Manitoba.

Known as the Mincome program, families in the small community were provided with a guaranteed income for fours years and closely monitored during that time.

Soroka’s plan is to follow three Canadian families for a year and produce a documentary on their experience.

He also talked about working on an online Cold War project that would examine the Yukon’s role in the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union.

In 2015 alone, Pixelbox hired over 70 Yukoners to work on its various projects, one of the reasons Soroka was given the young entrepreneur award.

“I think a key part of what impressed the committee is that (Soroka) seems to be building up the production capacity in the Yukon,” said Pat Tobler, who headed the awards committee.

“Jayden is not only seeing success as a young entrepreneur, he’s definitely making an impact in terms of promoting the Yukon and developing local capacity through his work.”

Soroka said it’s important for him to see people up here succeed.

There’s a sense that there isn’t enough talent up North, he said, to compete with people down south.

“A lot of the time we have to prove ourselves that we’re capable of doing these big projects,” he said.

“There’s an abundance of talent up here that never gets used. Some of the work up here rivals what is done in Vancouver.

“Very quickly, we won’t have to go Outside anymore to produce these (Tourism Yukon) commercials.”

Soroka said anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur needs to do a lot of research beforehand.

That means finding out if there’s a market for what you want to do, what the success rates are, and whether other people in your town are doing it already.

“If everything points to yes, then it’s about investing time,” he said.

Support is crucial too, he said.

He never would have jumped into the film industry without the support of his parents, he added.

Maybe he would have ended up with a nine-to-five job.

“My mother passed away a few years ago and she was like a rock for me,” Soroka said.

“She was there throughout this entire process and without that I wouldn’t have made it this far.

“I feel like that award was really for her.”

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mobile vaccine team Team Balto practises vaccine clinic set-up and teardown at Vanier Catholic Secondary School. Mobile vaccine teams are heading out this week to the communities in order to begin Moderna vaccinations. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mobile vaccine teams begin community vaccinations

“It’s an all-of-government approach”

The now empty lot at 410 Cook Street in Whitehorse on Jan. 19. As developers move forward with plans for a housing development that would feature 16 micro-units, they are asking city council for a zoning change that would reduce the number of required parking spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Developer asks for zoning change

Would reduce the number of required parking spaces

The Liard First Nation is preparing to enter negotiations for self-governance with the territorial and federal governments. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
Liard First Nation preparing to enter self-governance negotiations with Yukon, federal governments

Chief Stephen Charlie seeking an agreement separate from “dead end” UFA

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 20, 2021

A Copper Ridge resident clears their driveway after a massive over night snowfall in Whitehorse on Nov. 2, 2020. Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for the Whitehorse and Haines Junction areas for Jan. 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Winter storm warning for Haines Junction and Whitehorse

Environment Canada says the storm will develop Monday and last until Tuesday

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Most Read