North Bay's Jason Manella is getting a huge break in the film industry.

The third-year film student at Canadore College won a contest to have his film project picked up by some Hollywood heavyweights.

He's in Los Angeles working with British actor Dominic West, known for his work on The Wire, and producer Dana Brunetti who worked on The Social Network and Captain Phillips.

When he received the message that West was interested in working on his film, Manella said it was "shocking."

"West said it's a really unique idea and it's something he's never really seen before," Manella said.

"It's something that drew him to the project."

Dominic West

Actor Dominic West said Manella's script was 'something he had never seen before.' (IMDB)

Comedy follows couple with internal rhyming narrator

A Funny Thing Happened to Kelly and Ted is a lighthearted comedy with a darker edge, Manella said. It that tells the story of a couple that wakes up with a narrator in their heads, commenting on their daily activities.

"It's a play on the idea that the voices in our head can sometimes interfere with what we do on a day-to-day business," Manella said.

If that isn't bad enough, Manella says the narrator speaks in rhyming couplets — a trait inspired by Dr. Seuss.

"It kind of stems from books like 'Wacky Wednesday,'" Manella said.

"My mom used to read me a lot of those. And I wanted to go in a different direction from my other work. Something more lighter, more fun."

Jason Manella

Manella's selection in the Jameson First Shot contest provided him with a great opportunity: two weeks in Los Angeles with industry professionals. (Jason Manella)

'We'll see where the world takes me'

Manella said he's currently in Los Angeles for two weeks making the film. The crew has already shot the tape, and have a rough edit. After that, it's another round of post-production: taking care of the colour, timing and mixing.

After the film is done, Manella said Jameson Irish Whiskey, who sponsored the First Shot contest, flies all of the winners back to L.A. for a screening in an event called "The Weekender."

After that, Manella said, he's looking forward to getting back to his program at Canadore, with a great experience to share with his film classmates.

"I honestly have no clue where this will lead," he said.

"But I'm open to the opportunities as an actor, director, or as a filmmaker. We'll see where the world takes me."

Jason Manella

Manella said he's looking forward to getting back to his college classes once the contest is over. (Jason Manella)