Sunday, August 25, 2013

He Can Be Taught!

Hey Abyss,

I am currently looking over all the posts that I have written this summer and am surprised at how quickly it has all gone by. It seems like just yesterday I was leaving for Ottawa and now here I am leaving for Montreal in 8 days!

The older I get the quicker time passes.

As I am reading and recalling these last 4 months I am really proud of what conclusions I have come too, and the goals I have set for myself going into my 3rd and FINAL year at the National Theatre School of Canada. No longer will I be able to say, that's where I am going, or that I have one more year left.

Now, life as a "Big Actor" begins.

Everything we do this year is in preparation for us moving into the real world, away from our protective walls where we always have opportunities and roles to play with. Where people are constantly supporting us regardless of our behaviour and flaws. Where we have the freedom to fail and retry until we understand and make progress. It all comes down to these last few months, we will never have these beautiful and gracious times again.

Things change and become necessity rather than compliance. Discipline has to start coming from within, not from watching everyone else. The abilities that we have perfected (or neglected) become our meal ticket. Huge studio spaces now transform into small bachelor apartments, and collaborators go back to their community instead of coming to ours.

This all might sound depressing and morbid, but for me it is a realization and a motivator to take advantage of every opportunity I have left this year. To learn as much as I can from every person who walks through those doors, to be open to change and possibility. To expand the way I think and work. To hold that certificate in May and know that I did everything I possibly could to get the education I deserved. Now, I know that this school is not the end all and be all. I know that I will continue to learn from every team and person I work with until the day I die.

But I have goals, as usual.

To summarize: Upon completion I want to have a strong idea of what I am capable of and where I still have room to grow, I want to listen and hear everything. I want to stay positive, even in the desperate times. I want to encourage and promote my classmates instead of bringing them down. I want to create strong and compelling work with every role I get, not just the ones I like. I want to make good impression and stay connected with the people who inspire me. I want to continue working on my self discipline and making sure I will always take care of myself in Mind, Body and Soul.

I know for those of you reading this you are like, "Wow, this kid is really setting himself up for disappointment...that's a lot of goals to fulfil in 8 months..."

I am aware. I like having a check list to work from. I have had so many great (and no so great) experiences this summer that I feel like I have, deeply, changed for the better. I have come to some huge realizations about myself and cannot wait to put them into action in a setting that I have known for two years. This is my time to prove that I am more than capable of this career and I that I will fight to keep it.


Also, great news All the Wrong Reason's will be making its world premiere at TIFF this year! If you are in the area check me out as the Laughing Clerk. And, this weekend I was able to see a rough cut of BONE DEEP (the short film I was in towards the start of the summer) and I am really impressed with how it turned out and cannot wait for it to premiere here in Halifax at the Atlantic Film Festival

That's all for tonight; I'm on a Digimon kick. Thanks Netflix.

Night Abyss.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Hey Abyss,

I just got back from Guysborough and teaching at Mulgrave Road Theatre's Drama Camp. I always forget how peaceful it is there. Everything is so calm and serene, it is quite relaxing and I loved the moments when I would just watch the water move the docked boats around on the marina. Simplicity is slowly becoming soothing for me.

I am in Truro, now, for three weeks to teach at the Marigold Centre and also spend some much needed time with my friends and family. I have really missed them over the last few months. Teaching at the Marigold is one of my favourite parts of the summer because it brings me back to my home town and I have been teaching most of the kids for the last couple years. Being able to see them grow both physically and artistically is always a joy.


I have been thinking a lot about artistry, and what mine could potentially be, especially as I am coming to the end of my educational career (for now). I suppose what I am trying to figure out is what my voice is. What do I want to say? How do I want to affect people, what projects specifically interest me, rather than leaping at every opportunity that comes forward? Perhaps I am not at the point where I can choose what things to be involved in, perhaps I need to be exposed to more projects and people before I can start to define my vision. And that, of course, brings up the idea of, "Do I really need to define myself, can't I just keep doing what I'm doing?"

I was given a book, called Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon, by my friend Sebastien Heins before I left Toronto a few weeks ago. Although it's a small book, it really got me thinking about what I want to do as an actor. Do I want to just keep auditioning for everything and never form a true artistic vision for myself? Or do I wait to have an artistry before I choose my next project?  The book did not answer any of these questions specifically, but the book did bring up the point of nothing being original, everything is inspired by something. And if something is said to be truly original "then they are not citing the inspirations properly". I like this idea, it takes off the pressure of having to be "different" or "original". See, as artists we gather inspiration from other mediums and it is the combination of the mediums that make something "original" or "different".

This idea makes me feel a lot less intimidated.

I have to make the art that I don't see, by combining the things I love and putting them into the world. I feel like success comes from when a particular combination of artistries connect with the public, or the audience. When I think about all the extremely influential artists to myself, either famous or not, most have a pretty defined artistry.

Because I have been on a Beyoncé jag for the last two months, Imma just keep goin'. Beyoncé, in my opinion, is an artist. Her music, as I have said, isn't that deep. Lyrically its very simple and usually about loving someone, leaving someone, being a strong woman or impressing YO' MAN. But the brand that she has created for herself has been, frankly, making her iconic. People just respect her, they know how hard she works, they see her dedication and her vocal abilities. Most people aren't even die hard fans, they just know what she monopolizes and no one else can touch it.

Cause she da QUEEN.

But in all seriousness, most of the artists that have or are leaving an impact on the world have specialized in something specific that we (the people) haven't seen before. But this is because they are combining different combinations of mediums and showing them to us in a new and original way.

So, conclusively I think I need to do just this. And on that journey for the bait I think I will discover what my artistry is and what I want to say.

I just finished reading the first show we are doing this year, Lion in the Streets by Judith Thompson, and I so stoked to see how Ravi Jain makes it come alive!

It has also come about recently that All the Wrong Reasons will be playing at TIFF 2013! For those of you keeping track this is the second film I have been part of that is an official selection at TIFF; pretty exciting.

Night Abyss!